CD No. 8 Episode VIII : The Voice of Saruman

t h e v o i c e o f s a r u m a n

[Horse hooves are heard]

Théoden: Gandalf the White! Once more you come in the hour of need, unlooked-for.

Gandalf: Unlooked-for? I said I would return and meet you here.

Théoden: But you did not name the hour, nor foretell the manner of your coming. Strange help you bring.

Gandalf: Strange?

Théoden: To cover bare hillsides with a mighty forest?

Gandalf: Ah...

Théoden: You are mighty in wizardry!

Gandalf: The trees? That is no deed of mine. It is not wizardry; but a power far older, a power that walked the earth, ere elf sang or hammer rang.

Ere iron was found or tree was hewn,
When young was mountain under moon;
Ere ring was made, or wrought was woe,
It walked the forests long ago.

Théoden: And what may be the answer to your riddle?

Gandalf: If you would learn the truth of the trees that walk the earth, you should come with me to Isengard.

Théoden: To Isengard? But there are not now enough in the Mark to assault the stronghold of Isengard.

Gandalf: We go to a parley, not a fight. I wish to speak to Saruman, and since he has done you great injury, it would be fitting if you were there.

Théoden: But I cannot leave without tidings of Éomer. He was not with us in the Hornburg.

Aragorn: Fear not for Éomer, lord, he comes to greet you.

Éomer: Hail Lord of the Mark!

Théoden: Welcome, sister-son! Now that I see you safe, I am glad indeed.

Legolas: And Gimli, bloodied and bandaged, but still on his legs!

Gimli: Forty-two, Master Legolas!

[Legolas laughs]

Gimli: Alas! My axe is notched: the forty second had an iron collar on his neck. How is it with you?

Legolas: You have passed my score by one.

[He and Gimli laugh]

Legolas: But I do not grudge you the game, so glad am I to see you.

Gimli: But you have missed a wondrous thing, Legolas. The caverns beneath Helm's Deep: immeasurable halls, filled with an everlasting music of water. No dwarf could be unmoved by such loveliness.

Legolas: You make me regret that I have not seen them. Come! Let us make this bargain - if we both return safe out of the perils that await us, we will journey for a while together. You shall visit Fangorn with me, the greatest and oldest of forests, and I will come with you to Helm's Deep.

Gimli: You have my promise.

Gandalf: But now we must leave behind both cave and wood.

Legolas: Whither are we bound, Gandalf?

Gandalf: To Isengard. We must ride swiftly.

Théoden: Tarry a little! My men are weary with battle, and I am weary also. Alas! My old age is not feigned nor due only to the whisperings of Wormtongue.

Gandalf: Then let all who are to ride with me rest now. We will journey under the shadow of evening.

- - - - -

[Horses are galloping]

Gimli: I thought we were making for Minas Tirith! What is this Isengard?

Legolas: A fair city once, built in a circle like a vast shallow bowl. Once it was green, filled with avenues and groves of fruitful trees.

Éomer: The trees no longer grow in Isengard. Since Saruman took the city, it's become dark and hard; marble and copper grow there now. Iron wheels endlessly revolve and plumes of vapour steam from the vents. The fair ring of Isengard is like a graveyard of the unquiet dead.

Legolas: And in the centre stands the citadel of Saruman, the tower of Orthanc: Mount Fang.

Éomer : Once wise men watched the stars there. Now Saruman has shaped it to his own shifting purposes, aping the might of Sauron in his Dark Tower of Barad-dûr.

Gimli: And this is the iron stronghold we are making for, a handful of battle-scarred men on weary horses?

Legolas: Trust to Gandalf, Gimli! There was laughter in his speech when he spoke of the riddle that would be answered in Isengard.

- - - - -

[Horses are heard walking]

Gandalf: Behold the towers of Isengard!

Théoden: They are beaten into the dust. The gates are cast down, the walls broken! It is as if the Great Sea had risen in wrath upon the city. Only the tower of Orthanc remains, and no sign of any living creature.

Gandalf: Oh, no, my lord? There seem to be two people taking their ease and feasting amidst the rubble of Saruman's stronghold.

Théoden: One of them is breathing fire!

- - - - -

[Horses approach slowly]
Merry: Eh... welcome, my lords, to Isengard! We are the doorwardens. Meriadoc, son of Saradoc is my name.

Pippin: Pippin, son of Paladin, of the house of Took, at your service.

Gimli: And have you no greeting for your companions?

Merry: Gimli!

Pippin: Legolas!

Gimli: You rascals!

[They hug]

Gimli You woolly-footed and wool-pated truants! A fine hunt you've led us! Two hundred leagues, through fen and forest, battle and death!

Legolas: And here we find you feasting and idling, and - smoking!

Gimli: And where did you come by the weed, you villains? Hammer and tongs! I am so torn between rage and joy, that if I do not burst, it will be a marvel!

[Legolas laughs]

Gandalf: Where is Saruman?

Merry: Th - the Lord Saruman is within the Tower; but at the moment he is closeted with one Wormtongue, or doubtless he would be here to welcome such honourable guests.
Gandalf: Doubtless he would! And was it Saruman that ordered you to guard his damaged doors, and watch for the arrival of guests, when your attention could be spared from plate and bottle?

Merry: Our orders came from Treebeard, who has taken over the management of Isengard. He commanded us to welcome the Lord of Rohan with fitting words.

Théoden: So these are the lost ones of your Company, Gandalf? Are they not the Halflings of legend that some among us call the Holbytlan?

Pippin: Hobbits, if you please, lord.

Théoden: Hobbits, then. I had not heard that they spouted smoke from their mouths.

[Merry puffs on his pipe]

Merry: That is not surprising, for it is an art which we have not practiced for more than a few generations. It was Tobold Hornblower, of Longbottom in the Southfarthing, who first grew the true pipe-weed. And - and that would have been - let me see, now - yes, that - that... that would have been about the year 1070.

Gandalf: You do not know your danger, Théoden. These hobbits will sit on the edge of ruin and discuss the pleasures of the table, or the small doings of their fathers, grandfathers, great-grandfathers, remote cousins to the ninth degree, if you encourage them with undue patience. Come, we must perform the task for which we came here and pay a visit to Saruman. Dangerous, and probably useless; but it must be done. Those of you who wish may come with the Lord Théoden and myself - but beware!

Gimli: I will come. I wish to see him and learn if he really looks like you.

Gandalf: And how will you learn that, Master Dwarf? Saruman could look like me in your eyes, if it suited his purpose with you. And are you yet wise enough to detect all his counterfeits? Well, we shall see. I shall order the Ents who are guarding him in his tower to remove themselves from sight, so perhaps we shall persuade him to come out.

Pippin: What's the danger? Will he shoot at us, and pour fire out of the windows; or can he put a spell on us from a distance?

Gandalf: The last is most likely, if you ride to his door with a light heart. But there is no knowing what he can do, or may choose to try. A wild beast cornered is not safe to approach. And Saruman has powers you do not guess. Beware of his voice!

- - - - -

[Gandalf knocks heavily on the door of Orthanc. A horse moves restlessly]
Gandalf: Saruman, Saruman!

[He knocks again]

Gandalf: Saruman come forth!

Théoden: He will not come.

[A window opens]

Wormtongue: Who is it? What do you wish?

[Men begin to speak amongst themselves]

Théoden: I know that voice, and I curse the day when I first listened to it.

Gandalf: Go and ask Saruman to come down to us, since you have become his footman, Gríma Wormtongue! And do not waste our time!

Saruman: What is it that you want? Why must you disturb my rest? Will you give me no peace at all by night or day?

Gimli: Like Gandalf, and yet unlike.

Legolas: Such gentleness, such benevolence.

Saruman: But come now. Two at least of you I know by name. Gandalf I know too well to have much hope that he seeks help or counsel here. But you, Théoden Lord of the Mark of Rohan, why have you not come before, and as a friend? Much have I desired to see you, mightiest king of western lands, to save you from the unwise and evil counsels that beset you! Is it yet too late? Despite the injuries that have been done to me, in which the men of Rohan, alas! have had some part, still I would save you from the ruin that draws nigh inevitably, if you ride upon this road which you have taken. Indeed I alone can aid you now.

Gimli: The words of this wizard stand on their heads. In the language of Orthanc, help means ruin, and saving means slaying, that is plain. But we do not come here to beg.

Saruman: Peace! I do not speak to you yet, Gimli Glóin's son. Far away is your home and small concern of yours are the troubles of this land. But it was not by design of your own that you became embroiled in them, and so I do not blame such part as you have played - a valiant one, I doubt not. But I pray you, let me speak first with the King of Rohan, my neighbour, and once my friend. What have you to say, Théoden King? Will you have peace with me, and all the aid that my knowledge, founded in long years, can bring?

Éomer: Lord Théoden, hear me! Now we feel the peril that we were warned of. Have we ridden forth to victory, only to stand at last amazed by an old liar with honey on his forked tongue?

Saruman: If we speak of poisoned tongues what shall we say of your's, young serpent? But come, Éomer Éomund's son! To every man his part. Valour in arms is yours. But meddle not in policies which you do not understand.

Éomer: Dah!

Saruman: The friendship of Saruman and the power of Orthanc cannot be lightly thrown aside. You have won a battle but not a war - and that with help on which you cannot count again.

[Murmers rise in the group]

Saruman: But my lord of Rohan, am I to be called a murderer, because valiant men have fallen in battle? If you go to war, needlessly, for I did not desire it, then men will be slain. Speak, Théoden King: shall we have peace and friendship, you and I? It is ours to command.

Théoden: We will have peace. Yes, we will have peace. We will have peace when you and all your works have perished - and the works of your dark master to whom you would deliver us. You are a liar, Saruman, and a corrupter of men's hearts. You hold out your hand to me, and I perceive only a finger of the claw of Mordor. Cruel and cold! What will you say of the children of Rohan who lie dead at Helm's Deep? When you hang from a gibbet at your window for the sport of your own crows, I will have peace with you and Orthanc.

Saruman: Gibbets and crows! Dotard! What is the house of Eorl but a thatched barn where brigands drink in the reek, and their brats roll on the floor among the dogs? Too long have they escaped the gibbet themselves. I know not why I have the patience to speak with you. But you, Gandalf! For you at least I am grieved, feeling for your shame. How comes it that you can endure such company? For you are proud, Gandalf - and not without reason, having a noble mind and eyes that look both far and deep. Even now will you not listen to my counsel?

Gandalf: What have you to say that you did not say at our last meeting? Or, perhaps, you have things to unsay?

Saruman: Unsay? Unsay? I endeavored to advise you for your own good, but you scarcely listened. You erred, I think, misconstruing my intentions willfully. I fear that in my eagerness to persuade you, I lost patience. And indeed I regret it. For I bore you no ill-will; and even now I bear none, though you return to me in the company of the violent and the ignorant. Gandalf, are we not both members of a high and ancient order, most excellent in Middle-earth? Much we could still accomplish together, to heal the disorders of the world. For the common good I am willing to redress the past, and to receive you. Will you not consult with me? Will you not come up?

Théoden: He will go and we shall be lost.

[Gandalf laughs]

Gandalf: Saruman, Saruman! You missed your path in life. You should have been the king's jester and earned your bread by mimicking his counselors. When I last visited you, you were the jailor of Mordor, and there I was to be sent. Nay, the guest who has escaped from the roof will think twice before he comes back in by the door. Nay, I do not think I will come up. But will you not come down? Listen, Saruman! Isengard has proved less strong than your hope and fancy made it. Your servants are destroyed and scattered; your neighbours you have made your enemies; and you have cheated your new master, or tried to do so. When his eye turns hither, it will be the red eye of wrath. And I have the power to protect you. You may leave Orthanc, free - if you choose.

Saruman: That sounds well. Very much in the manner of Gandalf the Grey: so condescending, and so very kind. There are conditions, I suppose? What do you mean by "free"?

Gandalf: To go where you will, even to Mordor, Saruman, if you desire. But you will first surrender to me the Key of Orthanc, and your staff. They shall be the pledges of your conduct, to be returned later, if you merit them.

Saruman: Later! Later! Yes, when you also have the Keys of Barad-dûr itself I suppose; and the crowns of seven kings, and the rods of the Five Wizards. Do not be a fool. If you wish to treat with me, while you have a chance, leave behind these cut-throats that dangle at your tail! Good day!

Gandalf: Come back, Saruman!

[Saruman cries out]

Théoden: And he obeys like a whipped cur!

Gandalf: I did not give you leave to go. I have not finished. I am not Gandalf the Grey, whom you betrayed. I am Gandalf the White, who has returned from death. You have no colour now, and I cast you from the order and the Council. Saruman, your staff is broken.

[Saruman screams]

Gandalf: Go!

Wormtongue: Gallopers of Rohan, go back to your huts!

Éomer: Look out!

[A heavy thud is heard as something hits the ground]:

Gimli: What is it?

Pippin: It looks like a stone ball. I'll go and get it.

Éomer: The murderous rogue!

Gandalf: A parting shot from Master Wormtongue, I fancy, but ill-aimed.

Gimli: But he may have other things to cast. If that is the end of the debate, let us go out of stone's throw, at least!

Gandalf: It is the end. Let us go.

Merry: But what will you do with Saruman?

Gandalf: Nothing. I do not wish for mastery. He will be devoured if the power of Sauron stretches out its arms to Isengard. Strange are the turns of fortune! I must speak with Treebeard. Will you come with me, Théoden King, to see the answer to my riddle?

- - - - -

Treebeard: Hoom! So Saruman would not leave Orthanc? I didn't think he would. His heart is as rotten as a black Huorn's. Still, if I were overcome and all my trees destroyed, I wouldn't come while I had one dark hole left to hide in.

Gandalf: No. But you have not plotted to cover all the world with your trees and choke all other living things. But there it is, Saruman remains to nurse his hatred. He has the Key to Orthanc.

Théoden: But he must not be allowed to escape.

Treebeard: Indeed no! Ents will see to that. Saruman shall not set foot beyond the rock. We shall not tire of watching him.

[Pippin screams in the distance]
Treebeard: Hroom...

Gandalf: Pippin! Pippin? What has happened?

[Pippin is crying]:

Merry: I - I... I don't know. He wa... he was sitting alone looking at the thing Wormtongue threw down.

Gandalf: The thing Wormtongue threw down? Let me see. A palantír! How could I have made such a blunder? There can be few treasures in Orthanc more precious than this which Wormtongue threw at us. But what harm has the lad done - to himself, and to all of us? Pippin, do you hear me?

[Pippin's voice is hard and cold]
Pippin: Tell Saruman that this dainty is not for him. I will send for it at once. Do you understand? Tell him that!

Gandalf: Peregrin Took! Come back!

Pippin: Gandalf! Gandalf! Forgive me!

Gandalf: What have you done?

Pippin: Forgive me. But I didn't know I was doing anything wrong. I looked into the ball and I saw things that frightened me.

Gandalf: What did you see?

Pippin: I don't want to think about it.

Gandalf: You must; tell me.

Pippin: I saw a dark sky, and tall battlements. And tiny stars. It seemed very far away and long ago, yet hard and clear. Then the stars went in and out - they were cut off by things with wings, like bats but very big. I thought there were nine of them. One began to fly straight towards me. It had a horrible - no, no! I can't say.

Gandalf: Tell us.

Pippin: Then he came. He did not speak so that I could hear words. He just looked, and I understood. "So you have come back? Why have you neglected to report for so long? That is not Saruman! Who are you?"

Gandalf: And what was your answer?

Pippin: Well, I didn't want to tell him anything, but it wa - but it was if he was pressing me very hard. And I couldn't stand it any longer and I said I was a hobbit. And he laughed at me. It was like being stabbed with knives. And then he said: "We shall meet again soon. Tell Saruman this dainty is not for him. I will send for it at once. Do you understand?"

Gandalf: And that was all?

Pippin: That was all.

Gandalf: Then rest for a while, if you can! For soon you must come with me on a long journey.

- - - - -

Aragorn: How is Pippin?

Gandalf: I think all will be well. He wasn't held long, and hobbits have an amazing power of recovery. But we have had a narrow escape!

Aragorn: At last we know the link between Isengard and Mordor, and how it worked. Much is explained.

Gandalf: Maybe, I have been saved by this hobbit from some grave blunder. If I had probed the stone I should have been revealed to him myself.

Aragorn: Has not the time come for that?

Gandalf: No... not yet, no. There remains a short while of doubt, which we must use. The Enemy, it's clear, thinks that the stone is still in Orthanc, and the hobbit - and he does not know which hobbit - is held captive there. That dark mind will be filled now with the voice and face of the hobbit and with the conviction that he is the Ring-bearer: it may take some time before he learns his error, and we must snatch that time. Will you, Aragorn, take the Orthanc-stone and guard it? It is a dangerous charge.

Aragorn: Dangerous indeed, but not to all. Now my hour draws near. I will take it. For this assuredly is the palantír from the treasury of Elendil, set here by the Kings of Gondor.

Gandalf: Receive it, lord, in earnest of other things that shall be given back.

[A screeching voice is heard from above]:

Gandalf: Nazgûl!

[Men in the camp cry out]:

Aragorn: The messenger of Mordor.

Pippin: He's looking for me!

Gandalf: No, Pippin, no, he wasn't looking for you. It's two hundred miles from Sauron's tower of Barad-dûr to Orthanc, and even a Nazgûl would take a few hours to fly between them. But Isengard is no place to linger in. I will ride ahead to Minas Tirith at once, with Peregrin Took.

Théoden: Open ways are safe no longer. Tomorrow I shall make for the cover of the hills.

Gandalf: The storm is rising. I shall away with Pippin on Shadowfax. Farewell! Follow fast!

- - - - -


Tall ships and tall kings
three times three,
What brought they from the foundered land
over the flowing sea?
Seven stars and seven stones
and one white tree.

Pippin: What are you saying, Gandalf?

Gandalf: I was just running through some of the Rhymes of Lore in my mind.

Pippin: Oh, I've never heard that one. What are the seven stones?

Gandalf: The palantíri of the Kings of Old. The name meant that which looks far away. The Orthanc-stone was one.

Pippin: And it wasn't made - by the Enemy?

Gandalf: No. Nor by Saruman. The palantíri came from beyond Westernesse, from Eldamar. The Noldor made them.

Pippin: What did the Men of old use them for?

Gandalf: To see far off, and to converse in thought with one-another. In that way they long guarded and united the realm of Gondor. The palantíri were forgotten, save for the rhyme I spoke. But the palantír of Orthanc must have withstood the storm of time. Alone it could do nothing but see small images of things far off and days remote. But this was not enough for Saruman. Further and further abroad he gazed, until he cast his gaze upon Barad-dûr. Then he was caught!

Pippin: What's Barad-dûr?

Gandalf: The stronghold of Sauron, in Mordor.

Pippin: Mordor! I wonder if Frodo's reached there yet. I wish I had a palantír to see if he's all right.

- - - - -

Gollum: There it is, little hobbitses: Cirith Gorgor, the Haunted Pass. Do you see those towers, Precious? The Teeth of Mordor. That's what they calls them.

[He laughs, grimly]

Gollum: And they bites.

Narrator: Across the mouth of the pass, from cliff to cliff, the Dark Lord had built a rampart of stone. In it there was a single gate of iron, and upon its battlements sentinels paced unceasingly.

Sam: Well, here we are! Here's the Gate, and it looks to me as if that's about as far as we're going to get. Oh, my word, but the Gaffer would have a thing or two to say, if he saw me now! He often said I'd come to a bad end, if I didn't watch my step, he did. Well, this is a bad end, sure enough. I suppose it's no good asking "what way do we go now," unless we want to ask an orc for a lift.

Gollum: Silly hobbit! 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. O yes, my precious, we do see. Sméagol knows hobbitses couldn't go this way.

Sam: Then what in the plague did you bring us here for?

Gollum: Master said so. Master says: bring us to the Gate. So good Sméagol does so. Master said so.

[He whimpers]

Gollum: Wise master.

Frodo: Yes, I did. I said so, because I purpose to enter Mordor, and I know no other way. Therefore I shall go this way.

Gollum: No, no, master!

Frodo: I do not ask anyone to go with me.

Gollum: No use this way! No use! Don't take the Precious to Him! He'll eat us all, if He getss it, eat all the world. Don't let Him have it. Go away, go to nice placesss, and give it back to little Sméagol.

Frodo:: Ah!

Gollum: Yes, Sméagol will keep it safe; he will do lots of good, especially to nice hobbitsesss. Hobbits go home! Don't go to the Gate!

Frodo: I am commanded to go to the land of Mordor, and therefore I shall go.

Gollum: Not this way, master!

Frodo: If there is only one way, then I must take it.

Gollum: There is another way.

Frodo: Hm?

Gollum: Master, yes, yes, indeed there is, yes. Sméagol found it. Let... let, let Sméagol show you! This way!

Frodo: You have not spoken of this before.

Gollum: Master did not ask. Master did not say what he meant to do. He says: Sméagol, take me to the Gate - and then good-bye!

[He laughs]

Gollum: But now he says: I purpose to enter Mordor this way. So Sméagol's 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 thinks of another way that there was, once upon a time. Nice master. Sméagol very good.

[He whimpers]

Gollum: Always helps.

Sam: What's he up to?

Gollum: This way!

Sam: Is it Slinker Sméagol -

Gollum: This way!

Sam: ...or Stinker Gollum who's doing the talking? Or have they made a truce so they can keep their eye on the Ring as long as possible? It's a good thing neither half of the old villain don't know what the master intends to do. If he knew that Mr. Frodo was trying to put an end to his Precious for good and all, there'd be trouble pretty quick, I bet. I hope the master will think it out carefully. Well, he's as wise as any, but he's soft-hearted, that's what he is.

Frodo: Smeagol.

Gollum: Mmm... master, hmm, hmm...?

Frodo: I will trust you once more. So far you have deserved well of me and have kept your promise truly. For twice now we have been in your power, and you have done no harm to us.

Gollum: Gollum.

Frodo: May the third time prove the best!

[Gollum releases air through his teeth]

Frodo: But I warn you, Sméagol, you are in danger.

Gollum: Yes, yes, master! Dreadful danger!

Frodo: I did not mean the danger we all share, Sméagol. I mean a danger to yourself.

Gollum: Hm?

Frodo: You swore a promise by what you call the Precious.

[Gollum hisses]:

Frodo: It will hold you to it; but it will seek a way to twist you to your own undoing. Already you are being twisted. Yes, you revealed yourself to me just now, very foolishly.

Gollum: What did nice Sméagol say?

Frodo: Give it back to Sméagol you said.

Gollum: Oh...

Frodo: Do not ever say that again!

[Gollum hisses]

Frodo: You will never get it back.

Gollum: No, no, master! Nice master!

Frodo: In the last need, Sméagol, I should put on the Precious...

[Gollum cries out]:

Frodo: ...and the Precious mastered you long ago.

Gollum: Gollum.

Frodo: If I, wearing it, were to command you, you would obey even if it were to leap from a precipice or to cast yourself into the Fire.

[Gollum begins to cry]:

Frodo: And such would be my command.

Gollum: Nice master! Sméagol will be good. Nice master, be kind! Be kind! Don't frighten poor Sméagol. Gollum. Gollum.

Frodo: Well, come now, Gollum, or Sméagol, if you wish. Tell me of this other way.

Gollum: There's an old road that windses and climbses its way up towards the tall shadowses. When it turns round the black rock, you'll see it, suddenly see it above you, and you'll - you'll want to hide.

Sam: What will you see?

Gollum: The old fortress, very old, very horrible now. We used to hear tales from the South, when Sméagol was young, long ago. We used to tell lots of tales in the evening, sitting by the banks of the Great River, in the willow-lands, when the River was younger too, gollum, gollum.

Sam: What about the road?

Gollum: Tales, tales out of the South about the tall Men with shining eyes. They built very tall towerseses, and one they raised was silver-white, and in it there was a stone like the Moon. O yes, ah - there were many taleses about the Tower of the Moon.

Frodo: That would be Minas Ithil that Isildur the son of Elendil built. It was Isildur who cut off the finger of the Enemy.

Gollum: Yes, he has only four fingers on the Black Hand, but, oh... they are enough. And he hated Isildur's city.

Frodo: What does he not hate? But what has the Tower of the Moon to do with us?

Gollum: It's... it's - it's not nice now, master, not beautiful, and Minas Morgul they calls it. Travellers shivers when they see it. But that is the only way. For the mountainsss are lower there.

Sam: Well, but - how will that help us? Surely the Enemy knows all about his own mountains, and that way will be guarded as close as this? The tower isn't empty, is it?

Gollum: O no - no, not empty! Very dreadful things live there. Orcs, yes, always Orcses; but worse things, worse things live there too: the Silent Watchers.

Sam: Oh, so that's your advice is it, that we should go on another long march south, to find ourselves in the same fix?

Gollum: No, no! No, hobbits must try to understand. He doesn't expect attack that way. His Eye is all round, but it attends to some places more than othersessss. He thinks no one can come to the Moontower without fighting big battles at the bridgesess which he holds, or getting lots of boatses which they cannot hide.

Sam: Well, you seem to know a lot about what he's doing and thinking.

Gollum: Yes.

Sam: Have you been talking to him lately? Or just hobnobbing with Orcs?

Gollum: Not nice hobbit, not sensible. Stupid hobbit! Sméagol has talked to Orcses, yes, yes, before he met master, and to many peoples. They all say that the big danger for the Black Hand is here in the North. But away - away down by the Tower of the Moon He's not afraid, master, because there are Silent Watchers.

Sam: Just so! And so we are to walk up and knock at their gate and ask if - if we're not on the right road for Mordor? We might as well do it here, and save ourselves a long tramp.

Gollum: Don't make jokes about it! It isn't funny! Stupid hobbit! Master, master mustn't go through that gate into the terrible city. That is where Sméagol helps, nice Sméagol, though no one tells him - no one tells him what it's all about.

[Thunder rolls above them]:

Gollum: Sméagol helps again. He found it. He knows.

Frodo: What did you find?

Gollum: A little path leading up to the mountainses; and then a stair, very long and narrow. Then more stairs. And then a - a tunnel, a dark tunnel; and at last a little cleft, and a path high above the main path that goes down, down, down, down... to Gorgoroth.

[He shivers]

Gollum: It was that way that Sméagol got out of the darkness. But it was years ago. The path may have vanished now; but perhaps not.

[He whimpers]

Gollum: Perhaps not.

Sam: I don't like the sound of it at all. If that path is still there, it'll be guarded too. Wasn't it guarded, Gollum?

Gollum: Guarded?

Frodo: Is it not guarded, Gollum?

[Gollum hisses]:

Frodo: And did you escape out of the darkness or were you permitted to depart on an errand? Hm? That is what Aragorn thought, who found you by the Dead Marshes some years ago.

Gollum: It's a lie! He lied on me, yes he did. I did escapes, all by my poor selveses. Yes, of course I was told to search for the Precious; and I have searched. But not for the Black One. No. The Precious was ours, ours it was.

Frodo: But is this secret way guarded?

[Gollum begins to cry again]:

Frodo: Hm? Is it guarded, Gollum?

Gollum: Yes, yes, perhaps. No safe places in this country. But master must try it or go home. No other way.

Frodo: Then we must take it. What is its name?

[Gollum whimpers]:

Narrator: But that name Gollum would not, or could not tell. It was Cirith Ungol, a name of dreadful rumour. Gandalf would have warned them. But Gandalf was far away.

- - - - -

Narrator: Pippin looked out from the shelter of Gandalf's cloak. Shadowfax was flying beneath the whirling stars, needing no urging and no guidance. To the right, Pippin could see vast shadows against the sky where the mountains of the South marched past.

Pippin: How long have we been riding now, Gandalf?

Gandalf: Two nights, since.

Pippin: ...since I looked into the Seeing Stone. Do you think He can see us, Gandalf? Do you think He is watching us?

Gandalf: We no longer have the stone. And in any case, the palantíri cannot see in darkness.

Pippin: And are there others, besides the one I found, and the one He uses?

Gandalf: There were many, once. But they've long since been lost, or buried, or drowned deep. Minas Anor had its stone, and Amon Sûl, and Minas Tirith.

Pippin: Minas Tirith! That's where we're going.

Gandalf: Yes, Pippin. But the Stone at Minas Tirith men have long forgotten. Who knows what became of it?

- - - - -

[A fire is crackling]

Aragorn: So four of the Company still remain. It is time to set out from Isengard.

Théoden: Everywhere I hear tidings of war. The Riders of Rohan must be summoned to the great muster of Edoras. I shall come there by way of Dunharrow where my sister-daughter Éowyn awaits me.

Aragorn: And then?

Théoden: We shall ride to the aid of Minas Tirith.

Aragorn: I must go down also to Minas Tirith, but I do not see the road I should take.

Théoden: No ways are safe since the coming of the Nazgûl on their winged steeds. I will ride to Dunharrow by mountain roads, not by the plain.

Aragorn: And I and my companions will ride with you, at least until I see more clearly what I must do. An hour long prepared approaches.

Narrator: And so they rode forth: twenty-four horses on their long journey towards Minas Tirith.

- - - - -

[Horses are heard running swiftly]

Rider: My lord king, there are horsemen behind us. They are overtaking us, riding hard.

Théoden: Then we must turn and face them. Halt. Draw your swords.

[Many swords are drawn]:

Éomer: Halt! Halt! Who rides in Rohan?

Halbarad: Halbarad Dúnadan, Ranger of the North I am. We seek one Aragorn son of Arathorn, and we heard that he was in Rohan.

Aragorn: And you have found him also! Merry, take the reins of my horse.

Merry: I have them.

Halbarad: Is it truly you, Aragorn? We have sought you long.

Aragorn: It is I. Of all joys this is the least expected!

Halbarad: I have thirty men with me. That is all of our kindred that could be gathered in haste. We rode as swiftly as we might when your summons came.

Aragorn: But I did not summon you, save only in wish. But come! All such matters must wait. What is that you bear, kinsman, wrapped close and bound with so many thongs?

Halbarad: It is a gift that I bring you from Arwen of Rivendell. She wrought it in secret, and long was the making. But she also sends word to you: The days now are short. Either our hope cometh, or all hopes end. Therefore I send thee what I have made for thee. Fare well, Elfstone!

Aragorn: Now I know what you carry. Bear it still for me a while!

Halbarad: I bear you also a message from Elrond. He bade me tell you: The days are short. If thou art in haste, remember the Paths of the Dead.

Aragorn: Always my days have seemed to me too short to achieve my desire. But great indeed will be my haste ere I take that road.

Théoden: Aragorn, will your kinsmen ride with us?

Halbarad: If you give us leave, my lord.

Théoden: Ah, it is well. Let us ride to Helm's Deep, where we will take shelter for the night, and then on to Dunharrow.

- - - - -

Narrator: The night was old and the East grey when they rode up at last from Deeping-coomb and came back to the Hornburg. Their rest was brief and they had scarce time to close their weary eyes before the sun was high.

[A horn cries]

Éomer: It is near the hour for setting out on our journey, my lord.

Théoden: Is the company assembled?

Éomer: All that can be spared. Only a small garrison will remain here at Helm's Deep. Five hundred men will ride with you to the weapontake at Edoras.

Théoden: Then let us go. But where is Aragorn?

Éomer: He is coming now.

Théoden: He is grey and weary as if many years had fallen upon his head in a single night.

Aragorn: My lord, I must speak with you.

Théoden: Speak on.

Aragorn: I am troubled in mind, lord. I have heard strange words, and I see new perils far off. Tell me, Théoden, you ride now to Dunharrow, how long will it be ere you come there?

Théoden: I shall ride by mountain paths since the Nazgûl are abroad. Before the night of the third day we should come to the hold.

Aragorn: And then you must ride to Edoras to the weapontake and I see that it cannot be hastened. Then, by your leave, lord, I must take new counsel for myself and my kindred. We must ride our own road, and no longer in secret. For me the time of stealth is passed. I will ride east by the swiftest way, and I will take the Paths of the Dead.

Théoden: The Paths of the Dead! Why do you speak of them? If there be in truth such paths, their gate is in Dunharrow; but no living man may pass it.

Éomer: Alas! Aragorn my friend! I had hoped that we should ride to war together; but if you seek the Paths of the Dead, then our parting is come, and it is little likely that we shall meet again under the sun.

Aragorn: That road I will take, nonetheless. But I say to you, Éomer, that in battle we may yet meet again, though all the hosts of Mordor should stand between.

Merry: But what about me?

Aragorn: Merry, forgive me! I had quite forgotten.

Merry: Exactly, you had forgotten. I know I have not been of much use yet; but I don't want to be laid aside, like baggage to be called for when it is all over. What are you going to do with me?

Aragorn: I think, Merry, that your road lies with the king, if he will take you.

Théoden: I would count it an honor. I promised you, Meriadoc, that you should sit by me in Meduseld and tell me tales of the Shire. But long will it be before we have time for tale-telling. Will you ride with me?

Merry: May I? Oh, that would be splendid! I am afraid I am only in everyone's way, but I should like to do anything I could, you know.

Théoden: Then you shall be my swordthain. Is there gear of war in this place, Éomer, that he could use?

Éomer: Maybe a light helm might be found to fit him; but we have no mail or sword for one of his stature.

[Merry draws his sword]:

Merry: I have a sword. May I lay the sword of Meriadoc of the Shire on your lap, Théoden King? Receive my service, if you will!

Théoden: Gladly will I take it. Rise now Meriadoc, esquire of Rohan of the household of Meduseld! Take your sword and bear it unto good fortune!

Merry: As a father you shall be to me.

[Théoden laughs to himself, quietly]

Théoden: For a little while. And now, Aragorn, it is time for us to part. You will do as you will, I know. It is your doom, maybe, to tread strange paths that others dare not. This parting grieves me, and my strength is lessened by it; but now I must take the mountain-roads and delay no longer. Farewell!

Éomer: Then let us ride.

[Swords are unsheathed]

Éomer: Forth!

[A horn blows and horses gallop]

- - - - -

Legolas: What has happened? A shadow has fallen over you.

Aragorn: A struggle somewhat grimmer than the battle of the Hornburg. I have looked in the stone of Orthanc.

Gimli: You have looked in that accursed stone of wizardry! Did you say aught - to him? Even Gandalf feared that encounter.

Aragorn: You forget to whom you speak. I am lawful master of the stone, and I had both the right and strength to use it. The right cannot be doubted. The strength was enough - barely...

Sauron... Sauron... do you see me, Sauron? This is no Wizard or Halfling that you may bend to your will. Behold me, Sauron. I am Aragorn son of Arathorn: the heir of Isildur, the heir of Elendil, Elessar that is to be, King of the lands you have sought to make your own. Behold my sword: Andúril, the Flame of the West, forged from the shards of Narsil, the sword of Elendil, the broken sword which cut from your finger the One Ring, the Ring of Power.

Legolas: And did he speak to you?

Aragorn: He said nothing, and yet the struggle was bitter. But he is not so mighty that he is above fear.

Gimli: But he wields great dominion, nevertheless, and now he will strike more swiftly.

Aragorn: The hasty stroke often goes astray. We must press our Enemy fast. I learned many things from the stone. A grave peril is approaching Gondor from the South that will draw off great strength from the defence of Minas Tirith. If it is not countered swiftly, the City will be lost in ten days.

Gimli: Then lost it must be. For what help is there to send thither, and how could it come in time?

Aragorn: I have no help to send, therefore I must go myself. But there is only one way through the mountains that will bring me to the coastlands before all is lost. That is the Paths of the Dead.

Gimli: Can the living use such a road and not perish?

Aragorn: In this dark hour the heir of Isildur may use it, if he dare.

Legolas: But even if you pass that way, what will so few avail to counter the strokes of Mordor?

Aragorn: This is the message brought to me from Elrond: Bid Aragorn remember the words of the seer, and the Paths of the Dead.

Legolas: And what may be the words of the seer?


The Tower trembles; to the tomb of kings
doom approaches. The Dead awaken;
for the hour is come for the oathbreakers:
at the Stone of Erech they shall stand again
and hear a horn in the hills ringing.

Legolas: But who were the oathbreakers?

Aragorn: The men of Dunharrow, sworn to fight with Isildur against Sauron. When he summoned them, they would not fulfill their oaths: for the Enemy had corrupted them. They fled before his wrath into the mountains and dwindled into the barren hills of Erech, there to remain forever in the grey twilight, the Dead who cannot rest until the heir of Isildur calls them to fulfill their oath. I do not go gladly, and only of your free will would I have you come.

Gimli: I will go with you, even on the Paths of the Dead, and to whatever end they may lead.

Legolas: I also will come, for I do not fear the Dead.

Gimli: I hope that the forgotten people will not have forgotten how to fight.

Aragorn: That we shall know when we come to Erech.

- - - - -

Narrator: And as they prepared to set out on their journey to the Haunted Mountain, Frodo slept beneath a thicket of bay-leaves in the marches of that land that Man once called Ithilien, and Sam kept watch over him.:

Gollum: Here!

[Sam starts and Gollum laughs]

Gollum: Food for hungry hobbitses: rabbitses, nice rabbits. Sméagol always helps. "Find something fit for hungry hobbitses" they says, so Sméagol helps. Oh but - but master has gone to sleep...

[Sam shushes him]

Gollum: ...and perhaps Sam wants to sleep, hm? Perhaps hobbitses don't want rabbitses now?

Sam: You'll soon find out whether we want them or not.

[Gollum moans]:

Sam: Go and fill these pans with water, and bring 'em back!

Gollum: Well, Sméagol will fetch water, yes. But what does the hobbit want all the water for? He's drunk, he's washed.

Sam: Never you mind. The sooner you fetch the water, the sooner you'll find out.

[Gollum walks away muttering]

Gollum: Sméagol always helps nice hobbitses.

[Frodo murmurs uncomfortably in his sleep]:

Sam: Oh, Mr. Frodo. Too old and weary you're looking, and too thin and drawn. It's not right for a hobbit. I'm going to wake him up if I can get these coneys cooked. Now let's get a fire going.

[Gollum returns, humming to himself. Sam starts a fire, which begins to crackle]:

Gollum: Ach, ach - no! No! Silly hobbits! They mustn't do it!

Sam: Mustn't do what?

Gollum: Mustn't make nasty red tongueses. It's dangerous, yes it is, dangerous! It burns, it kills. And it will bring enemies, yes - yes it will, it will.

Sam: Well, I don't see why it should, if - if you don't put wet stuff on it and make a smother. But if it does, it does. I'm going to risk it, anyhow. I'm going to stew these coneys.

Gollum: Stew the rabbitses! Spoil beautiful meat...

[Sam shushes him again]:

Gollum: ...Sméagol saved for you, poor hungry Sméagol! They're young, they're tender, they're nice.

[Gollum is whimpering to himself]:

Sam: Now, now! Each to his own fashion. You needn't watch me. Go and catch another and eat it as you fancy - somewhere private and out o'my sight. No, ah! No - go and get me some herbs. That's what a hobbit needs with a coney. A few bay-leaves, some thyme and sage - that'll do.

Gollum: No! Sméagol is not pleased. And Sméagol doesn't like smelly leaves. He doesn't eat grasses and rootses, no precious, not till he's starving or very sick, poor Sméagol.

Sam: Poor Sméagol'll get into real hot water, when the water boils, if he don't do as he's asked.

[Gollum hisses]:

Sam: Sam will put his head in it, yes precious. And I'd make him look for turnips and carrots, and taters too - oh, if it were the time of year. I'd give a lot for half a dozen taters.

Gollum: Taters. Sméagol won't go, O no precious, not this time. He's frightened, and he's very tired. What's taters, precious, eh, what's taters?

Sam: Po - ta - toes.

Gollum: Po - ta - toes...

Sam: The Gaffer's delight, and rare good ballast for an empty belly. If you turn over a new leaf, and keep it turned, I'll cook you some taters one of these days. I will: fried fish and chips served by S. Gamgee. You couldn't say no to that.

Gollum: Yes, yes we could. Spoiling nice fish, and scorching it.

[He hisses again]

Gollum: Give me fish now and keep nasty chipses!

Sam: Oh, you're hopeless. I'll get some herbs myself, providing they're not out of sight of where you are. Go to sleep!

Gollum: Gollum.

- - - - -

[Sam is stirring and tasting the stew]

Frodo: Hullo, Sam!

Sam: Oh...

[Frodo stretches]:

Frodo: Not resting? I - is anything wrong?

Sam: No, nothing's wrong.

Frodo: What's - what is that smell?

Sam: I've got a bit of stew for you, and some broth, Mr. Frodo.

Frodo: Sam!

Sam: It'll do you good.

Frodo: But you should have been resting, Sam. And - here, lighting a fire was dangerous in these parts. But I do feel hungry.

[He laughs]

Frodo: What have you stewed?

Sam: It's a present from Sméagol.

Frodo: What?

Sam: Yeah, a brace o' young coneys; though I fancy Gollum's regretting them now.

[They laugh]

Frodo: Where is he?

Sam: Well, I suppose he's gone off to find something for himself. He's not pleased with Sam, O no precious, he's not pleased at all. You drink your broth, Mr. Frodo. Forget about him.

Frodo: Yes, Sam.

- - - - -

Sam: Well, Mr. Frodo, taters or no taters, that were a tasty pair o' coneys.

Frodo: They were, Sam. But look! Your fire's smoking.

Sam: Ah?

Frodo: You better put it out.

Sam: Oh, why, so it is. How could I have been so stupid? I'll stamp it out.

[Sam stamps on the fire. A whistle is heard in the distance]
Frodo: What...?

[He gasps]

Frodo: What was that?

Sam: I hope it was only a bird, but it didn't sound quite like that: it was more like somebody mimicking a bird.

Frodo: Yes...

Sam: If that fire's brought trouble, I'll never forgive...

[Frodo shushes him]:

Frodo: Sam...

Ranger: That's where the smoke came from, over there!

[Sam gasps]
Frodo: Voices!

Ranger: We shall have it like a coney in a trap.

Sam: Quick, into the ferns!

Frodo: Yes!

Faramir: Then we shall learn what kind of thing it is.

Frodo: Too late. Draw your sword!

[The ring of steel is heard as they draw their weapons]:

Faramir: Not what we sought. But what have we found?