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Timeline Event

Frodo, Sam, and Gollum reach the Black Gate of Mordor

Event Type: General

Age: 3rd Age - Ring War

Date: March 5, 3019


Before the next day dawned their journey to Mordor was over. The marshes and the desert were behind them. Before them..., the great mountains reared their threatening heads.

Upon the west of Mordor marched the gloomy range of Ephel Dúath..., and upon the north the broken peaks and barren ridges of Ered Lithui.... But as these ranges approached one another..., they swung out long arms northward; and between these arms there was a deep defile. This was Cirith Gorgor, the Haunted Pass, the entrance to the land of the Enemy....

Across the mouth of the pass..., the Dark Lord had built a rampart of stone. In it there was a single gate of iron, and upon its battlement sentinels paced unceasingly.... None could pass the Teeth of Mordor and not feel their bite, unless they were summoned by Sauron, or knew the secret passwords that would open the Morannon, the black gate of his land.

The two hobbits gazed at the towers and the wall in despair. Even from a distance they could see in the dim light the movement of the black guards upon the wall, and the patrols before the gate. They lay now peering over the edge of a rocky hollow beneath the out-stretched shadow of the northmost buttress of Ephel Dúath.... [A] crow, maybe, would have flown but a furlong from their hiding-place to the black summit of the nearer tower....

Day came.... Then suddenly the cry of brazen-throated trumpets was heard: from the watch-towers they blared, and far away from hidden holds and outposts in the hills came answering calls; and further still..., there echoed in the hollow land beyond the mighty horns and drums of Barad-dûr. Another dreadful day of fear and toil had come to Mordor..., and the day-guards... were marching to their posts....

'Well, here we are!' said Sam. 'Here's the Gate, and it looks to me as if that's about as far as we are ever going to get....

'We can't go no further — unless we want to ask the orcs for a lift.'

'No, no!' said Gollum. 'No use. We can't go further. Sméagol said so. He said: we'll go to the Gate, and then we'll see. And we do see.... Sméagol knew hobbits could not go this way. O yes....'

'Then what the plague did you bring us here for?' said Sam, not feeling... just or reasonable.

'Master said so. Master says: Bring us to the Gate. So good Sméagol does so. Master said so, wise master.'

'I did,' said Frodo. His face was grim and set, but resolute.... 'I said so, because I purpose to enter Mordor, and I know no other way. Therefore I shall go this way. I do not ask anyone to go with me.'

'No, no, master!' wailed Gollum; pawing at him, and seeming in great distress. 'No use that way...! Don't take the Precious to Him! He'll eat us all, if He gets it, eat all the world. Keep it, nice master, and be kind to Sméagol. Don't let Him have it. Or go away, go to nice places, and give it back to little Sméagol. Yes, yes, master: give it back, eh? Sméagol will keep it safe; he will do lots of good, especially to nice hobbits. Hobbits go home. Don't go to the Gate!'

'I am commanded to go to the land of Mordor, and therefore I shall go,' said Frodo. 'If there is only one way, then I must take it. What comes after must come.'

Sam said nothing. The look on Frodo's face was enough for him; he knew that words of his were useless.... [He] never had any real hope in the affair from the beginning; but... he had not needed hope, as long as despair could be postponed. Now they were come to the bitter end. But he had stuck to his master all the way; that was what he had chiefly come for.... His master would not go to Mordor alone. Sam would go with him — and at any rate they would get rid of Gollum.

Gollum, however, did not intend to be got rid of, yet. He knelt at Frodo's feet, wringing his hands.... 'Not this way, master!' he pleaded, 'There is another way. O yes indeed there is. Another way, darker, more difficult to find, more secret. But Sméagol knows it. Let Sméagol show you!'

'Another way!' said Frodo doubtfully....

'Yess! Yess indeed! There was another way. Sméagol found it. Let's go and see if it's still there!'

'You have not spoken of this before.'

'No.... Master did not say what he meant to do.... He says: Sméagol, take me to the Gate — and then good-bye! Sméagol can run away and be good. But now he says: I purpose to enter Mordor this way. So Sméagol is very afraid. He does not want to lose nice master. And he promised, master made him promise, to save the Precious. But master is going to take it to Him, straight to the Black Hand, if master will go this way. So Sméagol must save them both, and he thinks of another way that there was.... Nice master. Sméagol very good, always helps.'

The Two Towers, LoTR Book 4, Ch 3, The Black Gate is Closed

Elena Tiriel 5Mar08

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