Mount Doom (chapter)
|Chapter of The Return of the King
|Gollum seizes The One Ring from Frodo and topples into the Cracks of Doom.
|24-25 March 3019
|Frodo and Samwise
|< The Land of Shadow
|The Field of Cormallen >
Mount Doom is the third chapter of the second book in The Return of the King.
Summary[edit | edit source]
The next morning, Sam gained new strength and a grim sense of responsibility. He woke Frodo and pushed him on toward Orodruin. The land before them was cold and dead, dotted by countless craters and hollows. The Hobbits crawled eastward from hiding place to hiding place. After a few miles, Frodo was nearly spent, his mind and body tormented by the terrible weight of the Ring. He refused to give it to Sam, for he knew he was held by its power. The two decided to take to the road once again. All eyes in Mordor were turned to the west, where the Captains marched toward Morannon.
After three draining days of travel, Frodo’s limbs gave way and he fell, exhausted. Sam picked Frodo up and carried him on his back. Before nightfall, they reached the foot of the mountain. Sam carefully made his way up the slope. It was nearly morning. For a moment, the shadows dissipated, and Sam could see the flicker of the piercing Eye from Sauron’s Dark Tower. Its gaze passed by the hobbits and turned to the north, focusing on the Captains of the West. However, the glimpse of Sauron’s power caused Frodo to panic. His hand grasped for the Ring around his neck, and he cried for Sam’s help. Sam knelt beside Frodo and gently held his master’s palms together in his lap.
Afraid Sauron had spotted them, Sam took Frodo upon his shoulders once more and continued up the mountain. With much difficulty, they finally reached the top. Sam looked down over a great cliff into the burning Cracks of Doom below. Suddenly, a cruel weight hit Sam from behind, and he fell forward. Behind him, he heard the voice of Gollum, cursing Frodo viciously for his treachery. Frodo and Gollum engaged in a violent struggle, and Gollum proved stronger than the weakened Frodo. Suddenly, Frodo commanded Gollum, “Begone, and trouble me no more!” and the creature fell to his knees. Frodo pressed on to the Cracks of Doom. Sam, tempted to slay Gollum with his sword, refrained out of pity. Gollum crawled away.
Reaching the Cracks, Frodo turned to Sam and, with a voice clearer than Sam had ever heard, informed him that he would not complete the quest. The Ring, Frodo declared, was his. He put the Ring on his finger and vanished. Sam was once again flung aside, and then he saw a dark shape leap over him. Just as Sam looked up, the Great Eye of Sauron suddenly became aware of Frodo. The eight remaining Nazgûl hurtled toward the mountain at terrifying speed.
Sam saw Gollum struggling with an invisible enemy, biting at the air viciously. Frodo suddenly reappeared, his hand bleeding from his severed finger. Gollum pulled Frodo’s finger and the Ring from his mouth joyfully, and danced around, unaware that he was close to the edge of the cliff. Gollum then fell, along with the Ring, into the Cracks of Doom, murmuring his last word, "precious". Mount Doom shook violently as it accepted and consumed the Ring. Sam ran out into the daylight, carrying Frodo. The Nazgûl withered in the fiery ruin of the hill. Frodo stood by Sam’s side, himself again. Sam felt overjoyed, and Frodo explained that, were it not for Gollum, he would not have been able to finish the quest. Frodo said he was glad to be with Sam “at the end of all things.”
Composition[edit | edit source]
Tolkien wrote the last chapters of The Lord of the Rings in late summer of 1948, vacating at the home of Michael Tolkien at Woodcote, in loneliness and quiet. Perhaps owing to the conditions, and the thoughts Tolkien had given before, Mount Doom was written effortessly, almost in its final form, with few revisions required to the draft.
- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Black Gate Opens"
- Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (eds), The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, p. xxii
- Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (eds), The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, p. xxvii
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Sauron Defeated, "Part One: The End of the Third Age: IV. Mount Doom", p. 37