“Before Sam could get a hold, long legs and arms were wound round him pinning his arms, and a clinging grip, soft but horribly strong, was squeezing him like slowly tightening cords; clammy fingers were feeling for his throat.”
Book IV
Chapter 1
The Taming of Smeagol

Alright! After a delay of nearly 250 pages we’re back. Book III was awesome, but it was somewhat of a side story from the main quest of the Ringbearer, and I hadn’t wanted to follow the Three Hunters when Sam and Frodo had headed off alone into Mordor. I mean, clearly there’s more to the story than “just” taking the Ring to the Cracks of Doom, but that is the most important thing, and also I’ve been a little curious how Sam and Frodo were getting on, so I’m glad to be back with them.

But, you know I think the thing I liked most about this chapter was Gollum! Well… is it possible to like Gollum? Feel sorry for him, despise him, but don’t like him. What’s there to like? But I was actually happy to meet him again. I think it’s largely because I like to see the books tied together. So far, Gandalf has been the only primary character from the Hobbit to play a pivotal role in the Lord of the Rings, and that’s a litte disappointing for me. Sure, we saw Gloin briefly, and Bilbo made a couple cameos, but we haven’t been back to Dale and there’s no more talk of Dragons or spiders or Wargs or Beorn-like shape-shifters. But, there is Gandalf, connecting the greater story together. And now, Gollum. And I like that.

Of course, it’s pretty lucky of them to have Gollum as a guide. If only he could be cured… maybe once the Ring is destroyed Gollum will be freed or cured. 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? Alot of what-if’s. I’ll just have to keep reading.

There are some cool moments in this chapter, as in any other, that I should mention briefly. The elven rope that came to Sam when he “called it” was a nice scene with good dialogue; the image of Gollum climbing down the cliff head first was quite eery; and Gollum’s reaction to the elven rope was disturbing, like watching the beating of a dog… how evil must he be to not be able to withstand the touch of it?

till next time, keep thinking

Kanazawa, Japan