Tolkien Gateway

Seat of Seeing

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Seat of Seeing
Physical Description
TypeRuin
LocationSummit of Amon Hen
RealmsGondor
Reunited Kingdom
InhabitantsNone
DescriptionHigh chair within ruined battlements
General Information
ReferencesThe Fellowship of the Ring
The Seat of Seeing was an ancient chair built upon the summit of Amon Hen within a great circular stone-paved court surrounded by a battlement, all of which was in ruins when visited by Frodo Baggins. The high seat rested upon four carven pillars and could be reached by a stair of many steps.[1]

Contents

History

Early History

The high seat upon Amon Hen had been made in the days of the great kings, according to Aragorn.[2] Later it is stated that the Seat of Seeing was on the Hill of the Eye of the Men of Númenor.[1] It is thus open to interpretation whether the chair was built during the early years of Gondor or sometime in the Second Age. At the very least the high seat was built before the time of the Stewards, which meant that when Frodo sat there it was at a minimum 969 years old. One likely possibility is that the Seat of Seeing was built at the same time as the Argonath, which occurred after Minalcar defeated the Easterlings (in T.A. 1248) and took the name of Rómendacil II but before the end of his reign (he died in T.A. 1366).[3]

Later History

On 26 February T.A. 3019 after Frodo had fled from Boromir (part of the Breaking of the Fellowship) he came to the summit of the hill and, while still wearing the One Ring, sat in the high seat. At first he saw little but mist and shadows, but soon he perceived many visions, soundless but filled with bright living images. The visions he saw stretched far beyond the normal range of sight (for instance, he saw the Ethir Anduin, over 300 miles away and behind the Ered Nimrais) and everywhere he looked he saw signs of war. His glimpse of Minas Tirith filled him with hope, which was crushed when he looked at Barad-dûr. [1]

Frodo then became aware of the gaze of the Eye, which felt like a finger trying to nail him down. He jumped out of the chair and cowered with his hood covering his head. At that moment from some other point of power came another thought: “Take it off! Take it off! Fool, take it off! Take off the Ring!” Balanced between Eye and Voice, Frodo regained his ability to choose and removed the Ring an instant before he was discovered. Frodo then realized what he must do, which was to go to Mordor alone, and he left the Seat of Seeing behind.[1]

It has been speculated that the visions Frodo saw were due solely to the magical power of the Seat of Seeing. However, while searching for Frodo, Aragorn ran to the summit and sat on the chair.[4] Even though he was the heir of Isildur he saw no visions (although he was in a hurry and a bit distracted). It appears (since Frodo did not see far-off visions at other times while wearing the Ring) that it was a combination of the Seat of Seeing and the power of the Ring that gave Frodo this temporary effect.

The identity of the Voice that strove against the Eye was later revealed when Aragorn, Gimli, and Legolas first meet Gandalf the White in Fangorn Forest. Gandalf informs the others that the Ring was nearly revealed to Sauron but “I sat in a high place, and I strove with the Dark Tower; and the Shadow passed”.[5]

Portrayal in Adaptations

2001: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring:

The scene at the Seat of Seeing is altered and condensed. Frodo, wearing the Ring, ran up a platform (no chair is seen) and the only vision he experienced was of Barad-dúr and the Eye. Confronted by the Eye and voice of Sauron, Frodo yanked off the Ring (with no outside help) and fell off the platform. Unlike the book, he then met Aragorn, told him he must leave, and Aragorn said he would have followed Frodo anywhere and not have taken the Ring. The force of Uruk-hai from Saruman then arrived and Frodo fled while Aragorn, later joined by Legolas and Gimli, fought the orcs on the hilltop.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "The Breaking of the Fellowship"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "The Great River"
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, "The Departure of Boromir"
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, "The White Rider"