"How's that for an emotional ride? You can't really call it a rollercoaster, cause it's just a straight plunge into bad-ness. But this is Tolkien, so it has to get really, really bad before it can get good, and we've still a long way to go before the end..."
"The one thing that grabbed me most in this chapter was a tangent to the story themselves. I guess the history major in me feeds on these tidbits of history we are fed along the way. In this case it's the Pukel-men and Dunharrow itself..."
"Wow, talk about chills! Summoning the Living Dead to fulfill their oath and join in the battle against Sauron. Never would I have imagined such a thing in this story--it feels a little bit out of place..."
"Later when Pippin and Gandalf are alone again, Pippin sees something else in Gandalf that I found profound, 'under all there was a great joy: a fountain of mirth enough to set a kingdom laughing, were it to gush forth.' That is an amazing thing to perceive given the immediate situation. What is the source of that fountain?"
"Then, we learn with Sam that Frodo isn't dead after all!! Well, talk about a flood of mixed emotions! And to be honest, the greatest emotion I felt was disappointment..."
"Woah! Okay, now that was unexpected. And geez, if you've been following my articles you know I've been rooting for Gollum, in hopes of redemption (though I can't say why I pity him in that way), so you can guess that I'm pretty disappointed..."
"Sam also talks about Beren's quest for a Silmaril from Melkor's crown. It's profound that they realize that they're in the same story as the Silmarillion. Although, given Tolkien's different writing styles for the Silmarillion and the Hobbit/Lord of the Rings, Sam and Frodo's peril seems greater to me than Beren's. We can feel their peril more tangibly given the narrative we've been following..."
"Why does [Gollum] keep disappearing? Where is he going and why is he, specifically, in such a hurry? What does he know or fear that he won't say?"
"As the story goes I see now how it's good that Gollum is still around to help guide Frodo, but I say again that if Bilbo had just killed Gollum outright there would be no need for Gollum now to help (and no, you don't need to remind me of what Gandalf said to Frodo when he wished Bilbo had killed him)."
"And I'm glad I read the Silmarillion first (minus Of the Third Age), because certain references (although fewer than I'd hoped) are clearer and bring deeper meaning to the present story. A perfect example is Faramir's passing reference to the White Tree--it brings alive the long broken history from the beginnings of time through the fall of Númenor and into Middle-earth."
"In all, even the slow chapters aren't boring, they just don't have much to talk about--or not until the story is all through and the reader can look back and see the significance of the minor details..."
"I like how Tolkien can bring levity to somber moments. This isn't the first time Sam has done this. Tolkien/Sam's oliphaunt rhyme is fun, I could teach it to elementary school kids or make a song out of it..."
"On a different note, I will say that I don't like Frodo's tone. Don't worry about coming back? Let's just go and die and get it over with? It's more than he can bear? Hmmm, a bit disconcerting. I mean, they still have a long way to go for Frodo to start acting like that already!"
"Or perhaps the destruction of the ring will destroy Gollum; could it be the only thing keeping him alive? And if the destruction of the ring is the end of Gollum, then I'm a little concerned for Bilbo. Will it's destruction be the death of Bilbo, too?"
"Ahhh... thus ends Book III of the Lord of the Rings. Once again, the good guys are forced into action by a blunder of sorts..."