The Lord of the Rings BBC radio drama CD script : ALL


Transcript of the BBC radio adaptation of the Lord of the Rings

Prepared for BBC radio by Brian Sibley
Featuring Sir Ian Holm, Sir Michael Hordern, William Nighy, Sir Robert Stephens, and many others

Transcribed by a devoted but fallible fan

If you find a mistake, I'd greatly appreciate an e-mail!


If this transcript has loaded within your internet browser, you may want to return to Wellinghall and right click / save as so that you can turn on the word wrap feature, which should make for a much easier read.


Episode I - The Shadow of the Past
Episode II - The Black Riders
Episode III - The Knife in the Dark
Episode IV - The Ring Goes South
Episode V - The Mirror of Galadriel
Episode VI - The Breaking of the Fellowship
Episode VII - The King of the Golden Hall
Episode VIII - The Voice of Saruman
Episode IX - The Two Towers
Episode X - The Choices of Master Samwise
Episode XI - The Battle of Pelennor Fields
Episode XII - Mount Doom
Episode XIII - The Grey Havens



Narrator: Long years ago, in the Second Age of Middle-earth, the Elven-smiths of Eregion forged rings of great power. Then the Dark Lord Sauron forged One Ring in the fires of Mount Doom in the land of Mordor. This Ring he made to rule the others, and their power was bound up with it, so that they could last only so long as it too should last. And from that time, war never ceased between Sauron and the Elves.

Three rings they hid from him. But the others he gathered into his hands, hoping to make himself master of all things. Then was an alliance made against the Dark Lord, and Sauron was, for that time, vanquished. But at length, his dark shadow stretched forth once more, and he sought again for mastery over the Rings of Power.

One ring had come into the possession of Gollum, a slimy creature as dark as darkness, who kept it secret unto himself in the nether-most depths of the mines beneath the Misty Mountains. There it was hidden, even from the searching eye of Sauron, the Lord of the Rings.

- - - - -

Narrator: Long years Gollum possessed his ring, before it left him and passed to another. Gollum sought unceasingly to recover it, and without realizing what power drew him on, he made his way step-by-step and mile-by-mile to Mordor.

Gollum: Precious... precious, we've lost the Precious. After all these agesssss, it's gone.

[He hisses]

Gollum: It was our birthday present, and it's lost! Curse us and crush us, but we'll never find it again, no, no...

[A horseman rides towards him]

Gollum: Gollum... gollum...

Lord of the Nazgûl: You!

Gollum: Us, us, us?

Lord of the Nazgûl: Miserable creature!

[Gollum hisses]

Lord of the Nazgûl: Why are you lurking here?

Gollum: No, not lurking, precious, looking, yes looking for our birthday present. Aren't we, Precious? Yes, that's all.

Lord of the Nazgûl: The Lord Sauron has no liking for those who pry and spy.

Gollum: Spying? Prying? We meant no harm, precious! Did we? No.

Lord of the Nazgûl: None come or go here without the Lord's Sauron's leave!

[Gollum hisses]

Lord of the Nazgûl: If you will not answer here, you shall answer in Mordor.

Gollum: Nothing to answer! Is there, Precious? Nothing, no, no, nothing, nothing...

Lord of the Nazgûl: There are devices in Barad-dûr to loosen the lying tongue.

[Gollum cries out]

Lord of the Nazgûl: Come!

[Gollum screams]

Gollum: No, precious! No, precious! Puts us down! Puts us down!

- - - - -

[A torture device turns and Gollum screams in pain]

Gollum: No! No!

[He cries]

Mouth of Sauron: Why come you to the Land of Mordor?

Gollum: We were only looking for our Precious, weren't we? Our Precious which we lost.

Mouth of Sauron: Precious?

Gollum: Yes...

Mouth of Sauron: What is this Precious?

Gollum: It was ours, and the nasty noser stole it from us!

Mouth of Sauron: What was stolen?

[Gollum mumbles to himself until the device turns again. He screams]

Gollum: We only used it to catch our food with, precious, didn't we? Silly goblinses couldn't see us when we wore the Precious, gollum...

[He hisses]

Gollum: We would have died of hunger in those mountains, we would, we would, if it hadn't have been for Precious.

Mouth of Sauron: Where did you get this thing?

[Gollum cries out in pain as he is tortured]

Gollum: It was given to us, precious, as a birthday present. And we kept it safe, oh yes, very safe for long agessss, ‘til the thief took it from us!

Mouth of Sauron: Who took it?

Gollum: We don't know, do we? No, no, we don't.

[He screams]

Gollum: Nasty noser he was, wasn't he Precious? And tricksy too, tried to cheat us, he did. Lost in the mountians, he was, lost. Came nosing around our pool, he did. Asked us riddles, it did. Cheated, it did! Stole it, it did!

Mouth of Sauron: Who stole it?

Gollum: We've said, haven't we, Precious? We don't know, do we, Precious?

[The torture device begins to rotate quickly and Gollum screams]

Mouth of Sauron: Who?

Gollum: Baggins! Baggins he said it was! That's all we know, isn't it, Precious? Yes, yes, yes.

Mouth of Sauron: When was this?

Gollum: Long ago. Yes, yes, years, years ago, and we've been looking for it ever since, haven't we? Yes. Little cheating thief! We ought to have squeezed it!

[He hisses and spits]

Gollum: Squeezed it we ought.

Mouth of Sauron: Where is Baggins now?

Gollum: Don't know, don't know, do we, Precious? No, we don't know where the Baggins is... Came from the Shire, didn't he! Yes, yes, but we don't know where that is, do we? No, no.

Mouth of Sauron: You lie!

Gollum: No!

Mouth of Sauron: My master demands the truth!

Gollum: No, no, precious, we don't lie! Do we? No.

[The torture and screams of Gollum fade away]

Gollum: We told the master all we know! Haven't we? Yes, yes! Yes!

- - - - -

Narrator: And who was Baggins? He was Mr. Bilbo Baggins. And Mr. Bilbo Baggins was a hobbit. He had once lived at Bag End on the Hill, in the village of Hobbiton across the Water, in the Shire, in the peaceful Northwest of Middle-earth. Now, however, Bilbo was no longer the occupant of Bag End, and sinister shadows lengthened in the Shire. But let us go back seventeen years, to an evening in early September when the chief topic of conversation at the Ivy Bush Tavern in Hobbiton was Mr. Bilbo Baggins.

[Hobbits talk amongst themselves in the background]

Sandyman: You can say what you like, Gaffer Gamgee, but Bag End's a queer place, and its folk are queerer!

Gaffer: Mr. Bilbo is a very nice, well-spoken gentlehobbit, Ted Sandyman, and don't you go saying otherwise.

Sandyman: But what about this Frodo that lives with him? Baggins is his name, but he's more than half a Brandybuck.

Daddy Twofoot: Ay, Gaffer. Sandyman's right there. And they're rum folk in Buckland, living on the wrong side of Brandywine River and all.

Gaffer: Be that as it may, Daddy Twofoot. Mr. Frodo is a Baggins. He's Mr. Bilbo's nephew and his first and second cousin. And anyhow, he's as nice a young hobbit as you could wish to meet.

Sandyman: Well, there's still some as think that when young Frodo's parents up'd and died, Mr. Bilbo ought to have left well-enough alone.

Gaffer: And there's still some as think Mr. Bilbo did him a great kindness by adopting him as his heir, and bringing him back here to live among decent folk.

Sandyman: To live among queer folk, I says.

[Daddy Twofoot laughs]

Gaffer: Well, I've gardened for Mr. Bilbo more years than I care to remember; I finds him decent enough. And so does my lad, Sam. He's always in and out of Bag End. Mr. Bilbo's learned him his letters.

Daddy Twofoot: Hmm... what?

[Sandyman laughs, indignantly]

Sandyman: Letters!

Gaffer: Well, meaning no harm, mind you. I hope no harm will come of it.

Daddy Twofoot: Ah...

[He laughs]

Sandyman: Well, if you know so much about the goings on at Bag End, what's all this talk of a party?

Gaffer: It's to be a birthday party. Mr. Bilbo and Mr. Frodo have the same birthday, you know.

Daddy Twofoot: Oh?

Gaffer: September the 22nd. This year, Mr. Frodo will be thirty-three, come of age. And Mr. Bilbo will be eleventy-one, and a very respectable age too for a hobbit.

Daddy Twofoot: Ah, Gaffer's right, there. Well, the Old Took himself only reached one-hundred and thirty.

Gaffer: And Mr. Bilbo's certainly well preserved for his age. Why, he don't look no different now to what he did when he was ninety. Or come to that, when he was fifty!

Sandyman: Well preserved? Unchanged would be nearer the mark. Some folk have all the luck! Anyway, who's going to this here party?

Gaffer: My Sam says that everyone's going to be invited. And there's going to be presents, mark you, presents for all!

[Daddy Twofoot laughs]

Gaffer: This very month, as is.

- - - - -

[A fireplace crackles]

Bilbo: Honestly, Frodo, I shall be glad when September the 22nd's been and gone.

Frodo: Why, what's up?

Bilbo: Half Hobbiton's up. They're standing outside Bag End as if they expected to see a dragon pop out any minute.

[Frodo laughs]

Frodo: Our party certainly seems to be causing rather a lot of excitement.

Bilbo: Well, I put up a notice on the gate, now, saying, "No admittance expect on party business." So perhaps we'll have a little peace and quiet for a while.

[Someone knocks on the door and Frodo laughs quickly]

Bilbo: Ah!

[He opens the door]

Bilbo: Yes?

Sam: Oh, uh, I'm sorry if I'm disturbing you, Mr. Bilbo, sir.

Bilbo: No, no, no, no! It's alright, Sam. What can I do for you?

Sam: Nothing, Mr. Bilbo. I met the postman from Bywater on his way up here with another bundle of replies to those party invitations of yours. And as the poor fellow'd been up here four times already today, I said as how I'd delivery them for him.

Bilbo: Well, thank you, Sam.

[He retrieves the letters]

Sam: Not at all, Mr. Bilbo. Eh... may I say how much me and the Gaffer's looking forward to your party?

Bilbo: Well, a party at Bag End without the Gamgees would be unthinkable!

Sam: Hoo, well, anyway, if you'll excuse me, I best be getting on with trimming that there hedge of yours.

Bilbo: Ah, very good, Sam. And thank you again for playing postman.

Sam: My pleasure, Mr. Bilbo!

[The door closes]

Bilbo: Now, then, Frodo. Now, you start on these...

Frodo: Yes.

Bilbo: ...and I'll open this lot.

[Papers rustle as they open the letters]

Frodo: Um... "Thank you for your kind invitation. I should be very pleased to come. Rorymack Brandybuck." Good old Rory.

Bilbo: Oh, bless my soul, Frodo, listen to this: "We wish to acknowledge your invitation and to notify you of our acceptance. Otho and Lobelia Sackville-Baggins."

Frodo: Well, you didn't think they'd miss it, did you?

Bilbo: I suppose not. But I'm sure they're not at all happy that I made you my heir.

[Heavy knocking on the door]

Bilbo: Oh! Now who is it?

[Frodo laughs. Bilbo clears his throat and opens the door]

Bilbo: Ah, Gandalf!

Gandalf: Well, Mr. Baggins, you needn't look so surprised.

Bilbo: But what on earth have you got in that cart?

Gandalf: Fireworks.

[Frodo gasps quietly behind them]

Gandalf: Surely you weren't planning a party without fireworks?

Bilbo: My word, it's a good many years since any of Gandalf's fireworks were seen in the Shire.

Gandalf: Well, Wizards have more important business to attend to than making elf-fountains and goblin barkers for the entertainment of hobbits. Now then, how long are you going to keep me standing on the doorstep?

Bilbo: Oh, I'm sorry, Gandalf, I'm sorry. Come in, come in.

Gandalf: Thank you. Ah. Hello, Frodo.

Frodo: H - hello, Gandalf.

[He clears his throat]

Frodo: D - did I hear you say something about fireworks?

Gandalf: You did.

Frodo: I always thought Gandalf's fireworks were a hobbit legend!

Gandalf: Did you now?

Frodo: Can I take a peek?

Gandalf: You can do better than that!

Frodo: I can?

Gandalf: Yes, you can make sure no young hobbits go sneaking off with any.

[Frodo laughs with excitement]

Gandalf: Not a single squib, mark you.

Frodo: All right!

Gandalf: And that includes you, Frodo.

Frodo: Oh... very well.

[The door closes]

Bilbo: Now, sit down, Gandalf. We'll have a pipe of Old Toby together, and you can tell me your news.

Gandalf: Thank you, Bilbo. There's no pipe-weed to compare with that of the Shire. I've missed it. As to news, well that, for the moment must wait. Well now...

[He draws from the pipe]

Gandalf: ...this is pleasant. I must say, your garden's looking very bright.

Bilbo: Yes, Sam and his father keep it well for me, and I'm very fond of it, and of all the dear old Shire; but I think I need a holiday.

Gandalf: Oh, you mean to go on with your plan, then?

Bilbo: I do. I made up my mind, months ago, and I haven't changed it.

Gandalf: Very well, it's no good saying any more. Stick to your plan - your whole plan, mind - and I hope it will turn out for the best, for you...

Bilbo: Well, I hope so.

Gandalf: ...and for all of us.

Bilbo: Anyway.

[He laughs]

Bilbo: I mean to enjoy myself on Thursday, have my little joke.

Gandalf: Who will laugh, I wonder.

Bilbo: We shall see.

- - - - -

Narrator: Eventually, after much excitement, Thursday, September the 22nd actually came.

[Sounds of various fizzes, rockets, explosions, and awed hobbits are heard]

Bilbo: That is the signal for supper!

[The crowd cheers]

- - - - -

[Members of the eating crowd talk among themselves. A sharp rapping hushes the group]

Bilbo: My dear people!

Lobelia: Oh dear, I think Bilbo's about to make a speech.

Bilbo: My dear Bagginses and Boffins, ["Yes, we're here"] and my dear Tooks and Brandybucks, ["That's right"] and Grubbs, and Chubbs, ["Yes?"] Burrowses, and Hornblowers, Bolgers, Bracegirdles, Goodbodies, Brockhouses, ["Oh yes..."] and Proudfoots ["Proudfeet!"].

[The crowd laughs]

Bilbo: Proudfoots. Also my good Sackville-Bagginses that I welcome back at last to Bag End.

Lobelia: Thank you.

Bilbo: And while you're 'filling up the corners' as we hobbits put it, I hope you'll permit me a few words.

[The crowd cheers and bang on the table]

Bilbo: Today is my hundred and eleventh birthday. I'm eleventy-one today.

[They cheer loudly, banging and blowing noise-makers]

Bilbo: And I hope...

[They quiet down]

Bilbo: I hope you're all enjoying yourselves as much as I am.

[Noise-makers whirl. Cries of 'yes' (and 'no') are heard. They laugh]

Bilbo: Well, I shan't keep you long.

[They cheer]

Bilbo: But I've called you together for a Purpose. Indeed, for Three Purposes. First of all, to tell you that I am immensely fond of you all, and that eleventy-one years is too short a time to live among such excellent and admirable hobbits.

[They cheer]

Bilbo: I don't know half of you as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you as well as you deserve.

Lobelia: Thank you - eh...

Bilbo: And secondly I've called you all together to celebrate my birthday.

[They cheer]

Bilbo: Or I should say our birthday. For it is of course, also the birthday of my nephew and heir, Frodo. He comes of age and comes into his inheritance today.

Lobelia: Did you hear that, Otho? What does he mean, inheritance?

Otho: I don't know, Lobelia, but I don't like the sound of it at all.

Bilbo: ...Together our years total one hundred and forty-four. Your numbers were chosen to fit this remarkable total: one Gross, if I may use the expression.

Otho: One Gross, indeed!

Lobelia: Nasty, vulgar expression.

Bilbo: Thirdly and finally, I wish to make an announcement.

[A hobbit girl speaks out, and is shushed by her father]

Bilbo: I regret to announce that, although as I said, eleventy-one years is far too short a time to spend among you, this is the end. I am going. I am leaving now. Good-bye.

[A firework explodes]

[The crowd reacts: "Where did he go?" "He vanished!" "One minute he was there, the next he's gone." "Yes..." "How did he do it?" "Did anyone see what happened?"]

Lobelia: How extremely bad mannered.

Otho: He's mad. I always said so: mad.

Narrator: While Bilbo Baggins was making his speech, he had been fingering a golden ring in his pocket: the very ring that Gollum had once possessed and lost. And as he said good-bye, he slipped it on his finger, vanished, and was never seen by any hobbit in Hobbiton again.

- - - - -

Narrator: He walked briskly back indoors and changed into some travelling clothes.

Bilbo: Ah, Gandalf. I wondered if you'd come to see me off.

Gandalf: I'm glad to find you visible, Bilbo.

[Bilbo laughs]

Gandalf: Hm. I suppose you feel that everything has gone off splendidly, and according to plan?

Bilbo: Well, yes I do. But that last firework was rather surprising. It quite startled me. A little addition of your own, I suppose?

Gandalf: It was. You've wisely kept that ring secret all these years, and it seemed to me necessary to give your guests something else that would seem to explain your sudden vanishment.

Bilbo: You are an interfering old busybody. But I expect you know best, as usual.

Gandalf: I do, when I know anything. But I... I don't feel too sure about this whole affair. Are you going any further with it?

Bilbo: Well, yes I am. I feel I need a holiday, a very long holiday. Probably a permanent holiday: I don't expect I shall return.

Gandalf: Hm?

Bilbo: In fact, I don't meant to.

Gandalf: Why, Bilbo?

[Bilbo sighs]

Bilbo: I am old, Gandalf. I don't look it, but I am beginning to feel sort of stretched, like butter that has been scraped over too much bread. That can't be right.

Gandalf: Hmm... no, it doesn't seem right. No, I believe your plan probably is for the best.

Bilbo: Well, I've made up my mind, anyway. I want to see the mountains again; and then find somewhere where I can rest in peace and quiet without a lot of relatives prying around, and a string of confounded visitors hanging on the bell. Gandalf?

Gandalf: Yes?

Bilbo: You'll keep an eye on Frodo, for me, won't you?

Gandalf: Yes, I will - two eyes, as often as I can spare them.

Bilbo: He would come with me, of course, if I asked him. But he doesn't really want to, yet. He's still in love with the Shire, with woods and fields and little rivers. Anyway, he ought to be comfortable here. I'm leaving everything to him.

Gandalf: Everything? The ring as well?

Bilbo: Well, er, yes, yes, I - I suppose so.

Gandalf: Where is it?

Bilbo: In an envelope, if you must know. There on the mantelpiece.

Gandalf: Where, Bilbo? I don't see it.

Bilbo: What? Oh, bless my soul! No, no, no... no, it's here; it's here in my pocket.

[He pulls the envelope from his pocket]

Bilbo: Now isn't that odd? Well then, after all, why not? Why shouldn't it stay there?

Gandalf: There's no need to get angry about it.

Bilbo: I'm angry because it's mine. It's my own. My precious.

Gandalf: Ah.

Bilbo: Yes, my precious.

Gandalf: Ah - it's been called that before, but not by you.

Bilbo: Well, I will say it now. Even if that horrid Gollum creature said the same once. It's not his now. He lost it, and I found it, and now it belongs to me, and I shall keep it.

Gandalf: If you say that again, Bilbo, I shall get angry. And then you shall see Gandalf the Grey uncloaked.

Bilbo: But the ring is mine, isn't it? I mean, I - I found it. And Gollum would have killed me if I hadn't kept it and used it to escape from him...

Gollum: The hobbit must have a competition with us, precious. If it asks us a riddle, and we doesn't answer, then we does what it wants, and shows it the way out. If Precious asks, and it doesn't answer, then...

[He hisses]

Gollum: ...then we eats it, my precious.

Bilbo: All right...

[Gollum laughs in anticipation]

Gollum: Ask us, ask us, ask us a riddle!

Bilbo: Er - what have I got in my pocket?

[Gollum hisses]

Gollum: Not fair! Not fair! That's not a riddle, it isn't fair, my precious. It isn't fair to ask us what its got in its nasty little pocketses.

Bilbo: What have I got in my pocket?

Gollum: Must give us three guessesss, my precious, three guessesss.

Bilbo: Very well, guess away.

[Gollum hums]

Gollum: Handses!

Bilbo: Wrong. Guess again.

Gollum: Knife!

Bilbo: Wrong.

[Gollum hisses]

Bilbo: Last guess. Come on, time's up.

Gollum: String - or nothing!

Bilbo: Both wrong! Now you must show me the way out of here.

Gollum: Did we say so, precious? Show the nasty little Bagginses the way out, yes, yes? But what has it got in its pocketses, eh? Not string, precious - but not nothing.

Bilbo: Never you mind, a promise is a promise.

Gollum: Course it is! Impatient, precious...

[He laughs to himself, but his laugh quickly fades]

Gollum: Gollum... gollum! We can guess what its got in its pocketses, can't we, precious? We've lost it, yes, and he's found it! Yes, he must have. Curse the Baggins.

[He hisses]

Gollum: Thief! Thief...

[Bilbo gasps]

Gollum: Where's it gone? Where's the Baggins? Vanished, it has. Curse the Baggins! We hates it! We hates it! We hates it forever!

Bilbo: I'm not a thief, whatever he said.

Gandalf: I've never called you one. And I'm not one either. I'm not trying to rob you, but to help you.

Bilbo: I'm sorry, but I felt so strange. You see, the ring has been growing on my mind lately. I'm always wanting to put it on and disappear, or wondering if it's safe, and pulling it out to make sure. Sometimes I felt it was like an... like an eye, looking at me.

Gandalf: Then go away and leave it behind. Stop possessing it. Give it to Frodo, and I will look after him.

Bilbo: All right, I will. After all, that's what this party business was all about, really. To give away lots of presents and somehow make it easier to give it away at the same time. It hasn't made it any easier in the end, but it would be a pity to spoil the joke.

[Gandalf laughs]

Bilbo: Very well, the ring goes to Frodo with all the rest. And now, I, I really must be starting, or somebody else will catch me.

Gandalf: Bilbo?

Bilbo: Yes?

Gandalf: You still have the ring in your pocket.

Bilbo: What? Ah, bless my soul, so I have. It's still in the envelope, with my will. You better take it and deliver it for me.

Gandalf: No! No, no, don't give the ring to me. Put it on the mantelpiece. It will be safe enough there, ‘til Frodo comes. I shall wait for him.

Bilbo: All right, if you say so. There. Well, that's that, then. And now I'm off.

[He opens the door]

Bilbo: Oh, what fun! Good-bye, dear Gandalf.

Gandalf: Good-bye for the present, Bilbo. Take care of yourself.

Bilbo: Don't worry about me. I'm as happy now as I've ever been. Good-bye.

[His voice slowly fades into the distance]


The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can.

Gandalf: Goodbye, my dear Bilbo - until our next meeting.


Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it join some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And wither then? I cannot say.

- - - - -

Frodo: Has he gone?

Gandalf: Yes, he's gone at last.

Frodo: Oh dear, I wish...

[He closes the door]

Frodo: ...I mean, well I hoped until this evening that it was only a joke. But I knew in my heart that he really meant to go. He always used to joke about serious things. I wish I had come back sooner, just... just to see him off.

Gandalf: I really think he preferred slipping off quietly in the end.

Frodo: Yes...

Gandalf: Don't be too troubled. He'll be all right - now. He left a packet for you. There it is! You'll find his will and all the other documents in there. And I fancy you'll also find a golden ring.

Frodo: The ring! Has he left me that? I wonder why. Still, it may be useful.

Gandalf: It may, and it may not. You must be careful of that ring. I should not make use of it, if I were you. Keep it safe and keep it secret.

Frodo: Why?

Gandalf: What do you know already?

Frodo: Well, only what Bilbo told me.

Gandalf: But what did he tell you, I wonder.

Frodo: He told me the truth. Not that old story about it having been a present.

Gandalf: Yes, it was odd that he should have invented that. But, odd things happen to people who have such treasures, if they use them. Let it be a warning to you to be very careful with it. It may have other powers than just making you vanish when you wish to.

Frodo: I don't understand.

Gandalf: No, neither do I. I've merely begun to wonder about the ring.

Frodo: You're being very mysterious. What are you afraid of?

Gandalf: I'm not certain, so I'll say no more. I may be able to tell you something when I come back.

Frodo: Come back? You're going away too?

Gandalf: Yes, and I must go at once.

Frodo: At once! But, but, why? I thought you were staying on for at least a week.

Gandalf: I intended to, but I've had to change my mind.

Frodo: Well, how long will you be gone?

Gandalf: It may be for some while, Frodo, but I'll come and see you again as soon as I can. Look out for me, especially at unlikely times. So take care of yourself. And remember what I said about the ring. Keep it safe and keep it secret. Good-bye.

[The door opens. A bird chirps]

Frodo: Good-bye, Gandalf!

[He murmers to himself]

Frodo: Keep it safe and keep it secret...

- - - - -

Narrator: Seventeen years passed, and Frodo all but forgot the ring. But the Dark Lord Sauron had not forgotten it, and learning from Gollum that a Ring of Power had been found by Baggins of the Shire, bent his mind to find it again.

Mouth of Sauron: Riders of Mordor, the Lord Sauron commands: seek for the Shire. Find Baggins.

[The Riders' voices fill the air and gallop away]

Narrator: The nine Black Riders galloped out of Mordor to begin their quest.

- - - - -

Narrator: While in the Shire, Frodo was oblivious to the interest being shown in the name of Baggins.

[The fireplace crackles]

Frodo: Ho, ho, ho, to the bottle I go...

[The clinking of glass is heard as he pours a drink]

Frodo: heal my heart and drown my woe. Good health, Bilbo, where-ever you are.

[Someone knocks at the door. Frodo chokes on his drink and opens the door. A cold wind rushes outside]

Frodo: Gandalf!

Gandalf: Hello, Frodo. All well, eh?

Frodo: All well, though I've missed seeing my friend Gandalf. Come in, come in.

[He closes the door]

Gandalf: Thank you, Frodo. Well, you look the same as ever!

Frodo: So do you, or as far as I can remember.

Gandalf: Yes, yes... it's been too long.

Frodo: I thought you'd abandoned the Shire for ever, but I expect you've had more important people to visit than hobbits.

Gandalf: Important, yes, but not necessarily more important. In fact, my visit now is of the utmost importance.

Frodo: I'm sorry, Gandalf, I don't understand.

Gandalf: The ring, Frodo. Bilbo's ring. It's dangerous. Far more dangerous than even I had guessed. But, such matters are best left until daylight. We'll talk about it in the morning.

Frodo: All right.

- - - - -

[Whistling is heard from outside the window, along with the sound of shears]

Gandalf: Mm...

[His breakfast dishes clank]

Gandalf: That was an excellent breakfast, Frodo.

Frodo: Good! Now, oh... eh, how about a pipe, before we talk, hm?

Gandalf: Ah, splendid.

[Frodo laughs]

Gandalf: I once told Bilbo: the one thing I miss about the Shire when I am not there, apart, of course, from having breakfast with an agreeable hobbit, is its pipe-weed.

Frodo: Well now, which would you like? Eh, let's see... Longbottom Leaf or Old Toby?

[They laugh]

Frodo: Or Southern Style?

Gandalf: Oh, I used to smoke Old Toby with Bilbo, so let it be that.

Frodo: Fine. Help yourself.

[They fill their pipes and puff on them throughout the conversation]

Gandalf: Thank you, Frodo. Sam's at work early, I see.

Frodo: Yes, a great fellow, Sam. He manages the garden by himself now; the Gaffer's getting on. Now, Gandalf, last night you began to tell me that you thought the ring was dangerous. If it is, then I must know in what way.

Gandalf: In many ways. It's far more powerful than I ever dared to suppose. So powerful, that in the end, it would utterly overcome anyone of mortal race who possessed it. It would possess him.

Frodo: How do you mean, "possess him"?

Gandalf: A mortal, Frodo, who keeps one of the Rings of Power, does not die.

Frodo: Hm?

Gandalf: He doesn't grow, or obtain more life, he merely continues, until at last every minute is a weariness. And if he often uses the Ring to make himself invisible, he fades: he becomes in the end permanently invisible, and walks in twilight under the eye of the dark power that rules the Rings.

Frodo: How terrifying! And Bilbo? How much did Bilbo know about all this?

Gandalf: Very little, I'm sure. It seemed to him that something was wrong or odd, but he thought it was himself. He said he felt stretched, but he didn't suspect that the Ring was to blame for the fact that he showed no signs of age. But it was an indication that the Ring was getting control.

Frodo: But there wasn't any permanent harm done, was there? He would get all right in time, wouldn't he?

Gandalf: I don't think you need worry about Bilbo. Of course, he possessed the Ring for many years, and used it, and lied to others about how he came by it. So it may take a long while for the influence to wear off, but the important thing is he gave it up in the end of his own accord. No, no... once he'd let the thing go, I wasn't troubled about dear Bilbo anymore. No, its... its for you that I feel responsible.

Frodo: Me?

Gandalf: Yes. You, and all these charming, absurd, helpless hobbits. It would be a grievous blow if all the jolly, stupid Bolgers, Boffins, and Bagginses became enslaved.

Frodo: B - but - what?

Gandalf: You don't know the real peril yet; but you shall. Give me the Ring for a moment.

Frodo: There.

Gandalf: I spoke of there being Rings of Power, for there were many: some more potent and some less. They were forged by the Elven-smiths long ago. The lesser rings were only essays in the craft. But the Great Rings, they were perilous.

Frodo: Is this one of them?

Gandalf: No. The Great Rings had each a gemstone. This Ring, you see? Is quite plain and unadorned.

Frodo: But, then, is it one of what you call the lesser rings?

Gandalf: No, I think not. Frodo, can you see any markings on it at all?

Frodo: Em, no...

Gandalf: Well, then, let's see what a little fire will reveal.

Frodo: But, G - Gandalf, my ring! It will be damaged!

[The fire roars]

Gandalf: Wait.

Frodo: But Gandalf, the fire!

Gandalf: Wait... Now let's look at the Ring. Take it, Frodo.

Frodo: But, I can't -

Gandalf: Go on, go on. Go on - it's quite cool. Take it. Now, hold it up and look closely. Well, what do you see?

Frodo: There, there are fiery letters, outside and inside, but I cannot read them.

Gandalf: No, but I can. The letters are elvish, but the language is that of Mordor.

[The Black Speech is heard:

Ash nazg durbatulûk, ash nazg gimbatul,
ash nazg thrakatulûk agh burzum-ishi krimpatul ]


One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.

Frodo: What does it mean, Gandalf?

[The quiet chanting of the Black Speech continues: "Ash nazg. Ash nazg. Ash nazg."]

Gandalf: It's only two lines of a verse long known in Elven-lore.

Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky,
Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,
Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die,
One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.

This is the Master-ring, the One Ring to rule them all. This is the One Ring lost many years ago to the great weakening of its maker's power. Now, he greatly desires to have it again - but he must not get it.

Frodo: What I don't understand, Gandalf, is whose ring this is, if it is not one of the Elven-rings?

Gandalf: This Ring was made to rule the Elven-rings. It was made, Frodo, by Sauron the Great, the Dark Lord of Mordor. It's he who is seeking it.

Frodo: But stories are told of Sauron's fall long, long ago!

Gandalf: That is so, but always after a respite, the Shadow takes another shape and grows again. He's fast becoming very strong, and he lacks but one thing to give him strength and knowledge to beat down all resistance, break the last defences, and cover all the lands in darkness. He lacks the One Ring.

Frodo: Hm... but what of the other rings which that verse spoke of?

Gandalf: Three of them, the fairest of all, the Elf-lords hid from him. The others Sauron took and gave seven to the Dwarf-kings, who used them for getting great wealth. Nine he gave to Mortal Men, proud and great, and so ensnared them. The wearers of the Nine are now fell servants of the Dark Lord, Ringwraiths in his power. It's many years since they walked abroad. Yet who knows? As the shadow grows once more, they too may walk again. And the One Ring was his. He made it and wore it.

Frodo: But how did he come to lose it if he was so strong?

Gandalf: It's ancient history and a long story. It was Gil-galad, the Elven-king, and Elendil of Westernesse who overthrew Sauron, though they themselves perished in the deed. But Isildur Elendil's son cut the Ring from Sauron's hand and took it for his own. Thus was Sauron vanquished, for a while at least.

Frodo: But the Ring? What happened to the Ring?

Gandalf: The Ring was lost. Isildur was marching north when he was waylaid by Orcs, and almost all his followers were slain. He leapt into the waters of the Great River, Anduin. But the Ring slipped from his finger as he swam, and then the Orcs saw him and killed him with arrows. And there in the River, the Ring passed out of knowledge and legend. But, I think I can now carry on the story. Long after Isildur lost the Ring, but still long ago, a hobbit-like folk lived beside the River. One day, two of them were fishing in the River. They were called Sméagol and Déagol, and Déagol it was who found the Ring...

[Flowing water is heard]

[Déagol gasps]

Déagol: What a beautiful thing! How could anyone have lost such a treasure?

Sméagol: What is that, Déagol?

Déagol: Nothing!

Sméagol: Oh yes, it is.

Déagol: It's mine, I found it.

Sméagol: Give us it, Déagol, my love.

Déagol: Why?

Sméagol: Because it's Sméagol's birthday, my love, and he wants it.

Déagol: I don't care. I've given you a present already. I found this and I'm going to keep it.

Sméagol: Oh, are you indeed, my love?

[Déagol cries out]

Sméagol: Are you indeed?

[Loud splashing turns to silence]

Sméagol: And now, the pretty ring belongs to Sméagol.

Gandalf: Sméagol kept the Ring, and used it to thieve and find out secrets. He took to muttering to himself and gurgling in his throat. So they called him Gollum.

Frodo: Gollum!

[He gasps]

Frodo: Do you mean that this is the very Gollum creature that Bilbo met?

Gandalf: Yes. He took to living in the dark passages beneath the Misty Mountains, where in time his torment became unbearable. He hated the dark, but he hated the light more. He hated everything, and the Ring most of all.

Frodo: Well, then, why didn't he get rid of it? Or - or go away and leave it?

Gandalf: He had no will left in the matter. A Ring of Power looks after itself, Frodo. Its keeper never abandons it. And when Gollum lost the Ring, it was really the Ring that left him.

Frodo: What, just in time to meet Bilbo?

Gandalf: Bilbo was meant to find the Ring, but not by its maker.

Frodo: Hm... what about Gollum, what happened to him?

Gandalf: The Elves have him now, in prison. But not before he made great mischief. After he lost the Ring, Gollum left the mountains to seek his Precious and the hobbit who'd robbed him of it. But before Gollum could find Bilbo, Sauron found Gollum. And that is how he will have learned that the One has been found again. He has, at last, heard of hobbits and the Shire. And I fear that he may even think that the long unnoticed name of Baggins has become important.

Frodo: But, but this is terrible! What a pity Bilbo did not kill Gollum when he had a chance!

Gandalf: Pity? It was pity that stayed his hand. One reason why Bilbo took so little hurt from the evil of the Ring was because he began his ownership with pity.

Frodo: I'm sorry, but I am frightened, and I do not feel any pity for Gollum.

Gandalf: You must understand that Gollum is bound up with the fate of the Ring. And my heart tells me that he may yet have some part to play, for good or ill. And when that comes, the pity of Bilbo may rule the fate of many, yours not least.

Frodo: But why did the Ring come to me? W - why was I chosen?

Gandalf: Not for power or wisdom. But you have been chosen, and must therefore use such strength and heart and wits as you have.

Frodo: But I... but I have so little of those things! Gandalf.

Gandalf: Hm?

Frodo: You are wise and powerful. Will you not take the Ring?

Gandalf: No! No, no! No, do not tempt me. I dare not take it. With that power I should have power too great and terrible.

Frodo: Then why don't I destroy it?

Gandalf: How would you do that?

Frodo: Well, I suppose one could hammer it or melt it or something...

Gandalf: The heaviest hammer would make no dent in it nor would the hottest fire melt it. You saw how your own small fire failed to even heat it.

Frodo: Yes.

Gandalf: If you really wish to destroy it...

Frodo: I do, Gandalf, I do!

Gandalf: Then there is only one way: cast it into the Cracks of Doom in the depths of Orodruin, the Fire-mountain in the Land of Mordor where the Ring was forged.

Frodo: Gandalf, I am not made for perilous quests. But I see that I cannot keep the Ring and stay here. I ought to leave Bag End, leave the Shire, leave everything and go away. And I suppose I must go alone.

[Sam is heard in the distant background]

Gandalf: My dear Frodo! Hobbits really are amazing. And I'm afraid you're right. For your sake as well as for others. You will have to go. But I don't think you need go alone, not if you know of anyone you can trust. But...

[He clears his throat]

Gandalf: careful in choosing. The Enemy has many spies...

[Gandalf begins to move away from Frodo]

Frodo: W-what's the matter, Gandalf?

Gandalf: Shhh... Got you!

[Sam yells out]

Gandalf: Well, bless my beard! Sam Gamgee. And what might you be doing under Mr. Frodo's window?

Sam: Lord bless you, Mr. Gandalf, sir, nothing! Leastways, I... I - I was just trimming the grass-borders if you follow me.

Gandalf: I don't. How long have you been eavesdropping?

Sam: Begging your pardon, sir, but there ain't no eaves at Bag End, and that's a fact.

Gandalf: Don't be a fool! What have you heard? Why did you listen?

Sam: Mr. Frodo, sir! Don't let him hurt me, sir! Don't let him turn me into anything unnatural! My old dad would take on so, I mean no harm, on my honor, sir!

Frodo: He won't hurt you. But just you up and answer his questions straight away!

Sam: Well, sir... I heard a deal that I didn't understand, about an enemy, and rings, and a fiery mountain - and Elves, sir. I listened because I couldn't help myself, if you know what I mean. I do love tales of that sort. And believe them, too. I'd dearly love to see some Elves, sir.

Gandalf: What else did you hear?

Sam: That Mr. Frodo is going away, sir. And that's why I choked: which you heard seemingly. I tried not to, sir, but it burst out of me: I was so upset.

Frodo: It can't be helped, Sam. I have to go. But if you really care about me, you will keep that a dead secret. See? If you don't, if you even breathe a word of what you've heard, then - then I hope Gandalf will turn you into a spotted toad...

Sam: W - what? Sir!

Frodo: ...and fill the garden full of grass snakes.

Sam: Oh no, sir!

Gandalf: I have thought of something better than that.

Sam: No, Mr. Gandalf, sir, please!

Gandalf: Something to shut your mouth and punish you properly for listening. You shall go away with Mr. Frodo.

Sam: Me, sir? Me go and see Elves and all? Hurray, sir!

[They laugh]

- - - - -

Narrator: Gandalf stayed in the Shire for over two months. Then, one evening, at the end of June, he made a sudden announcement.

Gandalf: I am leaving tomorrow, Frodo.

Frodo: Oh...

Gandalf: Only for a short while, I hope. But I'm going down beyond the southern borders to get some news, if I can. I've been idle longer than I should.

Frodo: Has anything happened?

Gandalf: Well, no... but I've heard something that has made me anxious and needs looking into. I think you should leave as soon as possible, now.

Frodo: I thought I'd go on September the 22nd. It will be my fiftieth birthday, and Bilbo's one hundred and twenty-eighth. That seems somehow a proper date on which to set out and follow the old fellow.

Gandalf: Very well, but it must not be any later. It's almost the end of June, already.

Frodo: How long will you be, Gandalf?

Gandalf: I shall come back immediately or at least send word. At the very latest I'll be back by your birthday. I think, after all, you may need my company on the road.

Frodo: Will it be that dangerous?

Gandalf: It may be. One thing you must remember: when you go, you must leave the name of Baggins behind you.

Frodo: But...

Gandalf: I'll give you a travelling name. When you go, go as Mr. Underhill. And in the meanwhile, do take care. Don't let out any hint of where you're going.

Frodo: Underhill. But where am I to go? I've been so taken up with the thoughts of leaving Bag End and of saying farewell, that I've never even considered the direction.

Gandalf: If you want my advice, make for the house of Elrond Half-elven at Rivendell. That journey shouldn't prove too perilous. Though the road is less easy than it was, and it will grow worse as the year fails.

Frodo: Rivendell. Very good, I will go east and I will make for Rivendell. I will take Sam to visit the Elves. He will be delighted.

Gandalf: Well, see that he doesn't talk. If he does, I really shall turn him into a toad.

[Frodo laughs]

- - - - -

Narrator: And so Gandalf rode away, journeying to the southern borders of the Shire where he heard news of the Black Shadow that disturbed him greatly. He turned then east and north, and so journeyed towards the village of Bree.

Radagast: Gandalf! Gandalf! Gandalf the Grey!

[Gandalf brings his horse to a stop]

Gandalf: Yes?

Radagast: It is I, Radagast. Radagast the Brown.

Gandalf: Radagast! What are you doing here?

Radagast: Seeking you. All I knew was that you might be found in a wild region with the uncouth name of Shire.

Gandalf: It is the Shire, and you are near its borders now, but why are you seeking me? It must be pressing, for you were never a traveller, Radagast, unless driven by great need.

Radagast: I have an urgent errand, and my news is evil.

Gandalf: Hm?

Radagast: The Nazgûl... the Nine... they are abroad again.

Gandalf: Ah...

Radagast: They have crossed the River secretly and are moving westward. They have taken the guise of riders in black. The Enemy must have some great need or purpose, but what it is that makes him look to these distant and desolate paths, I cannot guess.

Gandalf: Who told you this, and who sent you?

Radagast: The head of our order, Saruman the White. And he also told me to say that if you feel the need, he will help. But you must seek his aid at once, or it will be too late.

Gandalf: I will go to Saruman.

Radagast: Then you must go now, Gandalf. For I have wasted time in looking for you, and the days are running short. I was told to find you before Midsummer, and that is now here. Even if you set out now, you will hardly reach Saruman before the Nine discover the land they seek. I myself shall turn back at once...

Gandalf: Radagast, stay a moment! We shall need your help, and the help of all things that will give it. You are wise in the lore of beasts and birds. Send out messages to all of them that are your friends. Tell them to bring news of anything that bears on this matter to Saruman and Gandalf at Isengard.

Radagast: Yes, I will do that. Fare you well, Gandalf!

Narrator: Leaving a message with the inn-keeper at Bree to be sent on to Frodo, Gandalf rode south to Isengard, a circle of sheer rocks that enclosed a valley, in the midst of which stood a tower of stone called Orthanc.

- - - - -

Narrator: While in the Shire, Frodo still watched and waited for him, and the news that Mr. Baggins was up to something began to get about.

[Hobbits talk in the background]

Daddy Twofoot: Well, Gaffer, is it true?

Gaffer: Ay, Daddy Twofoot, it is true. Mr. Frodo's selling Bag End. Sold it in fact to those cousins of his, the Sackville-Bagginses.

Sandyman: And for a nice bit, I'll be bound.

Daddy Twofoot: More likely for a bargain price if Mistress Lobelia's the buyer.

Sandyman: Poor old Otho. If only he'd lived a few more years, he'd have been master of Bag End after all.

Gaffer: Not that I wish to speak ill of the dead, Ted Sandyman, but I for one say the fewer Sackville-Bagginses at Bag End the better.

[Daddy Twofoot]

Daddy Twofoot: Right.

Gaffer: Mistress Lobelia and that there son of hers will be enough for me.

Daddy Twofoot: So, eh... where is Mr. Frodo off to, Gaffer?

Gaffer: He's going back to live among his folk in Buckland.

Daddy Twofoot: I can't think why. There are queer folk in Buckland.

Sandyman: He'll be well at home there, then! He's as cracked as old Bilbo Baggins was.

[Daddy Twofoot laughs]

Gaffer: There's not wrong with Mr. Frodo. Nor the friends of his in Buckland, Mr. Peregrin Took and Mr. Meriadoc Brandybuck.

Sandyman: Buckland... Brandybuck!

Gaffer: My Sam says Mr. Merry has found Mr. Frodo a little house in Crickhollow.

Daddy Twofoot: But what will your Sam do now, Gaffer? Will Mistress Lobelia keep him on as gardener at Bag End?

Gaffer: No need. He's going with Mr. Frodo to look after his bit of garden there.

[Sandyman laughs]

Sandyman: You know what, Gaffer? That son of yours is acting like he's as cracked as the Bagginses!

[He and Daddy Twofoot laugh]

- - - - -

Narrator: It was late one evening in July when Gandalf arrived at Isengard, and was met by Saruman who led him up to his chamber high in the tower Orthanc.

Gandalf: I have come for your aid, Saruman the White.

Saruman: Have you indeed, Gandalf the Grey? For aid? It has seldom been heard of that Gandalf the Grey sought for aid, one so cunning and so wise, wandering about the lands, and concerning himself in every business, whether it belong to him or not.

Gandalf: If I am not deceived, things are now moving which will require the union of all our strength.

Saruman: That may be so, but the thought is late in coming to you. What brings you now from your lurking place in the Shire?

Gandalf: The Nine have come forth again. They have crossed the River. So Radagast said to me.

Saruman: Radagast the Brown! Radagast the Bird-tamer! Radagast the simple! Radagast the Fool! Yet he had just the wit to play the part that I set him. For you have come and that was all the purpose of my message. And here you will stay, Gandalf the Grey. For I am Saruman the Wise, Saruman of Many Colours!

[His cloak rustles]

Gandalf: I like white better.

Saruman: White! It serves as a beginning. White cloth can by dyed. The white page can be overwritten; and the white light can be broken.

Gandalf: In which case it is no longer white. And he that breaks a thing to find out what it is has left the path of wisdom.

Saruman: I have not brought you here to be instructed by you, but to give you a choice.

Gandalf: What choice do you speak of, Saruman?

Saruman: The Elder days are gone. The Middle Days are passing. Younger Days are beginning. The time of the Elves is over, but our time is ahead: the world of Men, which we must rule. But we must have power, power to order all things as we will, for that good which only the Wise can see. Listen, Gandalf, my old friend and helper! I said we, for we it may be, if you join with me. A new Power is rising. Against it the old allies and policies will not avail us at all. This then is the choice before you, before us. We may join with that Power. It would be wise, Gandalf.

Gandalf: How could it ever be wise to join with Sauron, our Enemy?

Saruman: There is hope that way. His victory is at hand; and there will be rich reward for those who aided it.

Gandalf: Saruman, I have heard speeches of this kind before, but only in the mouths of emissaries sent from Mordor to deceive the ignorant. I cannot think that you brought me so far only to weary my ears.

Saruman: Well, I see that this wise course does not commend itself to you. Not yet? Not if some better way can be contrived?

Gandalf: What better way?

Saruman: The Ruling Ring? And why not, Gandalf? Why not? The Power would pass to us if we could but command it.

Gandalf: Saruman, only one hand at a time can wield the One Ring and you know that well, so don't trouble to say we!

Saruman: I have many eyes in my service, Gandalf, and I believe that you know where this precious thing now lies. Well? Is it not so?

Gandalf: Now that I learn your mind, I will not even give you news of it.

Saruman: You are a fool.

Gandalf: Well, your choices are, it seems, to submit to Sauron, or to submit to you. I will take neither. Have you others to offer?

Saruman: Yes. The third choice is to stay here. You shall contemplate your folly from the highest pinnacle of the tower of Orthanc, until the end.

Gandalf: Until what end?

Saruman: Until you reveal to me where the One Ring may be found. Or until it is found in spite of you.



[A wind blows and the beating of an eagle's wings is heard]

Gwaihir: Gandalf!

Gandalf: Gwaihir, Windlord, swiftest of all Eagles. Why come you here?

[Gwaihir lands]

Gwaihir: I am sent to Orthanc with a message of import.

Gandalf: What message, Gwaihir?

Gwaihir: Dark tidings, Gandalf. Wolves are gathering. Orcs are mustering. And the Nine Riders go hither and thither in the lands. The Eagles of the Mountains have seen these things and learnt also that the Gollum creature has escaped from the Elves' captivity.

Gandalf: How did you know where to seek me?

Gwaihir: Radagast the Brown told us to bring whatever news we saw or heard to you at Isengard.

Gandalf: Ah! Then Radagast is not a traitor.

Gwaihir: I was bid by Radagast to seek both Gandalf the Grey and Saruman the White at Orthanc. Why find I Gandalf alone upon this perilous height? And why speak you of traitors?

Gandalf: For two months I've been imprisoned as a fly in the web of a treacherous spider, Gwaihir.

Gwaihir: Saruman?

Gandalf: Saruman is no longer Saruman the White. He is now Saruman of Many Colours. He seeks either to join forces with the Dark Lord of Mordor, or to find for himself sufficient power to rule in his stead.

Gwaihir: This is indeed evil news, Gandalf.

Gandalf: So it is, Gwaihir. But even the most subtle spider may leave a weak thread. Radagast he called a simpleton and a fool. Radagast the Bird-tamer he named him. But because of Radagast, Gwaihir the Windlord has come to me in my darkest hour.

Gwaihir: No mortal tames the Eagles of the Mountains. Not even Radagast or Gandalf. But I will carry you to freedom, since I do not wish to serve any Saruman of Many Colours. Take hold of my talons.

[Wolves begin to howl far below them. Gwaihir's wings beat the air]

Gwaihir: We are seen, Gandalf! I must fly with great speed.

Gandalf: How far can you carry me?

Gwaihir: Many leagues, but not to the ends of the earth. I was sent to bear tidings, not burdens.

Gandalf: Then I must have a steed on land, and a steed surpassingly swift for I have never had need of such haste before.

Gwaihir: Then I will bear you to Edoras, where the Lord of Rohan sits in his halls; for that is not very far off. And there are no horses like those that are bred by the Rohirrim, the Horse-lords of Rohan.

- - - - -

Narrator: Gwaihir the Windlord carried Gandalf to Edoras in the land of Rohan, to the halls of Théoden, King of the Mark.

[Footsteps echo]

Gandalf: Hail Théoden son of Thengel!

Théoden: Why comes Gandalf the Grey unlooked-for to my halls?

Gandalf: I have come to seek the aid of the Rohirrim and their King.

Théoden: I have never heard before that Gandalf sought the aid of any man.

Gandalf: Storm-clouds are gathering, Théoden. And when the storm breaks, nowhere in Middle-earth will be safe from its fury. Not even Théoden's halls.

Théoden: I know not what storm you speak of, Wandering Wizard.

Gandalf: Then you know not of the rise of the Enemy in Mordor, or of the treachery of Saruman the White?

Théoden: Gríma, faithful counselor. What say you of Gandalf Stormcrow's words?

Wormtongue: I say: Saruman is our ally against the Dark Lord of Mordor, King Théoden, and we should not parley with any who call him traitor.

Théoden: It is, I believe, as Gríma says. Rohan has no welcome for the warmonger.

Gandalf: I seek not war, Théoden. But if it comes, others than I will draw its bloody sword in Rohan. But if you will not help me, then at least lend me a steed that I may ride elsewhere in search of aid.

Théoden: Very well, Gandalf! Take a horse and begone!

[Gandalf's footsteps again resonate]

Narrator: Gandalf strode from Théoden's Golden Hall and went in search of a steed to carry him back to the Shire.

- - - - -

Narrator: And at Isengard, Saruman was suddenly faced with another unexpected turn of events.

[Many horses ride to a stop]

Lord of the Nazgûl: Come forth, Saruman, that we may speak with thee.

[Black Riders sigh with menace]

Saruman: Who calls thus on Saruman in such rude fashion?

Lord of the Nazgûl: I am the Lord of the Nazgûl, servant of Sauron the Great.

Saruman: What seek you here?

Lord of the Nazgûl: We seek knowledge, Saruman. Knowledge of how we may find that part of Middle-earth which is known as the Land of the Halflings.

Saruman: It is not a land that you look for. I know what you seek, though you do not name it. I have it not, as surely its servants percieve without telling, for if I had it, then you would bow before me and call me lord. I know nothing of this thing or of the land you seek. There is one only whom I guess to have this knowledge.

Lord of the Nazgûl: Who?

Saruman: Mithrandir! He whom some call Gandalf. Gandalf the Grey.

[The Black Riders again sigh]

Saruman: As it is but two days since this enemy of Sauron departed from Isengard, seek him nearby.

Lord of the Nazgûl: Seek him we shall, Saruman. Come!

[The Nazgûl ride away]

- - - - -

Narrator: But as the Black Riders of Mordor rode in search of Gandalf, they came upon another.

[Horses come to a halt]

Lord of the Nazgûl: Halt! Who rides there?

Wormtongue: I am Gríma, and I ride in haste, my lord. Do not delay me.

Lord of the Nazgûl: Why? What is your haste and where are you bound?

Wormtongue: For Isengard, lord.

Lord of the Nazgûl: Wherefore?

Wormtongue: I carry certain news to Saruman.

Lord of the Nazgûl: What news?

Wormtongue: That Mithrandir has sought to counsel King Théoden against both Saruman and Sauron.

Lord of the Nazgûl: Where is Mithrandir now?

Wormtongue: He seeks only a horse to return him to the Land of the Halflings.

Lord of the Nazgûl: Know you of this land?

[Wormtongue hesitates]

Wormtongue: Ah...

Lord of the Nazgûl: Speak or die. Where is this land?

Wormtongue: Spare me! I will speak as swiftly as I may. West, through the Gap of Rohan, yonder. And then north, and a little west. The Shire, they call it.

[The Riders sigh]

Lord of the Nazgûl: Come! Riders of Mordor! We will divide our company. Some to find this land and search it; some to seek Mithrandir. Come, away!

[They ride away]

- - - - -

Narrator: As the Black Riders rode away westward, Gandalf found on the plains of Rohan a horse suited to his needs. A horse that might have been foaled in the morning of the world. Light was his footfall, and swift as the flowing wind was he. By day, his coat glistened like silver and by night, it was like a shade, so that he passed unseen. Shadowfax they called him. Never before had any man mounted him, but Gandalf took him and tamed him, and swiftly he bore Gandalf north.

Gandalf: On, Shadowfax! We must hasten. Time is short!

- - - - -

Narrator: So Gandalf rode north on Shadowfax, while in the Shire, Frodo, not knowing what had delayed his friend, decided he would wait no longer.
[Birds sing]

Frodo: Well, Merry. Is everything ready?

Merry: Yes. Two cart-loads yesterday, full to overflowing, and now another one. I'm beginning to wonder if your new home will be big enough.

Frodo: Well, I've sold everything I could bear parting with to Lobelia. But some things I just had to take to remind me of Bag End and Bilbo.

Merry: Well, I'd best be off. If I leave now, I can get to Crickhollow and warm the house before you arrive. That's if you're quite sure you want to walk rather than go by cart?

Frodo: Quite sure.

Merry: Then, I'll see you the day after tomorrow, if you don't go to sleep on the way.

[Frodo laughs]

Frodo: I'll try not to!

[Merry's cart begins to roll away and his voice becomes slowly more faint]

Merry: I'll tell you one thing, Frodo. You had better settle when you get back to Buckland, because I for one am not helping you to move back again.

Frodo: What on earth makes you think Lobelia would ever sell Bag End back to me?

Merry: Oh, she might. At a profit. Farewell, Frodo! And good walking.

Frodo: Poor Merry. What will you say when you learn the truth about all this?

- - - - -

Narrator: As the sun went down, Frodo, Pippin, and Sam sat in the kitchen at Bag End.

[Their dishes clank. They sigh contently]

Frodo: Our last meal at Bag End.

Pippin: Sam and I'll wash up if you want to have a last look round.

Frodo: Thank you, Pippin, but I think we'll leave the washing up for Lobelia.

[Sam and Pippin laugh]

Frodo: I've already taken a last look round. Everywhere looks so sad and gloomy and disheveled. So! We might as well start.

Sam: Our packs are already on the porch, Mr. Frodo.

Frodo: Well-done, Sam.

Pippin: It looks as though it's going to be a fine night.

Frodo: Well, that's good for a beginning. I wish I knew what was delaying Gandalf! Anyway, I must start and he must follow.

- - - - -

[The door of Bag End closes. Frodo locks it and sighs]

Frodo: Well, good-bye, dear old Bag End! Well then, we're off at last.

Pippin: Haven't you got a song for the occasion, Frodo?

Frodo: Eh, w... ah, well, yes, there's one that might suit. Upon the Hearth?

Pippin: Yes.

Frodo, Sam, and Pippin:

Upon the hearth the fire is red,
Beneath the roof there is a bed;
But not yet weary are our feet,
Still round the corner we may meet
A sudden tree or standing stone
That none have seen but we alone.
Tree and flower and leaf and grass,
Let them pass! O, let them pass!

- - - - -

Narrator: The hobbits had scarcely gone when a dark and sinister hooded Rider rode up Bagshot Row, and arrived at Gaffer Gamgee's home.

[The door opens. The Rider's breath is low and gravely]

Gaffer: Yes? Who's there? Who is it? What do you want at this time of night?

Rider: Baggins! I'm looking for Baggins! Where is Baggins?

Gaffer: What's Mr. Baggins' business to do with you?

Rider: A friend of his is looking for him.

Gaffer: Well, you don't look like any friend of Mr. Baggins' I've ever seen.

Rider: Answer my question! Where is Baggins? There's no one at his house. Why?

Gaffer: For a good reason. Mr. Baggins has gone away.

Rider: Where did Baggins go?

Gaffer: That ain't no secret. He's moved to Crickhollow or some-such place, away down yonder.

Rider: Is it far?

Gaffer: Yes, it is. A tidy way. I've never been so far meself. They're queer folk down there.

Rider: If you see him, you'll give him a message from me?

Gaffer: I'm not taking no orders from you nor no-one. Not even if you are a friend of Mr. Baggins, which I doubt. Now, good-night to you!

[He slams his door. The Rider sighs in anger]

- - - - -

Narrator: After they had been walking for about three hours, Frodo, Pippin, and Sam made camp in the deep resin-scented darkness of a patch of fir-wood. Night passed and the morning came, pale and clammy.

[Frodo coughs and groans]

Frodo: Walking for pleasure! Oh, why didn't I go by cart with Merry? My neck's stiff and I feel as though I've a hole in my back. And all my beautiful feather beds sold to the Sackville-Bagginses. These tree-roots would do them good. Wake up, hobbits! It's a beautiful morning.

[Pippin stretches]

Pippin: What's beautiful about it? Sam! Get breakfast ready for half-past nine! Have you got the bath-water hot?

[Sam wakes with a start]

Sam: No, no, sir, I haven't!

[Pippin and Frodo laugh]

Frodo: It's all right, Sam!

Sam: Huh?

Frodo: Mr. Pippin is pulling your leg. Come on, Pippin, up you get! You can help Sam get breakfast, and then we really must get started.

- - - - -

[A single bird calls]

Sam: I've never been this near the end of the Shire before, Mr. Peregrin. What river is that down there?

Pippin: That's the Brandywine, Sam.

Sam: And do Elves live in those woods, over there?

Pippin: In Woody End? No, not that I ever heard. Oh, this road goes on forever! When are we going to rest, Frodo? Frodo?


The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it join some larger way,
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.

Pippin: That sounds like a bit of old Bilbo's rhyming. Or is it one of your imitations?

Frodo: Hm? I don't know. It came to me then, as if - as if I was making it up; but I may have heard it long ago.

Pippin: In any event, it doesn't sound altogether encouraging.

Frodo: No, I suppose not.

[He laughs, reminiscently]

Frodo: Bilbo often used to say there was only one Road: that it was like a great river: its springs were at every doorstep, and every path was its tributary. "It's a dangerous business, going out of your door," he used to say. "You step into a Road, and if you don't keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept of to."

Pippin: Well...

[He sets his pack down]

Pippin: ...this Road won't sweep me anywhere for an hour at least. It's time for a rest, and if you fellows won't wait, well, then you must go on without me.

[Frodo laughs]

- - - - -

Frodo, Sam, and Pippin:

Farewell we call to hearth and hall!
Though wind may blow and rain may fall,
We must away...

[Sam stops and shushes them]

Frodo and Pippin:

...ere break...

Pippin: What? What?

Sam: Oh, begging your pardon, Mr. Frodo! I can hear a - a pony or a horse coming along the road behind.

[Horse-hooves grow steadily nearer]

Frodo: I wonder if that's Gandalf coming after us. It may not matter much, but I would rather not be seen on the road - by anyone. I am sick of my doings being noticed and discussed. And if it is Gandalf, we can give him a little surprise, to pay him out for being so late. Let's get out of sight!

[They enter the nearby foliage. The Rider comes to a stop and sighs loudly. Frodo's breathing becomes pained. The Ring inscription is heard overlaid with Gandalf's voice:

Ash nazg durbatulúk, ash nazg gimbatul,
ash nazg thrakatulûk agh burzum-ishi krimpatul.


One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.

Gandalf: This is the Master-ring, the One Ring to rule them all. This is the One Ring lost many years ago, to the great weakening of its maker's power. Now, he greatly desires to have it again. But he must not get it! ]

[The Rider's voice fills Frodo's thoughts]

Rider: The Ring! The Ring! Put on the Ring!

Frodo: No!

[Gandalf's voice is again heard.

Gandalf: Remember what I said about the Ring?]

Frodo: Yes.

[Gandalf: Keep it safe and keep it secret! ]

[The inscription-chanting ceases. Frodo exhales in relief. The Black Rider sighs and moves on down the road]

Pippin: Who was it?

Frodo: I don't know.

Sam: What did you see, Mr. Frodo?

Frodo: It was a man - I think. Wrapped in a black cloak and hood so that his face was shadowed and invisible. All I could see what his boots in the high stirrups.

Sam: What was he looking for?

Frodo: I - I can't say why, but I feel certain he was looking for, or smelling for me. Yes, and I feel certain that I did not want him to discover me. I have never seen or felt anything like it in the Shire before.

Pippin: But what has one of the Big People got to do with us? And what is he doing in this part of the world?

Frodo: I don't know. But I wish I had waited for Gandalf! But then, perhaps it would only have made matters worse.

Pippin: Then you know or guess something about this Rider?

Frodo: Hm? I don't know and I - I would rather not guess.

Pippin: All right, cousin Frodo! You can keep your secret for the present if you want to be mysterious. In the meanwhile, what are we to do?

Frodo: I think we will move on, now. We ought to do a good step more today. Buckland is still many miles away. But we must keep off the Road, in case that Rider comes back. Yes, I'm going to cut straight across country from here.

Pippin: Short cuts make long delays. The country's rough round here, and there are bogs and all kinds of difficulties. And if you're worrying about meeting that Rider, then I can't see that it would be any worse meeting him on a road than in a wood or a field.

Frodo: Pippin, it is less easy to find people in the woods and fields. And if you're supposed to be on the road, there is some chance that you will be looked for on the road and not off it.

Pippin: All right! I'll follow you into every bog and ditch. But it is hard! I had counted on passing the Golden Perch at Stock before sundown.

Frodo: Ah!

Pippin: The best beer in the Eastfarthing of the Shire, or used to be.

Frodo: That settles it! Short cuts make delays, but inns make longer ones. At all costs we must keep away from the Golden Perch. Eh, what do you say, Sam?

Sam: Well, I - I should go along with you, Mr. Frodo.

Pippin: Oh! Then if we are going to toil through bog and briar, let's go -

[Pippin's voice is cut short by a Nazgûl, screaming in the distance]

Pippin: What do you think that was? If it was a bird, it was one I never heard in the Shire before.

Frodo: It was not bird or beast. It was a call, or... or a signal. There were words in that cry, though I could not catch them. But no hobbit has such a voice. Come! Sooner or later, we must go on. It's better that we go sooner!

- - - - -

[Cows moo]

Pippin: Hullo! I know these fields! This is Bamfurlong, old Farmer Maggot's land. And - and that's his farm away there in the trees.

Frodo: Oh, no! One trouble after another!

Pippin: What's wrong with Old Maggot? He's a good friend to all the Brandybucks. Of course, he's a terror to trespassers, and keeps ferocious dogs - but after all, folk down here are near the border and have to be more on their guard.

Frodo: All the same, I'm terrified of him and his dogs, and I've avoided his farm for years and years.

Sam: Why's that, Mr. Frodo?

Frodo: Well, he caught me trespassing after mushrooms several times, when I was a youngster. And on the last occasion he beat me, and then took me and showed me to his dogs. "See, lads," he said, "next time this young varmint sets foot on my land, you can eat him."

[Pippin laughs]

Frodo: "Now see him off!" And they did. And I've never got over the fright.

Pippin: Well then, it's time you made it up.

Frodo: Hm...

- - - - -

[Dogs bark]

Farmer Maggot: Grip! Wolf! Come on, lads!

Sam: Don't worry, Mr. Frodo. I won't let this Farmer Maggot do you no harm. If he tries, he'll have Sam Gamgee to reckon with.

Frodo: Thank you, Sam!

Farmer Maggot: Hallo! Hallo! And who may you be, and what may you be wanting?

Pippin: Good afternoon, Mr. Maggot!

Farmer Maggot: Well, if it isn't Master Pippin - oh, Mr. Peregrin Took, I should say!

[A dog growls]

Pippin: Yes.

Farmer Maggot: It's lucky for you that I know you. I was just going to have to set my dogs on any strangers. There are some funny goings on today. Course, we do get queer folk wandering in these parts at times. Too near the River. But this fellow was the most outlandish I ever set eyes on.

Pippin: Oh, which fellow do you mean?

Farmer Maggot: well, then, you haven't seen him? Oh, he went up the lane not a long while back. Oh, he was a funny customer and was asking funny questions. Oh, but - well, perhaps you'll come inside, and we'll pass the news more comfortably. I - I have a drop of good ale on tap...

Pippin: Yes!

Farmer Maggot: ...if you and your friends are willing, Mr. Took.

Pippin: Yes, well...

[A dog growls again]

Frodo: Eh, what about the dogs?

[Farmer Maggot laughs]

Farmer Maggot: They won't harm you - not unless I tell 'em to. Here, Grip! Grip, Fang! Heel! Heel!

Pippin: Ah... c - can I introduce my friends? This is Sam Gamgee.

Farmer Maggot: How do you do, Sam?

Sam: How do you do. Mr... Maggot...

Pippin: Uh, and - and this is Mr. Frodo Baggins. You may not remember him, but he - he used to live in Buckland.

Farmer Maggot: Well, if that isn't queerer than ever? Mr. Baggins is it? Oh, come inside! We must talk.

- - - - -

[They drink and set down their mugs]

Pippin: Well, Sam! This makes up for missing the Golden Perch, eh?

Sam: Yes... I suppose so, Mr. Peregrin.

[Frodo takes a drink]

Frodo: Ehm, I - I'm afraid Sam here is rather suspicious of you, Farmer Maggot.

[He clears his throat]

Farmer Maggot: Oh?

Frodo: Eh, well, you see, um - I told him the last time I came to visit you, you gave me a beating to remember you by.

[Farmer Maggot laughs]

Farmer Maggot: Well, Sam, I - I'm sorry I beat your Master, but he shouldn't 'a gone thieving my mushrooms! Oh, I remember you, Mr. Baggins!

[They laugh]

Farmer Maggot: Anyway, that's all in the past! And it wasn't mushrooms I was thinking of when Mr. Peregrin told me your name, Mr. Frodo. You see, I had just heard the name of Baggins before you turned up.

Pippin: How is that, Mr. Maggot?

Farmer Maggot: Well, it was like this. This - this funny customer came riding in at the gate on a big, black horse, and right up to my door. All black he was himself, too, and cloaked and hooded up, as if he did not want to be known. "Good day to you!" I says, going out to him. "This lane don't lead anywhere, and where-ever you may be going, your quickest way will be back to the road." And the Black Fellow sat quite still and then pointed back west, over - over my fields, if you please. He said, "I come from yonder. Have you seen Baggins?" "Oh, be off!" I said. "There are no Bagginses here. You're in the wrong part of the Shire. You had better go back west to Hobbiton - you can go by road this time." "Baggins has left," he answered in a whisper. "He is coming. He is not far away. I wish to find him. If he passes will you tell me? I will come back with gold." "Oh, no you won't," I said. "You'll go back where you belong, double quick. I give you one minute before I call all my dogs." And he gave a sort of hiss. It might have been a laugh, and it might not. Then he spurred his great horse right at me, and I jumped out of the way only just in time. I called my dogs, but he swung off, and rode through the gate like a bolt of thunder. Now. What do you think of that?

Frodo: I don't know what to think.

Farmer Maggot: Well, it's as plain as my nose that no accident brought you and that Rider here on the same afternoon. A - and maybe my news was no great news to you, after all. I'm not asking you to tell me anything you have a mind to keep to yourself. But I see you're in some kind of trouble.

Frodo: Yes, I'm afraid I may be. And since I must try to get to Crickhollow before dark, we must be going.

Pippin: Oh, drink up, Sam! We're off again.

Farmer Maggot: Ah, ah, look, Mr. Frodo! I - I've a notion.

[Sam drinks]

Farmer Maggot: It's nearly sundown and we're going to have our supper. Mrs. Maggot's cooking bacon and mushrooms. I daresay you still have a liking for mushrooms, Mr. Baggins. Anyway, we'd be pleased if you could all stay and have a bite with us.

Frodo: Well, and so should we! But - but, well really, you see, we must...

Farmer Maggot: Now, now, now, wait a... wait a minute! I was going to say: after a bit of supper, I'll get out our small wagon, and I'll take you on your way. And that'll save you a step, and it might also save you trouble of another sort.

Frodo: Thank you, Mr. Maggot! That would be most kind.

[Pippin laughs]

Pippin: Didn't take much to change his mind, did it? What... bacon and... what was it?

Farmer Maggot: Mushrooms.

Pippin: Yes, of course!

[They laugh]

- - - - -

[The wheels of Farmer Maggot's wagon roll along the road]

Farmer Maggot: This mist is going to get worse, I'm thinking. Now, I'll not light my lanterns 'till I turn for home. We'll hear anything on the road long before we meet it.

Frodo: You know, Farmer Maggot, I - I've been in terror of you and your dogs for over thirty years, though you may laugh to hear it. It's a pity, for I've missed a good friend.

Farmer Maggot: Well, you should never have gone gettin' yourself mixed up with Hobbiton folk. I shouldn't be surprised if this trouble you're in now hasn't come from those strange doings of Mr. Bilbo. Anyway, I - I'm glad you've had the sense to come back to Buckland. And my advice is: stay here.

[A horse approaches the wagon]

Farmer Maggot: Whoe, there! Oh, someone's comin'!

Sam: You'd... you'd better be hidden, Mr. Frodo.

Frodo: Yes.

Sam: Get down in the wagon. Cover up with blankets.

Frodo: All right.

Sam: We'll soon send this Rider to the rightabouts!

Farmer Maggot: Hallo there! Now, then, don't you come a step nearer.

[The horse stops]

Farmer Maggot: What do you want? Who are you?

Merry: Why, it's me, Mr. Maggot!

Farmer Maggot: Oh, Mr. Merry!

Merry: Yes, of course! Who did you think it was?

Pippin: You can come out, Frodo, it was only Merry.

Farmer Maggot: Merry!

Frodo: Thank goodness for that!

Merry: What's all this about? And where did you find them, Mr. Maggot? In your duck-pond?

Farmer Maggot: No, I - I caught them trespassing. Oh, but they'll tell you the story, I've no doubt. Well, it's been a queer day, and no mistake. But all's well that ends well; though perhaps we should not say that 'till we reach our own doors. Oh, there now! I - I... I was nearly forgettin'. Ah, Mrs. Maggot put this up for Mr. Baggins with her compliments.

Frodo: Oh, thank you, Mr. Maggot!

Farmer Maggot: Well, good-night to you all.

[They all bid him good-night. His wagon rolls away]

Pippin: What's in the basket, Frodo?

[Frodo sniffs]

Frodo: Eh, mushrooms, if I'm not very much mistaken!

[They laugh]

- - - - -

[A door opens]

Merry: Well, here we are! What do you think of it? I've done my best to make it look like home.

[The door closes and silverwear is pulled out]

Frodo: It's, eh - it's perfect, Merry. I hardly feel I've moved at all. What do you say, Sam?

Sam: Just like Bag End is is, Mr. Frodo. I - I'll make some supper.

[Sam rummages through the kitchen, preparing the meal]

Merry: Oh, good! Now, then. What have you three been up to? And... and what was the matter with Old Maggot? He sounded scared.

Pippin: We've all been scared. And you would have been, too, if you'd been chased by Black Riders.

Merry: Black Riders? What are they?

Pippin: Black figures riding on black horses. Cousin Frodo knows something more, but he's being close.

Frodo: Very well. I can't keep it to myself any longer. I've got something to tell you, but - well, now I see how pleasant and comfortable and welcoming you've made this little place, Merry... I - I don't know how to begin.

Merry: I think I can help you.

Frodo: Hm?

Merry: By telling you some of it myself.

Frodo: What do you mean?

Merry: Well, just this, my dear old Frodo: you are miserable, because you don't know how to say good-bye. You meant to leave the Shire, of course. But danger has come sooner than you expected, and now you are making up your mind to go at once. And you don't want to.

Frodo: But! How, how...? I mean...?

Pippin: Dear old Frodo! Did you really think you'd thrown dust in all our eyes? You have not been nearly careful or clever enough for that!

Merry: No.

Frodo: Good heavens! I thought I had been both careful and clever. I don't know what Gandalf would say. I mean... is all the Shire discussing my departure?

Merry: Oh no! No, no, don't worry about that! The - the secret won't keep for long, of course; but at present it is, I think, known only to us conspirators.

Pippin: Anyway, the conspiracy has now been unmasked. And we're not going to let you escape so easily!

Frodo: But I must go. It cannot be helped. It is wretched for us all, but - but please help me and don't hinder me!

Pippin: You don't understand! Of course you must go - and therefore so must we.

Frodo: What do you mean?

Pippin: I mean that Merry and I are coming with you. Sam is an excellent fellow, and would jump down a dragon's throat to save you, if he didn't trip over his own feet first.

[They laugh]

Pippin: But you'll need more than one companion in your dangerous adventure.

Frodo: My dear and most beloved hobbits! But I couldn't allow it. You speak of danger, but you do not know how deadly is that danger.

Merry: Of course we know. And that is why we have decided to come. We know the Ring is no laughing matter.

Frodo: R...!

Pippin: Y - yes, we know about the Ring. And we're going to do our best to help you against the Enemy.

Frodo: But how...! How... I mean, is nothing safe?

Merry: Not too safe, I should say. But if you want to be introduced to our chief investigator in our little conspiracy, I can produce him.

Frodo: Where is he?

Merry: Step forward, Sam.

Frodo: Sa...!

Merry: Here's our collector of information!

Sam: Well...

[He coughs]

Merry: And he collected a lot, I can tell you, before he was finally caught. After which, I may say, he seemed to regard himself as on parole, and dried up.

Frodo: Sam!

Sam: Yes, sir! Begging your pardon, sir! But I meant no wrong to you, Mr. Frodo, nor to Mr. Gandalf, for that matter. And he has some sense, mind you.

Frodo: What is that supposed to mean?

Sam: Why, sir, when you said go alone, he said no! Take someone as you can trust.

Frodo: But it doesn't seem that I can trust anyone!

Sam: Well, now, don't say that, Mr. Frodo, sir.

Pippin: Look, Frodo. It all depends on what you want. You can trust us to stick to you through thick and thin, to the bitter end.

Merry: And you can trust us to keep any secret of yours, closer than you keep it yourself.

Pippin: But you cannot trust us to let you face trouble alone.

Merry: Anyway: there it is. We know most of what Gandalf has told you. We know a good deal about the Ring. We are horribly afraid - but we are coming with you.

Pippin: Yes.

Merry: Or follow you like hounds.

Frodo: You are a set of deceitful scoundrels! But... but bless you! Oh, I had so dreaded this evening.

- - - - -

Narrator: The next morning, the hobbits rose early and prepared to set out. They saddled up four sturdy little ponies for riding and loaded their baggage onto a fifth.

[A bird sings]

Merry: Well, Frodo. All is ready.

Pippin: Which way are we to head?

Frodo: For Rivendell, and the House of Elrond Half-elven. But we must not go by road. The Riders will be watching for us. So the only safe thing to do is to go of in a quite unexpected direction.

Merry: Then, we must go through the Old Forest and then on to Bree.

Pippin: And Merry must lead us, for he knows the Forest better than any of us.

Merry: That's settled, then.

Frodo: Still! I wish Gandalf were with us, all the same.

Pippin: Well, come on! Gandalf or no Gandalf, the sooner we leave the Shire and those Riders behind, the better.

Frodo: Yes.


To Rivendell, where Elves yet dwell...

[Their ponies walk swiftly]

Merry, Pippin, Frodo, and Sam:

In glades beneath the misty fell,
Through moor and waste we ride in haste,
And whither then we cannot tell.

With foes ahead, behind us dread,
Beneath the sky shall be our bed,
Until at last our toil be passed,
Our journey done, our errand sped.

- - - - -

[The ponies' footsteps are heard]


To Rivendell, where Elves yet...

Oh, that's Bree, up ahead!

Frodo: Ah! Is there anywhere there we can stay?

Merry: Eh, there's an inn, Frodo. The Prancing Pony, if I remember rightly.

Pippin: I must say it will be good to find a fire and put a door between us and the night.

Frodo: Well, it may be all we could wish, Pippin. But it is outside the Shire, all the same. Now, don't make yourselves too much at home. Oh, and please, remember, all of you that the name of Baggins must not be mentioned.

Pippin, Merry, and Sam: Right.

Frodo: I am Mr. Underhill, if any name must be given.

- - - - -

[Their ponies come to a stop]

Sam: Well, is this the inn?

Merry: Yes, Sam. Why? What's the matter?

Sam: Well, surely we - we aren't going to stay here, are we, sir? I mean - it's got three stories!

[Frodo and Pippin laugh]

Frodo: Never mind. It will have to do. And I - I daresay it's homelike enough inside.

[He knocks. The group shivers. He knocks again, louder]

Butterbur: All right! All right! I'm coming.

[The door opens]

Butterbur: Now, what's all this... oh, good evening, little Masters! What may you be wantin'?

Frodo: Eh, beds for four, and stabling for five ponies, if that can be managed. Oh, are you Mr. Butterbur?

Butterbur: That's right. Barliman's my name. Barliman Butterbur, at your service. And you're hobbits from the Shire, eh?

Frodo: Yes.

Pippin: Yes.

Frodo: Ehm...

Butterbur: Oh! Now, now, what does that remind me of? Might I ask your name, sir?

Frodo: Ehm, Mr. Took and Mr. Brandybuck.

Butterbur: How do you do?

Pippin: How do you do?

Frodo: And - and this is Sam Gamgee.

Butterbur: Evening.

Sam: How do you do?

Frodo: And, ehm - my name in Underhill.

Butterbur: Now, Mr. Underhill! Oh - oh, now. Oh, there now! It's gone again. But it'll come back when I have time to think. I'm run off my feet; but I'll see what I can do for you. There is such a crowd in the house tonight as there hasn't been for long enough. Still, it never rains, but when it pours, as we say in Bree. Hi! Nob! Where are you, you wolly-footed slow-coach? Nob!

[Frodo laughs]

Nob: Coming, sir, coming!

Butterbur: Now, where's Bob?

Nob: Oh, I don't know, Mr. Butterbur.

Butterbur: You don't know? Well find him! Double sharp!

Nob: Oh, ah...

Butterbur: I haven't got six legs, nor six eyes neither! Now tell Bob there's five ponies that have to be stabled and he must find room somehow. Well, off you go!

Nob: Oh, y - yes, Mr. Butterbur!

Butterbur: Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear! Well, now, what - what was I going to say, now? Oh, I don't know. The trouble is: one thing drives out another, so to speak. And I'm that busy tonight, my head's going round.

[He laughs]

Butterbur: Anyway, it's a good job you're hobbits. Or I doubt if we could house you. But we've got a room or two in the north wing that were made special for hobbits. On the ground floor with round windows and all. I hope you'll find them comfortable.

Frodo: Happy now, Sam?

Sam: Oh yes, Mr. Frodo. That sounds most comfortable.

Butterbur: And you'll be wanting supper, I don't doubt, as soon as maybe?

Pippin: Yes, please!

Sam: Yes, please!

Butterbur: Well... well, come in, come in! You can go into the parlour. It's quiet in there.

Frodo: Oh, thank you!

Butterbur: Well, you'll have to excuse me now. I'm that busy.

- - - - -

[A fire roars. Dinner-dishes are handled. Merry stretches]

Frodo: More cheese to fill up the corners with, Merry?

[Merry pats his stomach]

Merry: No corners left, I'm afraid.

[They laugh. The parlour door opens]

Butterbur: Oh, begging your pardon for disturbing you, Mr. Underhill!

Frodo: That's all right, Mr. Butterbur. Eh, we've - we've just finished. And it was an excellent meal.

Pippin: Hear, hear!

[The other hobbits express their agreement]

Butterbur: Oh, good. I'm glad. But what I was wondering was whether you'd care to join the company when you'd supped? I mean, they'd be very pleased to welcome you, if you had a mind. We don't often get Outsiders - travellers from the Shire, I should say. And we like to hear a bit of news, or any story or song you may have in mind. So... so join us! Or not, as you please.

Frodo: Oh, well, thank you, Mr. Butterbur. Perhaps we will!

Butterbur: Well, now. I must be getting on again.

[He opens the door]

Butterbur: Nob! Nob!

[The door shuts]

Frodo: Hm, I think it might be quite pleasant to join the company for a while. What do you fellows say?

Pippin: Ah, I daresay we could give them a song or two if they like.

Sam: Well, I've got a tale or two.

Frodo: What about you, Merry?

Merry: Oh, no, no. I - I shall sit here quietly by the fire for a bit and perhaps go out later for a sniff of the air. And mind your Ps and Qs now, and don't forget that we are supposed to be escaping in secret, and we are still not very far from the Shire.

Pippin: All right! And you mind yourself! Don't get lost, and don't forget that it's safer indoors.

- - - - -

[Many people talk amongst themselves, drinking and eating]

Frodo: Mr. Butterbur?

Butterbur: Hm?

Frodo: Who's that strange-looking weather-beaten man, sitting by the wall? Smoking a pipe. I don't think you introduced him.

Butterbur: Oh, him! I don't rightly know. He's one of the wandering folk - Rangers we call 'em.

Frodo: Ah.

Butterbur: He disappears for a month, or a year, and then pops up again. What his right name is I've never heard: but he's known round here as Strider.

Frodo: Stri... why is that?

Butterbur: What, on account on his going about at a great pace on those long shanks of his. Though he don't tell nobody what cause he has to hurry. You know, Mr. Underhill, it's funny you should ask about him, because...

Patron: Barliman! Barliman!

Butterbur: There's no peace for a body, and that's a fact. Half a minute, Mr. Underhill. I'll be back. Nob! Where are you, lad?

Nob: Coming, sir.

Strider: Master Underhill! Will you join me for a moment?

Frodo: Oh! Thank you. Eh...

Strider: It is Underhill, isn't it? Only I wasn't sure if old Butterbur got your name right.

[Someone begins to play a fiddle in the background]

Frodo: Yes, he did.

Strider: Well, Master Underhill. I am called Strider and I am pleased to meet you. You know, drink, fire, and chance meetings are pleasant enough, but - ehm, well, this isn't the Shire and there are queer folk about. Though I say it as shouldn't, you may think.

[He laughs]

Strider: And there have been even stranger travellers through Bree lately. So, if I were you...

Pippin: So, as soon as the Feast was over...

Strider: ...I should stop your friends from talking too much.

Pippin: ...and then last of all that he had an Announcement to make!

Strider: You had better do something quick!

Pippin: Anyway. Then he gets up and gets on the table...

Frodo: Ehh! My friends! ...And I! Uh. Hello?

[The Pony patrons at first express disappointment at the interruption but soon are hushed to attention]

Frodo: We would like to thank you all for your warm and most hospitable welcome to Bree.

Patron: Ah, it looks like Mr. Underhill's had too much of old Barliman's ale!

[The crowd laughs]

Pippin: Frodo! I was in the middle of telling a story.

Frodo: Ah, we are all very much gratified...

[Pippin sighs in disgust]

Frodo: the kindness of your reception, ehm, and I venture to hope that our brief visit will help to renew the old ties of friendship between the Shire and Bree.

[He coughs]

Patron: Ah, well. Let's have a song, then!

[The crowd excitedly agrees]

Patron: Come on, Mr. Underhill. Hop on the table; sing us a song.

[Members of the crowd bang on the tables]

Frodo: Ah, well...

Patron: Come on, now, Master! Sing us something that we haven't heard before.

Frodo: Oh, well...

[A fiddle begins to play]

Frodo: Well, very well! Eh, perhaps this will be new to you?

There is an inn, a merry old inn
beneath an old grey hill,
And there they brew a beer so brown
That the Man in the Moon himself came down
one night to drink his fill.

[The crowd laughs their approval]


The ostler has a tipsy cat
that plays a five-stringed fiddle;
And up and down he runs his bow,
Now squeaking high, now purring low,
now sawing in the middle.

Patron: Sawing in the middle!

[The patron is hushed]


The Man in the Moon was drinking deep,
and the cat began to wail;
A dish and a spoon on the table danced,
The cow in the garden madly pranced,
and the little dog chased his tail.

[They laugh]


The Man in the Moon took another mug,
and rolled beneath his chair;
And there he dozed and dreamed of ale,
That in the sky the stars were pale,
and dawn was in the air.

The cat and the fiddle played hey-diddle-diddle,
a jig that would waken the dead:
He squeaked and sawed and quickened the tune,
And the landlord shook the Man in the Moon:
"It's after three!" he said.

With a ping and a pong the fiddle-string broke!
the cow jumped over the Moon,
And the little dog laughed to see such fun,
And the Saturday dish went off at a run
with the silver Sunday spoon.

[The crowd cheers and claps]

Frodo: Thank you!

Patron: Let's here that last verse again!

Frodo: Oh... all right.

With a ping and a pong the fiddle-strings broke!
the cow jumped - Oh!

Patron: Look out!

[Frodo crashes to the floor]

Patron: You jumped too high, Mr. Underhill!

[The crowd laughs, but suddenly falls silent]

Patron: Where'd he go?

Patron: He - he went slap through the floor! I seen him! Here, Barliman! Barliman, quick!

[The crowd mutters quietly]

Butterbur: Now then, now then. What's all the rumpus about?

Patron: I saw him! Or leastways, I didn't see him, if you take my meanin'. Mr. Underhill just vanished into thin air, in a manner of speaking.

Butterbur: You don't say, Mr. Mugwort?

Patron: I do say.

Butterbur: Well, there's some mistake somewhere! There's too much of that Mr. Underhill to go vanishing into thin air.

[He laughs nervously]

Patron: Well, where's he now, then?

Butterbur: How should I know? He's welcome to go where he will, so long as he pays in the morning.

Patron: Well, I say I saw what I saw, and I saw what I didn't.

Butterbur: And I say there's some mistake.

Frodo: Of... of course there's a mistake!

[The crowd again falls silent]

Frodo: I - I haven't vanished! Well, here I am.

Butterbur: Now, what you've been doing, Mr. Underhill? Frightening my customer and breaking my crocks with your acrobatics!

Frodo: Yes, I - I'm very sorry. I - it was quite unintentional, I assure you. A - a most unfortunate accident.

Butterbur: All right. All right, everybody! All right. Excitement's over. There's plenty of ale still to be drunk!

[He laughs]

Butterbur: And I'll ask you, Mr. Underhill, not to be doing any more tumblin' or conjurin' or whatever it was without warning us before-hand.

Frodo: I shan't be doing anything of the sort again, Mr. Butterbur. I promise you.

Butterbur: I hope not, Mr. Underhill! We're a bit suspicious around here of anything out-of-the-way. Nob!

Strider: Well, Mr. Underhill. You have put your foot in it! Or should I say your finger?

Frodo: I don't know what you mean.

Strider: Oh yes, you do. But we had better wait until things have settled down. Then, if you please, Mr. Baggins, I should like a quiet word with you.

- - - - -

Pippin: But Frodo, who is this stranger, and what's he to do with us?

Strider: My name is Strider and I want to talk to you.

Sam: What about?

Strider: A matter of some importance, although, of course, I have my price.

Frodo: What do you mean?

Strider: Don't be alarmed! I mean just this: I will tell you what I know, and give you some good advice - but I shall expect a reward.

Frodo: Hm. And what will that be, pray?

Strider: No more than you can afford. All I ask is that you take me along with you.

Frodo: Oh, indeed! Is that all? Well, even if I wanted another companion, I shouldn't agree to any such thing, until I knew a good deal more about you, and your business.

Strider: Excellent! You seem to be coming to your senses again, and that's all to the good. You have been much too careless so far. Very well! I will tell you what I know, and leave the reward to you.

Frodo: All right. What do you know?

Strider: I know you are a Frodo Baggins and I also know what you are carrying out of the Shire.

Frodo: What!

Strider: Now, now, don't mistake me! I shall take more care of your secret than you do. And care is needed! Black horsemen have passed through Bree. And believe me, they will return. And more are coming. There are others; I know these Riders and I know their number. There are folk in Bree who are not to be trusted, and it seems all too likely that, by morning, these Riders will know of your little prank.

Frodo: It was sheer accident!

Strider: I wonder. Anyway, that accident has made your position dangerous.

[Frodo sighs]

Frodo: I don't know why we behaved so foolishly. We ought to have stayed quiet in here.

Pippin: Yes...

Strider: It would have been better. And I would have stopped you going in there if I could, but the inn-keeper would not let me go in to see you.

Frodo: Do you think he knows anything?

Strider: No, I don't think any harm of old Butterbur.

Frodo: Well, in any event, I intend to leave Bree at first light.

Strider: But you dare not go by the open road, for the horsemen will watch it day and night. And even if you escape from Bree, you won't go far. They will come on you in the wild, in some dark place where there is no help. Do you wish them to find you? They are terrible, Frodo. Terrible! But trust Strider and he will take you by paths that are seldom trodden. Well? Will you have him?

Sam: With your leave, Mr. Frodo, I'd say no! This Strider here, he... he says take care; and I say yes to that, and let's begin with him.

Frodo: Hm... I think, Strider, that you are not really as you choose to look. Still, as Sam says, I - I don't see why you should warn us to take care, and yet ask us to take you on trust. Why the disguise? Who are you? What do you really know about - about my business; and how do you know it?

[There is a knock at the door]

Strider: Wait! Let me get out of sight.

Frodo: Quick! Ready?

[He opens the door]

Butterbur: Eh...

Frodo: Oh, eh - good evening, Mr. Butterbur. Ehm, I'm sorry about the commotion.

Butterbur: Oh, oh, that's all right, Mr. uh, Underhill. I - I... I've just come to bid you good-night. Ehm, Nob! Take the water to the rooms!

Nob: Yes, Mr. Butterbur.

[Butterbur closes the door]

Butterbur: There... eh, there is something else, Mr. Underhill.

Frodo: Yes?

Butterbur: You see, you see - it's like this. If I've - if I've done any harm, I'm sorry indeed. But one thing drives out another, as you'll admit; and I'm a busy man. But first one thing and then another is jogging my memory, as the saying goes; and not too late I hope.

Frodo: Eh, um... I'm sorry, Mr. Butterbur, but I don't follow you.

Butterbur: Well, well, you see, I was asked to look out for hobbits of the Shire, and for one by the name of Baggins in particular.

Frodo: Oh? And what has that got to do with me?

Butterbur: Ah, eh, you know best. I won't give you away; but I was told that this Baggins would be going by the name of, eh - Underhill.

Frodo: Who told you this?

Butterbur: Ah! That was Gandalf, if you know who I mean. He - he's a good friend of mine. But I don't know what he'll have to say to me now. He'll turn all my ale sour or me into a block of wood, I shouldn't wonder. Still, what's been done can't be undone.

Pippin: But, Mr. Butterbur - what have you done?

Butterbur: Well, Mr. Took, you see, about - about three months back, old Gandalf walked in. He says Barley, I'm in a hurry and I want you to do something for me. I want a message took to the Shire, he says. Have you anyone you can send and... and trust to go? Well, I - I can find someone, I said. Tomorrow, maybe, or the day after. Well, make it tomorrow, he says. And - and then he - he gave me this letter.

[He pulls out the letter]

Butterbur: It's addressed plain enough. I mean, Mr. Frodo Baggins, Bag End, Hobb-i-ton in the Shire.

Frodo: A letter for me from Gandalf!

Butterbur: Oh, then your name is Baggins?

Frodo: Yes, it is, and you had better give me that letter at once...

[He grabs the envelope]

Frodo: ...and explain why you never sent it.

Butterbur: Oh, I beg your pardon, master, but I didn't keep it back a-purpose. Well, I couldn't find nobody willing to go to the Shire next day, nor the day after, and none of my own folk were to spare. And then one thing after another drove it out of my mind. Oh, I'll - I'll do what I can to set matters right, you must believe me. I didn't know that it would bring trouble to you, Mr. Baggins.

Frodo: What do you mean, trouble?

Butterbur: Well, these Black Riders who've been asking for Baggins, and that - that Ranger! Strider. He's been asking questions, too. Tried to get in here to see you, he did.

Strider: Yes. He did!

Butterbur: You! What do you want? You're always popping up.

Frodo: Ah, it's... it's - he's here with my leave. He came to offer his help.

Butterbur: Oh, well! You know your own business, maybe, but if I was in your plight, I wouldn't take up with a Ranger.

Strider: Then who would you take up with? A fat innkeeper who only remembers his own name because people shout it at him everyday? They cannot stay in The Pony for ever, and they cannot go home. They have a long road before them. Will you go with them and keep the Black Riders off?

Butterbur: Me? Leave Bree! I wouldn't do that for any money.

Strider: Well, then. Let others help them.

Butterbur: Eh... but - but what are these Black Riders after? And where do they come from?

Frodo: I'm sorry, Mr. Butterbur. I - I... I can't explain it all. I'm not sure, but - I - I think, I fear they come... from...

Strider: They come from Mordor.

[Butterbur gasps]

Strider: From Mordor, Barliman, if that means anything to you.

Butterbur: Oh, save us!

Frodo: Well, Mr. Butterbur? Are you still willing to help me?

Butterbur: I am. More than ever. Though I don't know what the likes of me can do against, against -

Strider: Against the Shadow of the East. Not much, Barliman, but every little helps. They must stay here tonight, and you must forget about the name of Baggins, till they are far away.

Butterbur: Oh, I'll do all that, all right. But I'm afraid they'll find out easier without help from me. It's a pity Mr. Baggins drew attention to himself this evening.

Frodo: Well, we can only hope the Riders won't come back yet.

Butterbur: I hope not, indeed. But if they do, then they won't get into The Pony so easy. Me and my folk'll keep watch tonight; and you had best get some sleep, if you can.

Frodo: Yes. In any case we must be called at dawn. We must get off as early as possible. Eh, breakfast at six-thirty, please?

Butterbur: Right! I'll see to the orders. Well, good-night, Mr. Baggins.

Frodo: Ah!

Butterbur: uh, Underhill, I should say. Eh, good-night, Mr. Took.

Pippin: Good-night.

Butterbur: Good-night, Mr. Brandy... well, where's your Mr. Brandybuck?

Frodo: Merry! I - I don't know. I'm afraid he's... he's out.

Pippin: He said something about going for a breath of air.

Butterbur: Oh dear, oh dear! Well, you do want looking after and no mistake: your party might be on a holiday! Oh, I'd better send Nob to look for him.

- - - - -

[A horse comes to a stop. A Black Rider breathes with menace nearby]

Nob: Mr. Brandybuck... Mr. Brandybuck! Mr. Brandybuck!

- - - - -

[The fire crackles]

Strider: Well? When are you going to open that letter?

Frodo: Yes, of course.

[He tears open the envelope and pulls out the letter]

Frodo: Really, old Butterbur has made a shocking mess of things.

[He clears his throat. Gandalf's voice enters the parlour:


THE PRANCING PONY, BREE. Midyear's Day, Shire Year, 1418.

Dear Frodo,

Bad news has reached me here and I must go off at once. You had better leave Bag End soon. I will return as soon as I can; and I will follow you, if I find that you are gone. Leave a message for me here, if you pass through Bree. You can trust the landlord. You may meet a friend of mine on the Road: a Man, lean, dark, tall, by some called Strider. He knows our business and will help you. Make for Rivendell. There I hope we may meet again.

Yours in haste,

PS. Make sure that it is the real Strider. There are many strange men on the roads. His true name is Aragorn.

All that's gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king. ]

[Frodo folds the letter]

Frodo: Strider, why didn't you tell me you were Gandalf's friend?

Aragorn: Would you have believed me, till now?

Frodo: I...

Aragorn: I knew nothing of the letter. And anyway, I hoped you might take me for my own sake. But there...

[He laughs]

Aragorn: ...I believe my looks are against me.

[Pippin laughs]

Pippin: They are! Well, at first sight at any rate. But handsome is as handsome does, as we say in the Shire.

Sam: What I want to know is: how do we know that you are the Strider that Gandalf speaks about? You never mentioned Gandalf, till the letter came out. You might have been a play-acting spy. You might have done in the real Strider. Took his clothes. What do you say to that?

Aragorn: That you are a stout fellow, Sam Gamgee, and I am afraid my only answer is this: I am Aragorn, and those verses go with that name.

[He draws the hilt of his sword and laughs]

Aragorn: Not much use, is it, Sam? But the time is near when this broken sword shall be forged anew.

Frodo: I wanted to believe you were a friend before this letter came. And, well - I think if you were a spy of the Enemy, then you would - well... well, seem fairer and feel fouler. I mean, if you...

[Aragorn laughs loudly]

Aragorn: You mean, I look foul and feel fair.

Frodo: No, no...

Aragorn: Is that it? All that is gold does not glitter, not all those who wander are lost. Well, now! With Sam's permission, with Sam's permission, we will call that settled. Strider will be your guide.

Frodo: Yes. Thank you. We need a guide, for this is all far more dangerous that I'd ever realized.

[Pippin yawns]

Frodo: Pippin...

Pippin: Oh, I'm sorry, everyone. Oh, but I'm awfully tired. In spite of all the danger and worry I really must go to bed, or sleep where I sit.

[He and Frodo laugh]

Pippin: Where is that silly fellow Merry? It would be the last straw if we had to go out in the dark and look for him.

Frodo: Yes.

[The door opens. Merry gasps for breath]

Frodo: Merry!

Merry: I have seen them, Frodo!

Frodo: What...?

Merry: I have seen them, in the village, here.

Sam: Who?

Merry: The Black Riders!



[The fire crackles. Merry struggles to catch his breath]

Merry: I have seen them, Frodo! I have seen them, here, in the village. The Black Riders!

Frodo: Merry!

Sam: What is it, Mr. Merry?

Pippin: Are you all right?

Merry: Yes. B - but, I've seen the Riders!

Nob: I found him, sir.

Frodo: Go on, Nob!

Nob: Well, sir, Mr. Butterbur sent me out with a lantern. I - I thought I could see something in the road. It... it looked as if two men were stooping over something, lifting it. I - I gave a shout, but when I got up the spot, there was no sign of them. O - only Mr. Brandybuck. He seemed to be asleep. And when I shook him, he said, "I thought I had fallen into deep water."

Merry: I don't remember what I said. I went to pieces. I - I don't know what came over me.

Aragorn: I do. It was the Black Breath.

Merry: Who are you?

Frodo: It's all right, Merry. This is Strider. He's a friend of Gandalf's. I will explain later.

Aragorn: Tell us what happened from the beginning.

Merry: Ehm, well, I stayed indoors for an hour. And then when the others didn't come back, I - I went out a stroll. I was standing, looking at the stars, when suddenly I shivered and felt that something horrible was creeping near: there was a sort of deeper shade among the shadows across the road. It slid away at once into the dark without a sound. I followed it as far as the last house on the road.

Aragorn: You have a brave heart, but it was foolish.

Merry: No, it was neither brave nor foolish. I couldn't help myself. I seemed to be drawn, somehow. Then... then something came behind me and I... I - I fell over.

Sam: Poor Mr. Merry!

Pippin: What will happen now, Strider? Will they attack the inn?

Aragorn: No, I think not. But you must all stay here in the parlour and you must not go to your rooms! For they are sure to have found out which those are. We will remain together and bar this window and the door. But first, Nob and I will tell old Butterbur what's happened and fetch your luggage from the other rooms.

- - - - -

Butterbur: Well, Masters. We've ruffled up the bed-clothes and put a bolster down the middle of each bed in case anyone comes meddlin'.

Nob: And I made a nice imitation of your head, Mr. Baggins.

Butterbur: Nob!

Nob: Oh! Eh, sir, Underhill, sir! With a brown woollen mat.

Frodo: Thank you, Nob.

Pippin: That sounds most life-like! But what will happen once they've penetrated the disguise?

Aragorn: We shall see. Let us hope to hold the fort till morning.

Butterbur: Don't you worry, Strider! We won't let 'em in if they come. Well, good-night to you all. Come on, Nob!

Nob: Oh, yes, Mr. Butterbur.

Frodo: Good-night to you both.

Sam: Good-night.

Frodo: Oh, and thank you!

Pippin: Thank you.

- - - - -

Narrator: That night, Frodo's sleep was troubled by dreams.

[Frodo snores and mumbles to himself]

Frodo: Secret... the Ring.

[The sounds of Frodo's dream are heard: Riders gallop]

Frodo: It's Gandalf... Gandal... Secret.

[The horses in Frodo's dream become nearer and louder. Frodo moans. A Nazgûl screams. Frodo wakes with a start, gasping. The horse-hooves fade away]

[A rooster crows. The door opens]

Frodo: No!

[He gasps and his breathing steadies]

Frodo: Is it morning already?

Aragorn: Yes, and we must be up and gone from here without delay.

Frodo: Which way are we to go, Strider?

Aragorn: Well, we can hardly hope to leave Bree unnoticed, but I shall try to get us lost as soon as possible. And if we once shake off pursuit, I shall make for Weathertop.

Frodo: Weathertop? W - where... what's that?

Aragorn: It's a hill, just north of the Road, about half way from here to Rivendell. But now we must wake the others.

Frodo: Yes. Yes, I feel very relunctant to leave, but I know that leave I must. Pippin, come on!

[The hobbits groan and mumble as they wake]

Frodo: Merry! Sam! Sam, time to get up.

Pippin: Oh, and I was having such an enjoyable dream about you and that absurd song of yours last night. The cow jumped over the moon indeed! And right in the middle of my story. And then to go and disappear as well. How very ridiculous of you, Frodo!

[Frodo laughs]

Merry: Oh, I wish I'd been there to see it. The worthies of Bree will be discussing it a hundred years hence.

Aragorn: I hope so, Merry. I hope so!

[Butterbur runs in]

Butterbur: Oh, oh! Never has such a thing happened in my time.

Aragorn: What's the matter, Barliman?

Butterbur: A raid on the Pony! I never thought I'd live to see the day.

Frodo: M... Mr. Butterbur, what's happened?

Butterbur: Oh, Mr. Underhill, you're in greater danger than you know. Someone broke into the inn last night!

[Frodo gasps]

Aragorn: I thought you said you and your folk would watch!

Butterbur: We did! I haven't closed my eyes all night but I never heard a sound. But it's a good job you weren't in your beds. They forced the windows and they slashed the bolsters! And that there brown mat that Nob made to look like Mr. Underhill's head, beggin' your pardon, was torn to pieces.

[The hobbits gasp]

Aragorn: We must be gone at once.

Butterbur: But you can't!

Merry: What do you mean? Why can't we?

Butterbur: They broke into the stable and took every pony and horse in the place.

Frodo: Ah! This is terrible!

Aragorn: Well, anyway, ponies would not have helped us to escape horsemen. It is food and stores that trouble me. We cannot count on getting anything to eat between here and Rivendell. How much are you prepared to carry on your backs?

Pippin: As much as we must.

Sam: Well, I can carry enough for two.

Frodo: Oh, can't anything be done, Mr. Butterbur?

Butterbur: Well, I...

Frodo: I mean, can't we get a couple of pon... or even one for the baggage? I don't suppose we could hire them. But, well - but we might be able to buy them?

Butterbur: Well, I doubt it, but I'll do what I can. I'll rout out Bob and send him round as soon as maybe.

Aragorn: Yes, you had better do that. I'm afraid that ends all hope of our starting early and slipping away quietly.

Butterbur: I'm afraid so. Oh, to think of it! A raid... on The Prancing Pony...

- - - - -

Narrator: After their breakfast, the hobbits had to repack and get together further supplies for the longer journey they were now expecting. It was close on ten o'clock before they at last got off.

[Butterbur pulls a relunctant pony by its reins]

Butterbur: Come on! Come on, come on! No - come on.

Frodo: Ah!

Butterbur: Oh, well. We've got your pony, of sorts, Mr. Underhill. Well, he's a poor old half-starved creature.

Frodo: Ah...

[The pony neighs]

Frodo: How did you manage it?

Butterbur: Well, I'm afraid he belonged to Bill Ferny.

Pippin: Who's Bill Ferny?

Butterbur: Oh, he's a bad man, Mr. Took, with an evil name in Breeland. And queer folk call at his house.

Aragorn: And what's worse, I think I saw him creep out of the inn last night, after Mr. Underhill's accident.

Butterbur: Did he now? Then I guess that's how those Black Riders knew you were staying here, and which rooms you were likely to be in.

Aragorn: Barliman's right. It was probably Ferny who sold them news of you. He would sell anything to anybody.

Butterbur: Yeah, and now he's sold me his pony, and for twelve silver pennies, what's more. Which is at least three times what it's worth.

Frodo: Twelve pennies! Oh, I don't think I can afford that, Mr...

Butterbur: Oh, Lord bless you, Mr. Underhill! I've paid for the pony. And I hope as Mr. Brandybuck will accept eighteen pennies more, as payment for his other ponies.

[He pulls out the coins]

Frodo: What?

Merry: Oh, no! No, no, I couldn't, Mr. Butterbur. It - it's not your fault they were stolen.

Butterbur: Strider might not agree about that. Well, anyway! I insist.

[He gives the money to Merry]

Merry: Oh... thank you.

Butterbur: I promised Gandalf I'd do whatever I could for you, and... and so far, I've done precious little to help.

Aragorn: And now, we've delayed long enough. We must start at once. Sam, load up the pony.

Sam: Yes, Mr. Strider!

[Sam straps the baggage to the pony]

Frodo: Well, thank you, Mr. Butterbur. I hope we shall meet again, someday, when things are merry once more. I should like nothing better than to stay in your house in peace for a while.

Butterbur: And I should like nothing better than to have you all.

Aragorn: If Gandalf comes, Barliman, tell him what's happened, and that we are heading for Weathertop...

Butterbur: Yes.

Aragorn: ...and then to Rivendell.

Butterbur: Yes. Yes, I will.

Aragorn: Well, make sure you do. And don't let one thing drive out another this time.

Butterbur: No, no! Of course not. I'll remember all right.

[Sam slaps the pony, who neighs]

Sam: Come on, you miserable old creature. Come on! Come on over here.

[Sam leads the pony]

- - - - -

[The pony walks along the road]

Aragorn: This is where we leave the open road and take to cover.

Pippin: Not a short cut! Our last one nearly got us lost.

Aragorn: Ah, but you had not got Strider with you then. My cuts, short or long, don't go wrong.

Merry: Then, eh... why are we going the wrong way, already?

Aragorn: Quite simply because Bill Ferny would have watched where we left the road, for certain. Though I don't think he will follow us himself. But it is what he may tell the others that I am afraid of. I don't suppose the Riders are far away. We will double-back, soon enough. But if they think we have gone in this direction, so much the better.

- - - - -

Narrator: The next day, they began to steer a steady course eastwards. All was quiet and peaceful. But on the third day out from Bree, they drew near the Midgewater Marshes.

[The hobbits and Aragorn struggle through the watery ground. Midges swarm around them]

Sam: I don't like these Marshes, Mr. Strider!

Aragorn: Nor do I, Sam. Even the Rangers do not have a trail here. So we must be very careful not to lose our way! Much of Midgewater is little more than a shifting quagmire.

Pippin: I'm being eaten alive! Midgewater! There are more midges than water!

Sam: What I want to know is, what do they live on when they can't get hobbit?

[They laugh]

- - - - -

Narrator: The next day, the fourth, was little better. But by the fifth day, they had left the straggling pools and reed-beds of the Marshes behind them. The land before them began steadily to rise. And away in the distance, eastward, they could see a line of hills. The highest of them had a conical top, slightly flattened at the summit.

[The pony walks. A wind blows]

Aragorn: That is Weathertop. We might reach it by noon tomorrow if we go straight towards it. I suppose we had better do so.

Frodo: What do you mean?

Aragorn: I mean, when we do get there, it is not certain what we shall find.

Frodo: Why? What do you fear?

Aragorn: There is of course a faint hope that we may meet with Gandalf there, but I am afraid that if the Riders don't find us in the wilderness, they are likely to make for Weathertop themselves.

Frodo: What do you advise us to do?

Aragorn: I think... I think the best thing is to go straight eastward and make for the line of hills, not for Weathertop. That way, we can come to Weathertop from the North and less openly. Then we shall see what we shall see!

Pippin: But why haven't we seen anything of those Riders, if they're still after us?

Aragorn: They may not yet have had news of us. And not all the birds are to be trusted, and there are other spies more evil than they are.

Sam: You do make me feel uncomfortable and lonesome, Strider!

Aragorn: I am sorry, Sam. But I fear there is little comfort for us, at present.

Merry: Strider, did enemies make these paths to Weathertop?

Aragorn: No, this path was made to serve the Watchtower of Amon Sûl, that once stood upon its top. It was burned and broken by a terrible enemy, who is now but a servant of the Enemy we face. It is told that Elendil stood there watching for the coming of Gil-galad out of the West.

Pippin: When was that?

Aragorn: Long ago, in the days of the Last Alliance between Men and Elves.

Merry: And who was Gil-galad?


Gil-galad was an Elven-king.
Of him the harpers sadly sing:
the last whose realm was fair and free
between the Mountains and the Sea.

His sword was long, his lance was keen,
his shining helm afar was seen;
the countless stars of heaven's field
were mirrored in his silver shield.

But long ago he rode away,
and where he dwelleth none can say;
for into darkness fell his star
in Mordor where the shadows are.

Merry: Oh, don't stop, Sam!

Sam: Well, that's all I know. I learned it from Mr. Bilbo when I was a lad. He used to tell me tales like that, knowing how I was always one for hearing about Elves.

Frodo: Ah! I am learning a lot about Mr. Sam Gamgee on this journey. If we're not careful, he'll end up by becoming a wizard, or a warrior!

Sam: Hoo! I hope not. I don't want to be neither.

Pippin: Fancy old Sam knowing all that history, while I never learned such things.

Sam: L - like I say, it was Mr. Bilbo as taught me. He was mighty book-learned, was old Mr. Bilbo. And he wrote poetry. He wrote what I've just sung.

Aragorn: He did not make it up. It is part of the lay that is called The Fall of Gil-galad, which is in an ancient tongue. Bilbo must have translated it.

Sam: There was a lot more, all about Mordor. I didn't learn that part, it gave me the shivers. I never thought I should be going that way myself!

Pippin: Going to Mordor! I hope it won't come to that!

Aragorn: Do not speak that name so loudly!

Pippin: Sorry, Strider.

- - - - -

Narrator: For the rest of that day, the travellers continued on their way, until they came, at last, to the summit of Weathertop.

[A strong, cold wind blows. They try to catch their breath]

Merry: Well, here we are!

Frodo: Yes.

Merry: And very cheerless and uninviting it looks! There is no water and no shelter. And no sign of Gandalf. Mind you, I don't blame him for not waiting, if he ever came here.

Aragorn: I wonder. Even if he was a day or two behind us at Bree, he could have arrived first. He can ride very swiftly, when pressed.

Pippin: Wouldn't he have waited for us?

Aragorn: I don't know, Pippin. But - what's this?

[Aragorn picks up a rock]

Frodo: Well - it's only a stone.

Aragorn: Yes, but - what do you make of these marks, Frodo?

Frodo: Give it to me. Ehm, well, they're scratches. A stroke, a - a dot, and three more strokes.

Aragorn: It might be a sign left by Gandalf.

Frodo: Ah!

Aragorn: Though one cannot be sure.

Merry: But what would they mean, if Gandalf made them?

Aragorn: Well, the first scratch might be the G-rune for Gandalf. If so, I should say they stood for G3, and were a sign that Gandalf was here on October the third: that is three days ago now. It would also show that he was in a hurry and danger was at hand, so that he had no time or did not dare to write anything longer or plainer.

Frodo: Yes.

Aragorn: I guess that he was attacked on this hilltop, but with what result, I cannot tell. He is here no longer, and we must now look after ourselves, and make our own way to Rivendell, as best we can.

Sam: How far is it to Rivendell?

Aragorn: It must be twelve days from here to the Ford of Bruinen, where the Road crosses the Loudwater that runs out of Rivendell. In all, we have at least a fortnight's journey before us.

Frodo: A fortnight! A lot may happen in that time.

Aragorn: Yes, it may.

Frodo: Look.

Aragorn: Get down - all of you!

[A Black Rider screams far below]

Frodo: What is it?

Aragorn: I don't know, but I fear the worst.

Pippin: What do you mean?

[It screams again]

Aragorn: I mean, I think it is the enemy.

Sam: Then hadn't we better clear out quick, Mr. Strider?

Aragorn: We must certainly decide what to do at once. We cannot reach anywhere before nightfall.

Frodo: Is there no escape, then? I, mean, eh - if I move, I shall be seen and hunted. And if I stay, I - I shall draw them to me!

Aragorn: There is still hope, Frodo! We must find a dell on the hillside and camp there, and we must build a fire. These Riders fear fire and those who wield it. Fire is our friend in the wilderness.

Sam: Maybe. It is also as good a way of saying "here we are" as I can think of, bar shouting.

- - - - -

[A fire crackles. The hobbits and Aragorn eat]

Merry: Strider, tell us of Gil-galad. Ehm, do you know any more of that old verse you spoke of?

Aragorn: I do indeed, Merry. And so does Frodo, for it concerns us closely.

Frodo: Oh, I... I only know the little Gandalf told me. Gil-galad was the last of the great elf-kings of Middle-earth. Gil-galad is Starlight in their tongue. Now, with Elendil, the Elf-friend, he went to the land of Mo -

Aragorn: No! I do not think that tale should be told now with the servants of the Enemy at hand.

Frodo: No.

Sam: Well, then tell us some other tale of the old days, a tale about Elves before the fading time. I would dearly like to hear more about Elves; the dark seems to press round so close.

Aragorn: I will tell you the tale of Beren and Lúthien, in brief - for it is a long tale of which the end is not known; and there are none now, except Elrond, that remember it aright as it was told of old. Lúthien was the daughter of Thingol, the King of the Elves upon Middle-earth when the world was young. And she was the fairest maiden that has ever been among all the children of the world. As the stars above the mist of the Northern Lands was her loveliness, and in her face was a shining light. Now, Beren was a mortal man who came once to the hidden kingdom of Thingol. And there he beheld Lúthien singing and dancing in a glade of the forest of Neldoreth; and he named her Tinúviel, that is Nightingale in the language of old. Many sorrows befell them afterwards and they were parted long. Tinúviel rescued Beren from the dungeons of Sauron, and together they passed through great danger. Yet, at the last, Beren was slain, and died in the arms of Tinúviel. But she chose mortality, and to die from this world, so that she might follow him. And it is sung that they met again beyond the Sundering Seas. And after a brief time walking alive once more in the green woods, together they passed, long ago, beyond the confines of this world. So it is that Lúthien Tinúviel alone of the Elf-kindred has died indeed and left the world, and they have lost her whom they most loved.

Pippin: Look! The moon is rising: it must be getting late.

Sam: I don't know why, Mr. Strider. But I'm afraid.

[Black Riders breathe and sigh in the distance]

Aragorn: Keep close to the fire, with your faces outward! Get some of the longer sticks in your hands!

Merry: Why? What is it?

[Aragorn hushes him]

Frodo: No...

Pippin: What's that?

[Frodo moans]

[The Black Riders begin to chant the Ring inscription:

Ash nazg durbatulúk, ash nazg gimbatul,
ash nazg thrakatulûk agh burzum-ishi krimpatul.]

Lord of the Nazgûl:

One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.

[Frodo moans and the Riders chant: The Ring! The Ring!]

Lord of the Nazgûl: Put on the Ring. Put on the Ring.

Frodo: The Ring!

[Frodo slips the Ring on]

Sam: Mr. Frodo! W - where are you? Where have you gone?

[The Black Riders sigh]

Frodo: Ah! I see you now! I see you!

[The Witch-king pulls out his sword]

Lord of the Nazgûl: The Ring!

[Frodo is stabbed]

Frodo: No!

[He screams]

Frodo: A Elbereth! Gilthoniel!

[He screams again. A flaming torch whips through the air]

Aragorn: Back! Back! Get back!

[The Riders retreat; their sighs fading away. Frodo removes the Ring]

Frodo: Strider... Strider...

Merry: Have they gone?

Aragorn: Yes, Merry. But not for long, I fear. There were only five of them. Why were then not all here? I don't know. But I do not think they expected to be resisted.

Sam: W - what have they done to Mr. Frodo?

Aragorn: He is wounded, Sam. I fear they believe that wound will subdue him to their will.

[Sam cries]

Aragorn: We shall see. Don't despair! You must trust me now. Your Frodo is made of sterner stuff than I guessed. Though Gandalf hinted that it might prove so. He is not slain. And I think he will resist the evil power of the wound longer than his enemies expect.

[Frodo groans]

Frodo: Where is the pale king? I saw him; I saw all of them. I saw their helms of silver and their swords of steel. I saw their pale faces. And those terrible eyes!

Pippin: Look! Over there.

Frodo: Hm?

Pippin: A cloak!

Sam: I'll fetch it, Mr. Frodo.

Frodo: Ah! It's his! It - it's his! It's his!

Aragorn: Let me see. Yes, look. Here is where Frodo's sword went in. But a cut in the cloak is the hurt that it did to this enemy, I fear. For the sword itself is unharmed. And all blades perish that pierce the dreadful King. More deadly to him was the name of Elbereth Gilthoniel, the Star-queen of old. And more deadly to Frodo was this!

[Frodo gasps]

Sam: Who's knife is that, Mr. Strider?

Aragorn: I believe it belongs to the one who attacked Frodo. It was this knife that gave him the wound. Ah! And its point has been broken off!

[The sword dissolves away]

Sam: Mr. Strider, look!

Merry: The blade! It's - it's melting!

Aragorn: Yes. It is an evil and accursed weapon, and few have the skill in healing wounds that that makes. Frodo?

[Frodo gasps loudly]

Aragorn: Frodo, we must go at once. We are in great peril here and we can hardly meet greater danger where-ever we go.

Frodo: Yes...

- - - - -

Narrator: The travellers started off in a southerly direction, and made their way slowly and cautiously. But there was no sign of the Riders. For days, they struggled on. And with each day that passed, Frodo's pain worsened.

[The hobbits struggle as they walk]

Merry: It's no good. We can't go any further! I'm afraid this has been too much for Frodo. I am dreadfully anxious about him. What are we to do? Do you think they will be able to heal him in Rivendell, if we ever get there?

Aragorn: We shall see, Merry. It's chiefly because of Frodo's wound that I am so anxious to press on. But I agree. We can go no further today.

Sam: But what is the matter with my master? His wound was small, and it's already closed. And there's nothing to be seen but a cold white mark on his shoulder.

Aragorn: Frodo has been touched by the weapons of the Enemy, and there is some poison or evil at work that is beyond my skill to drive out. But don't give up hope, Sam!

Pippin: But how long is it going to take us to get to Rivendell if we keep on trying to get through these pathless hills?

Aragorn: You're right, Pippin. Tomorrow, we must make for the Road again, whatever danger must beset us. The Road is our only way to the Ford.

- - - - -

Narrator: Back on the Road, they saw no sign of any other travellers. There being now no possible course for them to take, they trod the Road as fast as they could. As the shadows of early evening lengthened, a cold wind flowed down to meet them from the mountains ahead. Suddenly, they heard a sound that brought fear back into their hearts.

[A wind blows. Horse-hooves gallop down the Road towards them in the distance]

Aragorn: A horse! Quick, get off the Road!

[They run into the surrounding foliage]

Sam: Now then, Bill! Don't go throwin' Mr. Frodo off.

[Bill neighs]

Frodo: Bill? Who's Bill, Sam?

Sam: Why, it's the pony, sir. I named him after his old master, Bill Ferny.

[Frodo laughs]

Sam: Though perhaps that's insulting the poor creature.

Aragorn: Quiet! Get down.

[The horse grows nearer. Bells tinkle]

Frodo: That... that doesn't sound like a Black Rider's horse.

Aragorn: No. But we shall see. It's a white horse. Why, it's Glorfindel. Glorfindel! Glorfindel! Wait!

[The horse stops. Glorfindel is out of breath]

Glorfindel: Ai na vedui Dúnadan! Mae Govannen!

Pippin: It's an Elf!

Sam: So, that's an Elf!

Aragorn: It's all right! It's quite safe. This is Glorfindel, who lives in the house of Elrond Half-elven, at Rivendell.

Frodo: Elen síla lúmenn' omentielvo.

Glorfindel: Hail, and well met at last, Frodo! I was sent from Rivendell to look for you. We feared that you were in danger upon the Road.

Frodo: Ah! Then Gandalf has reached Rivendell?

Glorfindel: No. He had not when I departed; but that was several days ago. No, we learned that the Nine were abroad and that you were astray bearing a great burden without guidance. But come! There is no time for further news! There are five Riders behind us, and where the other four may be, I do not know. I fear that we may find the Ford is already held against us. But we must risk the peril and go on.

Sam: Look! My master is sick and wounded. He can't go on riding after nightfall. He needs rest.

Aragorn: Frodo has been wounded by a very evil weapon, Glorfindel.

Glorfindel: Then he shall ride my horse. His pace is light and smooth, and if danger presses too near, he will bear him away at a speed that even the black steeds of the enemy cannot rival.

Frodo: No, he will not! For I shall not ride him, if I am to be carried off to Rivendell, or anywhere else leaving my friends behind in danger.

Glorfindel: I doubt very much if your friends would be in danger if you were not with them. It is you, Frodo, and that which you bear that brings us all into danger.

Frodo: Ah, yes...

- - - - -

Glorfindel: The Ford of Bruinen is before us now, and our peril is at its greatest. For my heart warns me that the pursuit is now swift behind us, and other dangers may be waiting at the Ford.

Pippin: I'm too tired to care about any dangers.

Merry: We can't go on much further!

Aragorn: My dear hobbits, we must. Come on!

[The bells tinkle as Glorfindel's horse begins to walk]

Sam: It won't be long now, Mr. Frodo, sir.

Frodo: Oh, Sam...

Pippin: Oh, behind us! Look!

Glorfindel: Fly, Frodo! Fly! The enemy is upon us!

[Asfaloth neighs]

Glorfindel: Ride forward, Frodo! Ride!

Aragorn: They are holding him with their will, Glorfindel.

[The Black Riders grow steadily louder]

Glorfindel: Ride on! Ride on! Noro lim, noro lim, Asfaloth!

[Asfaloth runs forward]

Glorfindel: The other Riders are at the Ford! Ride on! Do not stop!

Rider: The Ring! The Ring! The Ring!

[The Riders chant:

Ash nazg durbatulúk, ash nazg gimbatul,
ash nazg thrakatulûk agh burzum-ishi krimpatul.]

[Frodo crosses the Ford and reaches the other side]

Frodo: Go back! Go back to the land of Mordor and follow me no more!

The Riders: The Ring! The Ring!

[Frodo unsheathes his sword]

Frodo: By Elbereth and Lúthien the Fair, you shall have neither the Ring nor me!

The Riders: Ash Nazg! Ash Nazg! Ash Nazg!

[The water rises to a roar]

Frodo: The river... the river is rising!

[The Riders cry out]

Frodo: I am falling! I am falling! Help me!

- - - - -

[Frodo wakes, startled]

Frodo: What a hideous dream. Where am I? Where am I? What is the time?

Gandalf: In the House of Elrond, and it is ten o'clock in the morning.

Frodo: Eh... Gandalf!

Gandalf: Yes, I am here. And you are lucky to be here, too, after all the absurd things you've done since you've left home.

Frodo: Ah, w - where's Sam? And... and are the others all right?

Gandalf: Yes, they are all safe and sound. Sam was here, until I sent him off to get some rest, about half an hour ago.

Frodo: What... what happened, at the Ford? It - it all seemed so dim somehow; it still does.

Gandalf: Yes, it would. You were beginning to fade. The wound which you recieved on Weathertop was overcoming you at last. A few more hours, and you would have been beyond our aid. If only you had held out, and not slipped the Ring on your finger.

Frodo: How do you know that?

Gandalf: You've talked long in your sleep, Frodo.

Frodo: Oh, I...

Gandalf: Don't worry! Though I said "absurd" just now, I didn't mean it. I think well of you - and the others. It's no small feat to have come so far and through such dangers, still bearing the Ring.

Frodo: We should never have done it without Strider. Oh, but we needed you! I did not know what to do without you.

Gandalf: I was delayed, and that nearly our ruin. Yet, I am not sure; it may have been better so.

Frodo: I wish you would tell me what happened! Why were you delayed?

Gandalf: You will soon hear all you wish to know. We shall have a Counsil as soon as you are well enough. At the moment I will only say that I was held captive.

Frodo: You?

Gandalf: Yes, I, Gandalf the Grey. There are many powers in the world, for good or for evil. Some are greater than I am. Against some I have not yet been measured. But my time is coming. The Morgul-lord and his Black Riders have come forth. War is preparing!

Frodo: Then you knew of the Riders already - before I met them?

Gandalf: Yes, I knew of them. The Black Riders are the Ringwraithes I once spoke to you of, the Nine servants of the Lord of the Rings. But I did not know that they had arisen again or I should have fled with you at once. For the moment we have been saved from disaster, by Aragorn.

Frodo: Yes, yes - it was Strider that saved us.

[He laughs to himself]

Frodo: I have become very fond of him. Well, fond is not quite the right word. I - I mean he is dear to me; though he is strange, and grim at times. In fact, he reminds me often of you.

Gandalf: There are few left in Middle-earth like Aragorn son of Arathorn. The race of the Kings from over the Sea is nearly at an end.

Frodo: Huh?

Gandalf: Yes, it may be that this War of the Ring will be their last adventure.

Frodo: Do you really mean that Strider is one of the people of the Old Kngs? I - I thought they had all vanished long ago. I - I thought he was only a Ranger.

Gandalf: Only a Ranger! My dear Frodo, that is just what the Rangers are: the last remnant in the North of the great people, the Men of the West.

Frodo: Ah!

Gandalf: They have helped me before; and I shall need their help in the days to come. We have reached Rivendell, but the Ring is not yet at rest.

Frodo: No, I suppose not. But I hope I shan't have to go any further. I have had a month of exile and adventure, and I find that has been as much as I want.

[Gandalf laughs softly and grimly]

Gandalf: Now! How do the side and shoulder feel?

Frodo: Well, I - I can move my arm again, a little. It - it's coming back to life. It is no longer cold.

Gandalf: Good! Elrond has cured you: he had tended you for days, ever since you were brought in.

Frodo: But... days?

Gandalf: Well, four nights and three days, to be exact. We've been terribly anxious. They tried to pierce your heart with a Morgul-knife. If they'd succeeded, you would have become a wraith, like them, only weaker, under the dominion of the Dark Lord Sauron. A splinter from the knife was deeply bedded in your side and working inwards. But Elrond removed it.

[Frodo shudders]

Gandalf: Ah, don't be alarmed! It's gone now.

Frodo: Oh. What about Rivendell and the Elves? Is it safe here?

Gandalf: Until all else is conquered. There is a power here to withstand the might of Mordor, for a while: and elsewhere other powers still dwell.

Frodo: And the Black Riders? Were they drowned in the flood?

Gandalf: No. Their horses must have perished, and without them, they are crippled. But the Ringwraithes themselves cannot be so easily destroyed.

Frodo: But we are safe now?

Gandalf: Yes. Yes. You are all safe - for the present. Soon, there will be feasting and merry-making to celebrate the victory at the Ford of Bruinen. And you will all be there, in places of honour.

Frodo: Ah, splendid! It is wonderful that Elrond and Glorfindel and such great lords, not to mention Strider should take so much trouble, and show me so much kindness.

Gandalf: Well, there are many reasons why they should. I am one reason. The Ring is another: you are the Ring-bearer. And you are the heir of Bilbo, the Ring-finder.

Frodo: Oh, dear Bilbo! I wonder where he is. I wish he was here and could hear all about it. It would have made him laugh.

[They laugh]

Gandalf: You miss Bilbo greatly, do you not?

Frodo: Yes, I would rather see him than all the towers and palaces in the world.

- - - - -

[Someone knocks at the door. Frodo stands and opens it]

Frodo: Sam!

Sam: Mr. Frodo, sir! It's so good to so good to see you up and in yourself again.

[Frodo laughs]

Sam: Oh, your hand! It's - it's warm!

Frodo: What...?

Sam: It's been so cold during those long nights. But glory and trumpets! When Gandalf asked me to come and see if you were ready to come down, I thought he was joking.

[Frodo laughs again]

Frodo: I am ready, Sam. Let's go and look for the rest of the party, yes?

Sam: Right, sir!

- - - - -

[A brook trickles. Birds sing]

Merry: Here is our noble cousin!

Pippin: Make way for Frodo, Lord of the Ring!

Gandalf: Hush! We should not name evil things here. The Lord of the Rings is not Frodo, but the master of the Dark Tower of Mordor, whose power is again stretching out over the world! We are sitting in a fortress. Outside it is getting dark.

Pippin: Gandalf's been saying a lot of cheerful things like that. He thinks I need keeping in order. But, oh - it seems impossible somehow to feel gloomy or depressed in this place. Oh, I feel I could sing!

[Frodo laughs]

Frodo: I feel like singing, myself, Pippin. Though at the moment I feel more like eating and drinking!

[Pippin laughs]

Gandalf: That will soon be cured. Elrond has commanded a high feast tonight, and you are to sit with him at his table.

Merry: And after the feast, there's the story-telling. You'll hear some grand old tales here, Frodo.

- - - - -

[A fireplace crackles]

Gandalf: This is the Hall of Fire, the place of songs and stories that Merry spoke of. But except on high days it usually stands empty and quiet. People come here who wish for peace.

Frodo: There's one over there who seems to have found it!

[Gandalf laughs]

Gandalf: The little figure sleeping by the fire, you mean?

Frodo: Yes.

Gandalf: Come! Let us disturb his slumbers.

[Bilbo's breathing is slow in sleep]

Gandalf: Awake, little master!

[Bilbo wakes]

Gandalf: Come, Frodo. This is the hour you've wished for. Here is a friend that you've long missed.

Bilbo: Hullo, Frodo my lad!

Frodo: Ah! Bilbo!

Bilbo: So, you've got here at last. I hoped you'd manage it. Well, well! So all this feasting is in your honour, I hear. I hope you enjoyed yourself?

Frodo: Yes! But why weren't you there? And why haven't I been allowed to see you before?

Gandalf: Because you were asleep, Frodo. But he saw you, all right. He sat by your bedside with Sam each day. But I know you'll want to be left alone together, with your stories. Don't keep him up too long, Bilbo!

Bilbo: I won't Gandalf! You can be sure of that.

[Gandalf's footsteps are heard as he exits]

Frodo: But, eh... eh - tell me! How did you come here?

Bilbo: Oh, it was no great adventure. I found my way here, and here I've been. I shan't travel again. I've done this and that; I've written some more of my book. Time doesn't seem to pass here. It just is. A remarkable place altogether. I hear all kinds of news, from over the Mountains, and out of the South, but hardly anything from the Shire. I heard about the Ring, of course. Fancy it causing such a disturbance!

Frodo: Yes.

Bilbo: It's a pity that Gandalf didn't find out more sooner. I could have brought the thing here long ago without so much trouble. I've thought several times of going back to Hobbiton to fetch it. But you know what Gandalf said?

Frodo: No?

Bilbo: "The Ring has passed on, Bilbo. It would do no good to you or to others, if you tried to meddle with it again." It's an odd sort of remark, just like Gandalf. Have you got it here, with you? I can't help feeling curious, you know, after all I've heard. I should very much like to peep at it again.

Frodo: Yes, I've got it. It - it looks just the same as ever it did.

Bilbo: But I... I should just like to see it for a moment.

Frodo: Oh... very well. Here.

Bilbo: Let me hold it. Just for a moment.

Frodo: No.

Bilbo: But it's mine. I found it. Give it to me!

Frodo: No, Bilbo!

Bilbo: My - my birthday present! Thief! Thief, thief, th - we've lost it, my - my precious! It's gone! Gollum, gollum! Gollum, gollum!

Frodo: Bilbo! Bilbo!

[Bilbo catches his breath]

Bilbo: I understand, now. Put it away.

Frodo: Yes.

Bilbo: I'm sorry. Sorry you have to come in for this burden: I'm sorry about everything. Don't adventures ever have an end? I suppose not. Someone else always has to carry on the story. But, don't let's worry about it now - let's have some real news! Tell me... tell me all about the Shire!

[Footsteps approach]

Frodo: Well it's - it's so difficult to know where to begin! I... oh, but here's Strider!

Bilbo: Strider? I've never heard him called that before. He's Dúnadan.

Aragorn: They call me Strider in Bree, and that is how I was introduced to him. But are you fully recovered, Frodo? Gandalf told me you were on your feet again.

Frodo: Yes, a little thinner, perhaps, but my arm has healed.

Bilbo: Where have you been, my friend? Why weren't you at the feast?

Aragorn: Often I have to put mirth aside. There were tidings out of the wild that concerned me.

Bilbo: The Lady Arwen was there.

Aragorn: So I have been told. And now that I have seen Frodo's recovery with my own eyes, I am going to find her. Until tomorrow, at the Great Counsil!

Frodo: Yes.

[Aragorn walks away]

Frodo: Bilbo, why do you call him Dúnadan?

Bilbo: The Dúnadan. I thought you knew enough Elvish at least to know Dúnadan: Man of the West, Númenorean.

Frodo: Ah. A - and Arwen, who is she?

Bilbo: Oh, the Lady Arwen. Well, surely you saw her at the feast?

Frodo: There was one Lady. She sat alone under a great canopy. I had never believed such loveliness could exist on earth. And... and she -

Bilbo: She is loved by Aragorn.

Frodo: I see! But who is she?

Bilbo: She is the daughter of Elrond and Celebrían. And like all of her line, she had the life of Eldar. For many hundreds of years, she dwelt in Lórien, in contentment, before she met Aragorn, or Strider, as you call him. To marry him, she must renounce her immortality. And her father, Elrond, had decreed that she shall not be the bride of any man less than King of both Gondor and Arnor.

Frodo: Strider? Become a king?

Bilbo: Well, it's not so remote a possibility as you might imagine.

Sam: Oh, Mr. Baggins!

Bilbo: Ah, well, what is it, Sam?

Sam: I - I've come for Mr. Frodo, sir, beggin' your pardon. He only got up today, for the first time, and there's... there's a counsel meeting early tomorrow.

Frodo: Oh, yes.

Bilbo: Quite right, Sam! Quite right. Ah, well! Good-night, Frodo.

Frodo: Good-night.

Bilbo: I'll take a walk, I think, and look at the stars of Elbereth in the garden. Sleep well!

- - - - -

[Footsteps walk towards each-other]

Elrond: Welcome. Welcome. Come, Frodo! Sit here by my side. Here, my friends, is the hobbit, Frodo son of Drogo. Few have ever come hither through greater peril or on an errand more urgent.

Gandalf: No, indeed.

Elrond: Frodo, Strider and Glorfindel are already well-known to you. This is Gimli son of Glóin, of the Dwarves. Who was comrade to Bilbo in the quest for Smaug's treasure-hoard.

[Bilbo laughs]

Elrond: And this is Legolas son of Thranduil, the King of the Elves of Northern Mirkwood.

Frodo: Honored to meet you.

Elrond: And this is Boromir, a man from the South.

Boromir: Yes.

Elrond: He arrived in the grey morning, and seeks for counsel. I have bidden him be present, for here his questions will be answered. So! We are all met and there is much for us to debate, and each has something to tell. Gimli son of Glóin, speak first.

Gimli: I have come hither for counsel, for my people are deeply troubled. It's now nearly a year since a messenger came in the night to my father. He came from Mordor...

Messenger: The Lord Sauron the Great desires your friendship. Rings he will give for it, such as he gave of old. But he needs news from you. News of the creatures called Hobbits, for one of these was known to you on a time. Find this hobbit-thief, and get from him, willing or no, a little ring, the least of rings, that once he stole. It is but a trifle that Sauron fancies. Find it, and the three rings that the Dwarf-sires possessed of old shall be returned to you. And Moria - the realm of your fathers shall be yours for ever!

Gimli: ...twice the messenger has returned, and gone unanswered. The third and last time is to come before the ending of the year. And so I have been sent by my father to crave the advise of Elrond.

Elrond: You have done well to come. You will learn that your trouble is but part of the trouble of all the western world. The Ring! What shall we do with the Ring? The least of rings - the trifle that Sauron fancies? First, so that all may understand what is the peril, the tale of the Ring shall be told from the beginning, even to this present. And I will begin this tale, though others shall end it.

Narrator: A part of this tale was known to some there, but the full tale was known to none. It was a long tale full of deeds great and terrible, and the sun rode up the sky and morning was passed ere Elrond ceased.

Boromir: So this is what became of the Ring! Isildur took it. That is tidings indeed!

Elrond: Isildur took it, Boromir, as should not have been. It should have been cast then into Orodruin's fire, where it was made. But Isildur would not listen to our counsel. But soon he was betrayed by it, to his death. And so it is named in the North Isildur's Bane.

Gimli: But what of Sauron?

Elrond: His power was diminished, but not destroyed. His Ring was lost, but not unmade. The race of Númenor decayed and only Gondor endured.

Boromir: Give me leave, Master Elrond, to speak of Gondor, for I am the son of Denethor, Steward of Gondor who holds the citadel of Minas Tirith until the King shall return. We are hard beset by the Enemy, whose power grows ever mightier. Only the River now lies between us and the dark powers of Mordor. Those who shelter behind us give much praise, but little help. Only from Rohan now will any men ride to us, when we call. In this evil hour, I have come on an errand over many dangerous leagues to Elrond. I come not for allies, but for wisdom, counsel, and the unravelling of hard words. On the eve of the last assault on Minas Tirith, a dream came to my brother, Faramir, in a troubled sleep, and afterwards, to me. In that dream I thought the eastern sky grew dark and there was growing thunder, but in the West a pale light lingered, and out of it I heard a voice, remote but clear...

[A voice cries out:

Seek for the Sword that was broken:
In Imladris it dwells;
There shall be counsels taken
Stronger than Morgul-spells.
There shall be shown a token
That Doom is near at hand,
For Isildur's Bane shall waken,
And the Halfling forth shall stand. ]

Boromir: Denethor, my father, told me that Imladris was Rivendell, where Elrond the Half-elven dwelt, greatest of lore-masters. So to the House of Elrond have I come to seek the meaning of the dream.

Aragorn: And here in the House of Elrond your dream shall be made clear to you.

[He draws his sword and casts in on the table]

Aragorn: Here is the Sword that was Broken!

Boromir: And who are you, and what have you to do with Minas Tirith?

Elrond: He is Aragorn son of Arathorn, and he is descended through many fathers from Isildur Elendil.

Aragorn: The sword was broken beneath him when he fell. It has been treasured by his heirs when all other heirlooms were lost. For it was spoken of old among us that it should be made again when the Ring - Isildur's Bane was found. And now that hour has come. The sword shall be reforged and I will come to Minas Tirith! Isildur's Bane is found.

Boromir: How may this be? Where is it?

Gandalf: Bring out the Ring, Frodo! The time has come. Hold it up, and then Boromir will understand the remainder of his riddle.

Frodo: Very well. Here it is!

Elrond: Behold Isildur's Bane!

Boromir: The Halfling! But Isildur perished ere this age of the world began, they say. How do the Wise know that this Ring is his, and how had it passed down the years until it is brought hither by so strange a messenger?

Elrond: That shall be told.

Bilbo: But not yet, I beg, Master! Already the sun is climbing to noon, and I feel the need of something to strengthen me.

Elrond: I had not named you, Bilbo. But I do so now. Come! Tell us your tale. The briefer, the sooner you shall be refreshed.

Bilbo: Very well. I will do as you bid.

Narrator: To some there Bilbo's tale was wholly new, and they listened while the old hobbit recounted his adventure with Gollum.

Boromir: A strange tale, indeed! But still, this is not proof. How came Gollum by the Ring?

Gandalf: He found it in the Great River nigh to the Gladden Fields where Isildur fell.

Boromir: And where is this Gollum now?

Legolas: He was in prison, watched over by the Elves of Mirkwood. But he has escaped through their kindness and his cunning. These tidings I were sent to tell you.

Gandalf: They were already known. But you are most welcome here, Legolas.

Gimli: Master Elrond, may I speak? What is this Ring of which we've heard so much? What is its worth above the other Rings of Power?

Gandalf: Upon this Ring, which you have seen here, held aloft, there are letters which may be read if one has the strength of will to set the golden thing in the fire, a while. That I have done and this I have read:

Ash nazg durbatulúk, ash nazg gimbatul,
ash nazg thrakatulûk agh burzum-ishi krimpatul.

Elrond: Never before has any voice dared to utter the words of that tongue in Imladris, Gandalf the Grey.

Gandalf: And let us hope that none will ever speak it here again. Yet if that tongue is not soon to be heard in every corner of the West, then let all put doubt aside that this thing is indeed what the Wise have declared: the treasure of the Enemy; and in it lies a great part of his strength of old. Know then the words on the Ring:

One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.

Here we all are, and here is the Ring. But we've not yet come any nearer to our purpose. What shall we do with it?

Gimli: It seems to me that we have three choices: to keep the Ring from Sauron, to send it over the Sea, or to destroy it.

Elrond: There is not the strength in us to withstand the Enemy. Now, at this last, we must take a hard road, a road unforeseen. There lies our only hope; to walk in peril to Mordor. We must send the Ring to the Fire.

Boromir: I don't understand all this! Why do you speak ever of hiding and destroying? Why should we not think that the Great Ring has come into our hands to serve us in the very hour of our need? Let the Ring be your weapon. If it has such power as you say, take it and go forth to victory!

Elrond: Alas, no. We cannot use the Ruling Ring. It belongs to Sauron and was made by him alone, and is altogether evil. Its strength, Boromir, is too great for anyone to wield at will. If any of the Wise should with this Ring overthrow the Lord of Mordor, he would then set himself on Sauron's throne, and yet another Dark Lord would appear. As long as the Ring is in the world, it will be a danger even to the Wise.

Gimli: What of the Three Rings of the Elves? What would happen to them if the Ruling Ring were destroyed?

Elrond: We know not for certain. Some hope that the Three Rings, which Sauron never touched, would then become free, and their rulers might heal the hurts of the world that he hath wrought. But maybe when the One has gone, the Three will fail, and many fair things will fade and be forgotten. That is my belief. Yet all the Elves are willing to endure this chance, if by it the power of Sauron may be broken, and the fear of his dominion be taken away for ever.

Boromir: So we return once more to the destroying of the Ring. What strength have we for finding the Fire in which it was made?

Gandalf: We have one great advantage. The only measure known to Sauron is desire, desire for power. Into his heart the thought will not enter that any will refuse it, that having the Ring we may seek to destroy it. If we seek this, we shall put him out of reckoning.

Elrond: At least for a while. The road must be trod, but it will be hard. And neither strength nor wisdom will carry us far upon it. This quest may be attempted by the weak with as much hope as the strong. Yet such is oft the course of deeds that move the wheels of the world: small hands do them because they must, while the eyes of the great are elsewhere.

Bilbo: Very well, very well, Master Elrond! Say no more! It's plain enough what you're pointing at. Bilbo the silly hobbit started this affair, and Bilbo had better finish it, or himself.

[Gandalf laughs]

Bilbo: When ought I to start?

Gandalf: My dear Bilbo. If you had really started this affair, you might be expected to finish it. But you know well enough that starting is too great a claim for any, and that only a small part is played in great deeds by any hero.

Bilbo: Yes, but Gandalf...

Gandalf: We do not doubt that you are making a valiant offer, but one beyond your strength, Bilbo. You cannot take this thing back. It has passed on. If you need my advice any longer, I should say that your part is ended.

Bilbo: I have never known you give me pleasant advice before. But tell me, if not me, well, then who?

[The noon-bell rings]

Frodo: I, Frodo son of Drogo will take the Ring, though I do not know the way.



Frodo: I, Frodo, son of Drogo will take the Ring, though I do not know the way.

Elrond: If I understand aright all that I have heard, I think that the task is appointed for you, Frodo; and that if you do not find a way, no one will. This is the hour of the Shire-folk, when they arise from their quiet fields to shake the towers and counsels of the Great. But it is a heavy burden. So heavy that none could lay it on another. I do not lay it on you. But if you take it freely, I will say that your choice is right.

[A chair is pushed aside and members of the Counsil mutter in surprise]

Sam: But you won't send him off alone surely, Master Elrond?

Elrond: No indeed, Sam Gamgee! You at least shall go with him. It is hardly possible to seperate you from him, even when he is summoned to a secret council and you are not.

Sam: It's a nice pickle we've landed ourselves in, Mr. Frodo!

- - - - -

Narrator: The hobbits were nearly two months in the House of Elrond. Health and hope grew strong in them, and they were content with each new day as it came. Autumn waned. A wind began to blow chill from the Misty Mountains to the east. The Hunter's Moon waxed round in the sky, and put to flight all the lesser stars. But low in the South one star shone red. Every night, it shone brighter and brighter. Frodo could see it from his window, deep in the heavens burning like a watchful eye. December was passing, when Elrond summoned the hobbits to him.

Elrond: The time has come. Our scouts have returned. It would seem that the Ringwraithes are scattered, and have gone empty and shapeless back to the Dark Lord. Who knows how long it will be before they find new steeds? If the Ring is to set out, it must go soon. But those who go with it must not count on their errand being aided by war or force. They must pass into the domain of the Enemy far from aid. Do you still hold to your word, Frodo, that you will be the Ring-bearer?

Frodo: I do. And Sam Gamgee will go with me.

Elrond: I can not help you much, not even with counsel. I can foresee very little of your road; and how the task is to be achieved I do not know. But I will choose your companions to go with you, as far as they will or fortune allows. The number must be few, since your hope is in speed and secrecy. The Company of the Ring shall be Nine; and the Nine Walkers shall be set against the Nine Riders that are evil. With you and your faithful servant, Gandalf will go; for this shall be his great task, and maybe the end of his labours. For the rest, they shall represent the other Free Peoples of the World: Elves, Dwarves, and Men. Legolas shall be for the Elves; and Gimli son of Gloin for the Dwarves. They are willing to go at least to the passes of the Mountains, and perhaps beyond. For Men you shall have Aragorn son of Arathorn, for the Ring of Isildur concerns him closely.

Frodo: Strider!

Aragorn: Yes, I ask leave once again to be your companion, Frodo.

Frodo: I would have begged you to come, only I thought you were going to Minas Tirith with Boromir.

Aragorn: I am. But your road and our road lie together for many hundreds of miles. Therefore Boromir will also bo one of the Company. He is a valiant man.

Elrond: There remain two more to be found. These I will consider. Of my household I may find some that it seems good to me to send.

Pippin: But - but that will leave no place for Merry and me! We don't want to be left behind. We want to go with Frodo.

Elrond: That is because you do not understand and cannot imagine what lies ahead.

Gandalf: Neither does Frodo. Nor does any one of us see clearly. I think, Elrond, that in this matter it would be well to trust rather to their friendship than to great wisdom. Even if you chose for us an elf-lord, such as Glorfindel, he could not storm the Dark Tower, nor open the road to the Fire by the power that is in him.

Elrond: You speak gravely, but I am in doubt. The Shire is not now free from peril; I had thought to send these two back to warn the people of their danger. In any case, I judge that the younger of these two, Peregrin Took, should remain. My heart is against his going.

Pippin: Then you will have to lock me in prison, or send me home tied in a sack. For otherwise I will follow the Company.

[Frodo laughs quietly and Elrond sighs]

Elrond: Let it be so then. You shall go. Now the tale of Nine is filled. In seven days the Company must depart.

- - - - -

Narrator: The Sword of Elendil was forged anew by Elvish smiths, and on its blade was traced a device of seven stars set between the crescent Moon and the rayed Sun, and about them was written many runes. And Aragorn gave it a a new name and called it Andúril, Flame of the West.

Bilbo: Frodo...

Frodo: Yes?

Bilbo: ...your sword was broken at the Ford of Bruinen. I took it to keep it safe but I forgot to ask if the smiths could mend it. There's no time now. So, I thought perhaps you would care to have this.

[A sword is drawn]

Bilbo: Now, this is Sting. I got it from the trolls on the way to Smaug's Mountain. Take it, if you like. I don't suppose I shall want it again.

Frodo: Thank you. I will guard it well.

Bilbo: Also, there's this!

[Bilbo unwraps the shirt of mail]

Bilbo: It is a pretty thing, isn't it? And useful. It's my dwarf-mail that Thorin gave me. I brought all the mementoes of my Journey away with me. But I - I don't need it now, except to look at sometimes. You hardly feel any weight when you put it on.

Frodo: Well I, but... but I should loo... well, I - I don't think I should look right in it.

Bilbo: That's just what I said myself. But never mind about looks. You can wear it under your outer clothes. But don't tell anybody else! I should feel happier if I knew you were wearing it. I have a fancy it would turn even the knives of the Black Riders.

Frodo: Very well, I will take it.

[Frodo takes the mail shirt]

Frodo: Bilbo?

Bilbo: Hm?

Frodo: I - I cannot thank you as I should, for this, and all your past kindnesses.

Bilbo: Oh, don't try, don't try! I'd hoped you might be able to help me with my book. Have you thought of an ending, yet?

[Frodo laughs]

Frodo: Yes, several, and they're all dark and unpleasant.

Bilbo: Oh, now that won't at all! Books ought to have good endings. Now how would this do: and they all settled down and lived together happily ever after?

[They both laugh]

Frodo: It will do very well, if it ever comes to that.

- - - - -

[Wind is blowing. A horn cries out]

Elrond: Slow should you be to wind that horn again, Boromir, until you stand once more on the borders of your land, and dire need is on you.

Boromir: Maybe. But always have I let my horn cry at setting forth as a sign to the foes of Gondor, and though thereafter we may walk in shadows, I will not go forth as a thief in the night.

Elrond: Be that as it may, you should all of you fear the many eyes of the servants of Sauron.

Gandalf: Well-counseled, Master Elrond. We will be vigilant.

Elrond: And have you all you need for your long journey: food, clothes, and blankets?

Gimli: More than enough, for dwarves make light of burdens. Shirt of steel and a strong axe are all I need.

Pippin: And how are we to carry it all?

Sam: Never you mind that! You didn't think Bill would desert us?

[Bill neighs]

Sam: This animal can nearly talk, and would talk, if he stayed here much longer. He gave me a look as plain as you could speak it yourself, Mr. Pippin: if you don't let me go with you, Sam, I'll follow on my own.

[Pippin and Sam laugh]

Sam: Well, you oughtn’t to have took up with us, Bill, my lad. You could have stayed here, et the best hay till the new grass groes. Right, now then. Have I forgotten anything?

[He rummages through his bag]

Sam: There's cooking gear, salt, pipe-weed, flint, tinder, ro - rope! No rope! And only last night you said to yourself: "Sam, what about a bit of rope? You'll want it, if you haven't got it." Well, I'll want it. I can't get it now.

Aragorn: Come! It is time to set forth.

Elrond: Farewell, and may the blessing of Elves and Men and all Free Folk go with you. May the stars shine upon your faces!

- - - - -

Narrator: They crossed the bridge and wound slowly up the steep paths that led out of the cloven vale of Rivendell; and they came at length to the high moor where the wind hissed through the heather. Then with one glance at the Last Homely House twinkling below them they strode away far into the night. At first, it seemed to the hobbits that although they walked and stumbled until they were weary, they were creeping forward like snails, getting nowhere. Yet steadily the mountains were drawing nearer. They had been a fortnight on the way when just as the sun was rising, they reached a low ridge crowned with ancient holly-trees.

[A cold wind blows]

Pippin: There are mountains ahead of us. How shall we cross them?

Gimli: There is the land where the Dwarves worked of old. The places there stand tall in our dreams, but I know them, and their names. For under them lies Khazad-dûm, the Dwarrowdelf, that is now called the Black Pit, Moria in the elvish tongue. Yonder stands the Redhorn, cruel Caradhras.

Gandalf: Cruel or not, we must climb to the Redhorn Gate, under the far side of Caradhras. We shall come then down by the Dimrill Stair into the deep vale of the Dwarves.

Gimli: My heart trembles at the thought that I may see it.

Gandalf: May you have joy at the site, Gimli. but we at least cannot stay in that valley. We must go down the Silverlode into the secret woods, and so to the Great River, and then -

Frodo: And then...

Gandalf: To the end of the journey - in the end. We cannot look too far ahead. Let us be glad that the first stage is safely over. I think we will rest here, now that the day is breaking. Sleep.

- - - - -

Narrator: At dusk, the Company set out, and turning now half-east, they steered their course towards Caradhras, which glowed faintly red in the last light of the vanished sun. By the third morning, they had reached the foot of the Mountain, and the weary Company lay down to sleep. But Frodo was uneasy and wakeful. And so it was, he overheard Gandalf and Aragorn.

[Wind blows and a fire crackles softly]

Gandalf: Winter deepens behind us. The heights away north are whiter than they were. Tonight we shall be on our way high up towards the Redhorn Gate. We may well be seen by watchers on that narrow path; but the - the weather may prove a more deadly enemy than any. What do you think?

Aragorn: We must go on. It is no good delaying the passage of the mountains. Further south there are no passes, until one comes to the Gap of Rohan. I do not trust that way since your news of Saruman's desire for the Ring. Who knows now which side which side Théoden and the marshals of the Horse-lords serve?

Gandalf: Who knows indeed! But there is another way, and not by the pass of Caradhras: the dark and secret way we have spoken of.

Aragorn: But let us not speak of it again! Not yet. Say nothing to the others I beg, until it is plain there is no other way.

- - - - -

Narrator: But to Frodo's relief, when evening came, Gandalf chose the way over the pass. The narrow path wound under a sheer wall of cliffs to the left, above which the grim flanks of Caradhras towered up, invisible in the gloom. On the right was a gulf of darkness, where the land fell suddenly into a deep ravine. Snow began to fall, filling all the air and swirling into their eyes.

[A wind blows strongly and heavy snow falls]

Sam: Hoo! I don't like this at all. Snow's all right on a fine morning, but I like to be in bed while it's falling. I wish this lot would go off to Hobbiton! Folk might welcome it there.

Gandalf: This is what I feared. What do you say now, Aragorn?

Aragorn: That I feared it too, but less than other things. I knew the risk of snow, though it seldom falls heavily so far south, save high up in the mountains. But we are not high yet; we are still far down, where the paths are usually open all the winter.

Boromir: I wonder if this a contrivance of the Enemy. They say in my land that he can govern the storms in the Mountains of Shadow that stand upon the borders of Mordor. He has strange powers and many allies.

Gimli: His arm has grown long indeed, if he can draw snow down from the North to trouble us here three hundred leagues away.

Gandalf: His arm has grown long.

- - - - -

Narrator: They tramped on again. But they had not gone more than a furlong when the storm returned with fresh fury. The wind whistled and the snow became a blinding blizzard.

[The storm rages loudly]

Boromir: Do you hear the voices? They're mocking us.

Aragorn: It is but the wind.

Boromir: There are fell voices on the air.

[Boulders crash in the distance]

Boromir: And those stones are aimed at us. It is the Enemy!

Gimli: It is the Mountain itself. Caradhras was called the Cruel, and had an ill name, long years ago, when the name of Sauron had not been heard of.

Merry: It doesn't matter who it is. It's attacking us!

Pippin: What can we do?

Gandalf: Either stop where we are, or go back. It's no good going on. We should have no shelter up there from snow, stones - or anything else.

Aragorn: It is no good going back while the storm holds. We passed no place on the way up that offered more shelter than this cliff-wall we are under now.

Sam: Shelter! If this is shelter, then one wall and no roof make a house.

- - - - -

Narrator: The Company gathered together as close to the cliff as they could. All night long, eddying blasts swirled round them from every side, and the snow flowed down in ever denser clouds. Towards dawn, the wind began to fall, and the snow stopped. As the light grew stronger it showed a silent shrouded world. Below their refuge were white humps and domes and shapeless deeps beneath which the path that they had trodden was altogether lost; but the heights above were hidden in great clouds still heavy with the threat of snow.

Gimli: Caradhras has not forgiven us. He has more snow yet to fling at us, if we go on. The sooner we go back and down the better.

Merry: But that is easier said than done. I see no way. How can we go back?

Legolas: If Gandalf would go before with a bright flame, he might melt a path for you.

Gandalf: If Elves could fly over mountains, they might fetch the sun to save us. But I must have something to work on. I cannot burn snow.

Boromir: Well, when heads are at a loss bodies must serve. The strongest of us must seek a way. Though all is deep in snow, our path, as we came up, turned about that shoulder of rock down there. If we can reach that point, it would prove easier beyond.

Aragorn: Come, then. Let us force a path thither, you and I!

Narrator: Slowly they moved off, and were soon toiling heavily. In places the snow was breast-high, and often Boromir seemed to be swimming or burrowing with his great arms rather than walking. At length, they drove a passage through the great drifts, and with the hobbits clinging to their backs, they reached the foot of the Mountain.

- - - - -

Gimli: Enough, enough Caradhras! We are departing as quickly as we may. The Mountain has defeated us.

Gandalf: We cannot go on tonight. Our attempt on the Redhorn Gate has tired us out. We must rest, for a while.

Frodo: And then where are we to go?

Gandalf: We still have our journey and our errand before us. We have no choice but to go on, or to return to Rivendell.

Frodo: Then we must go on - if there is a way.

Gandalf: There is a way we may attempt. But it is not a pleasant way.

Merry: If it is a worse road than the Redhorn Gate, then it must be evil indeed. But you had better tell us about it, and let us know the worse at once.

Gandalf: The road I speak of leads to the Mines of Moria.

Gimli: Moria!

Legolas: The road may lead to Moria, but how can we hope that it will lead through Moria?

Boromir: It's a name of ill omen. Nor do I see the need to go there. To enter Moria would be to walk into a trap, hardly better than knocking at the gates of the Dark Tower itself.

Gandalf: I would not lead you into Moria if there were no hope of coming out again. If there are orcs there, it may prove worse for us, it is true. But there is even a chance that Dwarves are there.

Gimli: It is long now since Balin son of Fundin ventured into the deep hall of his fathers, and we have heard nothing. But I will tread the path with you! I will go and look on the halls of Durin, whatever may wait there - if you can find the doors that are shut.

Gandalf: Good, Gimli! You encourage me. In the ruins of the Dwarves, a dwarf's head will be less easy to bewilder than Elves or Men's or Hobbits. Yet it will not be the first time that I have been to Moria. I passed through, and I came out alive!

Aragorn: I too once passed through the Dimrill Gate, but though I also came out again, the memory is very evil. I do not wish to enter Moria a second time.

Pippin: And I don't want to enter it even once.

Sam: Nor me.

Gandalf: Of course not! Who would? But the question is: who will follow me, if I lead you there?

Aragorn: I will, if this last warning does not move you. It is not of the Ring, nor of us others that I am thinking now, but of you, Gandalf. And I say to you: if you pass the doors of Moria, beware!

Boromir: I will not go, unless the vote of the whole Company is against me. What do Legolas and the Halflings say? The Ring-bearer's voice surely should be heard?

Legolas: I do not wish to go to Moria.

Sam: Master Frodo?

Frodo: I do not wish to go, but neither do I wish to refuse the advice of Gandalf. I beg that there should be no vote, until after we have slept. Gandalf would get votes easier than in this cold gloom. Oh! How the wind howls!

[Wolves begin to cry]

Aragorn: How the wind howls! It is howling with wolf-voices. The Wargs have come west of the Mountains!

Gandalf: Need we wait till morning then? The hunt is up! Even if we live to see the dawn, who now will wish to journey south by night with wild wolves on his trail?

Boromir: How far is Moria?

Gandalf: There was a door south-west of Caradhras, some fifteen miles as the crow files, and maybe twenty as the wolf runs.

Boromir: Then let us start as soon as it is light, if we can.

Pippin: I wish I had taken Elrond's advice, Sam. I really am no good at all. These howls freeze my blood. I don't ever remember feeling so wretched.

Sam: My heart's right down in my toes, Mr. Pippin. But we aren't etten yet, and there are some stout folk here with us. Whatever may be in store for old Gandalf, I'll wager it isn't a warg's belly.

Boromir: Come on! Let us move up to that ring of stone and light a fire there. Darkness and silence will be no protection against hunting packs.

- - - - -

[A fire crackles. Wargs growl]

Frodo: Do you see, Sam? They have come! Shining eyes in the dark, everywhere!

Sam: I don't like the way that great brute over there is looking at us. He must be their leader.

Aragorn: Put an arrow to your bow, Legolas.

Gandalf: Listen, Hound of Sauron! Gandalf is here. Fly, if you value your foul skin! I will shrivel you from tail to snout, if you come within this ring.

[The wargs' howling intensifies]

Aragorn: Now, Legolas!

[Legolas fires an arrow]

Pippin: Well done, Legolas!

Merry: Right through his throat!

Pippin: They're running away.

Boromir: No hope of that. They're massing for an attack!

Gandalf: Fling fuel on the fire!

[Legolas fires arrows into the approaching pack of wargs]

Gandalf: Draw your swords!

[Swords are drawn from their scabbards]

Gandalf: Swords and arrows will not prevail long. There are too many. Give me that branch out of the fire.

Naur an edraith ammen! Naur dan i ngaurhoth!

[Flames roar through the air]

Merry: The tree's on fire! All the trees are on fire. The whole hill's ablaze!

Pippin: They're running away.

Frodo: Yes!

Sam: What did I tell you, Mr. Pippin? Wolf won't get old Gandalf. That was an eye-opener, and no mistake! Nearly singed the hair on my head!

- - - - -

Narrator: When the full light of the morning came no signs of the wolves were to be found, and they looked in vain for the bodies of the dead.

Gandalf: It is as I feared. These were no ordinary wolves hunting for food in the wilderness.

Legolas: My arrows look as if they'd never been used, and yet I killed four wargs.

Aragorn: We have not seen the last of them, I fear.

Gandalf: We must reach the doors of Moria before sunset, or I fear we shall not reach them at all. Let us go.

Boromir: I don't know which to hope, that Gandalf will find what he seeks, or that when we come to the cliff we shall find the gates lost for ever. All choices seem ill, and to be caught between wolves and the wall the likeliest chance. Lead on!

- - - - -

Narrator: The day was drawing to its end, and cold stars were glinting in the sky, high above the sunset when the Company reached the place they sought. Vast cliffs reared their stern faces in the fading light, and stretching almost to the foot of the cliffs, a gloomy lake, green and stagnant.

Gandalf: Well, here we are, at last. While I'm searching for the doors, will you make ready to enter the mines? And strap all you need on your backs. For here, I fear, we must say farewell to our good beast of burden.

Sam: You - you can't leave poor old Bill behind in this forsaken place! I won't have it. That's flat. After he's come so far and all!

Gandalf: I am sorry, Sam. But when the Door opens I do not think you will be able to drag your Bill inside, into the long dark of Moria.

Sam: He'd follow me into a dragon's den, if I led him. It'd be nothing short of murder to turn him loose with all these wolves about.

Gandalf: It will be short of murder, I hope.

Go with words of guard and guiding on you. Make your ways to places where you can find grass, and so come in time to Elrond's house.

Merry: Well, here we are and all ready. But where are the Doors? I can't see any sign of them.

Gandalf: Dwarf-doors are not made to be seen when shut. They are invisible, and their own masters cannot find or open them, if their secret is forgotten. Look! Can you see anything now?

Frodo: Yes, there are faint lines upon the face of the rock, look! Uh, an anvil and a hammer, and above them a crown, a - and seven stars, and two trees, each bearing crescent moons.

Gimli: The emblems of Durin!

Legolas: The Tree of the High Elves!

Gandalf: And in the center, the Star of Fëanor.

Frodo: What does the writing say?

Gandalf: The Doors of Durin, Lord of Moria. Speak, friend, and enter.

Merry: What does it mean, speak, friend, and enter?

Gimli: That's plain enough. If you are a friend, speak the password, and the doors will open.

Boromir: And what is the password?

Gandalf: I do not know.

Boromir: Then what was the use of bringing us to this accursed spot?

Gandalf: I do not know the word - yet.

Pippin: What are you going to do, then?

Gandalf: Knock on the doors with your head, Peregrin Took. I will seek for the opening words.

Boromir: You'd best speak swiftly. Those are the voices of wolves!

Gandalf: Be patient.

Annon edhellen, edro hi ammen!
Fennas nogothrim, lasto beth lammen!

Boromir: Nothing.

Pippin: What are we going to do?

Gandalf: Be patient, I said!

Edro, edro! Open, open!

Pippin: The Doors won't move.

[Bill neighs]

Boromir: Don't let the pony run away! We shall need him still, if the wolves don't find us. Why did you bring us here, Gandalf...

Gandalf: Huh?

Boromir: be trapped between cliffs and this foul lake?

[Boromir throws a stone into the lake]

Boromir: Boromir, why did you do that? I - I hate this place, too, but I am afraid of the pool.

Merry: Oh, how I wish we could get away!

Pippin: Why doesn't Gandalf do something quick?

Gandalf: I have it! Of course, of course! Absurdly simple, like most riddles when you see the answer. Mellon!

[The heavy doors slowly open]

Merry: How did you do that?

Gandalf: You gave me the clue yourself. I was wrong.

Merry: What did I say?

Gandalf: You asked the meaning of the words speak, friend, and enter. The translation should have been: Say "friend" and enter. I had only to speak the Elvish for friend and the doors opened. Quite simple. Too simple for a learned lore-master like me. Let us waste no more time! We must enter.

Frodo: That pool... it's as if it were alive.

[Tentacles rise loudly out of the water. Frodo screams and Bill neighs]

Frodo: Something's got me by the foot!

Sam: Bill... come back here!

Frodo: Help me! Help me! Sam, it's dragging me into the pool!

Sam: Bill! Bill! Oh! Hang-it-all! Hold on, Mr. Frodo - I'll cut at it with my knife. There's more tentacles coming out of the water!

Frodo: Quickly - quickly, Sam!

[He cries out]

Sam: Ah! What a foul smell! There now, Mr. Frodo. Run! Run, Mr. Frodo! Run!

Gandalf: Into the gateway! Up the stairs! Quick!

Pippin: It's coming after us! Like a host of snakes! What shall we do?

Gandalf: Get you inside, Peregrin Took!

[A loud crashing sound is heard]

Aragorn: The vile thing has closed the doors on us.

[Members of the Fellowship breathe heavily. Sam begins to cry]

Sam: Poor old Bill! Wolves and snakes! But the snakey things were too much for him. I had to choose, Mr. Frodo. I had to come with you.

Frodo: Sam, what was the - the thing, or... or were there many of them?

Gandalf: I do not know, but the arms were all guided by one purpose. Something has crept, or has been driven out of dark waters under the mountain. There are older, fouler things than Orcs in the deep places of the world.

Boromir: In the deep places of the world! And thither are we going against my wish.

Gandalf: Oh...

Boromir: Who will lead us now in this deadly dark?

Gandalf: I will.

Gimli: And I will walk by your side.

Frodo: How long is it going to take?

Gandalf: I cannot say. It depends on many chances. But going straight, without mishap or losing our way, we shall take three or four marches, I expect. It cannot be less than forty miles from West-door to East-gate in a direct line, and the road may wind much. Come. Follow my staff!

Narrator: Gandalf held his staff aloft, and from its tip there came a faint radiance which just showed the ground before his feet. They started on their way. By the pale light, they caught glimpses of stairs and arches and of passages and tunnels, sloping up, or running steeply down, or opening blankly dark on either side.

[The Company's muffled footsteps are heard]

Gimli: I've lived much of my life in ways beneath the mountains, but I have never known anything like this. The Mines of Moria are intricate beyond my imagination.

Gandalf: And the memories of my journey through those dark paths long ago are of little help now. Let us explore this way.

Merry: What's happening? Are we lost?

Pippin: I don't like it.

Aragorn: Do not be afraid!

Pippin: Oh, but I am.

Aragorn: I have been with Gandalf on many a journey, if never one so dark; there are tales of greater deeds of his than any I have seen. He will not go astray - if there is any path to be found.

Merry: I hope you're right.

Gandalf: Come. This is the way.

Aragorn: Be careful - before you trip! There are holes and pitfalls everywhere.

Gandalf: Take care! There is a crack running across our path.

Pippin: How are we to get over it? It must be seven foot wide!

Gandalf: Jump over it, Peregrin Took.

Pippin: Listen to the water down below. It must be hundreds of feet - oh, I can't jump!

Gandalf: Come on, follow me!

[Gandalf jumps]

Legolas: Take my hand, Pippin. We'll jump together!

- - - - -

Narrator: As these dangers became more frequent, their march became slower. A deep uneasiness, growing to dread, began to creep over Frodo.

[Frodo shivers]

Frodo: Nothing but darkness and the sound of our feet.

[The sound of the Company's footsteps are heard as they walk through the mines]

Frodo: That's Gimli... Boromir, Legolas...

[A set of footsteps is heard that is distinct from the others. Frodo gasps]

Frodo: But who's that? Bare feet, pattering alone! But not hobbit-feet... No, no... I - I must be imagining it.

[The footsteps continue]

Frodo: No! It's there...

Gandalf: We must halt a while. There are three passages ahead. Each of them seems to lead in the same general direction. I have no memory of this place at all! And I am too weary to decide. I expect that you're as weary as I, or wearier. We will stay here for what remains of the night.

Boromir: Night! Here day and night are one. It is ever dark.

Gandalf: But outside, the late moon is riding westward and the middle night has passed. We must find somewhere to rest.

Merry: There's some sort of chamber over here.

Gandalf: Steady! You do not know what is inside yet. I - I will go first.

[He enters the chamber]

Gandalf: And it is as well that I did so. Come here, all of you.

[Their footsteps approach]

Gandalf: Do you see that great hole in the middle of the floor?

Gimli: This seems to have been a guardroom, made for the watching of the three passages. That hole was plainly a well for the guards' use.

Gandalf: Come - let us make ourselves as comfortable as we can.

[They sit]

Pippin: Oh... there's a chill air comes up from that well. Wonder how deep it is? Let's try dropping a stone down it. Hm - nothing. Will it ever reach the bottom?

[A soft crash is heard as Pippin's stone hits the bottom of the well]

Gandalf: What was that?

Pippin: Oh, uh - nothing at all! Just dropped a stone down the well.

Gandalf: Fool of a Took! This is a serious journey, not a hobbit walking-party. Throw yourself in next time, and then you'll be no further nuisance. Now be quiet!

[Sharp rapping is heard in the distance]

Pippin: What's that...?

[Gandalf quickly shushes him]

Gimli: That was the sound of a hammer, or I've never heard one.

Gandalf: Yes, and I do not like it. It may have nothing to do with Peregrin's foolish stone; but probably something has been disturbed that would have been better left quiet. Pray, do nothing of the kind again! Let us hope we shall get some rest without further trouble. You, Pippin, can go on the first watch, as a reward.

Narrator: Pippin sat miserably in the pitch dark, but after an hour Gandalf relieved him. And the last thing Pippin saw, as sleep took him, was the old wizard huddled on the floor, smoking his pipe.

- - - - -

Narrator: Six hours later, Gandalf roused them all from sleep.

Gandalf: I have made up my mind. I do not like the feel of the middle way; and I do not like the smell of the left-hand way: there is foul air down there, or I am no guide. I shall take the right-hand passage. It's time we began to climb again.

- - - - -

Narrator: For eight dark hours, they marched on; and met no danger. The passage wound steadily upwards until, suddenly, it vanished. They seemed to have passed through some arched doorway into a black and empty space.

Gandalf: I chose the right way. At last we are coming to the habitable parts, and my guess is we are not far now from the eastern side. But we are high up, a good deal higher than the Dimrill Gate. From the feeling of the air we must be in a wide hall. There used to be great windows on the mountain-side, but it is night outside, and we cannot tell until morning. In the meantime, we'd better go no further. Things have gone well so far, and the greater part of the dark road is over. But we are not through yet, and it is a long way down to the Gates that open on to the world. Let us rest, if we can.

- - - - -

Sam: There must have been a mighty crowd of dwarves here at one time, and every one of them busier than badgers for five hundred years to make all this, and most in hard rock too! What did they do it all for? Well, they didn't live in these darksome holes surely?

Gimli: These are not holes. This is the great realm and city of the Dwarrowdelf. And of old it was not darksome, but full of light and splendour, as is still remembered in our songs.

The world was fair, the mountains tall,
In Elder Days before the fall
Of mighty kings in Nargothrond
And Gondolin, who now beyond
The Western Seas have passed away:
The world was fair in Durin's Day.

A king he was on carven throne
In many-pillared halls of stone
With golden roof and silver floor,
And runes of power upon the door.
The light of sun and star and moon
In shining lamps of crystal hewn
Undimmed by cloud or shade of night
There shone for ever fair and bright.

Unwearied then were Durin's folk
Beneath the mountains music woke:
The harpers harped, the minstrels sang,
And at the gates the trumpets rang.

The world is grey, the mountains old,
The forge's fire is ashen-cold
No harp is wrung, no hammer falls:
The darkness dwells in Durin's halls
The shadow lies upon his tomb
In Moria, in Khazad-dûm.
But still the sunken stars appear
In dark and windless Mirrormere;
There lies his crown in water deep,
Till Durin wakes again from sleep.

Sam: I like that! I should like to learn it. In Moria, in Khazad-dûm! But did none of your people ever return here?

Gimli: Thrór only dared pass the Doors, and he perished. And then, thirty years ago, Balin listened too long to the whispers of the mighty works and treasures of our fathers hidden in Khazad-dûm, and he resolved to come here. He took with him Ori and Óin and many of our folk. And for a while, we had news - and it seemed good. Then there was silence. And no word has ever come from Moria since.

Sam: B - but are there piles of jewels and gold lying about here still?

Gandalf: Piles of jewels? No. The Orcs have often plundered Moria; there is nothing left in the upper halls.

Sam: But, what then - what do the dwarves want to come back for?

Gandalf: For mithril. Here alone in the world was found Moria-silver, or true-silver as some have called it. It's worth was ten times that of gold. But even as mithril was the foundation of their wealth, so also it was their destruction: they delved too greedily and too deep, and disturbed that from which they had fled, Durin's Bane, a Balrog, the most powerful and terrible of the servants of Sauron.

Sam: But is there any mithril to be found now?

Gandalf: Bilbo had a corslet of mithril-rings that Thorin gave him. I wonder what has become of it?

Gimli: A corslet of Moria-silver? That was a kingly gift!

Gandalf: Yes. I never told him, but its worth was greater than the value of the whole Shire and everything in it. But we must sleep now, while we have the chance. Frodo?

Frodo: Yes?

Gandalf: Your's is the first watch.

- - - - -

[A member of the Company is snoring softly]

Frodo: Well, fancy! Me, walking about with the price of the Shire under my jacket!

[He laughs to himself]

Frodo: Did Bilbo know, I wonder? Oh, I wish we were back together at Bag End, and that I had never heard of Moria, or mithril - or the Ring.

[The bare footsteps are heard again]

Frodo: There's something staring at me - two pale, luminous eyes. Oh... no, there's nothing. I must have nearly fallen asleep on guard. I - I was on the edge of a dream.

- - - - -

Narrator: When the Company awoke, they found a dim light falling on their faces. High up above the eastern archway, through a shaft near the roof, came a long, pale gleam.

Gandalf: Good morning! For morning it is at last.

[The Company wakes, coughing and sighing]

Gandalf: I was right, you see. We are high up on the east side of Moria. Before today is over we ought to find the Great Gates and see the waters of Mirrormere lying in the Dimrill Dale before us.

Gimli: I shall be glad. I have looked on Moria, and it is very great, but it has become dark and dreadful; and we have found no sign of my kindred. I doubt now that Balin ever came here.

Gandalf: We must go on again.

Boromir: Which way shall we take? Yonder eastward arch?

Gandalf: Eh... maybe. But we ought to look about us. Let us go towards that light in the north door. There's another chamber here, on the right. The stone door stands half open.

Boromir: There's a slab of white stone.

Frodo: It looks like a tomb. See? There are runes graven on it.

Gandalf: These are Daeron's Runes, such as were used of old in Moria.

Gimli: "Balin, son of Fundin. Lord of Moria."

Gandalf: He is dead then. I feared it was so.

Gimli: The shadow lies upon his tomb in Moria, in Khazad-dûm.

[Legolas moves through the ruins]

Legolas: There are bones strewn about in the dust. Broken swords and axe - this is an orc-scimitar!

Merry: There are some chests in the wall here, too.

Gandalf: Hm?

Merry: Oh, but they've all been broken into.

[He opens a chest]

Merry: Oh, there's something still in this one, though. It - it looks like a book.

Gandalf: Bring it here to me.

Merry: Oh - it's got burned. Oh, and there's some old blood on it.

Gandalf: Careful, careful! Careful - the pages are cracked. They'll crumble.

[Gandalf turns the pages]

Gandalf: It seems to be a record of the fortunes of Balin's folk. I guess that it began with their coming here. Listen! We drove out orcs from the great gate.

Pippin: Orcs! There was always talk of orcs back in the Shire.

Frodo: Yes.

Legolas: They are the oldest and bitterest of our foes. They were bred by Melkor, the Evil One who Sauron served in envy and mockery of the Elves. They are filled with malice and hate even their own kind. And deep in their hearts, they loathe the master whom they serve and fear.

[More pages turn]

Frodo: The book is written in many different scripts.

Gandalf: Here is a bold hand, using an Elvish script.

Gimli: That would be Ori's hand.

Gandalf: Ah... I fear he had ill tidings to record. Look, here - the tenth of November, Balin, Lord of Moria, fell in Dimrill Dale. And here, on the last page of all - They have taken the Bridge and the second hall. We cannot get out. Drums, drums in the deep. I wonder what that means? The last thing written is in a trailing scrawl of letters: they are coming. There is nothing more.

[The sound of deep drums resonate in the Chamber]

Boromir: Listen!

Gandalf: Drums in the deep.

Legolas: They are coming!

Gimli: We cannot get out.

Gandalf: Trapped! Why did I delay? Here we are, caught, just as they were before. But I was not here then.

Aragorn: Slam the doors and wedge them! We may get a chance to cut our way out yet.

Gandalf: No, we must not get shut in! Keep the east door jarred. We will go that way, if we get a chance.

[Orcs scream outside the chamber]

Boromir: They are coming!

[Swords are drawn]

Gandalf: Wait a moment, Boromir! Do not close the door yet. Who comes hither to disturb the rest of Balin Lord of Moria?

[The Orcs laugh]

Orc: Uruk-hai!

Gandalf: Let us see what we have to face. Stand back!

[Light explodes from Gandalf's staff. The Orcs scream]

Gandalf: Close the door!

[The door closes with a loud thud]

Gandalf: There are Orcs, very many of them. Some are large and evil: black Uruks of Mordor. There is no hope of escape that way.

Boromir: And no hope at all, if they come at the other door as well.

Aragorn: There is no sound outside the eastern door. The passage plunges straight down a stair: but it is no good flying blindly this way with the Orcs in pursuit behind us. For we cannot block this door.

Gandalf: We must do something to delay the enemy, first.

[Loud crashes are heard against the door]

Boromir: They're trying to force the door.

Aragorn: It will never hold!

[The door slides open. An Orc enters the Chamber, screaming]

Orc: Uruk-hai!

Aragorn: Frodo, look out for his spear!

[Frodo gasps in pain]

Sam: Master! Get away, you dirty great brute!

Aragorn: Stand aside - let Andúril speak!

[A sword clashes with armour. The Orc screams]

Merry: Straight through his helmet!

Gandalf: Now! Now is the last chance. Run for it!

Aragorn: Go on ahead. I will carry Frodo.

Frodo: I am all right. I can walk. Put me down!

Aragorn: I thought you were dead!

Gandalf: There is no time for wonder. Off you go, all of you, down the stairs! Wait a few minutes for me at the bottom. If I do not come soon, go on!

Aragorn: We cannot leave you to hold the door alone!

Gandalf: Do as I say! Swords are no more use here. Go!

[The Company runs quickly]

Sam: Come on then, Mr. Frodo. Do as he says. Now, down we go. You lean on me.

Frodo: Yes, thank you, Sam.

[Gandalf is heard yelling far away]

Frodo: That's Gandalf's voice!

[Gandalf's incantation blasts, and stone crumbles in the distance. Gandalf's running footsteps approach]

Frodo: Gandalf!

Gandalf: Well, well! That's over. I've done all that I could. But don't stand here. Go on!

Frodo: Yes.

Gandalf: You'll have to do without light for a while: I am rather shaken. Keep close, all of you!

Frodo: All right.

- - - - -

Narrator: At the end of an hour, they had gone a mile, or maybe a little more, and had descended many flights of stairs.

[Drums continue to be beaten in the air]

Gandalf: It's getting hot! We ought to be down at least to the level of the Gates now. But I must rest here a moment, even if all the orcs ever spawned are after us.

Gimli: What happened away up there at the door? Did you meet the beater of drums?

Gandalf: I do not know. But I found myself suddenly confronted by something that I had not met before. I put a shutting-spell on the door. But the counter-spell was terrible. The door burst in pieces. Something dark as a cloud was blocking out all the light inside. I was thrown backwards down the stairs. All the hall gave way, and the roof of the Chamber as well, I think.

Gimli: So Balin is buried deep.

Gandalf: And maybe something else is buried there, too. But at least the passage behind us was completely blocked. Oh! I have never felt so spent. And now what about you, Frodo?

Frodo: Mm? What about me? I am alive and whole, I think. I am bruised and in pain, but it is not too bad.

Aragorn: Well, I can only say that Hobbits are made of a stuff so tough that I have never met the like of it. That spear-thrust would have skewered a wild boar!

Gandalf: You take after Bilbo. There's more about you than meets the eye, as I said of him long ago. Come, I am rested. Let us go on.

- - - - -

Gimli: Wait! There is a light ahead, but it is not daylight! It is red.

Gandalf: Ah, there is some devilry here, devised for our welcome no doubt. Come and look! You see the great hall that lies beyond? Across it runs a great fissure of fire. If we had come by the main road, down from the upper halls, we should have been trapped here. But now let us hope the fire lies between us and our pursuers. The gates are near. We go down here to the left, across the Bridge of Khazad-dûm, up a broad stair, along a wide road, and out!

[Orcs begin to shout]

Pippin: The orcs are coming, but they can't get across the fire!

Boromir: They didn't expect this. The fire has cut them off.

Gandalf: Look ahead. Slow down! The Bridge is near. It is dangerous and narrow.

Gimli: It was the ancient defense against our enemies. They could only pass across it in single file. The chasm is of a depth immeasurable!

Gandalf: Lead the way, Gimli! Pippin and Merry next. Straight on and up the stair!

Legolas: They're massing beyond the fire. Two great trolls are coming with slabs of stone to bridge the chasm.

[The Orcs scream]

Legolas: They're crowding away. Something is coming that they fear. Ai! Ai! A Balrog! A Balrog is coming!

[Fire fills the air]

Gimli: The scourge of our people, Durin's Bane!

Gandalf: A Balrog. Now I understand. What an evil fortune! And I am already weary.

[A whip cracks in the air]

Gandalf: Over the bridge! This is a foe beyond any of you. I must hold the narrow way. Fly!

Boromir: I will not yield!

Aragorn: Nor I!

Gandalf: You cannot pass. I am a servant of the Secret Fire, wielder of the flame of Anor. You cannot pass. The dark fire will not avail you, flame of Udûn. Go back to the Shadow! You cannot pass.

[The Balrog roars fire]

Gandalf: You cannot pass, I say! Back to your darkness!

[The Balrog roars again]

Gandalf: Back from this place, or I shall plunge you into the abyss! Then fall, spawn of Melkor, fall!

[Gandalf's staff breaks the bridge. The Balrog flings its whip, catching hold of Gandalf, who cries out]

Frodo: Gandalf!

[Gandalf's voice is quickly lost]

Gandalf: Fly, you fools!



[The Balrog roars]

Gandalf: Back from this place, or I shall plunge you into the abyss! Then fall, spawn of Melkor, fall!

[Gandalf's staff breaks the bridge. The Balrog flings its whip, catching hold of Gandalf, who cries out]

Frodo: Gandalf!

[Gandalf's voice is quickly lost]

Gandalf: Fly, you fools!

Frodo: Gandalf! He's gone!

Aragorn: Come! I will lead you now! We must obey his last command. Follow me! Do not look back.

[They run]

Aragorn: We are not through yet.

Legolas: There is light ahead!

Gimli: And Orcs guarding the gate!

Aragorn: Follow me.

[He unsheathes his sword]

Aragorn: Elendil!

[The Orcs scream in terror]

Merry: They're running away!

Aragorn: Now, quickly!

- - - - -

Narrator: Out of the gates they ran, and sprang down the huge and age-worn steps, the threshold of Moria. Dimrill Dale lay about them. It was but one hour after noon. Grief, at last, wholly overcame them, and they wept long.

Aragorn: Farewell, Gandalf! Did I not say to you: if you pass the doors of Moria, beware? Alas that I spoke true!

Boromir: What hope is there for us without him?

Aragorn: We must do without hope. At least we may yet be avenged. Let us gird ourselves and weep no more! Come! We have a long road, and much to do.

Gimli: But where shall we go?

Aragorn: I shall take you by the road that Gandalf chose, the road down the Silverlode, to Lothlórien.

Sam: But - begging your pardon, but do we have to go on just yet? Poor Mr. Frodo's not had a chance to rest himself since that filthy Orc thrust his spear at him.

Aragorn: I am sorry, Frodo! So much has happened this day that I had forgotten that you were hurt. We have done nothing to ease you. Come now! Let us see your wound.

Frodo: I'm all right, Aragorn. All I need is food and a little rest.

Aragorn: No! We must have a look. I still marvel that you are alive at all. Help me pull his jacket off, Sam.

Sam: Sir.

Frodo: No, oh...

Aragorn: Look, my friends!

[The rings of the mithril corslet shake and members of the Company gasp]

Aragorn: Here's a pretty hobbit-skin to wrap an elven-princeling in!

[He laughs]

Gimli: A mithril coat! I have never heard tell of one so fair. Is this the coat that Gandalf spoke of? Then he undervalued it. But it was well given!

Merry: Oh, dear old Bilbo, I love him more than ever. I do hope we get a chance of telling him about it!

- - - - -

Narrator: When they had eaten, the Company continued on their way. For three hours they travelled. The night wind blew chill up the valley to meet them. Before them, a wide grey shadow loomed.

[A river's waters quietly bubble and turn in the distance]

Legolas: Do you hear the wind among the leaves? Lothlórien! Lothlórien! The fairest of the dwellings of the Elves. We have come to the eaves of the Golden Wood. Alas that it is winter!

Aragorn: Lothlórien! Let us hope that the virtue of the Elves will keep us tonight from the peril that comes behind.

Gimli: If Elves indeed still dwell in this darkening world.

Legolas: Here is Nimrodel! Of this stream the Silvan Elves made many songs long ago, and still we sing them in the North, remembering the rainbow on its falls, and the golden flowers that floated in its foam. But all is dark now since sorrow came upon Lothlórien.

Frodo: What sorrow?

Legolas: The sorrow that came when the Dwarves awakened evil in the mountains.

Gimli: But the Dwarves did not make the evil.

Legolas: I did not say so; yet evil came.

[Soft voices sing above them]

Frodo: Listen! Is it the wind in the trees, or are there voices?

Haldir: Daro!

Legolas: Be still! Do not move or speak! I will climb up into the tree. Wait here.

Frodo: Yes...

[Leaves rustle as Legolas climbs through the branches]

Merry: Who are they?

Sam: They're Elves.

Legolas: Frodo, come up!

Frodo: Yes.

Legolas: They wish to talk to you.

Pippin: Ah, they've let down a rope ladder!

Legolas: Come, Frodo!

[Frodo climbs]

Haldir: Welcome! We have heard rumours of your coming, for the messengers of Elrond passed by Lórien on their way home up the Dimrill Stair. Haldir is my name. So, you are Frodo?

Frodo: I am.

[Haldir laughs]

Haldir: You do not look evil! And since you come with an Elf of our kindred, we are willing to befriend you. Tomorrow I will lead you to Celeborn. Tonight, you must stay here. How many are you?

Legolas: Eight. Myself, four hobbits; and two men, one of whom, Aragorn, is an Elf-friend of the folk of Westernesse.

Haldir: His name is known in Lórien, and he has the favour of the Lady Galadriel. But you have yet spoken only of seven.

Legolas: The eighth is a dwarf.

Haldir: Dwarf! Since the Dark Days, they are not permitted in our land.

Legolas: But Elrond himself chose him to be one of our companions. He is brave and faithful.

Haldir: Then, he shall pass. But it is against our liking. You shall take refuge with him and the two men in the next tree. The hobbits shall stay with us - we do not fear them!

- - - - -

Narrator: The hobbits found it hard to go to sleep that night, for they do not like heights. But lulled by the murmur of the falls of Nimrodel, they slept. Late in the night, Frodo awoke.

[The crass voices of Orcs pass below. Frodo gasps]

Frodo: Wha...?

Haldir: Don't worry. I'm stowing the rope-ladder.

Frodo: But what is it?

Haldir: Orcs. But have no fear. They're going away. Go back to sleep!

Frodo: Yes... but orcs can climb trees...

[A figure climbs upward on the tree, sniffing and hissing]

Frodo: What's that? Something is climbing the tree! That's not an Orc - but it isn't an Elf, either.

Gollum: The Precious... it's here... I know it is.

[He hisses]

Gollum: I can feel it. I can almost smell it. Precious...

Frodo: Two, great pale eyes...

Gollum: Baggins! It's a Baggins! A Baggins with the Precious! It's mine. It's mine.

[Frodo quickly opens the trap door]

Frodo: Who's there?

[Gollum screams and scampers away]

Gollum: Gollum!

Haldir: Did you see it?

Frodo: Yes!

Haldir: I've never seen anything like that before. It was no Orc. They have passed by. But we must take the road south as soon as it is fully light.

Frodo: Yes...

- - - - -

Narrator: The following morning, the Company crossed the Silverlode and entered Lórien.

[Elves sing around them]

Frodo: Like stepping over a bridge of time into a corner of the Elder Days - a world that is no more, but where ancient things still live on in the waking world.

- - - - -

Narrator: After they had walked many leagues through the trees, they came to an open space where stood a great mound covered with a sward of grass as green as Spring-time in the Elder Days. Upon it, as a double crown, grew two circles of trees: the outer had bark of snowy white, and were leafless but beautiful in their shapely nakedness; the inner were mallorn-trees of great height, still arrayed in pale gold. High amid the branches of a towering tree that stood in the centre of all there gleamed a great white platform.

[Elves sing]

Haldir: You are come to Cerin Amroth. For this is the heart of the ancient realm as it was long ago.

Frodo: In winter here, no heart could mourn for summer or for spring.

Sam: No. It's sunlight and bright day, right enough. I thought that Elves were all for moon and stars: but this is more elvish than anything I ever heard tell of. I feel as if I - I was inside a song, if you take my meaning.

Aragorn: Here is the heart of Elvendom on earth. Arwen vanimelda, namárië! Here my heart dwells ever, unless there be light beyond the dark roads that we must tread. Let us continue our journey to Caras Galadhrim, to the City of Green Towers.

- - - - -

Haldir: Here dwell Celeborn and Galadriel. It is their wish that you should ascend and speak with them.

Narrator: They climbed slowly up a mallorn tree taller than any they had yet seen. And at a great height above the ground, they came to a wide wooden platform. On two chairs beneath the bole of the tree, there sat side by side Celeborn and Galadriel. They were clad wholly in white; and the hair of the Lady was of deep gold, and the hair of the Lord Celeborn was of silver long and bright; but no sign of age was upon them, unless it were in the depths of their eyes.

Celeborn: Sit down beside my chair, Frodo of the Shire! When all have come we will speak together. Welcome Aragorn son of Arathorn! It is eight and thirty years of the world outside since you came to this land; and those years lie heavy on you. But the end is near, for good or ill. Here lay aside your burden for a while! Welcome Gimli son of Glóin! It is long indeed since we saw one of Durin's folk in Caras Galadhon. But today we have broken our long law against your race. May it be a sign that though the world is now dark better days are at hand, and that friendship shall be renewed between our peoples.

Galadriel: But where is Gandalf the Grey? He set out with your Company, yet I know he did not pass the borders of this land. Tell us where he is; for I much desired to speak with him again.

Aragorn: Alas! Gandalf the Grey fell into shadow. He remained in Moria and did not escape.

Frodo: He save us, and he fell.

Celeborn: How came he by his death?

Aragorn: He fell into the abyss locked in combat with some evil of the ancient world, more terrible than I have ever seen.

Gimli: It is that which haunts our darkest dreams, Durin's Bane.

Celeborn: Alas! We have long feared that under Caradhras a terror slept. But had I known that the Dwarves had stirred up this evil in Moria again, I would have forbidden you to pass through Lórien, you and all that went with you. And if it were possible, one would say that at the last Gandalf fell from wisdom into folly.

Galadriel: However it may be with a guide, the followers are blameless. Do not repent of your welcome to the Dwarf. If our folk had been exiled long and far from Lothlórien, which of us, even Celeborn the Wise, would pass nigh and not wish to look upon their ancient home, though it had become an abode of dragons? Fair were the many-pillared halls of Khazad-dûm in Elder Days before the fall of mighty kings beneath the stone.

Gimli: Yet more fair is the living land of Lórien, and the Lady Galadriel is above all jewels that lie beneath the earth!

Celeborn: Let Gimli forget my harsh words: I spoke in the trouble of my heart. I will do what I can to aid you, each according to his wish and need, but especially that one of the little folk who bears the burden.

Galadriel: Your quest is known to us, Frodo. Yet not in vain will it prove that you came to this land seeking aid, as Gandalf himself plainly purposed. For Celeborn, Lord of the Galadhrim is accounted the wisest of Elves of Middle-earth, and I have dwelt with him years uncounted. I will not give you counsel, saying do this, or do that. For I can avail only in knowing what was and is, and, in part also what shall be. But this will I say to you: your Quest stands upon the edge of a knife. Stray but a little and it will fail, to the ruin of all. Yet hope remains while all the Company is true.

Narrator: And with that word she held them with her eyes, and in silence looked searchingly at each of them in turn. None save Legolas and Aragorn could long endure her glance. Sam quickly blushed and hung his head.

Galadriel: Do not let your hearts be troubled. Tonight you shall sleep in peace.

- - - - -

Pippin: And what did you blush for, Sam Gamgee? Anyone would have thought you had a guilty conscience.

Sam: I - if you want to know, I felt as if I hadn't got nothing on, and I didn't like it. She seemed to be looking inside me and asking me what I would do if... if she gave me a chance of flying back to the Shire to a nice little hold with... w - with a bit of garden of my own.

Merry: Oh, that's funny. That's almost exactly what I felt myself; only, only well, no, I don't think I'll say any more.

Gimli: It seemed to me, too, that I was offered a choice.

Boromir: To me it seemed exceedingly strange. Maybe it was only a test, and she thought to read our thoughts for her own good purpose; but almost I would have said that she was tempting us, and offereing what she pretended to have the power to give. It need not be said that I refused to listen. The Men of Minas Tirith are true to their word. But what of you, Ring-bearer? She held you long in her gaze.

Frodo: Yes, but whatever came into my mind I will keep there.

Boromir: Well, have a care! I do not feel too sure of this Elvish Lady and her purposes.

Aragorn: Speak no evil of the Lady Galadriel! You know not what you say. There is in her and in this land no evil, unless a man bring it hither himself. Then let him beware! But tonight I shall sleep without fear for the first time since I left Rivendell. And may I sleep deep, and forget a while my grief! I am weary in body and in heart.

- - - - -

Narrator: They remained some days in Lothlórien, so far as they could tell or remember. The air was cool and soft, as if it were early spring, yet they felt about them the deep and thoughtful quiet of winter.

[Birds sing]

Frodo: I've been trying to put into words what I feel about Gandalf, Sam.

Sam: Wh... you, Mr. Frodo?

Frodo: Yes.

Sam: I didn't know you were one for the rhymes. But then you do take after old Mr. Bilbo in many ways. Will you speak it to me?

[Frodo stammers a bit]

Frodo: Well, I'll do my best, Sam, though I can only remember snatches of it. Erm...

[He coughs]

When evening in the Shire was grey
his footsteps on the Hill were heard;
before the dawn he went away
on journey long without a word.

From Wilderland to Western shore,
from northern waste to southern hill,
through dragon-lair and hidden door
and darkling woods he walked at will.

A deadly sword, a healing hand,
a back that bent beneath its load;
a trumpet-voice, a burning brand,
a weary pilgrim on the road.

A lord of wisdom throned he sat,
swift in anger, quick to laugh;
an old man in a battered hat
who leaned upon a thorny staff.

He stood upon the bridge alone
and Fire and Shadow both defied;
his staff was broken on the stone,
in Khazad-dûm his wisdom died.

Sam: Why, that's very good, Mr. Frodo.

Frodo: Well, it's the best that I can do - yet. But I can't think about it any more. Let's talk about something else, Sam.

Sam: Yes...

Frodo: Oh, yes! What do you think of Elves now, Sam?

Sam: I - I've never heard of a better land than this. It's like being at home and on holiday at the same time, if you understand me.

Frodo: Yes.

Sam: I don't want to leave. All the same, I'm beginning to feel that if we've got to go on, then we'd best get it over. It's the job that never gets started as takes longest to finish, as my old gaffer used to say. And I don't reckon that these folk can do much more to help us, magic or no.

Narrator: Even as he spoke, they saw, as if she came in answer to their thoughts, the Lady Galadriel approaching. She spoke no word, but beckoned to them. Down a long flight of steps the Lady went into a deep green hollow, through which ran murmuring the silver stream that issued from the hill of Caras Galadthon. With water from the stream Galadriel filled a basin of silver to the brim, and breathed on it.

[Water runs in the distant background]

Galadriel: Here is the Mirror of Galadriel. I have brought you here that you may look in it, if you will.

Frodo: What shall we look for, a - and what shall we see?

Galadriel: What you will see, if you leave the Mirror free to work I cannot tell. For it shows things that were, and things that are, and things that yet may be. But which it is that he sees, even the wisest cannot always tell. Do you wish to look?

[Frodo sighs]

Galadriel: And you, Sam Gamgee? Do you wish to see Elf-magic?

Sam: Well, I - I'll have a peep, Lady, if you're willing.

Galadriel: Come, you shall look and see what you may. Do not touch the water!

[Sam gasps]

Sam: There's only stars.

[He cries out in surprise]

Sam: They've all gone out. It's daylight - and there are trees. No! It's gone again. And there's Mr. Frodo. He's lying fast asleep under a dark cliff. He looks very pale. And I'm climbing, I'm climbing up some winding stairs that never seem to end. I'm looking for something. It's gone. There are the trees again! Somebody's cut them down! It's Ted Sandyman. They didn't ought to be felled: it's that avenue beyond the Mill that shades the road to Bywater. But the Old Mill's gone, and there's a great tall chimney, with black smoke pouring out of it, and folk working away fit-to-bust. There's some devilry at work in the Shire. I can't stay here. I must go home. Well, they've dug up Bagshot Row, and there's the poor old gaffer going down the Hill with his bits of things in a barrow. Well, I must go home!

Galadriel: You cannot go home alone. You did not wish to go home without your master before you looked in the Mirror, and yet you knew that evil things might well be happening in the Shire. Remember that the Mirror shows many things, and not all have yet come to pass. Some never come to be, unless those that behold the visions turn aside from their paths to prevent them. The Mirror is dangerous as a guide of deeds.

Sam: No, I'll go home by the long road with Mr. Frodo, or not at all. But I hope I do get back some day. If what I've seen turns out true, somebody's going to catch it hot!

Galadriel: Do you wish now to look, Frodo?

Frodo: Do you advise me to look?

Galadriel: I do not counsel you one way or the other. You may learn something, and whether what you see be fair or evil, that may be profitable, and yet it may not. Seeing is both good and perilous. Yet I think, Frodo, that you have courage and wisdom enough for the venture, or I would not have brought you here. Do as you will!

Frodo: I will look.

[He breathes in sharply]

Frodo: A twilit land and a long grey road winding towards the mountains. There's somebody coming down the road, clothed in white, with a white staff. Gandalf? Gandalf! But I cannot see his face, and now he's turned aside. G - Gandalf? Or was it Saruman? Mm! There's - there's Bilbo walking about his room! There are papers all over his table, b - but... he's gone. And that must be... that must be the Sea.

[He gasps]

Frodo: I never saw it before. There's a great storm coming a - and a ship with torn sails riding up out of the West. A wide river flowing through a populous city. A white fortress with s... seven towers. A ship with black sails, a banner bearing the emblem of a white tree shining in the sunlight. The smoke and fire of battle, and a small ship, twinkling with lights, passing away into the mist. And... and - and that's all. It's over. Ah - no. There is something else. An Eye. It's growing larger. An Eye rimmed with fire, yellow as a cat's, and its pupil is a great dark slit. It's looking for me, but it can't see me.

[He groans]

Frodo: The Ring is growing heavier! The chain round my neck is p - pulling me down towards the water!

Galadriel: Do not touch the mirror!

[Frodo breathes heavily]

Galadriel: I know what it was you last saw, for that is also in my mind. Do not be afraid! Do not think that only by singing amid the trees, nor even by the slender arrows of elven-bows, is this land of Lothlórien maintained and defended against its Enemy. I say to you, Frodo, that even as I speak to you, I perceive the Dark Lord and know his mind. And he gropes ever to see me and my thought. But still the door is closed!

Narrator: She lifted up her white arms, and spread out her hands towards the East in a gesture of rejection and denial. Eärendil, the Evening Star, most beloved of the Elves, shone clear above, and its rays glanced upon a ring about her finger.

Galadriel: Yes, you understand. It is one of the Three rings which was saved by the Elves, and which is kept hidden from Sauron. But it cannot be hidden from the Ring-bearer, and one who has seen the Eye. Verily it is in the land of Lórien that one of the Three remains. Of Narya, the red Ring of Fire, I cannot speak. Vilya, the sapphire Ring of Air is on the finger of Elrond. Nenya, the Ring of Water, the Ring of Adament is in my keeping. Sauron suspects, but he does not know - not yet. Do you not see now wherefore your coming is to us as the footsteps of Doom? For if you fail, then we are laid bare to the Enemy. Yet if you succeed, then our power is diminished, and Lothlórien will fade, and the tides of Time will sweep it away. I would wish, were it of any avail, that the One Ring had never been wrought, or had remained for ever lost.

Frodo: You are wise and fearless, Lady Galadriel. I will give you the One Ring, if you ask for it. It is too great a matter for me.

Galadriel: Wise the Lady Galadriel may be, yet here has she met her match in courtesy. Gently are you revenged for my testing of your heart at our first meeting. You begin to see with a keen eye. I do not deny that my heart has greatly desired to ask what you offer. For many long years I have pondered what I might do, should the Great Ring come into my hands, and behold! It is brought within my grasp. You will give me the Ring freely! In place of the Dark Lord you will set me up as Queen. And I shall not be dark, but beautiful and terrible as the Morning and the Night! Fair as the Sea and the Sun and the Snow upon the Mountain! Dreadful as the Storm and the Lightning! Stronger than the foundations of the earth. All shall love me and despair!

Narrator: The Lady Galadriel lifted up her hand and from the Ring of Adament there issued a great light that illuminated her alone. She stood before Frodo seeming now tall beyond measurement, terrible and worshipful. Then she let her hand fall. The light faded, and lo! She was shrunken: a slender elf-woman, clad in simple white, whose gentle voice was soft and sad.

Galadriel: I pass the test. I will diminish, and go into the West and remain Galadriel. Let us return! In the morning you must depart. For we have chosen, and the tides of fate are flowing.

- - - - -

Celeborn: Now is the time when those who wish to continue the Quest must hardern their hearts to leave this land.

Galadriel: I have looked into their hearts. They have all resolved to go forward.

Boromir: As for me, my way home lies forward and not back.

Celeborn: But is all this Company going with you to Minas Tirith?

Aragorn: We have not decided our course.

Celeborn: Yet when you leave this land, you can no longer forget the Great River. On which side will you journey? The way to Minas Tirith lies upon this side, upon the west; but the straight road of the Quest to Mordor lies east of the River, upon the darker shore. Which shore will you now take?

Boromir: If my advice is heeded, it will be the western shore, and the way to Minas Tirith. But I am not the leader of the Company.

Celeborn: I see that you do not yet know what to do. It is not my part to choose for you; but I will help you as I may. I will furnish the Company with boats. They must be small and light, for if you go far by water, there are places where you will be forced to carry them. Yet they will not give you counsel: in the end you must leave them and the River, and turn west - or east.

- - - - -

Narrator: In the morning, as they were beginning to pack their slender goods, Elves came to them and brought them many gifts of food and clothing for the journey. The food was mostly in the form of very thing cakes.

Gimli: Mm, Cram!

[The Elf laughs]

Elf: No more, no more!

Elf: You have eaten enough already for a long day's march.

Gimli: I thought it was only a kind of cram, such as the Dale-men make for journeys in the wild.

Elf: So it is. But we call it lembas or waybread, and it is more strengthening than any food made by Men.

Elf: And these will serve you for your protection on the journey that lies ahead.

Pippin: Are these magic cloaks?

Elf: I do not know what you mean by that. They are Elvish robes certainly. You will find them a great aid in keeping out of the sight of unfriendly eyes, whether you walk among the stones or the trees. You are indeed high in the favour of the Lady Galadriel! For she herself and her maidens wove this stuff.

Gimli: She is most gracious.

Elf: It is time for us all to go to the Great River. The hour is come when you must take your leave of us.

- - - - -

[A river runs and a bird sings]

Galadriel: I have brought you gifts in memory of Lothlórien. Aragorn, here is a sheath for Andúril, your sword. The blade that is drawn from this sheath shall not be stained or broken even in defeat. But is there aught else that you desire of me at our parting? For darkness will now flow between us, and it may be that we shall not meet again, unless it be far hence upon a road that has no returning.

Aragorn: Lady, you know all my desire, and long held in keeping the only treasure I seek. Yet it is not yours to give me, even if you would; and only through darkness shall I come to it.

Galadriel: Yet maybe this will lighten your heart, for it was left in my care to be given to you, should you pass through this land. This stone I gave to Celebrían, my daughter, and she to her daughter Arwen; and now it comes to you as a token of hope. In this hour take the name that was foretold for you, Elessar, the Elfstone of the house of Elendil!

Narrator: Galadriel turned then to Boromir, and to him she gave a belt of gold; and to Merry and Pippin she gave small silver belts, each with a clasp wrought like a golden flower. To Legolas she gave a bow such as the Galadhrim use.

Galadriel: For you, Sam Gamgee, I have a small gift. Here on this little box is set G for Galadriel, but also it may stand for garden in your tongue. The box contains earth from my orchard. It will not keep you on your road, nor defend you against any peril; but if you keep it and see your home again at last, then perhaps it may reward you. Though you should find all barren and laid waste, there will be few gardens in Middle-earth that will bloom like your garden, if you sprinkle this earth there. Then may you remember Galadriel, and catch a glimpse far off of Lórien, that you have seen only in our winter. For our spring and summer are gone by, and they will never be seen on earth again save in memory. And what gift would a Dwarf ask of the Elves?

Gimli: None, m'Lady. It is enough for me to have seen the Lady of the Galadhrim, and to have heard her gentle words.

Galadriel: Yet surely, Gimli son of Glóin, you desire something that I could give? Name it, I bid you! You shall not be the only guest without a gift.

Gimli: There is nothing. Nothing, unless it be - unless it is permitted to ask. Nay, to name a single strand of your hair, which surpasses the gold of the earth as the stars surpass the gems of the mine.

Galadriel: It is said that the skill of the Dwarves is in their hands rather than in their tongues, yet that is not true of Gimli. For none have ever made me a request so bold and yet so courteous. But tell me, what would you do with such a gift?

Gimli: Treasure it, Lady, in memory of your words to me at our first meeting. And if ever I return to the smithies of my home, it shall be set in imperishable crystal to be an heirloom of my house, and a pledge of good will between the Mountains and the Wood until the end of days.

Galadriel: These words shall go with the gift. I do not foretell, for all foretelling is now in vain: on the one hand lies darkness, and on the other only hope. But if hope should not fail, then I say to you, Gimli son of Glóin, that your hands shall flow with gold, and yet over you gold shall have no dominion. And you, Ring-bearer. I come to you last who are not last in my thoughts. For you I have prepared this phial. In it is caught the light of Eärendil's star, set amid the waters of my fountain. It will shine still brighter when night is about you. May it be a light to you in dark places, when all other lights are out. Remember Galadriel and her Mirror!

Frodo: Yes.

- - - - -

Narrator: A yellow noon lay on the green land, and the water glittered with silver. The Company took their places in the boats, and the Elves of Lórien with long grey poles thrust them out into the flowing stream, and the rippling waters bore them slowly away.

[The river flows. A voice sings softly behind the voices of Gimli and Legolas:

O Lórien! The Winter comes, the bare and leafless Day.
O Lórien! The leaves are falling in the stream, the River flows away.
O Lórien! Long I have dwelt upon this Hither Shore
And in a fading crown have twined the golden elanor.
O Lórien! But if of ships I now should sing, what ship would come to me
What ship would ever bear me back across the Sundering Sea?]

Gimli: I have looked the last upon that which was fairest. Henceforward I will call nothing fair, unless it be her gift. Tell me, Legolas, why did I come on this Quest? Little did I know where the chief peril lay! Torment in the dark was the danger that I feared, and it did not hold me back. But I would not have come, had I known the danger of light and joy. Now I have taken my worst wound in this parting.

Legolas: I count you blessed, Gimli son of Glóin: for your loss you suffer of your own free will, and you might have chosen to remain. But you have not forsaken your companions, and the least reward that you shall have is that the memory of Lothlórien shall remain ever clear and unstained in your heart.

Gimli: Memory is not what the heart desires. That is only a mirror. Or so says the heart of Gimli the Dwarf.

[The waters rush around the boat.]

Gimli: Look to the boat!

Legolas: Hm?

Gimli: She is too low in the water with all this baggage, and the Great River is swift. I do not wish to drown my grief in cold water. Give me that paddle.

[Legolas laughs]

- - - - -

Narrator: For four days, the Company travelled down the Great River Anduin. The dull grey hours passed without event. The lands changed slowly: the trees thinned and then failed altogether. They camped at night on a small island close to the western bank.

[The waters of the Anduin are heard running]

Sam: Mr. Frodo! Are you still awake?

Frodo: Just about, Sam.

Sam: Mr. Frodo, I had a funny dream an hour or two before we stopped. Or maybe it wasn't a dream. Funny it was anyway. I saw a log with eyes! At first I thought it was just an ordinary log, floating along behind Gimli's boat. Then it seemed as if the log was slowly catching us up. Then I saw the eyes: two pale sort of points, shiny-like, on a hump at the near end of the log. What's more, it wasn't a log, for it had paddle-feet. That's when I sat right up and rubbed my eyes, meaning to give a shout, if it was still there when I had rubbed the drowse out of my head. But whether those two lamps spotted me moving and staring, or whether I came to my senses, I don't know. When I looked again, it wasn't there. What do you make of it, Mr. Frodo?

Frodo: Hm. I should make nothing of it, Sam, if it was the first time those eyes had been seen. But it isn't. I saw them back north before we reached Lórien. And in the tree by the Silverlode. And I have often thought that I heard the sound of feet pattering behind us.

Sam: I don't want to disturb you, Mr. Frodo; but thinking of one thing and another, and Mr. Bilbo's stories and all, I fancy I could put a name on that creature, at a guess. A nasty name. Gollum, maybe?

Frodo: Yes, that is what I have feared for some time. The miserable creature must have been hiding in the woods by the River, watching us start off!

Sam: Yes, that's about it. And we'd better be a bit more watchful ourselves, or we'll feel some nasty fingers round our necks one of these nights, if we ever wake up to feel anything.

Frodo: Yes.

Sam: I'll keep watch tonight.

Frodo: All right, Sam.

- - - - -

Narrator: The night passed without Gollum showing so much as a shadow again. Now, the Company journeyed mostly by night and twilight, resting by day, and lying as hidden as the land allowed, always keeping watch for bands of marauding Orcs. On the ninth day, they reached the impassable rapids of Sarn Gebir and they carried their boats along the bank until they came to a wide ravine which narrowed in the distance to a chasm with cliffs rising to an unimaginable height on either side.

[The water flows loudly]

Boromir: The gates of Argonath! Have we passed by the rapids of Sarn Gebir to perish here?

Aragorn: Fear not! The water is swiftly flowing, but it is clear. Long have I desired to look upon this place, to see those two great pinnacles of stone! Those are the pillars of the kings. Keep the boats in line and hold the middle of the stream!

Frodo: They have been shaped into the figures of kings!

Aragorn: They are the likenesses of Isildur and Anárion, my sires of old. Under their shadow, we have naught to fear.

Sam: What a place! What a horrible place! Just let get me out of this boat, and I'll never wet my toes in a puddle again, let alone a river!

Narrator: But suddenly, the boats shot through the chasm, out into a wider, clearer sky. They came into a long, oval lake, and at the far southern end rose three mountain peaks.

- - - - -

Narrator: Wilderland was behind them. They could go no further without choice between the east way and the west.

Aragorn: The day has come at last, the day of choice which we have long delayed. What shall now become of our Company that has travelled so far in fellowship? Shall we turn west with Boromir and go to the wars in Gondor; or shall we turn east to the Fear and Shadow; or shall we break our fellowship and go this way and that as each may choose? Whatever we do must be done soon. We cannot long halt here. The enemy is on the eastern shore, we know; but I fear that the Orcs may already be on this side of the River.

Boromir: I shall go to Minas Tirith, alone if need be, for it is my duty. If you only with to destroy the Ring, then there is little use in war and weapons; and the Men of Minas Tirith cannot help. But if you wish to destroy the armed might of the Dark Lord, then it is folly to go without force into his domain; and folly to throw it away.

Frodo: What do you mean?

Boromir: I - I mean, it would be folly to throw lives away. It is a choice between defending a strong place and walking openly into the arms of death.

Aragorn: Be that as it may. I fear that the burden of decision is layed upon you, Frodo. You are the Bearer appointed by the Council. Your own way you alone can choose. In this matter I cannot advise you. I am not Gandalf, and though I have tried to bear his part, I do not know what design or hope he had for this hour, if indeed he had any.

Frodo: I know that haste is needed, yet I cannot choose. Oh, the burden is heavy. Gi - give me an hour longer, and I will speak. Let me be alone!

Aragorn: Very well. But do not stray far or out of call.

- - - - -

Narrator: Frodo wandered aimlessly at first, but found that his feet were leading him up towards the slope of a hill. He came to a path, the dwindling ruins of a road of long ago. For some while he climbed, not caring which way he went, until he came to a grassy place. Rowan-trees grew about it, and in the midst was a wide flat stone.

Boromir: I was afraid for you, Frodo.

[Frodo starts]

Frodo: Boromir.

Boromir: If Aragorn is right and the Orcs are near, then none of us should wander alone, and you least of all: so much depends on you. And my heart is heavy too. May I stay now and talk for a while, since I found you? It would comfort me.

Frodo: Yes.

Boromir: Where there are so many, all speech becomes a debate without end. Two together may perhaps find wisdom.

Frodo: You are kind. But I do not think that any speech will help me. For I know what I should do, but I am afraid of doing it, Boromir: I am afraid.

Boromir: Are you sure that you do not suffer needlessly?

Frodo: Hm?

Boromir: I wish to help you. You need counsel in your hard choice. Will you not take mine?

Frodo: I think I know already what counsel you would give, Boromir, to go with you to Gondor. But the world is changing. The walls of Minas Tirith may be strong, but they are not strong enough. If they fail, what then?

Boromir: We shall fall in battle valiantly. Yet there is still hope that they will not fail.

Frodo: No hope while the Ring lasts.

Boromir: Ah! The Ring! Is it not a strange fate that we should suffer so much fear and doubt for so small a thing? So small a thing! And I have seen it only for an instant in the House of Elrond. Could I not have a sight of it again?

Frodo: It is best that it should lie hidden.

Boromir: As you wish. I care not. Yet may I not even speak of it? The world is changing, you say. Minas Tirith will fall, if the Ring lasts. But why? Why, if it were with us?

Frodo: Were you not at the Council, Boromir? Because we cannot use it, and what is done with it turns to evil.

Boromir: So they have told you, Gandalf, Elrond, and the rest. But we of Minas Tirith are not Elves or Dwarves, we are Men! We do not desire the powers of wizard-lords, only strength to defend ourselves, strength in a just cause. In our need chance brings to light the Ring of Power. It is mad not to use it, to use the power of the Enemy against him. What could not a warrior do in this hour, a great leader? The Ring would give me power of Command. How I would drive the hosts of Mordor, and all men would flock to my banner! Surely you see it, my friend? You say that you are afraid. If it is so, the boldest should pardon you. But is it not really your good sense that revolts?

Frodo: No, I am afraid. Simply afraid. But I am glad to have heard you speak so fully, Boromir. My mind is clearer now.

Boromir: Then you will come to Minas Tirith?

Frodo: You misunderstand me.

Boromir: Will you not at least let me make trial of my plan?

Frodo: No!

Boromir: Lend me the Ring!

Frodo: No! The Council laid it upon me to bear it.

Boromir: If any mortals have claim to the Ring, is the men of Númenor and not Halflings. It is not yours save by unhappy chance. It might have been mine. It should be mine! Give it to me!

Frodo: No, Boromir!

Boromir: Why not be free of it? You can lay the blame on me, if you will. You can say that I was too strong and took it by force.

[He draws his sword]

Boromir: For I am too strong for you, halfling!

[Frodo puts on the Ring]

Boromir: W - where are you? Where have you gone? Miserable trickster! Let me get my hands on you! Now I see your mind. You will take the Ring to Sauron and sell us all. Curse you and all halflings to death and darkness! Oh... What have I said? Oh, what have I done? Frodo! A madness took me, but it has passed. Frodo! Frodo, come back! Come back! Come back!

[His voices fades into the distance]

Boromir: Come back, come back!

Frodo: I will do now what I must. This at least is plain: the evil of the Ring is already at work, even in the Company, and the Ring must leave them before it does more harm. I will go alone. Some I cannot trust, and those I can trust are too dear to me. I will go alone. At once.

- - - - -

[Leaves rustle on the ground]

Aragorn: Boromir, where have you been? Have you seen Frodo?

Boromir: Yes, and no. Yes: I found him some way up the hill, and spoke to him. I urged him to come to Minas Tirith and not to go east. I grew angry and he left me. He vanished. I have never seen such a thing happen before. Though I have heard of it in tales. He must have put the Ring on. I thought he would return to you.

Aragorn: Is that all you have to say?

Boromir: Yes. I will say no more yet.

Aragorn: Boromir, how long is it since you saw Frodo?

Boromir: Half an hour, maybe. Or it might be an hour. I have wandered for some time, since. I do not know! I do not know!

Pippin: An hour since he vanished! Where is he?

Merry: We must find him at once.

[Pippin and Merry run into the woods calling for Frodo]

Aragorn: Wait a minute! Come back - we shall all be scattered and lost! Boromir! I do not know what part you have played in this mischief, but help now! Go after those two young hobbits, and guard them at the least, even if you cannot find Frodo. I shall return soon. Sam!

Sam: Sir?

Aragorn: Follow me, and keep your eyes open!

Sam: Yes, sir!

[Leaves crunch beneath them]

Aragorn: Frodo, Frodo!

Sam: Mr. Frodo! Mr. Frodo! Oh, Mr. Frodo, sir! Mr. Frodo - Mr. Frodo, Mr. Frodo! Whoa now, steady, Sam Gamgee. Your legs are too short, so use your head! Where could he have gone? Well, he can't fly across rivers, and he can't jump waterfalls. He - he's got to get back to the boat. Back to the boats. Back to the boats, Sam, like lightning!

- - - - -

[Water flows loudly]

Sam: Oh, what's that boat doing, sliding down the bank all by itself? Oh, it's Mr. Frodo - he's put the Ring on! Ah - coming, Mr. Frodo! I'm coming!

[He flails in the water, crying out]

Sam: Help! Help, Mr. Frodo! I can't swim!

Frodo: Up you come, Sam my lad!

[Sam grunts]

Frodo: Now, take my hand, come on!

Sam: I can't... I can't - I can't see your hand!

Frodo: Oh...!

[Frodo pulls off the Ring]

Sam: Save me, Mr. Frodo! I'm drownded!

[He gasps for air]

Frodo: Hold on, Sam, hold on to the boat! I'll paddle it back to the bank. Hold on - there! Now, can you touch the bottom?

[Sam breathes heavily]

Sam: Oh! Thank you kindly, Mr. Frodo.

Frodo: Up - there. Oh, Sam, Sam! Of all the counfounded nuisances...

Sam: Huh?

Frodo: are the worst! If it hadn't been for you, I would have been safely on my way.

Sam: Safely! All alone, without me to help you? I couldn't have borne it, it would have been the death of me.

Frodo: It would be the death of you to come with me, Sam. And I could not bear that. I am going to Mordor.

Sam: Well, I know that well enough, Mr. Frodo. Of course you are. I'm coming with you. Or neither of us is going. I'll knock holes in all the boats first.

[Frodo laughs, and then Sam]

Frodo: Well leave one! We'll need it.

Sam: Ah!

Frodo: But you can't come like this without your gear or your food or anything.

Sam: Oh, just you hold on a minute. I'll get my stuff!

Frodo: Oh, Sam...

Sam: I thought - I thought we should be off today. And d'you know what I remembered this time?

Frodo: What?

Sam: Rope! Slender Elven rope from Lothlórien.

Frodo: Well, Sam, it is plain that we were meant to go together. And we will go. And may the others find a safe road. Strider will look after them. I don't suppose we shall see them again.

Sam: Yet we may, Mr. Frodo. We may.

- - - - -

Pippin: Frodo!

Merry: Frodo!

Pippin: Frodo, where are you?

Merry: Frodo!

[Leaves crunch beneath them as the search]

Pippin: Frodo!

Merry: Frodo, where are you?

Pippin: Look. There's something through the trees, over there. Is that him? Frodo?

[Orcs begin to laugh]

Pippin: Orcs! Help, help!

[The hobbits out their swords]

Orc: You can throw those little daggers away, my tinies. We're not going to fight you.

Boromir: Then you shall fight me!

Merry: Boromir!

Boromir: Get behind me, both of you.

[The Orcs attack, screaming]

Pippin: They're coming out of the trees! There are dozens of them - sound your horn, Boromir, warn the others!

[Boromir's horn resonates through the forest and the Orcs advance]



[Orcs scream and Boromir's horn rings out]

Aragorn: The horn of Boromir! He is in need!

[He cries out in frustration]

Aragorn: An ill fate is on me this day, and all that I do goes amiss. Where is Sam? Sam! Sam!

[The Orcs scream and yell. Boromir's horn again is blown]

Aragorn: Elendil! Elendil!

[The Orcs retreat. Boromir's breathing is strained]

Aragorn: Boromir!

Boromir: Aragorn, I - I tried to take the Ring from Frodo. I am sorry. These Orc-arrows have paid me for my folly. Farewell, Aragorn! Go to Minas Tirith and save my people! I have failed.

Aragorn: No! No, Boromir, you have conquered. Few have gained such a victory. Minas Tirith shall not fall! Boromir, where are the halflings?

Boromir: The Orcs have them. I do not think they're dead. Orcs bound them.

Aragorn: Which way did the Orcs go? Did they have Frodo and Sam as well?

[Boromir gasps softly]

Aragorn: Boromir! Alas! Thus passes the heir of Denethor, Lord of the Tower of Guard! This is a bitter end. Now the Company is all in ruin. It is I that have failed. Vain was Gandalf's trust in me.

[Running footsteps approach]

Gimli: Boromir!

Legolas: Oh, Aragorn. Gimli and I have hunted and slain many Orcs in the woods, but we should have been of more use here.

Gimli: We came when we heard the horn - but too late, it seems.

Aragorn: Yes, Boromir is dead. He fell defending the hobbits.

Gimli: The hobbits! Where are they then? Where is Frodo?

Aragorn: I do not know, Gimli. I was not here. Before he died Boromir told me that the Orcs had bound the halflings; but I did not ask him until it was too late whether they took them all, or only Merry and Pippin. All that I have done today has gone amiss. What is to be done now?

Legolas: First we must tend the fallen. We cannot leave him lying like carrion among these foul Orcs.

Gimli: We have not the time or the tools to bury our comrade fitly.

Aragorn: Then let us lay him in a boat with his weapons, and send him to the Falls of Rauros and give him to the River Anduin.

Gimli: It is not a pleasant task, Legolas. But let us strip these Orcs of helm and shield, that we may lay around him the weapons of his vanquished foes.

Legolas: Yes.

[They begin to gather the Orcs' armour]

Aragorn: These are not folk of Mordor. I have not seen shields before that bear this strange device of the White Hand.

Gimli: The Orcs of Barad-dûr use the sign of the Red Eye.

Aragorn: I guess therefore that these Orcs were in the service of Saruman. There is evil afoot in Isengard, and the West is no longer safe.

Gimli: We must be swift. Let us carry Boromir to the shore, and then Legolas and I will go back and fetch the boats, while you stand vigil over our companion.

- - - - -

[Water flows]

Legolas: There's a strange tale to tell, Aragorn!

Aragorn: Why? What has happened?

Legolas: There were only two boats upon the bank. We could find no trace of the other one.

Aragorn: Have Orcs been there?

Gimli: We saw no sign of them. And Orcs would have taken or destroyed all the boats.

Aragorn: Then - then I think only Frodo could have taken the boat, and Sam must have gone with him.

Gimli: But why should he leave us behind, and without a word?

Legolas: Indeed. That was a strange deed.

Aragorn: And a brave deed. I do not think Frodo wished to lead any friend to death with him in Mordor. But he knew that he must go himself.

Gimli: We have no time to ponder riddles. Let us bear Boromir away.

Narrator: They laid Boromir in the middle of the boat that was to bear him away. The elven-cloak they folded and placed beneath his head. The golden belt of Lórien gleamed about his waist. His helm they set beside him, and across his lap they laid the cloven horn and the hilt and shards of his sword. Sorrowfully they cast loose the funeral boat: there Boromir lay, restful, peaceful, gliding upon the bosom of the flowing water. Slowly his boat departed, waning to a dark spot against the golden light; and then suddenly it vanished. The rush and thunder of the Falls shook the windless air.

Aragorn: They will look for him from the White Tower of Minas Tirith, but he will not return from mountain or from sea. Boromir has taken his road. And now we must make haste to choose our own.

Gimli: Our choice then, is either to take the remaining boat and follow Frodo, or else to follow the Orcs on foot. There is little hope either way. We have already lost precious hours.

Legolas: Indeed.

Aragorn: Let me think! And now may I make a right choice and change the evil fate of this unhappy day! I will follow the Orcs. I would have guided Frodo to Mordor and gone with him to the end; but if I seek him now in the wilderness, I must abandon the captives to torment and death. My heart speaks clearly at last: the fate of the Bearer is in my hands no longer.

- - - - -

Narrator: Afternoon was fading when Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli came back to the glade where Boromir had fallen. There, they picked up the trail of the Orcs. It needed little skill to find.

Legolas: No other folk make such a trampling. It seems that they delight in slashing and bearing down anything that grows, even if it is not in their way.

Aragorn: But they do go at great speed for all that, and they do not tire.

Gimli: Well, after them! Dwarves too can go swiftly, and they do not tire sooner than Orcs. But it will be a long chase: they have a long start.

Aragorn: We will make such a chase as shall be accounted a marvel among the Three Kindreds: Elves, Dwarves, and Men. Forth the Three Hunters!

Legolas and Gimli: The Three Hunters!

- - - - -

Legolas: Ah! The green smell of the grasslands of Rohan! It is much better than sleep. Let us run!

Aragorn: Light feet may run swiftly here. More swiftly, maybe, than the iron-shod Orcs. Now we may have a chance to lessen their lead! Wh - stay!

Gimli: What is it?

Aragorn: Look - there, quite plain: a hobbit's footprint. Pippin's I think. He is smaller than Merry. And - look at this!

Legolas: A leaf-brooch from an elven-cloak!

Aragorn: Not idly to the leaves of Lórien fall. This did not drop by chance: it was cast away as a token to any that might follow. I think Pippin must have run away from that trail on purpose.

Gimli: Then at least he was alive. And he had the use of his wits, and of his legs too. That is heartening. We do not pursue in vain.

Legolas: Let us hope he did not pay too dearly for his boldness. Come! Let us go on!

- - - - -

Narrator: On then they ran all that day, now striding, now running, as if no weariness could quench the fire that burned them. But that night, they rested. With the dawn they set forth again. Still they drew no closer to the foe.

Legolas: Now do I most grudge a time of rest or any halt in our chase. The Orcs have run before us, as if the very whips of Sauron were behind them. I fear that they have already reached the forest of Fangorn and the dark hills, and are now passing into the shadows of the trees.

Gimli: Is this an end to our hope and to all our toil?

Aragorn: To hope, maybe, but not to toil. We shall not turn back here.

- - - - -

[Orcs groan. A whip cracks]

Uglúk: On! On! Come on, you maggots! Faster!

Orc: Oh, it's all right for you, Uglúk! You're not carrying these nasty little hobbit-things.

Uglúk: They must be carried or they'll try and escape again. And we don't want them loosing themselves in that their forest. Now, come on!

Orc: What's that?

Uglúk: What's what?

Orc: Horses!

Uglúk: Where?

Orc: Yes! Look over there, to the east. White-skins on horses!

[The Orcs talk in fear]

Pippin: White-skins? Who are they?

Merry: I don't know. I don't know if they're friends or foe.

Uglúk: Silence! Silence! Now listen, you maggots. It seems that those cursed horse-boys have got wind of us. But we are the fighters and we'll feast on horse-flesh yet, or something better. So stand and prepare to defend yourselves and the prisoners.

Orc: Why worry about the prisoners? They're a cursed nuisance anyway. Why don't we kill them now?

Uglúk: Orders! Kill all but not the halflings. They're to be brought back alive as quickly as possible. That's my orders.

Merry: Let's hope he sticks to them.

Uglúk: Now stop arguing and get ready to fight!

Orc: Look, look! They're not coming any nearer.

Orc: They will.

Uglúk: Right, now! Put those halflings down and stand guard over them. They're not to be killed unless the filthy white-skins break through. Understand? As long as I'm alive, I want 'em.

Pippin: Oh, Merry!

Merry: Don't lose hope, Pippin!

Uglúk: But they're not to cry out and they're not to be rescued. Bind their legs.

Orc: Bind their legs?

Uglúk: Well! Bind 'em!

[Pippin cries out in pain]

Pippin: Get off me!

Orc: Why don't those riders attack, if they're going to? Why don't we charge through them?

Uglúk: You're apes and maggots, the lot of you! No good trying to charge them.

Orc: Why?

Uglúk: You'll just squeal and bolt. Enough of them then to mop up our lot on the flat.

[The Orc argue loudly in the background]

Merry: I don't think much of this, Pippin.

Pippin: I suppose we ought to be glad that these beastly Orcs look like being destroyed. How will the horsemen know we're not Orcs?

Merry: I don't suppose they've ever heard of Hobbits down here.

Pippin: No. I wonder if anyone will ever pick up my trail and find that brooch?

Merry: Oh, I doubt it, Pippin. Still you will get almost a chapter in old Bilbo's book, if I ever get a chance to report to him.

Uglúk: Now then! None of that! Hold your tongues. Don't talk to one-another. Any trouble, and He'll here about it. And He'll know how to pay you.

[The Orcs scream]

Orc: The white-skins!

Orc: Their attacking!

[Hooves pound on the ground and Orcs scream in fear]

Uglúk: ... Maggots! Stand and fight! Stand and f -

[He screams as he is killed]

Merry: If only we had our legs and hands free, we might get away. Perhaps we can bite through the knots?

Pippin: No need to try, Merry! I've managed to free my hands on the march. These loops are only left for show.

Merry: Oh, well-done, Pippin!

Pippin: If I can just reach that Orc's sword, then we could cut the rest of the ropes. Right! Now, give me your wrists. There! Now, get your legs free. We must get under cover. It would not be any comfort to us if these riders only discover we're not Orcs after we're dead. Right. Can you manage?

Merry: Yes, I think so, though those cords have cut me like wires.

Pippin: Right, come on, run!

[They pant as they run]

Merry: We must get into the forest.

Pippin: But surely that's Fangorn, and we were warned against going there.

Merry: Yes, I have not forgotten. But the forest seems better to me than turning back into the middle of that battle!

- - - - -

Narrator: Fearful for their young companions, Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli still pursued the Orc-trail. They were going slowly, now. But at length, they came to the summit of a smooth, round hill, and saw ahead and eastward the windy uplands of the Wold of Rohan.

Aragorn: Look!

Gimli: What is it? What do you see, Aragorn?

Aragorn: I don't know, Gimli. A shadow on the distant green, a dark, swift-moving blur. Legolas, what do your elven-eyes see?

Legolas: I see small figures of horsemen. Many horsemen.

Aragorn: Riders?

Legolas: Yes. There are one-hundred and five of them. Their hair is yellow and their leader is very tall, and the glint of morning on the tips of their spears is like the twinkle of minute stars beyond the edge of mortal sight. Behind them, a dark smoke rises in curling threads.

Aragorn: Keen are the eyes of the Elves.

[Legolas laughs]

Gimli: Shall we wait for them here or go on our way?

Aragorn: We shall wait. For these riders must be men of Rohan and they are riding back down the Orc-trail. We may get news from them.

Gimli: Or spears.

Legolas: I see no hobbits with them.

Aragorn: I did not say that we should hear good news. But evil or good, we will await it here.

- - - - -

[Many horse-hooves pound the earth]

Aragorn: What news from the North, Riders of Rohan?

Éomer: Who are you, and what are you doing in this land?

Aragorn: I am called Strider. I come out of the North. I am hunting Orcs.

Éomer: Indeed! You know little of Orcs if you go hunting them in this fashion. Are you elvish folk?

Aragorn: No. One only of us is an Elf, Legolas from the Woodland Realm in distant Mirkwood. But we have passed through Lothlórien, and the gifts and favour of the Lady go with us.

[The horsemen speak amongst themselves in wonder]

Éomer: Then there is a Lady in the Golden Wood, as old tales tell!

Éothain: Beware, Lord! Few escape her nets, they say.

Éomer: Aye. And if you have her favour, then maybe you are also net-weavers and sorcerers. Why do your companions not speak?

Gimli: Give me your name, horse-master, and I will give you mine, and more besides.

Éomer: I am named Éomer son of Éomund, and am called the Third Marshal of Riddermark.

Gimli: Then Éomer son of Éomund, Third Marshal of Riddermark, let Gimli the Dwarf, Glóin's son, warn you against foolish words. You speak evil of that which is fair beyond the reach of your thought, and only little wit can excuse you.

Éomer: I would cut off your head, beard and all, Master Dwarf, if it stood but a little higher from the ground.

[The horsemen laugh]

Legolas: He stands not alone. I can string and loose an arrow quicker than sight. You would die before your stroke fell.

[Éomer draws his sword]

Éomer: Would I?

Aragorn: Your pardon, Éomer! When you know more you will understand why you have angered my companions. Will you not hear our tale before you strike?

Éomer: I will.

[His sword is sheathed]

Éomer: But first tell me your right name.

Aragorn: First tell me whom you serve. Are you friend or foe of Sauron, the Dark Lord of Mordor?

Éomer: I serve only the Lord of the Mark, Théoden King son of Thengel. We do not serve the Power of the Black Land, but neither are we yet at open war with him. Come! Who are you? Whom do you serve?

Aragorn: I am Aragorn son of Arathorn and am called Elessar the Elfstone, Dúnadan, the heir of Isildur Elendil's son of Gondor.

[He draws his sword]

Aragorn: Here is the Sword that was Broken and is forged again! Will you aid me or thwart me? Choose swiftly!

[Men murmur in the background]

Éomer: These are strange days. Dreams and legends spring to life out of the grass. Tell me, lord, what brings you here?

Aragorn: I am in great need. The Orcs whom we pursue took captive two of my friends. What can you tell us?

Éomer: That you need not pursue them further. The Orcs are destroyed.

Legolas: And our friends?

Éomer: We found none but Orcs.

Aragorn: But that is strange indeed. Did you search the slain? Were there no bodies other than those of Orc-kind? They would be small. Only children to your eyes.

Éomer: There were no children. We counted all the slain and despoiled them, and then we piled the carcases and burned them, as is our custom. The ashes are smoking still.

Gimli: We do not speak of children. Our friends were hobbits.

Éomer: Hobbits? And what may they be? It's a strange name.

Gimli: A strange name for a strange folk. But these were very dear to us. You may have heard them called Halflings.

[The horsemen laugh]

Éothain: Haflings! My lord Éomer, let us leave these wild folk to their fancies. Halflings are only a little people in old childrens' tales out of the North. Time is pressing. We must hasten south.

Éomer: Peace, Éothain! Leave me a while. Assemble our people on the path and make ready to ride.

Éothain: My lord. Riders! Fall up, on the path. Ready to ride!

[Horses gallop away]

Éomer: I spoke warily before my men. I am abroad without King Théoden's leave. It's true that we are not yet at open war with the Black Land and there are some close to the King's ear that speak craven counsels. But war is coming. We shall not forsake our old alliance with Gondor, and while they fight, we shall aid them. So say I and all who hold with me.

Aragorn: My errand was to go with Boromir to the aid of Gondor. But Boromir has fallen.

Éomer: Boromir, slain?

Aragorn: Slain by the Orcs of Saruman, defending the halflings we have told you of.

Éomer: These are heavy tidings. Boromir was a worthy man. But why journeyed Aragorn and Boromir with Elf and Dwarf and Halfling? You have not told all. Will you not now speak more fully of your errand?

Aragorn: The Company I journeyed with had other business, but I cannot speak of that now. Gandalf the Grey was our leader.

Éomer: Gandalf is known in the Mark: but I warn you, his name is no longer a password to the king's favour. Since he last came all things have gone amiss. It was at that time that our trouble with Saruman began.

Gimli: Are you now at war with him?

Éomer: Yes, for many months, and it is ill dealing with such a foe: he is a wizard both cunning and dwimmer-crafty, having many guises. He walks here and there, they say, hooded and cloaked, very like to Gandalf.

Aragorn: That is a poor disguise, since Gandalf walks no more. He fell into the darkness in the Mines of Moria.

Éomer: Your news is all of woe! But do I hope in vain that now you have been sent to me for help in doubt and need?

Aragorn: I will come when I may.

Éomer: Come now! The Heir of Elendil would be a strength indeed to the sons of Eorl in this evil tide.

Aragorn: My heart desires to come with you; but I cannot desert my friends while hope remains. If, as you will say, they were not slain and burned among the Orcs, then we must search in Fangorn for them.

Éomer: Very well. You may go. And what is more, I will lend you horses. This only I ask: when your quest is achieved, or is proved vain, return the horses to Edoras where Théoden sits. Thus shall you prove to him that I have not misjudged. Do not fail.

Aragorn: I will not fail you, Éomer. I will not fail you.

- - - - -

Narrator: As Aragorn and his companions set out in search of Merry and Pippin, the two young hobbits were struggling through the dark and tangled forest, fighting a queer, stifling feeling that was coming over them.

Merry: The air. It's getting too thin to breathe.

Pippin: Yes. It's all very dim and stuffy in here. Look at all those weeping, trailing beards and whiskers of lichen. And most of the trees seem to be half-covered with ragged dry leaves that have never fallen.

Merry: I can't imagine any animals living here.

Pippin: No, nor Hobbits. And I don't like the thought of trying to get through it, Merry. I don't like the thought of it at all.

Merry: No! It's so frightfully, uh - treeish.

Pippin: Hm. Well, we'd better decide on the way now. The morning must be getting on.

Merry: Look, Pippin! Light - yellow sunlight, up there, through the forest roof.

Pippin: It isn't far. Let's go and investigate.

[They struggle through the forest]

Merry: The wind's changed; it's turned east again.

Pippin: Yes. I'm afraid this is only a passing gleam. It will all be grey again in a moment. What a pity! This shaggy old forest looks so different in the sunlight. I almost felt I liked the place.

Treebeard: Hoom!

[Pippin and Merry gasp]

Treebeard: Almost felt you liked the Forest! That's good! That's uncommonly kind of you. Turn round and let me have a look at your faces. I almost feel that I dislike you. But do not let us be hasty. Turn round! Hoom... very odd indeed! Do not be hasty, that is my motto. But if I had seen you, before I heard your voices - I liked them: they reminded me of something I cannot remember. If I had seen you before I heard you, I should have just trodden on you, taking you for little Orcs, and found out my mistake afterwords. Very odd you are, indeed. Root and twig, very odd!

Pippin: Please, who are you?

Treebeard: Hm, now. Well, I am an Ent, or that's what they call me.

Merry: An Ent? What's that?

Treebeard: We are tree-herds, though there are few enough of us left now. Sheep get like shepherd, and shepherds get like sheep, it is said. But it is quicker and closer with trees and Ents.

Pippin: Do you have a name, sir?

Treebeard: I am the Ent, you might say. Fangorn is my name according to some, Treebeard others make it. Treebeard will do. What are you, I wonder? I cannot place you. You do not seem to come in the old lists that I learned when I was young. Let me see! Let me see! How did it go?

Learn now the lore of Living Creatures!
First name the four, the free peoples:
Eldest of all, the elf-children;
Dwarf the delver, dark are his houses;
Ent the earthborn, old as mountains;
Hrum, de tum tum
Man the mortal, master of horses:
Hrum, de tum tum. Oh, how did it go?
Hrum, de tum tum. Hrum, de du tum.
Du tadum...

It was a long list. But anyway you do not seem to fit in anywhere!

Merry: We always seem to have got left out of all the old lists and the old stories. Yet we've been about for quite a long time. We are hobbits.

Treebeard: Hoom, hobbits. Hobb-its.

Pippin: Why not make a new line?

Half-grown hobbits, the hole-dwellers.

Treebeard: That would do. So you live in holes, eh? That sounds very right and proper. But who calls you hobbits? That does not sound elvish to me.

Pippin: Nobody else calls us hobbits; we call ourselves that.

Treebeard: Oh, come now! Not so hasty! You call yourselves hobbits? But you should not go telling just anybody. You'll be letting out your own right names if you're not careful.

Merry: Oh, we aren't careful about that. As a - as a matter of fact I'm a Brandybuck, Meriadoc Brandybuck, though most people just call me Merry.

Pippin: And I'm a Took, Peregrin Took, but I'm generally called Pippin.

Treebeard: Hm, but you are hasty folk, I see. I'll call you Merry and Pippin if you please - nice names. But now, what is going on? And what are you doing in it all? What is Gandalf up to? And these - burárum, these Orcs, and young Saruman down at Isengard? I like news. But not too quick now.

Merry: But you told us not to be too hasty, Treebeard. Um, ought we to tell you anything so soon? Would you think it rude, if we asked you what you are going to do with us, and - and which side you're on? And did you know Gandalf?

Treebeard: The only wizard that really cares about trees. Do you know him?

Pippin: Yes, we did. He was a great friend, and he was our guide.

Treebeard: Then I can answer your other questions. I am not going to do anything with you: not if you mean by that doing something to you. But we might do some things together. As to which side I am on, I am not altogether on anybody's side, because nobody is altogether on my side, if you understand me. Nobody cares for the woods as I care for them, not even the Elves nowadays. But you speak of Master Gandalf, as if he was in a story that has come to an end.

Pippin: Yes, we do. The story seems to be going on, but I am afraid Gandalf has fallen out of it.

Treebeard: Come now! Well, I do not know what to say.

Merry: If you would like to hear more, we will tell you. But it will take some time. Wouldn't you like to sit down?

Treebeard: I do not sit down. I am not very, hm, bendable. Ah, but there, the sun is going in. Let us leave this a-lalla-lalla-rumba-kamanda-lindor-burúme - oh, excuse me. That is part of my name for the thing we are now standing on, where I look out on fine mornings and think about the unfolding of the world. What would you call it?

Pippin: Hill?

Treebeard: Hill. Yes, that was it. But it is a hasty word for a thing that has stood here ever since this part of the world was shaped. Nevermind. Let us leave it, and go.

Merry: Where shall we go?

Treebeard: To my home, or one of my homes.

Merry: I - is it far? You see, we have lost all our belongings, and we have only a little food.

Treebeard: Oh! You need not trouble about that. I can give you a drink that will keep you green and growing for a long, long while. And I will carry you so that you do not tire yourselves. Come now. Let us go!

- - - - -

[Water is heard in the background]

Pippin: What is this place, Treebeard?

Treebeard: This, Pippin, is an ent-house, near the roots of the Last Mountain. Part of the name of this place might be Wellinghall, if it was turned into your language. I like it. We will stay here tonight. There are no seats, I fear, but you may sit on my stone table.

[He sets them down]

Treebeard: There. You are thirsty, I expect. I will fetch you a drink.

Merry: Pippin, did you see those two great trees as we came into the clearing, like living gateposts?

Pippin: Yes.

Merry: I'm sure they lifted their branches and quivered their leaves when we approached.

Treebeard: Ah. Hrum! Drink this.

[Treebeard takes a long drink and sighs contently]

Treebeard: Now we can talk easier.

[Leaves rustle]

Treebeard: I will lie down and that will prevent this drink from rising to my head and sending me to sleep. Now then, tell me your story.

Merry: Well, you see, uh - Pippin and I are friends of Frodo Baggins, whose uncle was Bilbo Baggins...

[His voice begins to fade into the background]

Merry: ...who was a friend of Gandalf the Wizard...

- - - - -

Treebeard: Hoom! Well, well! That is a bundle of news and no mistake. Up sprout a little folk that are not in the old lists, and behold, they're caught up in a great storm. I hope they can weather it!

Merry: And what about yourself?

Treebeard: There is naught an old Ent can do to hold back a storm: he must also weather it or crack. But Saruman, now! Saruman is a neighbour: I cannot overlook that. Now it is clear that he is a black traitor. He is plotting to become a Power. He has a mind of metal and wheels; and he does not care for growing things. Down on the borders, his Orcs are felling trees! Good trees! Which they carry off to feed the fires of Orthanc in Isengard.

[He slams his hand on the table]

Treebeard: Curse him, root and branch! But I will stop it. And you shall come with me.

Pippin: Us?

Treebeard: Yes. You may be able to help us. You will be helping your own friends that way, too. Our roads go together - to Isengard!

Merry: We will come with you!

Pippin: We will do what we can.

Treebeard: Good! But I spoke hastily. We must not be hasty. For it is easier to shout stop! than to do it. Hm, I must think.

- - - - -

[Treebeard's singing voice approaches]


When Spring unfolds the beechen leaf, and sap is in the bough;
When light is on the wild-wood stream, and wind is on the brow;

[Merry and Pippin yawn]


When stride is long, and breath is deep, and keen the mountain-air,
Come back to me! Come back to me, and say my land is fair!

Hm. Good morning, Merry and Pippin!

Merry: Good morning, Treebeard. What's happening?

Treebeard: We're off to the Entmoot.

Pippin: What's an Entmoot, Treebeard?

Treebeard: Entmoot is a gathering of Ents, Pippin - which does not happen very often nowadays.

Merry: But why are the Ents gathering?

Treebeard: Why? To decide what to do, of course! Though it will take several days.

Pippin: What will they decide, do you think?

Treebeard: Well, now, we shall have to see, shan't we? But come! Up you get onto my arms. We must away if we're to be there before noon.

[His voice slowly fades into the distance]


When Winter comes, the winter wild that hill and wood shall slay;
When trees shall fall and starless night devour the sunless day;
When wind is in the deadly East, then in the bitter rain
I'll look for thee, and call to thee; I'll come to thee again!

Narrator: Carrying the hobbits in his arms, Treebeard strode away southwards into deep groves, where the trees were larger, taller, and thicker than any the hobbits had ever seen before. And as they went, it seemed to Merry and Pippin that they alone were now left of the whole Fellowship of the Ring.

- - - - -

Narrator: But away in the East, Frodo and Sam were struggling on towards perils of their own.

[A harsh wind blows loudly]

Frodo: You know, Sam, I'm sure we've been here before.

Sam: You're right, Mr. Frodo. We must have gone round in a circle again.

Frodo: Oh, we'll never get off this cliff!

Sam: What a fix! That's the one place in all the lands we've ever heard of that we don't want to see any closer; and that's the one place we're trying to get to! And that's just where we can't get, nohow. We've come the wrong way altogether. We can't get down; and if we did get down, we'd find all that green land a nasty bog, I'll warrant.

[Frodo shivers]

Sam: Phew! Can you smell it?

Frodo: Yes, I can.

Sam: And what's that flickering red, way over there?

Frodo: Mordor! And I must go there. I wish I could get there quickly and make an end of all this! Well, Sam, we - we can't stay here, fix or no fix. We must find a more sheltered spot, and camp; perhaps another day will show us another path.

Sam: Or another and another and another. Or maybe no day. We... we've come the wrong way.

Frodo: I wonder. It's my doom, I think, to go to that Shadow yonder, so that a way will be found. But will good or evil show it to me?

- - - - -

[The wind blows in fast gusts]

Frodo: I wish we could get away from these hills, Sam. I hate them! I feel all naked with nothing but the dead flats between me and that Shadow yonder. There's an Eye in it. Come on, Sam!

Sam: Sir.

Frodo: We've got to get down today somehow.

Sam: I don't see how, Mr. Frodo.

Frodo: There's nothing for it but to scramble down this gully, Sam. L - uh, let's see where it leads to.

Sam: A nasty drop, I'll bet.

Frodo: Look! It - it's much lower here than it was, and it looks easier too.

Sam: Easier? Well, I suppose it's always easier getting down than up. Those as can't fly can jump!

Frodo: It will still be a big jump. No, there's nothing we can do without rope.

Sam: Rope! Well, if I don't deserve to be hung on the end of one as a warning to numbskulls.

Frodo: What?

Sam: You're naught but a ninnyhammer, Sam Gamgee. I carried it all the way from Lothlórien, and I clean forgotten it!

Frodo: Then get busy and make it fast to that stump, Sam!

Sam: Sir!

Frodo: If we're going to try and get down we'd better try at once. It's getting dark early. I think there's a storm coming.

[Sam grunts as he tightens his knot]

Sam: Right! I'm going first, Mr. Frodo.

Frodo: You? But I thought you didn't like heights!

Sam: Well, I don't. But it's only sense to put the one lowest as is most likely to slip. I don't want to come down atop of you. There's no sense in killing two with one fall.

Frodo: All right, Sam.

[Thunder shakes the air]

Frodo: I'll lower you, and you need do no more than put your weight on some of the ledges.

Sam: Very well! If it must be, let's get it over with.

Frodo: Yeah.

- - - - -

[Sam coughs. Thunder rolls throughout the conversation]

Frodo: There. Well, we've done it! We escaped from the Emyn Muil! And now what next, I wonder? Maybe we shall soon be sighing for good hard rock under our feet again.

Sam: Oh, ninnyhammers!

Frodo: What...?

Sam: Noodles!

Frodo: What - what is it now, Sam?

Sam: My beautiful rope!

Frodo: Huh?

Sam: Well, there it is up there tied to a stump, and we're at the bottom. Just as nice a stair for that slinking Gollum as we could leave. I thought it seemed a bit too easy.

Frodo: Sam, well - how could we have both used the rope and yet brought it down with us, hm?

Sam: Well, well... I can't think of any way.

Frodo: No.

Sam: But I don't like leaving it, and that's a fact. It goes hard parting with anything brought out of Elf-country. Made by Galadriel herself, too, maybe. Oh well! Farewell, rope. Namárië!

[The rope falls to the ground. Sam gasps in surprise]

Frodo: Sam! It's come undone. Who tied that knot?

[He laughs]

Frodo: It's a good thing it held as long as it did!

Sam: I put as fast a hitch over that stump as any one could have done, in the Shire or out of it.

Frodo: Then the rope must have broken - frayed on the rock-edge, I expect.

Sam: I bet it didn't! Nor it hasn't neither. See - not a strand!

Frodo: Then I'm afraid it must have been the knot.

[He laughs again]

Sam: Well, have it your own way, Mr. Frodo, but I think the rope come off itself - when I called. You see, I may not be much good at climbing, but I do know something about ropes and knots...

[A Nazgûl screams overhead]

Frodo: Sam! What was that?

Sam: It sounded like a Black Rider, but one up in the air, if they can fly.

- - - - -

Narrator: Frodo and Sam huddled mournfully together in the cold, stony night, while down the face of a precipice, sheer and almost smooth it seemed in the moonlight, a black shape was moving with its thin limbs splayed out. It was coming down head first, as if it was smelling its way.

[The wind blows coldly]

Frodo: What's that?

[Sam starts from his sleep]

Frodo: Look, Sam. Over there on the cliff!

[Sam gasps]

Sam: Ssss! It's that Gollum. That's what it is. Snakes and adders! Look at him! He's like a nasty crawling spider on a wall. Do you think he can see us, Mr. Frodo?

Frodo: I don't know. But I think not. But perhaps he can smell us.

[Gollum hisses in the distant background]

Sam: Well, I'm sick of him sneaking about after us. He's come once too often for me! And I'm going to have a word with him, if I can. I don't suppose we can give him the slip now, anyway.

Frodo: Careful! Don't alarm him! He's much more dangerous than he looks.

[Gollum hisses and sniffs]

Gollum: Cautious, my precious! More haste, less speed. We mustn't risk our neck, must we, precious? No, precious - gollum! Where isss it? Where isss it: My Precious, my Precious? It's ours, it is, and we wants it. The thieves, the - the little thieves, where are they my Precious? Curse them! We hateses them!

Sam: It doesn't sound as if he knows we're here, does it? But what's this my Precious? Does he mean the R...

Frodo: Shh! He's getting near now.

[Gollum slides and yells to himself]

Gollum: Careful, precious, or you'll slip!

[He screams and falls to the ground]

Frodo: He's fallen.

Sam: I'll have him!

[Sam screams out as he pounces on Gollum. Gollum hisses, grabbing Sam, who yells in pain]

Sam: Master!

Frodo: Let go, Gollum! This is Sting. You saw this blade once before when Bilbo carried it. Now I carried it. And if you don't let go of Sam, you will feel it! Do you hear me, Gollum? Let go or I'll cut your throat!

[Gollum begins to cry. Sam gasps for breath as he is released]

Gollum: Don't hurt us! Don't let them hurt us, precious! They won't hurt us, will they, nice little hobbitses? We didn't mean no harm, but they jumps us, jumps on us! Like cats on poor mices, they did, precious. And we're so lonely, gollum. We'll be nice to them, very nice, if they'll be nice to us, won't we, won't we? Yes, yes! Yes, yes, yes! Yes!

Sam: Well, what's to be done with it? Tie it up, so as it can't come sneaking after us no more, I say.

[Gollum screams]

Gollum: But that would kill us, kill us, kill us! Gollum.

Frodo: No. If we kill him, we must kill him outright.

[Gollum sobs]

[A flashback of Frodo and Gandalf is heard:

Frodo: What a pity Bilbo did not kill Gollum.

Gandalf: Pity? It was Pity that stayed his hand.

Frodo: I am sorry, but I am frightened. And I do not feel any pity for Gollum.

Gandalf: You must understand that Gollum is bound up with the fate of the Ring. My heart tells me that he may yet have some part to play, for good or ill. And when in comes, the Pity of Bilbo may rule the fate of many, yours not least.]

Frodo: Very well. I am afraid. But I will not touch the creature. For now that I see him, I do pity him.

Gollum: Yess, wretched we are, precious. Hobbits won't kill us, nice hobbitses.

Frodo: No.

[Gollum laughs, relieved]

Frodo: We won't. But we won't let you go either.

[He hisses]

Frodo: You're full of wickedness and mischief, gollum.

Gollum: Gollum.

Frodo: You will have to come with us, so that we can keep an eye on you.

[Gollum begins to whine to himself]

Frodo: But you must help us if you can. One good turn deserves another.

Gollum: Yesss. Yes indeed! Nice hobbits. Yes, yes. We will come with them, find them safe paths in the dark, we will. Where are they going in these cold hard lands, we wonders? Yessss, we wonders.

Frodo: You know that, or guess well-enough, Sméagol.

[He hisses]

Frodo: We are going to Mordor, of course. And you know the way there, I believe.

Gollum: Ach! Yes! We guessed, yes we guesssed, didn't we? Yes. And we didn't want them to go, did we? No, no, precious. Not the nice hobbitseses! Ashes, ashes, and dust, and thirst there is; and pits, pits, pits, and Orcs, thousands of Orcsesss. Nice hobbits mustn't go to - ss - those placesss.

Frodo: So you have been there? And you're being drawn back there, aren't you?

Gollum: Yes! Yesss! No! Once, once, by accident it was, wasn't it, precious? Yes, by accident. But we won't go back, no, no! We won't! Not for you!

[He cries]

Frodo: He doesn't mean us, does he, Mr. Frodo?

Gollum: Gollum.

Frodo: No, Sam. I don't think he does.

Gollum: Don't look at us! Go away! Go to sleep!

Frodo: He will not go away or go to sleep at your command, Sméagol. But if you really wish to be free of him again, then you must help me. And that I fear means finding a path towards him. But you need not go all the way, not beyond the gates of his land.

Gollum: He's over there. Always there. Orcses will take you, take you all the way. Easy to find Orcses east of the River. Don't ask Sméagol. Poor, poor Sméagol, he went away long ago. They took his Precious, and he's lost now.

[He cries softly]

Frodo: Get up! Now.

Gollum: Sss...

Frodo: Can you find a path easier by day or by night? We're tired, but if you choose the night, we'll start now.

Gollum: The big lights in the sky hurts our eyes, they do. We don't go looking for paths under the White Face, do we, precious? No, no, not yet. It will go behind the hills soon, yessss, yes. Rest a bit first, nice hobbitssss!

Frodo: Then sit down, and don't move!

Gollum: Yes. Yesss, we won't move. Will we, precious? No. We won't move, we won't move. We won't.

- - - - -

Narrator: Slowly the moon went by. Shadows fell down from the hills and all grew dark before them. Suddenly, straight off the ground with a jump like a frog, Gollum bounded forward into the darkness.

Sam: Oh no, you don't!

[Gollum screams and hisses as he is caught]

Gollum: Let go of us! It's a nasty hobbitsss!

Frodo: I think your rope might prove useful again, Sam.

Sam: Right on, Mr. Frodo! You nasty, treacherous creature! It's around your neck this rope ought to go, and in a tight noose too.

Gollum: Oh, nasty!

Frodo: We want him to walk, so tie one end to his ankle, and keep a grip on the other end.

Gollum: No! No...

Sam: Right! Now, Mr. Gollum.

Gollum: No... no...

Sam: This will put pay to your sneaking.

Gollum: No...

[He cries in pain]

Sam: What's the matter with you? If you will try to run away, you must be tied.

[Gollum screams]

Sam: We don't wish to hurt you. The rope's not that tight!

Gollum: It hurts us! It hurts us! It freezes, it bites! Elves twisted it, curse them! Take it off us! It hurts us! It hurts us!

Frodo: No, I will not take it off you, not unless - not unless there's any promise that I can trust.

Gollum: Oh, we will swear to do what it wants, yes, we will swear anything, yes, yes, yes, it hurts us! It hurts us.

Frodo: Swear?

Gollum: Sméagol... Sméagol will swear on the Preciousss.

[The Ring verse is heard:

Ash nazg durbatulúk, ash nazg gimbatul,
ash nazg thrakatulûk agh burzum-ishi krimpatul.]

Frodo: On the Precious? How dare you? Think!

One Ring to rule them all and in the Darkness bind them

Would you commit your promise to that, Sméagol? It will hold you. But it is more treacherous than you are. It may twist your words. So beware!

Gollum: On the Preciousss... on the Precioussss.

Frodo: And what would you swear?

Gollum: Oh, to be very good. To be very good. Sméagol will swear... swear, swear never to let Him have it. Never! Sméagol will save it. But he must swear on the Precious.

Frodo: No!

Gollum: Yes.

Frodo: Not on it.

[Gollum hisses]

Frodo: All you wish is to see it and to touch it, if you can, though you know it would drive you mad. No, not on it! Swear by it, if you will. For you know where it is, don't you?

Gollum: Yes, yes, yes, master...

Frodo: Yes, you know, Sméagol!

Gollum: Yes, yes, yes, master, yes.

Frodo: It is before you.

Gollum: Yes.

Frodo: Now...

[Gollum is crying]

Frodo: ...speak your promise!

Gollum: We promises, yes, I promise! I will save the master of the Precious. Good master, good Sméagol, gollum!

Frodo: Take the rope off, Sam.

Sam: If you say so, Mr. Frodo.

Gollum: Ah, good hobbits, kind hobbits!

[He laughs]

Gollum: So kind to poor Sméagol. Yes, yes, yes. Off we go! Off we go! There's only one way across between the North-end and the South-end, and I found it, I did, I did. Orcses don't use it, Orcses don't know it, Orcses don't cross the Marshes. They go round for miles and miles. Very lucky you came this way. Very lucky you found Sméagol! Yes. Follow Sméagol! Follow Sméagol!

- - - - -

Narrator: As Frodo and Sam followed their dangerous guide, Aragorn and his companions came at last to the dark eaves of Fangorn forest, and began their search for Merry and Pippin.

Gimli: I do not like the look of this forest, Legolas. I wish the search had led anywhere else!

Legolas: I don't think the wood feels evil, Gimli. There is no malice near us; but there is watchfulness, and anger. There is something happening inside, or going to happen. Don't you feel the tenseness? It takes my breath.

Gimli: I feel the air is stuffy. It feels musty and shabby.

Legolas: Look!

Gimli: Look at what?

[Legolas hushes him]

Legolas: There - in the trees. An old man.

Gimli: Yes! Yes, I see him.

Aragorn: Who can it be?

Gimli: It is Saruman. Remember the words of Éomer? He walks here and there, as an old man, hooded and cloaked. Your bow, Legolas! Get it ready! It is Saruman.

[Gandalf's voice is distant and veiled]

Gandalf: Well met indeed, my friends.

Gimli: Now! Stop him, Legolas! Or he will put a spell on us!

Gandalf: Put away that bow, Master Elf. And you, Master Dwarf, pray take your hand from your axe-haft.

Aragorn: Might we know your name?

Gandalf: As for my name...

[He laughs]

Gandalf: Have you not guess it already? You have heard it before, I think. Yes, you have heard it before.

Gimli: Aye! Saruman!

Gandalf: No!

[As Gandalf is unveiled, his voice becomes more distinct]

Gandalf: You need not raise sword or bow or axe against me.

Legolas: Mithrandir! Mithrandir!

Gandalf: Well met, I say to you again.

Aragorn: Gandalf! Beyond all hope you return to us in our need! What veil was over my site?

Gimli: Gandalf, you are all in white!

Gandalf: Yes, Gimli. I am no longer Gandalf the Grey. I am Gandalf the White now.

Legolas: But what befell you in Moria?

Gimli: Yes! Tell us how you fared with the Balrog.

Gandalf: Name him not!

[He sighs]

Gandalf: Long time I fell. Long I fell, and he fell with me. We fought far under the living earth, where time is not counted. Ever he clutched me, and ever I hewed him, till at last we came to the Endless Stair. Then from lowest dungeon to highest peak we climbed, ascending in unbroken spiral in many thousand steps until on Durin's Tower, I threw down my enemy and he fell from the high place, and broke the mountain-side where he smoted in his ruin. Then darkness took me; and naked I lay upon the hard horn of the world, and each day was as long as a life-age of the earth. And so at last, Gwaihir the Windlord found me again, and he took me up and bore me to Caras Galadhon, where I found you but lately gone. Healing I found there. And there, I was clothed in white. But come now! Time is short. War is upon us. A war in which only the use of the Ring could give us surety of victory, and the Ring has gone beyond our reach. We can no longer be tempted to use it. But neither can we hope to help the one that bears it.

Gimli: Then you have news of Frodo! How goes things with him?

Gandalf: I cannot say. Many perils lie still before him. But now, Aragorn son of Arathorn, you must go to Edoras and seek out Théoden in his Hall, for you are needed there.

Gimli: But the hobbits!

Legolas: Yes, we've come far to seek them. What of them?

Gandalf: They are safe with Treebeard and the Ents.

Aragorn: The Ents! Then there is truth in the old legends about the giant shepherds of the trees.

Gandalf: Yes, and Merry and Pippin's coming to Fangorn was like the falling of small stones that starts an avalanche in the mountains. Even as we talk I hear the first rumblings. Saruman had best not be caught away from home when the dam bursts.

Aragorn: In one thing you have not changed. You still speak in riddles.

[Aragorn laughs]

Gandalf: In riddles? No, for I was talking aloud to myself. It's a habit of the old.

[Legolas and Aragorn laugh]

Gandalf: And now to Edoras! We have spent all the time that is allowed to a meeting of parted friends. Now there is need of haste!

- - - - -

Narrator: Quickly they made their way back through the forest, and they spoke no more until they stood again upon the grass beyond the eaves of Fangorn.

Aragorn: I have never seen a horse the like of this before.

Gandalf: Nor will you again. That is Shadowfax. Does he not shine like silver and run as smoothly as a swift stream? He has come for me.

Gimli: The Dark Lord has Nine Riders, but we have one mightier than they! The White Rider!

Gandalf: Gandalf the White I am. But Black is mightier still. You are wise and swift, Shadowfax. Far let us ride now together and part not in this world again. Come, my companions! We ride. We ride to battle and war. Ride on!



Pippin: Aren't the Ents ever going to make up their minds? They've been talking for three days, now.

Merry: I have an odd feeling about them, Pippin. I don't think they are quite as safe as they seem.

Pippin: And I don't think they like being roused.

[The Ents yell out behind them]

Merry: I wonder what that meant? It sounded as if they decided something.

Pippin: Yes. But what?


To Isengard we come!
With doom we come, with doom we come!

Treebeard: Hoom, hoom! Here we come with a boom. Here we come at last. Come Merry, come Pippin! Join the Moot. We're off.

Pippin: Where, Treebeard?

Treebeard: To reckon with Saruman at Isengard.

Pippin: The Ents made up their minds rather quickly, after all, didn't they?

Treebeard: Quickly? Hmm, yes indeed. Quicker than I expected, Pippin. Indeed I have not seemed them roused like this for many an age.

Merry: What will you do to Isengard?

Treebeard: If we are not hewn down, or destroyed by fire or blasts of sorcery, we will split Isengard into splinters and crack its walls to rubble! Of course, it is likely enough that we are going to our doom: the last march of the Ents.

[The Ents' voices grow steadily louder and nearer behind Treebeard's voice]

To Isengard we come!
Though it be ringed and barred with doors of stone;
Though Isengard be strong and hard, as cold as stone and bare as bone,
We go, we go, we go to war, to hew the stone and break the door;
For bole and bough are burning now, the furnace roars - we go to war!
To land of gloom with tramp of doom,
with roll of drum, we come, we come;
To Isengard we come!
With doom we come, with doom we come!

Treebeard: But if we stayed and home and did nothing, doom would find us anyway, sooner or later, that is why we are marching now. It was not a hasty resolve. But now at least, the last march of the Ents may be worth the song. Come. To Isengard!

Merry and Pippin: To Isengard!

- - - - -

Narrator: As the Ents marched towards Isengard, Gandalf, Aragorn, Gimli, and Legolas rode across the plains of Rohan. For hours they rode, through dusk and night and on again until the dawn. They came then to the wide wind-swept walls and the golden halls of Edoras.

Háma: Stay, strangers here unknown! It is the will of Théoden King that none should enter his gates save those who are our friends.

Gandalf: Who speaks of Théoden's will?

Háma: I am the Doorward of Théoden. Háma is my name.

Gandalf: Well, Háma, I am in haste. For I am Gandalf. I have returned. And behold! I bring back a horse, Shadowfax the Great whom no other hand can tame. And here beside me is Aragorn son of Arathorn, the heir of the Kings of Gondor. Here also are Legolas the Elf and Gimli the Dwarf, our comrades. Go now and say to your master that we are at his gates, and would have speech with him.

Háma: Strange names you give indeed. But I will report them and learn my master's will.

- - - - -

Narrator: After some time, Háma returned and bade the travellers follow him. The dark gates were swung open, and entering, they were led to the doors of Théoden's Hall.

Háma: Here, I must bid you lay aside your weapons.

Legolas: Keep this knife and this bow and quiver well, for they come from the Golden Wood, and the Lady of Lothlórien gave them to me.

Háma: No man will touch them, I promise you.

Aragorn: I am less willing than friend Legolas here to put aside my weapon. For it is the sword Andúril, and I am Aragorn son of Arathorn.

Háma: This is the house of Théoden, not of Aragorn. Lay your sword here if you would not fight alone against all the men in Edoras.

Gimli: Not alone! The axe of Gimli says Aragorn would not fight alone.

Gandalf: Come, come! We are friends here, or should be; for the laughter of Mordor will be our only reward if we quarrel. My errand is pressing. Here at least is my sword...

[He lays down his sword]

Gandalf: ...goodman Háma. Now let me pass. Come, Aragorn!

Aragorn: Very well.

[Andúril is unsheathed]

Aragorn: Here is Andúril, and here I set it.

[It is lain down]

Gimli: Well, if it has Andúril to keep it company, my axe may rest here too without shame.

[His axe is placed down]

Háma: There remains only your staff, Master Gandalf. Forgive me, but that too must be left at the doors.

Gandalf: Foolishness! Prudence is one thing, but discourtesy is another. I am old. If I may not lean on my stick as I go, then I will sit out here, until it pleases Théoden to hobble out himself to speak to me.

Háma: The staff in the hand of a wizard may be more than a prop for age. Yet I believe you are friends and folk worthy of honour. You may go in.

- - - - -

[Footsteps are heard in the Hall]

Gandalf: Hail, Théoden son of Thengel!

Théoden: Gandalf.

Gandalf: Greetings, Lady Éowyn.

Éowyn: Sir.

Gandalf: I have returned, Théoden. For behold! The storm comes, and now all friends should gather together, lest each singly be destroyed.

Théoden: I greet you, and maybe you look for welcome. But truth to tell your welcome is doubtful here, Master Gandalf. You have ever been a herald of woe. Troubles follow you like crows.

Wormtongue: You speak justly, lord. Send the wandering wizard hence.

Gandalf: Théoden King, does this man still make the decisions which others to believe to be the will of Théoden?

Théoden: Gríma is our counselor and we will hear his counsel.

Wormtongue: My lord, it is not five days since the bitter tidings came that Théodred, your son, had been slain. Éomer has proved unworthy of your trust. And even now we learn that the Dark Lord is stirring in the East. Such is the hour in which this wanderer chooses to return. Why indeed should we welcome you, Master Stormcrow? Ill news is an ill guest, they say.

Gandalf: In two ways a man may come with evil tidings, Gríma Wormtongue. He may be a worker of evil; or he may be such as leaves well alone, and comes only to bring aid in time of need.

Wormtongue: What aid have you ever brought, Stormcrow? And what aid do you bring now? It was aid from us that you sought last time you were here. And in your insolence you took Shadowfax. At that, my lord was sorely grieved.

Théoden: It is as Gríma says, Gandalf.

Gandalf: I return Shadowfax to you now, King Théoden.

Wormtongue: Do you also bring men with you? And swords and spears? That I would call aid; for that is our present need. But who are these that follow at your tail? Three ragged wanderers in grey, and you yourself the most beggar-like of the four!

[Gimli exclaims in anger]

Gandalf: The wise speak only of what they know, Gríma son of Gálmód. A witless worm have you become. Therefore be silent, and keep your forked tongue behind your teeth. I have not passed through fire and death to bandy crooked words with a serving-man till the lightning falls.

[Thunder rolls in the Hall]

Wormtongue: Did I not counsel you, lord, to forbid his staff? See, now, how he words enchantment with its aid!

[Lightning cracks through the air. Wormtongue screams and whimpers]

Gandalf: Now Théoden son of Thengel, will you hearken to me? Not all is dark. Take courage, Lord of the Mark; for better help you will not find. No counsel have I to give those that despair. Yet counsel I could give, and words I could speak to you. Will you hear them? They are not for all ears. I bid you come out before your doors and look abroad. Too long have you sat in shadows and trusted to twisted tales and crooked promptings.

Théoden: I sit no longer.

Éowyn: My lord!

Gandalf: Leave him a while with me, Lady. I will care for him.

Théoden: Go, Éowyn, sister-daughter! The time for fear is passed.

Wormtongue: My lord, beware this trickery!

Gandalf: Silence, Wormtongue! Open the doors! The Lord of the Mark comes forth!

- - - - -

[Wind blows]

Gandalf: Now, lord, look out upon your land! Breathe the free air again!

Théoden: It is not so dark here.

Gandalf: No. Nor does age lie so heavily on your shoulders as some would have you think. Cast away your stick. You have no need of any prop!

Théoden: Ah - dark have been my dreams of late, but I feel as one new-awakened. I would now that you had come before, Gandalf. For I fear that already you have come too late. What is to be done?

Gandalf: Send first for Éomer. Do I not guess rightly that you hold him prisoner, by counsel of Gríma Wormtongue?

Théoden: It is true. He had rebelled against my commands, and threatened death to Gríma in my hall.

Gandalf: Ah! A man may love you and yet not love Wormtongue or his counsels.

Théoden: That may be. I will do as you ask. Call Háma to me.

[Théoden sighs quietly to himself]

Gandalf: You look east to Mordor, Théoden. Think you perhaps that way lies our despair?

Théoden: Indeed, Gandalf. I do greatly fear it.

Gandalf: Verily, it is so. But that way also lies our hope, though our doom hangs still upon a thread, and it is, I fear, the very merest thread.

- - - - -

Narrator: And so it was. For Frodo and Sam were being led towards the Land of Shadow by a dangerous guide.

[The wind blows harshly around them. Gollum is muttering to himself in the background]

Frodo: We must have some food, Sam.

Sam: It certainly makes you hungry, all this walking.

Frodo: Are you hungry, Gollum?

Gollum: Gollum.

Frodo: We have very little to share, but we will spare you what we can.

Gollum: Yes, we are famisshed, precious, yes. What is it? What is it hobbits eatses, hm? Have they got nice fishsses?

Frodo: No, we have no fish.

[Gollum whines in disappointment]

Frodo: Only these wafers.

[Sam chews on the lembas bread]

Gollum: Oh, is it, uh - crunchable? Is it tasty?

Sam: Here you are, Gollum.

[Gollum sniffs the wafers]

Gollum: Sméagol doesn't like the smell...

[He cries out in disgust and spits]

Gollum: Dust and ashess, he can't eat that! Nasty Elveses' food. He must starve. Poor Sméagol must... gollum, gollum! Ah, but Sméagol doesn't mind. Sméagol has promised. He can't eat hobbitses' food. He will starve.

[He laughs]

Gollum: Poor thin Sméagol!

Frodo: I'm sorry, but I can't help you, I'm afraid. I - I think this food would do you good, in only you would try. But -

Gollum: Gollum.

Frodo: ...perhaps you can't even try, not yet anyway.

[Sam stretches]

Sam: Look here, Mr. Frodo! We both need sleep; but one of us must keep awake with that hungry villain nigh, promise or no promise. So you get some sleep, and I'll call you when I can't keep my eyelids propped up.

[Gollum hisses]

Frodo: Perhaps you're right, Sam.

[Gollum hums to himself]

- - - - -

[The wind blows. Sam snores, but wakes suddenly]

Sam: Y- you numbskull, Sam Gamgee! A lot of help you are, dozing off while you said you'd keep awake. Gollum! Now where's he gone to?

[Gollum laughs]

Gollum: Not far, not far!

Sam: Here, what are you doing?

Gollum: Sméagol is hungry. Be back soon.

Sam: Come back now! Hi! Come back!

[Frodo wakes]

Frodo: Hm? Whats - Is anything wrong, Sam? What... what's the time?

Sam: Well, I - I... I don't know. It's after sundown, I reckon. A - and Gollum's gone off. Says he's hungry. Poor wretch! But I shouldn't have dropped off.

[Frodo yawns]

Frodo: Don't worry! There's no help for it. We're neither of us throttled, and he'll come back, you'll see. The promise will hold a while yet. And he won't leave his Precious, anyway.

Sam: About the food, Mr. Frodo.

Frodo: Hm?

Sam: Well - how long's it going to take to - to do this job? And when it's done, what are we going to do then?

Frodo: Samwise Gamgee, my dear hobbit.

[He laughs]

Frodo: Indeed, Sam, my dearest hobbit. Friend of friends! I do not think we need give thought to that. What hope is there that we ever shall do the job, as you put it. And if we do, who knows what will come of that? I mean, if the One Ring goes into the Fire, and we are at hand? I ask you, Sam, are we ever likely to need bread again? I think not. No, if we can nurse our limbs to bring us to Mount Doom, that is all we can do.

Sam: Ye - yes, yes, that... that is all we can do. Now, where is that dratted creature?

Gollum: Is it talking about us, precious?

[Frodo and Sam are startled]

[Gollum laughs]

Gollum: What a nice, friendly hobbit it is to poor Sméagol.

[He begins to eat]

Frodo: I wonder what he found to eat?

Sam: Worms or beetles or something slimy out of holes, I'd say.

[Gollum sighs with satisfaction]

Gollum: Better now.

[He laughs]

Gollum: Are we rested? Nice hobbits ready to go on, hm?

Frodo: Yes, Sméagol. But which way do we go?

Gollum: Ah, there are many ways, but they all lead straight to Him. But Sméagol knows another way, don't we, hm?

Sam: Which way?

Gollum: Through the Marshes. Through the mists, nice thick mists. More difficult, not so quick; but better, if we don't want Him to see. Trust Sméagol. Trust him and you may go a long way! Quite a long way before He catches you. Yes, perhaps.

[He laughs]

Gollum: Follow Sméagol!

- - - - -

[Frodo, Sam, and Gollum's footsteps are soft in the bog]

Sam: What's all this, Gollum? What are these lights?

Gollum: Yes, yes, lightseses.

Sam: They're all round us now.

Gollum: Yes, yes, they are all round us. The tricksy lights. Candles of corpses, yes, yes. Don't you heed 'em! Don't look! Don't follow 'em!

[He hisses]

Gollum: Where's master?

Sam: Huh? Mr. - Mr. Frodo! Mr. Frodo! Mr. Frodo, don't look at them! Gollum says we mustn't. Let's keep up with him and get out of this cursed place as quick as we can - if we can!

Frodo: All right, Sam. I'm coming... I'm coming.

Sam: What is it, Mr. Frodo? What did you see?

Frodo: Dead things, dead faces in the water. Dead faces!

[Gollum laughs]

Gollum: The Dead Marshes, yes, yes: that's the name. You shouldn't look in when the candles are lit. Silly master.

Sam: Who are they? What are they?

Frodo: Don't know. They lie in all the pools, pale faces, deep, deep under the dark water. I saw them: grim faces and evil, and noble faces and sad. Many faces proud and fair, with weeds in their silver hair. But all foul, all rotting, all dead.

Gollum: Yes, yess. All dead, all rotten. Elveses and Men and Orcseses. The Dead Marshes. There was a great battle long ago, yes, so they told him when Sméagol was young, when I was young before the Precious came. It was a great battle. They fought on the plain for days and months at the Black Gates. But the Marshesss have grown since then, swallowed up the graves; always creeping, creeping.

Sam: But that is an age and more ago. The Dead can't really be there!

Gollum: Who knows? Sméagol doesn't know. You cannot reach them, you cannot touches 'em. We tried once, yes, precious. I tried once.

Sam: Why?

Gollum: Hobbits ask too many questionsss!

Frodo: I don't want to see them again. Never again! Can't we get on and get away?

Gollum: Yessss... but slowly, very slowly. Very carefully! Or hobbits go down to join the dead ones and light little candles. Follow Sméagol. Don't look at the lightsess! Follow Sméagol.

- - - - -

Gandalf: Our doom hangs still upon a thread, and it is, I fear, the merest thread. Yet hope there is still, King Théoden, if we can but stand unconquered for a little while.

Théoden: Alas, Gandalf, that these evil days should be mine and should come in my old age instead of that peace which I have earned.

Gandalf: You would remember your old strength better, if you grasped a sword-hilt again.

[A sword is drawn]

Éomer: Take this, dear lord!

[Men mutter amongst themselves]

Éomer: It was ever at your service.

Théoden: How comes it that Éomer, charged as he is with being unworthy to bear arms for the land of Rohan, should now stand before us with a drawn sword in his hand?

Háma: It is my doing, lord.

Théoden: Yours, Háma?

Gandalf: Will you not take the sword?

Théoden: Yes. Yes, Gandalf, I will take it!

[The men breathe in wonder]


Arise now, arise, Riders of Théoden!
Dire deeds awake, dark is it eastward.
Let horse be bridled, horn be sounded!
Forth Eorlingas!

[Many swords are drawn with cries of "Command us!"]

Éomer: Westu Théoden hál! It is a joy to us to see you return into your own. Never again shall it be said, Gandalf, that you come only with grief!

Théoden: Take back your sword, Éomer, sister-son! Go, Háma, and seek my own sword! Gríma has it in his keeping.

[Éomer sheathes his sword]

Théoden: Bring him to me also.

Háma: My lord!

Théoden: Now, Gandalf, you said that you had counsel to give, if I would hear it. What is your counsel?

Gandalf: To cast aside regret and fear. To do the deed at hand. Every man that can ride should be sent west at once. We must first destroy the threat of Saruman, and the black spawn of Isengard while we have time. If we fail, we fall. If we succeed - then we will face the next task.

Théoden: This counsel seems good to me now.

Gandalf: When we are gone, Théoden, lead the women, the children, and the old swiftly to the Hold of Dunharrow in the hills.

Théoden: Nay, Gandalf! You do not know your own skill in healing. It shall not be so. I myself will go to war, to fall in the front of battle, if it must be. Thus shall I sleep better.

Háma: My lord, I bring Gríma the Wormtongue before you, as I was bid to do. Also your ancient blade...

[Herugrim is drawn]

Háma: ...Herugrim.

Háma: It was found in his room.

Wormtongue: Your master himself gave it into my keeping.

Théoden: And he requires it of you again. The Host rides today. Send heralds forth!

Aragorn: And when the Men of Rohan ride forth, Aragorn son of Arathorn rides with them!

Legolas: And so too, my lord, will Legolas!

Gimli: And Gimli son of Glóin.

Aragorn: Together we ride; axe, bow, and sword!

Wormtongue: Dear lord! It is as I feared. This wizard has bewitched you. Are none to be left to defend the Golden Hall of your fathers, and all your treasure? None to guard the Lord of the Mark?

Théoden: If this is bewitchment, it seems to me more wholesome than your whisperings. No, not one shall be left, not even Gríma. Gríma shall ride too.

Wormtongue: Have pity on one worn out in your service. Send me not from your side. I at least will stand by you when all others have gone.

Théoden: You have my pity. I do not send you from my side. I go myself to war with my men. I bid you come with me and prove your faith.

Wormtongue: I see. I have come too late. Others, whom the death of my lord would grieve less, have persuaded him. If I cannot undo their work, then hear me at least in this, lord! One who knows your mind and honours your commands should be left in Edoras. Appoint a faithful steward. Let your counselor Gríma keep all things till your return.

Gandalf: Down, snake! Down on your belly!

[Wormtongue hisses at him]

Gandalf: How long is it since Saruman bought you? What was the promised price? Perhaps I should tell you? Was it not that when all was finished, you should have the Lady Éowyn?

[A sword is unsheathed and murmurings surround the group]

Éomer: I should have forgotten the law of the hall and slain him before he should have touched my sister.

Gandalf: Éowyn is safe now, Éomer. But you, Wormtongue, you have done what you could for your true master, Saruman. Some reward you have earned at least. Yet Saruman is apt to overlook his bargains. I should advise you to go quickly and remind him.

Wormtongue: He lies, my lord. There's no truth in what he says.

Gandalf: I do not lie. See, Théoden, here is a snake! With safety you cannot take it with you, nor can you leave it behind. Give him a horse and let him go at once, wherever he chooses. By his choice you shall judge him.

Théoden: Do you hear this, Wormtongue? This is your choice: to ride with me to war, and let us see in battle whether you are true; or to go now, whither you will. But then, if ever we meet again, I shall not be merciful.

[Wormtongue hisses, spits, and runs away, screaming]

Théoden: After him! See that he does no harm to any, but do not hurt him or hinder him. Give him a horse, if he wishes it.

Éomer: And if any will bear him.

Théoden: Now, Gandalf, I would give you a gift ere we go, in gratitude for all I owe to you.

Gandalf: I will choose a gift, lord, that will fit my need: swift and sure. Give me Shadowfax! He was only lent before. But now I shall ride him into great hazard, setting silver against black.

Théoden: You choose well, and I give him how gladly.

Éowyn: Ferthu Théoden hál! Recieve now this cup and drink in happy hour. Health be with thee at they going and coming!

[Théoden drinks from the cup]

Éowyn: Hail Aragorn son of Arathorn! Will you now drink from this cup?

Aragorn: Hail Lady of Rohan! Gladly will I drink from the cup of Théoden.

Théoden: And now behold! I go forth, and it seems likely to be my last riding. Before we ride, I name now Éomer my sister-son to be my heir. But to someone I must entrust my people. Which of you will lead my people to the safety of Dunharrow? Is there none whom you would name? In whom do my people trust?

Háma: In the House of Eorl.

Théoden: But Éomer I cannot spare.

Háma: I said not Éomer. There is Éowyn, his sister. She is fearless and high-hearted. And all love her. Let her be as a lord to your people, while we are gone.

[The men cry out in agreement]

Théoden: It shall be so. Farewell sister-daughter!

Éowyn: A year shall I endure for every day that passes until you return.

Théoden: To horse, then!

[Many cries of "To horse!" are heard from the surrounding men]

Éomer: Gimli Glóin's son! Will you ride with me?

Gimli: Gladly, Éomer, if Legolas may ride beside us.

Éomer: It shall be so. Legolas upon my left and Aragorn upon my right, and none will dare to stand before us.

Legolas: Nor shall they, Éomer!

- - - - -

Théoden: Here, now I name my guest, Gandalf Greyhame a Lord of the Mark, a chieftain of the Eorlingas while our kin shall last; and I give to him Shadowfax, prince of horses.

Gandalf: I thank you, Théoden King.

Aragorn: Behold the White Rider!

[The men echo: "Our King and the White Rider!"]

Théoden: Forth Eorlingas!

- - - - -

[Sam slips in the bog]

Frodo: Sam!

Sam: Drat!

Gollum: Careful! Hobbitses must be careful!

[He hisses]

Gollum: They should use their handsss more, they should, then they wouldn't fall over.

Sam: Three precious little Gollums in a row we shall be, if this goes on.

Gollum: Come on, on we go. We're nearly at the end of the nasty marshesss.

[Frodo and Sam sigh in relief]

Gollum: Yes, yes. Nice hobbits! Brave hobbits! Very weary they are, of courssse. So are we, oh, my precious, all of us. But we must take master away from the wicked lightses. Yes, yes, we must.

[He sniffs the air]

Gollum: Ah...

Sam: What is it? What's the need to sniff? The stink nearly knocks me down with my nose held. You stink, and master stinks; the whole place stinks.

Gollum: Yes, yes, and Sam stinks! Poor Sméagol smells it, but good Sméagol bearss it. Helps nice matter. But that's no matter.

[He sniffs and hisses]

Gollum: The air's moving.

[He sniffs again]

Gollum: Change is comings.

Frodo: What do you mean?

Gollum: Sméagol wonders; he's not happy.

[A Nazgûl screams above them]

Gollum: Gollum, gollum! Gollum...

Sam: What was that?

Frodo: I don't know, Sam. But there is a wind, at last. You feel it?

Sam: It's breaking the clouds up. Look - there's the moon.

[Gollum screams and hisses]

Gollum: Nasty White Face! Nasty, nasty!

Sam: Mr. Frodo, look!

Frodo: What?

Sam: There! It's coming from Mordor! It's got - it's got wings!

Gollum: Gollum!

Frodo: Get down, both of you!

Gollum: Gollum!

Frodo: Get down!

[The Nazgûl cries again]

Gollum: Wraithsess! Wraithesess on wings! The Precious is their master. They sees everything, everything. Nothing can hide from them.

[He hisses]

Gollum: Curse the White Face! And they tell Him everything. He sees, He knows. Gollum, gollum, gollum!

Sam: Well, I don't know what that was. But I'm thankful it's gone. Come on, Gollum, on your feet! It's time to be moving on.

Gollum: Not while the White Face is in the sky. No!

[He hisses]

Gollum: No, not now. Not now.

- - - - -

Narrator: It was not until the moon had sunk that Gollum would get up or make a move. For three days, they journeyed in darkness, cowering under black rocks by day like worms, lest the winged terror should pass and spy them with its cruel eyes. At last, on the fifth morning since they took the road with Gollum, they came to the desolation that lay before Mordor.

[Bubbles in pools can be heard]

Frodo: What a terrible place this is! It's like being in a nightmare.

[Gollum laughs]

Gollum: Nasty, yess. Poisonous pools that gasp and bubble, little hobbitses. Slimy, oozy pits and hills of asheses. Not nice. No. But master said, take me to the gate. And this...

[He hisses]

Gollum: ...this is the only way.

Sam: Well, I feel sick. Dust and foul fumes. Mr. Frodo, you look all-in. Let's rest; try and get some sleep. We'll move on again when evening comes.

- - - - -

[Sam and Frodo snore lightly. Gollum speaks to himself]

Gollum: Sméagol promised. Yes, yes, my precious, we promised: to save our Precious, not to let Him have it - never.

[He hisses. Sam suddenly wakes]

Gollum: But it's going to Him, yes...

Sam: Who's he talking to?

Gollum: ...nearer every step. What's the hobbits going to do with it, we wonders, yes we wonders. I can't help it. Master's got it. Sméagol promised to help master.

Sam: He's talking with himself!

[Gollum hisses]

Sam: What's he going on about?

Gollum: But if we was master, then we could help ourselfses, yes, and still keep promiseses. But the Precious holds the promise. Then takes it, and let's hold it ourselfsess! Then we be master, gollum. Make the other hobbit, the nasty suspicious hobbit, make him crawl, yes, gollum!

Sam: So much for you, Sam Gamgee!

[Gollum hisses again]

Gollum: But not the nice hobbit? He's a Baggins, my precious, yes, a Baggins! A Baggins stole it. He found it and he said nothing, nothing.

[He hisses]

Gollum: We hates Bagginses. Not this Baggins. Yes, every Baggins! All peoples that keep the Precious. We must have it! But He'll see, He'll know. He'll take it from us!

Sam: What's he going on about? And who's he when he's at home? Does he mean the Dark Lord? You best keep your ears wide open, Sam.

Gollum: Sss! If we has it, then we can escape even from Him. Perhaps we grows very strong, stronger than the Wraithsss. Lord Sméagol? Gollum the Great? The Gollum! Eat fishesss every day, three times a day; fresh from the sea. Must have it! We wants it, we wants it! But there's two of them. They'll wake too quick and kill us. Not now. Not yet.

[He breathes a long, raspy breath]

Gollum: She might help.

[He laughs, low and quiet]

Gollum: Yes! She mights, yes.

Sam: Who's she? One of his nasty friends, I suppose.

Gollum: No, no! Oh, not that way! No! Yes. We wants it! We wants it! The Precious...

Sam: He's going to attack the master. He can't help himself.

Gollum: The Precious...

Sam: We better put a stop to this!

[Sam feigns waking up, coughing, yawning, and stretching. Gollum is startled and laughs nervously]

Sam: What - what time is it?

Gollum: Nice hobbits! Nice Sam! It's evening. Dusk is creeping. Time to go.

Sam: Curse him! I wish he was choked! Come on, master. Time to wake up.

[Frodo wakes from his sleep]

Gollum: Nice master! Nice hobbits!

[He whimpers]

Frodo: Ah, I slept well.

[Gollum laughs]

Frodo: I feel much better.

Gollum: Sleepyheads, sleepy - good Sméagol watches over you.

Frodo: Yes, Sméagol. You have guided us well and faithfully.

[Gollum whimpers again]

Frodo: This is the last stage. Bring us to the Gate, and I will ask you to go no further.

Gollum: To the Gate? To the Gate, master says! Yes, he says so. And good Sméagol does what he asks, O yes. But when we gets closer, we'll see perhaps. We'll see then. It won't look nice at all. O no! No!

Sam: Get on with you!

[Gollum cries out]

Sam: Let's get it over.

Gollum: Follow Sméagol. Come, master...

- - - - -

Narrator: Théoden and his host rode on towards the Ford of Isen. Dark clouds began to overtake them. The sun went down blood-red in a smoking haze. In the last red glow men in the vanguard saw a black speck, a horseman riding back towards them.

[Horse hooves are heard]

Ceorl: You have come at last, but too late, and with too little strength. If Éomer is with you, tell him there is no hope ahead. He should return to Edoras before the wolves of Isengard come there.

Théoden: To Edoras we shall not return without battle. The last host of the Eorlingas has ridden forth. Théoden, your King, is here.

Ceorl: My lord! Command me, lord! Pardon me! I thought - I -

Théoden: You thought I remained in Meduseld bent like an old tree under winter snow. So it was when you rode forth to war. But a west wind has shaken the boughs. Tell me your news.

Ceorl: Things have gone evilly since Théodred fell. Saruman has emptied all Isengard upon us. We were driven back yesterday over the Isen with great loss; many perished at the crossing. Erkenbrand of Westfold has drawn off those men he could gather towards his fastness in Helm's Deep. The rest are scattered.

Théoden: We must waste no more time in words. Give this man a fresh horse! Let us ride to the help of Erkenbrand!

Gandalf: Yes, ride to Helm's Deep. Go not to the Fords of Isen. I must leave you for a while. Shadowfax must bear me now on a swift errand. Éomer, Aragorn, keep well the Lord of the Mark, till I return.

Éomer: We shall.

Gandalf: Await me at Helm's Gate!

[He rides away]

Háma: What does that mean?

Gimli: That Gandalf has need of haste. Even he goes and comes unlooked-for.

Háma: But to forsake us in a time of direst need? Wormtongue, were he here, would not find it hard to explain.

Gimli: True enough. But for myself, I will wait until I see Gandalf again.

Háma: Maybe Helm's Deep will wait long for his coming.

Éomer: Enough, Háma! We must put our trust in Gandalf Greyhame. The deceits of Wormtongue linger too long in your mind.

[The horses race across the ground]

Gimli: Éomer, what is this place forth which we ride?

Éomer: Helm's Deep - it is the strong fortress of our kingdom. A great bay in the mountains commanding the defence of the Westfold of Rohan. There, Helm defended our realm against the Dunlendings in the old wars. There is the Citadel of the Hornburg, which has ever proved the defence of Rohan.

Ceorl: It will prove a hard battle, lord. The main strength of the Enemy is many times as great as all that we have here, and it is ever-increasing. Orcs and wildmen are hurrying southward.

Éomer: Then let us be swift! Let us drive through such foes as already lie between us and the fastness. There are caves in Helm's Deep where hundreds may lie hid, and secret ways lead thence up onto the hills.

Théoden: Trust not to secret ways! Saruman has long spied out this land. Still, in Helm's Deep, our defence may last long.

Narrator: The rumour of war grew behind them. Countless fiery torches flickered in the black fields, scattered like red flowers, or winding up from the lowlands in long flickering lines.

Aragorn: It is a great host and follows us hard.

Théoden: And they're burning as they come, rick, cot, and tree. This was a rich vale and had many homesteads. Alas for my folk!

Aragorn: Would that they were here and we might ride down upon them. It grieves me to fly them.

Éomer: We need not fly much further. Helm's Gate is at hand!

[A horn cries]

Guard: Who comes to the Gate of Helm?

Éomer: The Lord of the Mark and the last host of the Eorlingas! I, Éomer son of Éomund, speak.

Guard: This is good tiding beyond hope. Hasten! The enemy is on your heels.

[They ride forward]

Théoden: Gamling! I had not thought to see an old and trusty warrior like you in armour in this hour.

Gamling: My armour and I have grown old friends these past weeks. What news of Erkenbrand? Word came yesterday that he was retreating here with all that is left of the best Riders of Westfold.

Éomer: We had hoped to find him here. Our scouts have gained no news of him, and the enemy fills all the valley behind us.

Théoden: I would that he had escaped. He was a mighty man. In him lived again the valour of Helm the Hammerhand. But we must draw all our forces now behind the walls. Are you well stored? We bring little provision, for we rode forth to open battle, not to a siege.

Gamling: Three parts of the folk of Westfold shelter in the caves of the Deep. But there is great store of food there, and many beasts and their fodder.

Éomer: Ah, that is well. The creatures of Saruman are burning or despoiling all that is left in the vale.

Gamling: If they come to bargain for our goods at Helm's Gate, they will pay a high price.

Éomer: They will be here soon enough. My lord Théoden, I think you should hold yourself and the men of your household in readiness within the Hornburg. I will array our defences along the Deeping Wall, for here our defence seems most doubtful, if the enemy comes in great force.

Gamling: And what of the defence of the Dike?

Éomer: The enemy must be held back here as long as you can. But no useless sacrifice. Withdraw within the walls when you can hold on no longer.

Gamling: I will hold the Gate of Helm as long as my old bones have vigour in them.

- - - - -

[Thunder rolls in the night. Gimli stamps on the stones beneath him]

Gimli: This is more to my liking.

[Legolas laughs]

Gimli: A wall thick enough for four men to stand abreast on. Give me a year and a hundred of my kind and I would make this a place that armies would break upon like water.

Legolas: I don't doubt it. But you are a dwarf, and dwarves are strange folk. I do not like this place, and shall like it no more by the light of day. But you comfort me, Gimli, and I am glad to have you standing nigh with your stout legs and your hard axe.

[They laugh]

Legolas: I wish there were more of your kin among us. But even more would I give for a hundred good archers of Mirkwood. We shall need them.

Gimli: It is dark for archery. Indeed it is time for sleep. I feel the need of it, as I never thought a dwarf would. Riding is tiring work.

[Legolas laughs]

Gimli: Yet my axe is restless in my hand. Give me a row of orc-necks and room to swing and all weariness will fall from me!

[Lightning and thunder shake the air. Yells and screams can be heard below]

Legolas: Your wish is granted, Gimli! Orcs - thousands of them scaling the bank.

Ceorl: The enemy is at hand! They have crossed the Dike, though it is filled with their dead.

Gimli: Since I left Moria, my axe has hewn naught but wood. Now it has something better to cleave!

Legolas: And darkness or no, I shall see what my bow can achieve. I hope I have arrows enough!

- - - - -


Hoom, hrum, we come, with horn and drum: ta-rûna rûna rûna rom!

[Treebeard places down a boulder]

Pippin: Are you tired, Treebeard?

Treebeard: Tired? Tired. Well, no, not tired, but stiff. I need a good draught of Entwash. We've worked hard. We've done more stone-cracking and earth-gnawing today than we've done in many a long year before. But it is nearly finished. Wait - there's a bit of Isengard still standing, over there. I must see to it!

[Treebeard groans and stone cracks and crumbles. Merry and Pippin cough]

Merry: Gandalf! It's Gandalf!

Pippin: Don't be stupid. He's - Gandalf!

Merry: It is.

Pippin: Gandalf, you're alive! Oh, Gandalf!

Gandalf: Get up you tom-fool of a Took! Where, in the name of wonder, in all this ruin is Treebeard? I want him. Quick!

Pippin: Treebeard!

Merry: Treebeard!

Pippin: Treebeard!

Treebeard: Hoom, hum... Gandalf! I guessed we might be hearing from you. I'm glad you've come. Wood and water, stick and stone I can manage, but there's a wizard to manage here.

Gandalf: All in good time, Treebeard. I need your help. You've done much, but I need more.

Pippin: But, Gandalf, where have you been? And have you seen the others?

Gandalf: Wherever I have been, I am back. Yes, I have seen some of the others, but news must wait.

Pippin: But, what about our news?

Gandalf: Huh?

Pippin: Did you know that before Treebeard started to smash Isengard to bits, a great army rode out of the city?

Merry: Orcs and wolves and horrible creatures with squint-eyed, goblin faces.

Pippin: They took nearly an hour to pass through the Gates.

Gandalf: And that is the army that makes for Helm's Deep. This is a perilous night and I must act swiftly. Treebeard! I need the help of your huorns.

Treebeard: Huorns! Act swiftly, you say?

[He laughs]

Treebeard: That's not much in their line of duty, you know. But huorns will help. Tell me how many you want.

- - - - -

Gimli: Six!

Legolas: Six? I've done a little better with my bow.

[He fires an arrow]

Legolas: Twenty, at the least! But that is only a few leaves in a forest. The enemy seem to grow greater every minute. Orcs and men from the hills.

[The screams of battle can be heard in the distant background]

Gimli: The Orcs are within the walls!

Ceorl: They have crept up through a culvert. They are pouring in like rats!

Gimli: There are enough for both of us then, Legolas. Khazâd! Khazâd!

[Men scream]

- - - - -

Gimli: Twenty-one! Now my count passes Legolas.

Legolas: Not so! It's been good knife-work on the walls. My count is now two-dozen!

Gamling: You've done well, Master Gimli. I'd heard that Dwarves were great axemen, and now I have lived to see it proved. But the rat-hole they crawl through must be stopped-up. Dwarves are said to be cunning folk with stone. Lend us your aid, Master!

Gimli: We do not shape stone with battle-axes, nor with our finger-nails. But I will help as I may.

- - - - -

Aragorn: This is a night as long as years. How long will the day tarry?

Éomer: Dawn is not far off. But dawn will not help us, I fear.

Aragorn: Yet dawn is ever the hope of men.

Éomer: But these creatures of Isengard, these half-orcs and goblin-men that the craft of Saruman has bred, they will not quail at the sun. They will not give way now for dusk or dawn until Théoden is taken, or they themselves are slain.

Aragorn: Nevertheless day will bring hope to me. Is it not said that no foe has ever taken the Hornburg, if men defended it?

Éomer: Aye. So the minstrels say.

Aragorn: So let us defend it, with hope!

[An explosion shakes and crumbles stone. Men cry out, and some cough from the dust. Stones fall around them]

Gimli: What is it? What's happening?

Legolas: The enemy have blasted a whole in the wall. Some devilry of Saruman's, I fancy!

[Orcs scream as they pass through the hole]

Gimli: I had come to tell you that my count had reached twenty-seven.

[Legolas laughs]

Gimli: But now there will be work-enough for both of us.

Aragorn: We can no longer hold the wall. The enemy is everywhere! We must try and hack our way through to the Citadel. It is our only hope!

- - - - -

[A door slams shut]

Legolas: All who can have now got safe within, Aragorn.

Aragorn: Things go ill, my friend.

Legolas: Ill enough, but not yet hopeless, while we have you with us. Where is Gimli?

Aragorn: Was he not with you?

Legolas: Well, the enemy swept us apart. I - I thought he'd escaped with you.

Aragorn: He is stout and strong. Let us hope that he reached the caves.

Legolas: Ah, such a refuge would be to the liking of a dwarf.

Aragorn: We must hope that it is so.

Legolas: But I wish that he had come here. I desire to tell Master Gimli that my tale is now thirty-nine.

Aragorn: If he wins back to the caves, he will pass your count again.

[They laugh]

Aragorn: Never did I see an axe so wielded. But I must go seek the King.

Legolas: And I must seek for arrows. I would that this night would end and I could have better light for shooting.

- - - - -

Théoden: What is the news, Aragorn?

Aragorn: The Deeping Wall is taken, and all the defence swept away; but many have escaped here to the Hornburg.

Théoden: And Éomer?

Aragorn: We were parted by the fighting. Gamling was with him. They must have escaped into the caves. What hope they may have there I do not know.

Théoden: More than we. The air is wholesome there because of the fissures in the rock. None can force an entrance there against determined men. They may hold out long.

Aragorn: But the Orcs have brought a devilry from Orthanc. They have a blasting-fire and with it they took the Wall. If they cannot come in the caves, they may seal off those that are inside. But now, we must turn all our thoughts to our own defence.

Théoden: I fret in this prison. If I could have set a spear in rest, riding before my men upon the field, maybe I could have felt again the joy of battle, and so ended. But I serve little purpose here.

Aragorn: Here you are at least guarded in the strongest fastness of the Mark. More hope have we to defend you here in the Hornburg than in Edoras or even at Dunharrow in the mountains.

Théoden: It is said that the Hornburg has never fallen to assault, but now my heart is doubtful. The world changes, and all that once was strong now proves unsure. How shall any tower withstand such numbers and such reckless hate? Had I known that the strength of Isengard was grown so great, maybe I should not so rashly have ridden forth to meet it, for all the arts of Gandalf. His counsel seems not now so good as it did under the morning sun.

Aragorn: Do not judge the counsel of Gandalf, until all is over, lord.

Théoden: The end will not be long. But I will not end here, taken like an old badger in a trap. When dawn comes, I will bid men sound Helm's horn, and I will ride forth. Will you ride with me then, son of Arathorn? Maybe we shall cleave a road, or make such an and as will be worth a song - if any be left to sing of us hereafter.

Aragorn: I will ride with you, Théoden King. But first, I will see what words can achieve.

- - - - -

[The Orcs' crass voices scream and laugh]

Aragorn: I wish a parley!

Orc: Come down! If you wish to speak to us, come down!

Orc: Bring out your king!

Orc: We are the fighting Uruk-hai.

Orc: Bring out your king! We will fetch him from his hole, if he does not come.

Orc: Bring out your skulking king!

Aragorn: The king stays or comes at his own will.

Orc: Then what are you doing here? Why do you look out?

Orc: Do you wish to see the greatness of our army? We are the fighting Uruk-hai.

Aragorn: I looked out to see the dawn.

[The Orc laughs]

Orc: What of the dawn? We are the Uruk-hai: we do not stop the fight for night or day, for fair weather or for storm. We come to kill, by sun or moon. What of the dawn?

Aragorn: None knows what the new day shall bring him. Get you gone, ere it turn to your evil.

Orc: Get down or we will shoot you from the wall.

Orc: This is no parley. You have nothing to say.

Aragorn: I still have this to say. No enemy has yet taken the Hornburg. Depart, or not one of you will be spared. Not one will be left alive to take tidings to the North. You do not know your peril.

[They laugh, mockingly, and a crash is heard]

Théoden: The Gate has fallen! The time for hiding is passed. Let us ride forth!

[A horn is blown. Men cry: "Helm! Helm! Helm! Helm is arisen and comes back to war! Helm for Théoden King!"]

Théoden: Forth Eorlingas!

[The men answer: "Forth Eorlingas!"]

Narrator: So, King Théoden rode from Helm's Gate and clove his path to the Great Dike. There, the Company halted. Shafts of the sun flared above the eastern hills and glimmered on their spears. They sat silent on their horses and gazed down upon the Deeping Coomb. The land had changed: where before the green dale had lain, there now a forest loomed.

Théoden: What wonder is this, or do my old eyes begin to play me false?

Legolas: Your eyes do not deceive you. There was a song about the trees that walked which I heard in my childhood, but never did I think I would behold them, visible, under the sun.

Aragorn: Whatever they may be, the trees have struck fear into the hearts of the enemy.

[The Orcs scream in fear and confusion]

Théoden: They are surrounded. The forest has shut off every way of escape.

Gamling: No! There is still the valley to the west.

[A horn blows]

Théoden: And from the west comes their final doom!

Legolas: A mighty host led by a warrior with a red shield.

Gamling: Erkenbrand!

Ceorl: And a Rider, clad in white!

Théoden: Gandalf.

Aragorn: Behold the White Rider!



[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?



[A bird chirps]

Faramir: We have not found what we sought. But what have we found?

Ranger: Not orcs.

Ranger: Elves?

Faramir: Nay, not Elves. Elves do not walk in Ithilien these days. And Elves are wondrous fair to look upon, or so it is said.

Sam: Meaning we're not, I take it.

[The Rangers laugh]

Sam: And when you've finished discussing us, perhaps you'll say who you are, and why you can't let two tired travellers rest.

Faramir: I am Faramir, Captain of Gondor. And there are no travellers in this land: only the servants of the Dark Tower, or of the White.

Sam: W - we are neither. And travellers we are, whatever Captain Faramir may say.

Faramir: Then make haste to declare yourselves and your errand. Where is the third of your company?

Sam: The third?

Faramir: The skulking fellow that we saw with his nose in the pool down yonder. Some spying breed of Orc, I guess. He gave us the slip by some fox-trick.

Frodo: I do not know where he is. He is only a wretched gangrel creature, but I have him under my care for a while. If you come upon him, spare him, and send him to us. As for us, we are Hobbits of the Shire. Frodo son of Drogo is my name, and with me is Samwise son of Hamfast. We have come by long ways - out of Rivendell.

Faramir: Out of Rivendell?

Frodo: Yes. Seven companions we had: one we lost in Moria, the others we left at Parth Galen above Rauros: two of my kin; a... a Dwarf there was also, and an Elf, and two Men: Aragorn and Boromir.

Faramir: Boromir.

Rangers: Boromir!

Faramir: Boromir son of Lord Denethor? You came with him? He was High Warden of the White Tower, and our Captain-General. What had you to do with him?

Frodo: Ah... are the riddling words known to you that Boromir brought to Rivendell?

Seek for the sword that was broken:
In Imladris it dwells.

Faramir: The words are known indeed. It is some token of your truth that you also know them.

Frodo: Aragorn whom I named is the bearer of the Sword that was Broken. And we are the Halflings that the rhyme spoke of.

Faramir: And what of Isildur's Bane?

Frodo: That is hidden. Doubtless it will be made clear in time.

Faramir: Hidden? Is not that because you choose to hide it?

Frodo: No, not because I choose. It does not belong to me or to any mortal, great or small. Though if any could claim it, it would be Aragorn, the leader of our Company from Moria to Rauros.

Faramir: Why he, and not Boromir, prince of the City that was founded by the sons of Elendil?

Frodo: Because Aragorn is descended in direct lineage from Isildur Elendil's son. And the sword that he bears is Elendil's sword.

Ranger: The sword of Elendil!

Faramir: Maybe. But so great a claim will need to be established if Aragorn comes to Minas Tirith.

Frodo: Boromir was satisfied of that claim. He will tell you when he comes.

Faramir: So! Boromir will tell us when he comes. Were you a friend of Boromir?

Frodo: He was a valiant member of our Company. Yes, I was his friend, for my part.

Faramir: Then you would grieve to learn that Boromir was dead?

Frodo: I would grieve indeed. Dead? Do you mean that he is dead, and that you knew it? You've been trying to trap me in words, playing with me. How then did he die, and - and how do you know of it?

Faramir: I had hoped that his friend and companion might tell me the manner of his death.

Frodo: But he was alive and strong when we parted.

Sam: Mm!

Frodo: And he lives still for all that I know. Though surely there are many perils in the world.

Faramir: Many indeed, and treachery not the least.

Sam: Look, begging your pardon, Mr. Frodo, but this has gone on long enough. He's no right to talk to you like this. After all you've been through. Now see here, Captain! Let's come to the point. If you think my master murdered this Boromir and then ran away, well, you've - you've got no sense; but say it, and done!

Faramir: Patience! Do not speak before your master, whose wit is greater than yours. You asked, Frodo, how do I know that the son of Denethor is dead. Tidings of death have many wings, and night oft brings news to near kindred. Boromir was my brother. Do you remember aught of special mark that Boromir bore with him?

Frodo: I remember that Boromir bore a horn.

Faramir: Eleven days ago at about this hour, I heard the blowing of that horn: from the northward it seemed, but dim, as if it were but an echo in the mind. On the third night after a stranger thing befell me. I sat at night by the waters of Anduin, under the pale moon. I saw, or it seemed that I saw, a boat of strange fashion w - with a high prow, almost filled with clear water; and lapped in the water a warrior lay asleep. About his waist, he wore a strange belt of linked golden leaves. It was Boromir, my brother, dead. The boat passed on into the night. Like a dream, and yet there was no waking. And I do not doubt that he is dead and has passed down the River to the Sea.

Frodo: Alas! That was indeed Boromir. For the golden belt was given to him in Lothlórien by the Lady Galadriel.

Faramir: You passed through the Land of Lórien?

Frodo: Yes.

Faramir: Much that is strange about you I begin to understand. Oh, Boromir! What did she say to you, the Lady that dies not?

Frodo: Oh... I...

Faramir: But it was no dream. For the horn returned in truth, and not in seeming. It was found cloven in two in the reeds below the infalls of the Entwash; and now lies upon the lap of Denethor, as he sits in his high chair, waiting for news.

Frodo: Your tale fills me with dread. For if Boromir was slain, then I must fear that all my companions perished too. And they were my kindred and my friends.

[He sighs]

Frodo: Oh, I am weary, and full of grief, and afraid. But I have a deed to do, or - or to attempt, before I too am slain. Go back, Faramir, and defend your city while you may, and let me go where my doom takes me.

[He laughs]

Frodo: Will you not put aside your doubt of me now, and let me go?

Faramir: I doubt you no longer, Frodo. But I cannot do as you ask. I should now take you back to Minas Tirith, there to answer to Denethor, and my life will justly be forfeit, if I now choose a course that proves ill for my city. So I will not decide in haste what is to be done. We will go to a secret place we have, some ten miles from here. There we may rest for a while. In the morning I will decide what is best for me to do, and for you.

- - - - -

Narrator: They set out at once, passing like grey and green shadows under the old trees, their feet making no sound; above them, many birds sang, and the sun glistened on the polished roof of dark leaves in the evergreen woods of Ithilien.

[Birds sing. Their footsteps crunch on leaves beneath them as they walk]

Faramir: I thought it better not to pursue the matter of Isildur's Bane in the open, before many men. But I think you were not wholly frank with me, Frodo.

Frodo: I told no lies, Faramir. And all the truth I could.

Faramir: I do not blame you. You spoke with skill in a hard place. But I learned more from you more than your words said. You were not friendly with Boromir, or you did not part in friendship. Isildur's Bane - I would hazard that was what lay between you and bred contention in your Company. Though what it is I know not. I remember only that I heard of it in a tale told by Mithrandir when I was a child.

Frodo: Mi - Mithrandir! You knew Gandalf? He was the leader of our Company.

Faramir: And where is he now?

[Frodo sighs]

Frodo: He was lost in Moria.

Faramir: An evil fate seems to have pursued your Company. But fear me not! I have no desire for this thing which Isildur took from the Enemy. I would not take it if it lay by the highway. Not were Minas Tirith falling in ruin and I alone could save her, using the weapon of the Dark Lord for her good and my glory. No. I do not wish for such triumph.

Frodo: Neither did the Council of Elrond. Nor do I. I have nothing to do with such matters.

Faramir: For myself, I would see the White Tree in flower again in the courts of the kings, and the Silver Crown return, and Minas Tirith in peace. But now you must pardon me.

Frodo: Hm?

Faramir: It is a command that no stranger, not even one of Rohan that fights with us, shall see the path we now go on. I must blindfold you.

Frodo: Very well.

- - - - -

Narrator: All that Frodo and Sam knew of the last mile of the road, they learned from guess-work. Always the noise of running water was on their right hand, and it grew nearer and louder. Then they were picked up and carried down many steps. The water seemed all round them now, and they felt a fine rain on their hands and cheeks. At last, they were set on their feet once more.

[Water rushes loudly downward]

Faramir: Let them see.

[Frodo and Sam gasp]

Sam: Well, I never! Mr. Frodo, we're behind a waterfall!

Frodo: Yes!

Sam: Ah! Just look at the colours. It's just like being inside a rainbow.

[Faramir laughs]

Faramir: At least by good chance we came at the right hour to reward you for your patience. This is the Window of the Sunset, Henneth Annûn, fairest of all the falls of Ithilien, land of many fountains. Few strangers have ever seen it. But there is no kingly hall to match it; only what meager hospitality we can provide within our cave. Enter now, and take your rest!

- - - - -

Narrator: After so long journeying and camping, and days spent in the lonely wild, the evening meal seemed a feast to the hobbits. Neither Frodo nor Sam refused anything that was offered, nor a second, nor even a third helping. The wine coursed through their veins and tired limbs as they sat at their ease with Faramir, telling tales of their adventures, and listening to him tell of his.

[Wine is poured]

Sam: You don't say much in all your tales about the Elves, sir.

Faramir: No indeed, Master Samwise, for I am not learned in Elven-lore. Yet there are among us still some who have dealings with Elves, and ever and anon one will go in secret to Lórien, seldom to return. Not I. Yet I envy you that you have spoken with the White Lady.

Sam: Oh...

Faramir: She must be perilously fair.

Sam: Well, I don't know about perilous.

[Frodo laughs]

Sam: Perhaps you could call her perilous because she's so strong in herself. You could dash yourself to pieces on her, like a ship on a rock; or be drowned yourself, like a hobbit in a river.

[Faramir laughs]

Sam: But neither rock nor river would be to blame. It strikes me that folk takes their peril with them into Lórien, and finds it there because they've brought it. Now Boromir -

Faramir: Yes? Now Boromir you would say?

Sam: Hm.

Faramir: What would you say? He took his peril with him?

Sam: Hm. Yes sir, begging your pardon, and a fine a man as your brother was, if I may say so. But you've been warm on the scent all along. I watched Boromir all down the road from Rivendell - looking after my master, as you'll understand - and it's my opinion that in Lórien he first saw cleary what I guessed sooner: what he wanted. From the moment he first saw it, he wanted the Enemy's Ring!

[Frodo chokes on his wine]

Frodo: Sam!

Sam: Eh?

[He gasps]

Sam: Oh, oh, save me! There I go again! Now look here, sir! Don't you go taking advantage of my master because his servant's no better than a fool. You've spoken very handsome all along and put me off my guard. But handsome is as handsome does. Now's a chance to show your quality.

Faramir: So it seems. So that is the answer to all the riddles! The One Ring that was thought to have perished from the world. And Boromir tried to take it by force? And you escaped? And ran all the way to me! And here in the wild I have you: two halflings, and a host of men at my call, and the Ring of Rings. A chance for Faramir, Captain of Gondor, to show his quality!

Frodo: Draw your sword, Sam!

[He draws his sword]

Sam: Sir.

Frodo: Stand by me!

[Sam draws his sword. Faramir gasps, and then sighs]

Faramir: Alas for Boromir! It was too sore a trial! How you have increased my sorrow, you two strange wanderers from a far country, bearing the peril of men! We are truth-speakers, we men of Gondor. I said, Not if I found it on the highway would I take it. Even if I were such a man as to desire this thing, and even though I knew not clearly what this thing was when I spoke, still I should take those words as a vow, and be held by them. But I am not such a man. For I am wise enough to know that there are some perils from which a man must flee. Sit. Sit at peace!

[The hobbits sheath their swords]

Faramir: Be comforted, Samwise. If you seem to have stumbled, think that it was fated to be so. It was safe to declare this thing to me. It may even help the master whom you love. Well, Frodo, at last we understand each other.

Frodo: Yes.

Faramir: If you took this thing on yourself, unwilling, at others' asking, then you have pity and honour from me. And I marvel at you: to keep it hid and not to use it. You are a new people and a new world to me. But tell me, if you will, whither you wish to go, and what to do? For I must watch, and wait, and think.

Frodo: Ah... yes... I was going... I was going to find a way to Mordor. I was going to Gorgoroth. Must find the Mountain of Fire and cast the Ring into the gulf of Doom. Gandalf sa...

[His voice trails away as he collapses]

Sam: Oh! Mr. Frodo!

Frodo: Ah...

Faramir: Help me to carry him, Master Samwise.

Sam: Yes, sir.

Frodo: I don't think I shall ever get there.

Sam: Here we are, sir. Here we are, sir. There! Now...

[Frodo is placed on a bed]

Sam: I reckon he's just about all in.

Faramir: He will sleep soundly tonight.

Sam: I'll see to him now.

Frodo: Oh, Sam...

Sam: It's all right, sir. Good-night, Captain. And - you took the chance, sir.

Faramir: Did I so?

Sam: Oh, yes, sir, and showed your quality: the very highest.

Faramir: The praise of the praiseworthy is above all rewards. Yet there was naught in this to praise. I had no love or desire to do other than I have done.

Sam: Ah well, sir, but I will say this: you have an that reminds me of - well, Gandalf, of Wizards.

Faramir: Hm, maybe. Maybe you discern from far away the air of Númenor. Good-night!

- - - - -

Narrator: And while Frodo slept in Ithilien, Aragorn and the Grey Company passed swiftly over the plain and came to Dunharrow as darkness fell. Beyond the ancient stronghold rose the grim black wall of the Haunted Mountain, and at its foot, the dark door to the Paths of the Dead.

[Birds sing]

Éowyn: Is it then your errand to seek death? That is all you will find on that road, Aragorn. They do not suffer the living to pass.

Aragorn: Lady Éowyn, I walked in this land ere you were born to grace it. The Paths of the Dead hold no terrors for me. And they may suffer me to pass. I must venture it.

[Éowyn sighs]

Aragorn: No other road will serve.

Éowyn: But this is madness. For with you are men of renown and prowess, whom you should not lead into the shadows, but should lead to war, where men are needed. I beg you to remain here with me. To await the coming of my brother, Éowyn, and the king. Then when the Muster of Rohan is completed shall you ride forth.

Aragorn: It is not madness, lady, for I go on a path appointed. Those who follow me do so of their own free will.

Éowyn: But why must you go on this deadly road?

Aragorn: I do not choose paths of peril, Éowyn. I go because I must bear my part in the war against Sauron. Were I to go where my heart dwells, far in the North I would be wandering in the fair valley of Rivendell.

Éowyn: You are a stern lord and resolute. But if you must go, let me ride in your following. For I am weary of skulking in the hills, and I wish to face peril and battle.

Aragorn: Your duty is with your people.

Éowyn: Oh, too often have I heard of duty. But am I not of the House of Eorl, a shieldmaiden not a dry-nurse? I can ride and wield a blade. And I do not fear pain or death.

Aragorn: What do you fear, Éowyn?

Éowyn: A cage. To stay behind bars until use and old age accept them, and all chance of doing great deeds is gone beyond recall or desire.

Aragorn: And yet you counselled me not to adventure on the Paths of the Dead because it was a perilous road?

Éowyn: So may one counsel another. Yet I do not bid you flee from peril, but to ride to battle where your sword may win renown and victory. I would not see a thing that is high and excellent cast away needlessly.

Aragorn: Nor would I. Therefore I say to you, lady: stay! For you have no errand in the South.

Éowyn: Neither have those others that go with thee. They go only because they would not be parted from thee - because they love thee.

- - - - -

Narrator: The sun was not yet risen above the high ridges in the East when Aragorn and his company set out. Éowyn stood still as a figure carven in stone, her hands clenched at her sides, as she watched them until they passed into the shadows under the Haunted Mountain. A dread fell on Aragorn's company as they passed between the lines of ancient stones, and so came to the Dark Door. It gaped before them like the mouth of night. Signs and figures too dim to read were carved above its wide arch, and fear flowed from it like a grey vapour.

Gimli: My blood runs chill. This is a fearful place!

Halbarad: This is an evil door, and my death lies beyond it. I will dare to pass it nonetheless; but no horse will enter.

Aragorn: Our horses will face the terror of the Paths of the Dead if our own hearts are steady. They must go with us. For if ever we come through this darkness, many leagues lie beyond, and every hour that is lost will bring the triumph of Sauron nearer. Light your torches. Follow me!

Who shall call them
from the grey twilight, the forgotten people?
The heir of him to whom the oath they swore.
From the North shall he come, need shall drive him:
he shall pass the Door to the Paths of the Dead.

Narrator: And bearing his torch aloft, Aragorn strode into the whispering darkness.

Aragorn: Oathbreakers of Dunharrow!

[A single sigh is heard]

Aragorn: The time has come to fulfil the promise made to Isildur. He laid a curse upon you that you should never rest until your oath was fulfilled. I, Aragorn, the heir of Isildur, summon you to the Stone of Erech, where you swore your allegiance. Follow!

[A wind fills the air]

Gimli: The torches have gone out!

Aragorn: They will not be rekindled. Follow me through the darkness.

Legolas: Do you hear? The Dead arise and follow us.

Gimli: I hear. And I would that we were out of this terrible darkness!

Narrator: Of the time that followed, Gimli remembered little. The others pressed on, but he was ever hindmost, pursued by a groping horror that seemed always just about to sieze him. At length, the company passed through a gateway, high-arched and broad, and into a chasm of dark shadow. Above them, the first stars of evening glinted in the sky.

Aragorn: Friends, forget your weariness! Mount now and ride. We must come to the Stone of Erech ere this day passes, and long still is the way.

[Horse hooves are heard]

Gimli: Do the Dead follow us? I cannot look back.

Legolas: They follow. I see the shapes of men and of horses, and pale banners like shreds of cloud, and spears like winter-thickets on a misty night. The Dead are following.

- - - - -

Narrator: So they rode out of the ravine, and into the Vale of Morthond, and came at length to the hill of Erech.

Aragorn: Give me the horn of silver.

[He blows the horn]

Aragorn: Oathbreakers, why have you come?

A Voice: To fulfil the oath made to Isildur.

[The voices of the Dead sigh: "Aye"]

Aragorn: The hour has come at last. Now I go to Pelargir upon Anduin, the city of royal ships, and ye shall come after me. And when all this land is clean of the servants of Sauron, I will hold the oath fulfilled, and ye shall go in peace for ever. Halbarad, unfurl our standard!

Narrator: And behold! The standard which Arwen had woven was black, and if there was any device upon it, it was hidden in darkness. Then there was silence and the Grey Company passed into the darkness of the Storm of Mordor, and was lost to mortal sight; but the Dead followed them.

- - - - -

Narrator: And as the long night drew towards its end in Ithilien, Frodo and Sam were roused from their sleep by Faramir, who led them to place at the side of the waterfall.

[The water rushes loudly towards the ground far below]

Sam: Oh... it's a fine view, no doubt, Mr. Frodo, but chilling to the heart, not to mention the bones.

Faramir: Frodo? Do you see the pool down there, at the bottom of the cliff?

Frodo: Yes...

Faramir: Something's moving. What is it? It has four limbs and dives like a man. What is it doing? Seeking a way up behind the waterfall to our hidings? I have a marksman posted. Shall we shoot?

Frodo: No, no! I - I beg you not to.

Faramir: You know, then, what this thing is?

Frodo: Yes.

Faramir: Is it your gangrel companion?

Frodo: Yes.

Faramir: He is dead to come to Henneth Annûn and his life is forfeit. I marvel at the creature: to come sporting in the pool before our very window. Does he thing that men sleep without watch all night?

Frodo: He knows little of men. But I think he is lured here by a mastering desire, stronger than his caution.

Faramir: He is lured here, you say? Does he then know of your burden?

Frodo: Yes, indeed. He bore it himself for many years.

Faramir: He bore it? This matter winds itself ever in new riddles. Then he is pursuing it?

Frodo: Maybe. It is precious to him. But I did not speak of that.

Faramir: What then does the creature seek?

Frodo: Fishsss.

Faramir: Fishsss...?

Frodo: Ah! Fish.

Faramir: Ah.

Frodo: The creature is wretched, and hungry, and unaware of his danger. And Gandalf, your Mithrandir would have bidden you not to slay him for that reason, a - and for others. In some way, he is bound up with my errand. Until you found us and took us, he was my guide.

Faramir: Your guide! I would do much for you, Frodo, but I cannot let this sly wanderer go free at his own will from here. He must be slain or taken.

Frodo: Then let me go down quietly to him. Yes? I - I... I will bring him to you.

- - - - -

[The waterfall meets the pool]

Gollum: Fishsss!

[He splashes through the water]

Gollum: Nice fish! Now we can eat...

[He splashes]

Gollum: in peace. No! Not in peace, precious. For the Precious is lost. Yes, lost. Dirty hobbits! Nasty hobbits! Gone and left us, gollum. And Precious is gone. Throttle them, precious! Throttle them all!

Frodo: Sméagol.

[Gollum starts]

Gollum: Nice fishss!

[He struggles to keep ahold of it]

Frodo: Sméagol!

Gollum: Nice fishss!

Frodo: Come quickly, Sméagol!

[Gollum whimpers]

Frodo: Men will kill you if they find you here. Come quickly! We are in danger.

Gollum: Oh, no! Not nice master. Leaves poor Sméagol; goes with new friends. Master can wait. Sméagol hasn't finished.

[He splashes]

Frodo: Sméagol, there's no time for all that. The Precious will be angry.

[Gollum cries out]

Frodo: I shall take Precious, and say: make him swallow bones and choke.

Gollum: Gollum! Nice Master!

Frodo: Ah.

Gollum: Nice hobbit! Come back to poor Sméagol.

[He laughs nervously]

Gollum: Good Sméagol comes. Let's go quickly, yes, yes!

Frodo: Now, we must go up the stream. I can't leave Sam. For you're not safe yet. I will save you, but you must trust me.

Gollum: We must trust...

Frodo: Yes.

Gollum: ...master? Why not go away at once, hm?

Frodo: I told you, Sméagol. Now go on!

[Gollum whimpers]

Frodo: Or Precious will be angry!

[Gollum splashes]

Frodo: That's it. Come on - up! Careful, careful.

[Gollum breathes heavily as he moves through the water, and then gasps]

Frodo: What?

Gollum: Something's there. Wicked master! Tricksy! False master!

Frodo: Sméagol!

[Gollum growls]

Ranger: Hold still! Or we'll stick you as full of pins as a hedgehog.

[Gollum hisses and struggles]

Ranger: Tie him up.

[Gollum screams and cries]

Frodo: No! No, no! Don't hurt him, if you can help it. He'll be quieter, if you don't. Oh, Sméagol! They won't hurt you, Sméagol.

Gollum: They are! They are!

Frodo: I'll go with you, and you shall come to no harm. Now trust master!

Gollum: False master! Gollum.

- - - - -

[Gollum screams]

Faramir: Come! Set him down.

Gollum: Loose us!

Faramir: Let's have a look at you.

Gollum: Loose us! The cord hurts us, yes it does, it hurts us, and we've done nothing.

Faramir: Nothing? Tonight you have come where it is death to come. The fish of this pool are dearly bought.

Gollum: Gollum.

[The fish slap to the ground]

Gollum: Don't want fish.

Faramir: The price is not set on fish. Only to come here and look on the pool bears the penalty of death. I have spared you so far at the prayer of Frodo. But you must also satisfy me.

[Gollum whimpers]

Faramir: Cut him loose.

[A knife is pulled. Gollum cries out]

Frodo: Now, Sméagol! You must trust me.

[Gollum hisses]

Frodo: I will not desert you. Now, answer truthfully, if you can.

[The knife is sheathed]

Faramir: Come hither. Look in my eyes. Do you know the name of this place? Have you been here before?

Gollum: We doesn't know and we doesn't want to know. Never came here; never come again.

Faramir: I believe you. What oath wll you swear never to return?

Gollum: Master knows! Sméagol promises to Precious. Promises faithfully, faithfully, never to come again. Never, never! Sméagol, no. Never, never! No, precious, no. Gollum.

Faramir: Are you satisified, Frodo?

Frodo: Yes. You will get no more from him. And I promised him that if he came with me, he should not be harmed. I would not be proved faithless.

Faramir: Then I surrender him to you.

[Gollum whimpers]

Faramir: As for you, Frodo, I declare you free in the realm of Gondor to the furthest of its ancient bounds. But tell me, whither would you go?

Frodo: Where my guide leads me.

[Gollum laughs]

Frodo: He said that there is - or there may be a path near to Minas Ithil. A path that climbs up into the mountains.

Faramir: Do you know the name of that high pass?

Frodo: No.

Faramir: It is called Cirith Ungol.

[Gollum hisses]

Faramir: It not that its name?

Gollum: No! Y - yes, yes, yes, yes. We - we heard the name onces, yes. But what does the name matter? Master says he must get in. There is no other way to try, no, no...

Faramir: No other way? There is some dark terror that dwells in the high passes. If Cirith Ungol is named, old men and masters of lore will blanch and fall silent. Frodo, do not go there.

- - - - -

Narrator: The time came for Frodo and and Sam to set out. The cool morning air was fresh and sweet about them, and they were in haste to depart. But Faramir drew them aside for one last counsel.

[Water falls around them]

Faramir: Frodo, I think you do very unwisely in this. I do not think you should go with that creature. He is wicked.

Frodo: Not altogether wicked.

Faramir: Not wholly, perhaps, but malice eats him like a canker. He will lead you to no good.

Frodo: I have promised many times to take him under my protection and to go where he led. You would not ask me to break faith with him?

Faramir: No. But my heart would. I do not think you are holden to follow him to Cirith Ungol, of which he has told you less than he knows. It is a place of sleepless malice, full of lidless eyes. Do not go that way!

Frodo: But where else would you direct me? I mea - you cannot guide me to the mountains, nor over them. But over the mountains I am bound to go, by a solemn undertaking. I - If I turn back, where then shall I go among Elves and Men? Would you have me come to Gondor with this - this thing that drove your brother mad with desire?

Faramir: Oh...

Frodo: Oh, Faramir, what spell would it work in Minas Tirith? Would it not bring evil and decay as Sauron brought evil to Minas Ithil, your twin city that once so fair? And turned it into the horror that is Minas Morgul. Shall there be two cities of Minas Morgul, grinning at each other across a dead land filled with rottenness?

Faramir: I would not have it so.

Frodo: Then what would you have me do?

Faramir: I know not. It is a hard doom and a hopeless errand. I do not hope to see you again on any other day under the sun. But you shall go now with my blessing upon you, and upon all your people.

[They hug]

Frodo: Dear Faramir!

Faramir: Fare well.

Frodo: Fare well.

- - - - -

Narrator: At the rising of the sun, Gandalf and Pippin came at last to Minas Tirith, and passed through the seven gates of the City to the Court of the Fountain.

[The Fountain splashes in the background]

Pippin: A withered tree! Why leave a dead tree in the courtyard, when everything else is so well-tended?

Gandalf: Don't you remember the rhyme I spoke to you?

Pippin: Seven stars and seven stones and one white tree.

Gandalf: Aha.

Pippin: But it isn't white. It's dead, and broken, and black.

Gandalf: It died with the twenty-first Steward of Gondor, and no sapling could be found to replace it.

Pippin: But why leave it there?

Gandalf: Because it is a descendant of Nimloth, the White Tree of Númenor, which Sauron burned on the alter of the temple of Armenelos. For Isildur stole a fruit from that tree. And from it grew the White Tree of Gondor.

Pippin: Yes, but why leave it in the middle of -

Gandalf: No more questions, Peregrin Took. We must go before Denethor. And be careful of your words - Denethor is not a kindly old man like Théoden. He's proud and subtle; a man of far greater lineage and power, though he is not called a king. But he will speak most to you and question you much since you can tell him of his son, Boromir. He loved him greatly - too much, perhaps. But under cover of his love he will think it easier to learn what he wishes from you rather than from me.

Pippin: Really?

Gandalf: Do not tell him more that you need. Leave quiet the matter of Frodo's errand.

Pippin: Well, of course!

Gandalf: And say nothing about Aragorn unless you must.

Pippin: Why not? What's wrong with Strider? He'll be arriving here himself soon, anyway.

Gandalf: Maybe, maybe. Though if he comes, it is likely to be in some way no one expects, not even Denethor, who sees much. At least he should come unheralded by us.

Pippin: Well, I'm very sorry, but I don't understand.

Gandalf: If you hadn't passed your time in the Shire bird-nesting and playing truant, you might have known that Denethor is only Steward. He holds the office in the name of the king until he shall return.

Pippin: Yes.

Gandalf: But it is long since men believed that the king would truly return. It's scarcely wise when bringing the news of the death of his heir to a mighty lord to speak over much of one who will claim the kingship.

Pippin: Kingship?

Gandalf: Yes.

Pippin: But I didn't know Strider would -

Gandalf: If you've walked all these days with closed ears and mind asleep, wake up now!

Pippin: Yes, Gandalf.

Gandalf: Come.

- - - - -

[Gandalf's footsteps echo]

Gandalf: Hail, Lord and Steward of Minas Tirith, Denethor son of Ecthelion! I am come with counsel and tidings in a dark hour.

Denethor: Dark indeed is the hour, and at such times you are wont to come, Mithrandir. But though all the signs forbode that the doom of Gondor is drawing nigh, less now to me is that darkness than mine own darkness. It has been told to me that you bring with you one who saw my son die. Is this he?

Gandalf: It is. One of the twain. The other is with Théoden of Rohan and may come after. Halflings. But this is not he of whom the omen spoke.

Denethor: Yet a Halfling still, and little love do I bear the name, since those accursed words came to trouble our country-side and drew away my son on a wild errand to his death. My Boromir! Now we have need of you. Faramir should have gone in his stead.

Gandalf: He would have gone. Be not unjust in your grief! Boromir claimed the errand and would not suffer any other to have it. But you speak of his death. You have had news of that ere we came?

Denethor: I have received this.

[He lifts the halves of Boromir's horn]

Pippin: That's the horn that Boromir always wore!

Denethor: Verily. And in my turn I bore it, and so did each eldest son of our house, far back in the vanished years before the failing of the kings. I heard it blowing dim upon the northern marches thirteen days ago, and the River brought it to me, broken. What say you to that, halfling?

Pippin: Thirteen days. That would be so. I stood beside him when he blew the horn. But no help came. Only more orcs.

Denethor: Why did not help come? And how did you escape, and yet he did not, so mighty a man as he was, and only orcs to withstand him?

Pippin: The mightiest man may be slain by one arrow, and Boromir was pierced by many. I swooned and was made captive. He died to save us, my kinsman Meriadoc and myself, waylaid in the woods by the soldiers of the Dark Lord.

Denethor: A bitter sacrifice.

Pippin: Little service, no doubt, will so great a lord of Men think to find in a hobbit; yet such as it it, I will offer it, in payment of my debt.

[He draws his sword and lays it at Denethor's feet]

Denethor: Once again it is shown that looks may belie the man - or the halfling. I accept your service. For you are not daunted by words; and you have courteous speech. We shall have need of all folk of courtesy, be they great or small, in the days to come. Swear to me now!

Gandalf: Swear on the sword, if you are resolved on this.

Denethor: Swear fealty and service to Gondor, and to the Lord Steward of the realm, to speak and to be silent...

Pippin: To speak and to be silent.

Denethor: do and let be...

Pippin: To do and let be.

Denethor: come and to go...

Pippin: To come and to go.

Denethor: need or plenty...

Pippin: In need or plenty.

Denethor: peace or war...

Pippin: In peace or war.

Denethor: living or dying...

Pippin: In living or dying.

Denethor: ...until my lord release me, or death take me.

Pippin: Until my lord release me, or death take me.

Denethor: And I will not forget, nor fail to reward that which is given: fealty with love, valour with honour, oath-breaking with vengeance. Receive your sword!

[Pippin sheathes the sword]

Denethor: And now, my first command to you: speak and be not silent! Tell me your full tale, and see that you recall all that you can of Boromir, my son. Sit now and begin!

Narrator: In the Great Hall, under the piercing eye of the Lord of Gondor, Pippin told his tale, conscious all the while of Gandalf at his side, watching and listening. When the hour was over, he felt quite worn out.

[A gong resonates]

Denethor: Send word to the Captains that I have sworn this halfling to my service, and he shall be known as Peregrin son of Paladin, and taught the lesser passwords.

[The guards answer: "Sire"]

Denethor: He shall lodge with the Lord Mithrandir, if he will.

[The guards exit the hall]

Denethor: Mithrandir, none shall hinder your coming to me at any time, save only in my brief hours of sleep. Let your wrath at an old man's foolish grief run off and then return to my comfort!

Gandalf: Nay, my lord, when you are a dotard you wil die. You can even use your grief as a cloak. Do you think that I do not understand your purpose in questioning for an hour one who knows the least?

Denethor: If you understand it, then be content. Pride would be folly that listened not counsel at need; but you deal out such gifts according to your own designs. Yet the Lord of Gondor is not to be made the tool of other men's purposes, however worthy. And to him there is no purpose in the world higher than the good of Gondor. And the rule of Gondor, my lord, is mine and no other man's, unless the king should come again.

Gandalf: Ah. Unless the king should come again? Well, my lord, it is your task to keep some kingdom still against that event. But I will say this: the rule of no realm is mine. But all worthy things that are in peril as the world now stands, those are my care. And for my part, I shall not wholly fail of my task, though Gondor should perish, if anything passes through this night that can still grow fair or bear fruit again in the days to come. For I also am a steward. Did you not know? Come, Pippin!

[They leave Denethor's hall and return to the Court of the Fountain, the waters of which flow in the background]

Pippin: I did the best I could, Gandalf.

Gandalf: You did indeed!

[He laughs]

Gandalf: And I hope it may be long before you find yourself in such a tight corner again between two such terrible old men. Still the Lord of Gondor learned more from you than you may have guessed, Pippin.

Pippin: How?

Gandalf: You could not conceal the fact that Boromir did not lead the Company from Moria, and that there was one among you of high honour who was coming to Minas Tirith.

Pippin: Oh...

Gandalf: Denethor has long sight. He can see, if he bends his will thither, much of what is passing in the minds of men, even of those that dwell far off. It is difficult to deceive him, and dangerous to try.

Pippin: Did I do write to swear him service?

Gandalf: It was well done. It touched his heart, as well as pleasing his humour. And at least you are free now to move about Minas Tirith - when you are not on duty. But there is another side to it. You are at his command; and he will not forget. Be wary still!

- - - - -

Narrator: And while Pippin explored the battlements of Minas Tirith, the King of Rohan came out of the hills and looked upon Dunharrow. A rider came out to meet him, clad in armour and girded with a sword.

[A horse approaches. A wind blows]

Éowyn: Hail, Lord of the Mark! My heart is glad at your returning.

Théoden: Éowyn, my sister-daughter! In helmet and armour?

Éomer: Éowyn, you are a true shield-maiden.

Éowyn: Brother.

Théoden: Is all well with you, Éowyn?

Éowyn: All is well, though it has been a hard road for your people who have sought refuge here, torn from their homes. But all is now ordered. Your lodging is prepared for you. I have had full tidings of you and knew the hour of your coming.

Théoden: So Aragorn has come, then? Is he still here?

Éowyn: He came at night, and rode away yestermorn, ere the Sun had climbed over the mountaintops.

Théoden: You are grieved, daughter. Tell me: did he speak of the road towards the Haunted Mountain? Did he purpose to ride through the Paths of the Dead?

Éowyn: Yes, lord. And he has passed into the shadows from which none have returned. I could not dissuade him. He has gone.

Théoden: All, all have gone to some doom. And my turn will come soon, Éowyn.

Éowyn: An hour ago, an errand-rider came from Minas Tirith. He bade me give you this.

[She hands the arrow to Théoden]

Théoden: The Red Arrow! Has it indeed come to that?

Éowyn: Denethor asks for all your strength and all your speed.

Théoden: And we will go as soon as the muster is complete.

Éomer: If you would take my counsel, you would remain in Edoras until the war is over, lost or won.

Théoden: Speak not the soft words of Wormtongue in my old ears! Never will I lean upon my staff again. If the war is lost, what good will be my hiding in the hills? And if it is won, what grief will it be, even if I fall, spending my last strength? Let us take what rest we can. We must set forth as soon as the sun is risen.

- - - - -

Gollum: Are we ressted?

[The hobbits are startled from their sleep. Gollum laughs]

Gollum: Have we had a beautiful sleep?

Sam: We aren't.

Frodo: And we haven't.

Gollum: Follow Sméagol!

Sam: We'll go if we must.

Gollum: Follow Sméagol!

Narrator: Now, the Ring-bearers travelled by night, Gollum leading them by the road to Minas Morgul. There seemed to be a great blackness looming slowly out of the East, eating up the faint, blurred stars. The sinking moon was ringed all about with a sickly yellow glare.

Gollum: Day soon, hm, hm.

[Sam coughs]

Gollum: Hobbitses must hurry; day soon!

[Frodo groans]

Gollum: And then, then, hobbitses can sleep. Follow Sméagol...

- - - - -

Narrator: But no day came; only a dead, brown twilight. In the East, there was a dull red glare under the lowering cloud. But it was not the red of dawn.

[A wind blows]

Frodo: Sam.

Sam: Sir?

Frodo: Do you think that is the opening of the Morgul Valley? Away over there, beyond that black mass.

Sam: Oh, need we think about it yet? Well, surely, we're not going to move any more today, if the day ever happens.

Frodo: Grey vapours arise in the east out of Mordor. The twilight is deepening.

- - - - -

Narrator: The very air seemed brown, and all things were black, and grey, and shadowless. There was a great stillness. The world was darkling.

Éomer: It comes from Mordor. It began last night at sunset. The Riders of the Marches saw it rise and creep across the sky, eating up the stars. Now the Great Cloud hangs over all the land between here and the Mountains of Shadow, and it is deepening. War has already begun.

Théoden: So we come to it in the end, the great battle of our time, in which many things shall pass away. But at least there is no longer need for hiding. We shall ride the straight way and the open road to Edoras, and with all speed. There shall the Muster of Rohan be complete, and there shall our trumpets sound for battle.

- - - - -

[A deep rumbling is heard in the distance]

Sam: Now, what was it I was looking for? Weeds and thorns and brachen all over the place. Oh, how did a garden get into this mess? It's a job of work for me. I'm a little tired. What was it I was looking for? My pipe! That's it! Silly!

[He fumbles in his pack]

Sam: It's in your pack all the time! Huh? Oh, oh... you may have your pipe, Sam Gamgee, but no head! You're hundreds of miles from Bag End. Well, it's dark. I must have slept all day. Oh! Oh, have you had no sleep, Mr. Frodo? W - what's the time? It seems to be gettin' late.

Frodo: No, it isn't. But the day is getting darker instead of lighter: darker and darker. As far as I can tell, it isn't even midday yet...

Sam: Oh...

Frodo: ...and you've only slept for about three hours.

Sam: Oh! I wonder what's up? Is there a storm coming? If so, it's going to be the worst there ever was. We shall wish we were down a hole, and not just stuck under a hedge.

[The rumbling becomes louder. Sam gasps]

Sam: What's that? Thunder, or drums, or what is it?

Frodo: I don't know. It's been going on for a good while now. Sometimes the ground seems to tremble, sometimes it seems to be the heavy air throbbing in your ears.

Sam: Where's Gollum?

Frodo: Hm? Eh - off hunting, I suppose. There's not been a sign or sound of him.

Sam: I've never taken anything on a journey that I'd have been less sorry to lose on the way. But it would be just like him, after coming all these miles to go and get lost now, just when we shall need him the most. I hope he doesn't fall into other hands, as you might say. Because if he does, we shall soon be in for trouble.

[The rumbling returns]

Frodo: I think we are in for trouble anyhow. I'm afraid, Sam, our journey is drawing to an end.

Sam: Oh! Well, maybe, but where there's life there's hope, as my Gaffer used to say; and need of vittles, as he mostways used to add. You have a bite of food Faramir gave us, and then a bit of sleep, Mr. Frodo.

Gollum: No time to sleepss!

[Frodo and Sam are startled. Gollum laughs]

Gollum: We must go! Yes, must go at onccce! No time to lose!

Sam: Go now? What's your little game? It - it isn't time yet.

Gollum: It is, it is.

Sam: It can't even be tea-time, even. Leastways not in decent places where there is a tea-time.

Gollum: Silly! We are not in decent placess. Time's running short, hm. Running fast. No time to lose! We must go to the Crossroads. Follow Sméagol.

- - - - -

Narrator: At last, they came to a great ring of trees, open in the middle to the somber sky. The spaces between their immense boles were like great dark arches in some ruined hall. In the very centre four roads met. The fourth way, the road they were to take, passed out eastward into darkness.

[Deep rumbles shake the sky]

Frodo: Oh! The sun! Look, Sam! A ray of sunlight.

Sam: It would shine just as it's about to set. Much good that'll do us.

Frodo: Look! Do you see?

Sam: Huh?

Frodo: It's falling on an old statue.

Sam: Oh...

Frodo: A statue of one of the old kings guarding the Crossroads.

Sam: Well, it looks like the orcs have got him. They've sliced his head off, scrawled their filthy writing over him. Oh, here's his head, lying over here. Poor old king.

Frodo: But look, Sam. He wears a crown again; a crown of trailing flowers like white stars. They cannot conquer for ever.

- - - - -

[A horn cries. Horses beat the earth]

Théoden: I am going to war, Master Meriadoc. I release you from my service, but not from my friendship. You shall abide in Dunharrow, if you will, and serve the Lady Éowyn.

Merry: But - but... but lord! I - I offered you my sword. I don't want to be parted from you. Why did you receive me as swordthain if not to stay by your side?

Théoden: I receieved you for your safe keeping and also to do as I bid. None of my riders can bear you as burden, and it is a hundred leagues to Minas Tirith. I will say no more.

[His horse carries him away]

Éomer: Prepare to ride.

[A horn-call fills the air again]

Merry: I won't be left behind to be called for in return. I won't be left. I won't!

[A horse approaches]

Dernhelm: You wish to go whither the Lord of the Mark goes. I see it in your face.

Merry: I do.

Dernhelm: Then you shall go; with me. I will bear you before me under my cloak until we are far afield, and this darkness is yet darker. Such good will should not be denied.

Merry: Oh, thank you, indeed! Thank you sir, though I do not know your name.

Dernhelm: Do you not?

Merry: And since you've got your visor down, I cannot see your face, begging your pardon, sir.

Dernhelm: Then call me Dernhelm.

[A horn is blown again. Many horses begin to gallop]

Narrator: And so the great ride into the East began, with which the songs of Rohan were busy for many long lives of men thereafter.

[A voice sings:

Forth rode the king, fear behind him,
fate before him. Fealty kept he;
oaths he had taken, all fulfilled them.
Forth rode Théoden. Five nights and days
east and onward rode the Eorlingas
through Folde and Fenmarch and the Firienwood,
six thousand spears to Sunlending,
Mundburg the mighty under Mindolluin,
Sea-kings' city in the South-kingdom
foe-beleaguered, fire-encircled.
Doom drove them on. Darkness took them,
Horse and horseman; hoofbeats afar
sank into silence: so the songs tell. ]



Pippin: Gandalf! Gandalf! Denethor has sent for me. It sounded terribly urgent. Has something happened?

Gandalf: His son, Faramir, has returned, and he has tidings which you should hear.

Pippin: What tidings?

Gandalf: You will know in good time, Peregrin Took. Come! We must not keep them waiting.

- - - - -

[Their footsteps echo]

Faramir: A Halfling, and in the livery of the Tower! You are not the first halfling that I have seen walking out of northern legends into the Southlands.

Pippin: You mean Frodo and Sam!

[Gandalf hushes him]

Faramir: Yes.

Denethor: Sit down at my left hand, my son. Take bread and wine, and tell us what has befallen you.

Narrator: And Faramir told his tale and of Frodo's desperate errand, with his eye, for the most part, on Gandalf, though, now and again, his glance strayed to Pippin, as if to refresh his memory of others he had seen. And Denethor sat in silence like an old, patient spider.

Faramir: As the dark drew on I knew that haste was needed, so I rode hence with three others. The rest of my company I sent south to strengthen the garrison at the fords of Osgiliath. I hope that I have not done ill?

Denethor: Ill? Why do you ask? The men were under your command. Or do you ask for my judgement on all your deeds? Alas! Alas for Boromir! He wound not have squandered what fortune put in his way. He would have brought me this mighty gift.

Gandalf: You deceive yourself. He would have stretched out his hand to this thing, and taking it he would have fallen. He would have kept it for his own, and when he returned you would not have known your son.

Denethor: You found Boromir less apt to your hand than Faramir who always seeks for approval in your eyes. But I who was his father say that he would have brought this thing to me. You are wise, maybe, Mithrandir, yet with all your subtleties you have not all wisdom. I have in this matter more lore and wisdom than you deem.

Gandalf: Then what is your wisdom?

Denethor: Enough to perceive that there are two follies to avoid. To use this thing is perilous. At this hour, to send it in the hands of a witless halfling into the land of the Enemy himself, as you have done, and this son of mine, that is madness.

Gandalf: And what would you have done?

Denethor: It should have been kept here, hidden dark and deep. Not used, unless at the uttermost end of need. If I had this thing now in the deep vaults of this citadel, we should not shake with dread under this gloom, fearing the worst.

Gandalf: Denethor, if you had received this thing, it would have overthrown you. Were it buried in the depths of Mindolluin, still it would burn your mind away.

Denethor: If I had received it! Such words are in vain. It has gone into the Shadow, and only time will show what fate awaits it or us.

Gandalf: Only time will show. What road did Frodo take when you parted, Faramir?

Faramir: A road of ill-omen. But I could not deflect him from his purpose. He sought the pass of Cirith Ungol.

[Gandalf gasps]

Gandalf: Why should he choose that way? When did you part with them? When would they reach that accursed valley?

Faramir: I parted with them in the morning, two days ago. A - at swiftest, they could not come there before today.

Gandalf: I fear treachery; treachery of that miserable creature, Gollum. But so it must be. Yet a traitor may betray himself and do good that he does not intend.

- - - - -

[Gollum hisses]

Gollum: You see it, Master? Minas Morgul, the c - c - city of the Ringwraitheses.

Frodo: I can scarcely bring myself to look on it. Ahh! And this was once the Tower of the Moon?

Gollum: Minas Ithil, yes. But not nice now, not beautiful!

Sam: It's not nice at all!

Gollum: We must go! Hm, hm? Mustn't stand here! Make haste! Follow Sméagol!

Frodo: No! No!

Gollum: Hm?

Frodo: No. This is the end of my journey. I must come to the Tower.

Gollum: No, Master, no!

Frodo: The Ring must find the Lord of the Nazgûl. Minas Morgul, the tower of the magic of darkness.

Gollum: No, not that way!

Frodo: Yes!

Gollum: Not cross the Bridge!

Frodo: Yes, yes.

Gollum: No, Master!

Sam: Come on, Mr. Frodo! Steady on! Not that way.

Frodo: Yes, yes, yes...

Sam: Gollum says not, and for once I agree with him!

Gollum: Make haste, hobbits, hobbits, hobbitses! Away from the nasty Tower! Along the path. Quickly, quickly, follow me, Sméagol!

Frodo: No! I... must stop. I must rest! It's the Ring, Sam.

Sam: Oh!

Frodo: It... grows heavier with every step I t - t - take towards Mordor! It's draining all the strength from me! Don't know how far I'm going to be able to carry it!

Gollum: Mustn't rest here!

[Frodo groans and struggles]

Gollum: No, no, not here! Eyes can see us! When they come to the Bridge they will see us! Come away!

Sam: Come, Mr. Frodo!

Gollum: Come! Come!

Sam: He's right!

Gollum: Yes!

Sam: We can't stay here.

Frodo: All right. I will try.

[Gollum cries out as the ground rumbles]

Gollum: Too late!

[A crash shakes the air. A Nazgûl cries. Many feet begin to march]

Gollum: Gate openses.

Narrator: And out of the gate of Minas Morgul, an army came. All the host was clad in sable, dark as the night. Small black figures in rank upon rank, marching swiftly and silently, passing outwards in an endless stream. Before them went a great cavalry of horsemen moving like ordered shadows, and at their head was one greater than all the rest: a Rider, all in black.

Frodo: The Morgul King! The Lord of the Nine Riders!

[He moans]

Frodo: My wound! I can feel it.

[Frodo remembers Weathertop:

Lord of the Nazgûl: The Ring!

Frodo is stabbed and screams]

[The Ring-verse is chanted:

Ash nazg durbatulúk, ash nazg gimbatul,
ash nazg thrakatulûk agh burzum-ishi krimpatul.]

Frodo: He can see me! Or does the Ring call out to him?

Lord of the Nazgûl: Put on the Ring. Put on the Ring.

Frodo: But it will betray me as it did on Weathertop.

Lord of the Nazgûl: The Ring!

Frodo: No! Must resist with what strength remains! Must conquer my fear and the pain of my wound!

[He sighs]

Narrator: At that moment, the Wraith-king turned and spurred his horse and rode across the Bridge and all his dark host followed him. At his dark master's bidding, he must march with war into the West.

Frodo: And who can now hold the fords when the King of the Nine Riders comes? And other armies will come. I am too late. All is lost. Even if my errand is performed, no one will ever know. And there will be no one I can tell.

Sam: Mr. Frodo? Wake up! They've gone.

[The gates close in the distance]

Sam: The gates have closed. They've gone, and we'd better go too. There's something still alive in that Tower, something with eyes, and a seeing mind; and the longer we stay in one place, the sooner it will get on to us.

Frodo: Yes.

Sam: So come on, Mr. Frodo.

Gollum: Make haste, hobbitses. Mustn't think danger has passed. It hasn't! Make haste. We must get to the stepses. Lots of stepses. Follow Sméagol.

- - - - -

Narrator: The steps, when they reached them, were narrow and often treacherous.

[Stones slide beneath their feet]

Gollum: Careful!

[They struggle to keep from tripping]

Sam: Ah, Mr. Frodo!

Gollum: Hobbitses must be careful.

Sam: Steps! It's more like a ladder. Steady goes it, Mr. Frodo!

Frodo: Yes.

Sam: Don't look down. It's a long, black fall behind.

Gollum: Up we go.

Frodo: foot, Sam.

Gollum: Careful, hobbitses! Careful!

[Frodo and Sam struggle on and Gollum laughs]

Gollum: Up we go.

- - - - -

Gollum: Ah! There we are. We're up!

[Frodo and Sam gasp for breath]

Gollum: First stairs is passed. Clever hobbitses to climb so high.

[He laughs]

Gollum: Very clever hobbitses.

Sam: My poor knees! My poor fingers!

Gollum: Now - no time to rest now, Master Samwise.

Sam: What? W - we've got to have a rest.

Gollum: There's another stair still.

[Frodo groans]

Gollum: Much longer stair.

Frodo: Sméagol!

[Gollum laughs]

Gollum: Rest - rest when we get to the top of the next stair. Not yet, not yet!

Sam: Longer, did you say?

Gollum: Yesss. Longer, longer - but not so difficult.

Sam: Oh...

Gollum: Hobbitses have climbed the Straight Stair. Next comes the Winding Stair.

Sam: And after that?

[Gollum laughs knowingly]

Gollum: We shall see. Oh, yes, yes.

[He laughs]

Gollum: Oh, we shall see.

Sam: Well, I thought you said there was a tunnel.

Gollum: Hobbitses can rest before they tries that. If they get through that, they'll be nearly at the top. Very nearly.

[He laughs]

Gollum: If they get there. Oh yes.

[He hums]

Frodo: I am cold. Let's go on. This is no place to rest.

[Gollum laughs]

Gollum: Follow Sméagol!

Narrator: It was a long and weary assent. But this stairway did not delve into the mountainside. Here, the huge cliff-face sloped backwards and the path, like a snake, wound to and fro about it. A red light grew in the sky beyond, though they could not tell whether a dreadful morning were indeed coming to this place of shadow, or whether they saw only the flame of some great violence of Sauron in the torment of Gorgoroth beyond.

- - - - -

[A wind blows]

Frodo: There is a black tower over the outer pass. And a red light burning there!

[Gollum hisses]

Sam: Oh! I don't like the look of that. So this secret way of yours is guarded, after all?

Gollum: Hm?

Sam: As you knew all along, I suppose.

Gollum: Well - all ways are watched, yes! Course they are. But hobbitses must try some way. This way maybe least watched, hm? Hm. Perhaps they've all gone away to the big battle.

[He laughs]

Gollum: Perhaps.

Sam: Perhaps. Well, it still seems a long way off and a long way up before we get there. And there's still the tunnel. Well, I think you ought to rest now, Mr. Frodo.

Frodo: Yes. Yes, we must rest. Let's find some corner out of this wind and gather our strength for the last lap.

- - - - -

Narrator: In a dark crevice, between two great piers of rock, they sat down and took what they expected would be their last meal before they went into the Nameless Land. Maybe the last meal they would ever eat together.

[They eat]

Sam: There's a wicked feeling about this place, ah...

[He sniffs]

Sam: ...and a smell. Do you notice it? It's a queer kind of smell: stuffy. I don't like it.

Frodo: I don't like anything here at all, Sam.

[He sighs]

Frodo: But so our path is laid.

Sam: Yes, that's so. And we shouldn't be here at all, if we'd known more about it before we started.

Frodo: Hm.

Sam: But I suppose it's often that way. The brave things in old tales and songs, Mr. Frodo.

Frodo: Yes.

Sam: I used to think that they were things the wonderful folk of the stories went out and looked for, because, well - because life was a bit dull.

[Frodo laughs]

Sam: But folk seem to have been just landed in them, really - a bit like us. I wonder if we shall ever be put into songs or tales? Told by the fireside or read out of a great book years and years afterwards. And people will say: "Let's hear about Frodo and the Ring!" And... and they'll say, "Yes, that's one of my favorite stories. Frodo was very brave, wasn't he, dad?"

[They laugh]

Sam: "Yes, my boy. The famousest of the hobbits!"

Frodo: Sam, oh Sam! To hear you somehow makes me as happy as if the story was already written. But you've left out one of the chief characters.

Sam: Hm?

Frodo: Hm. Samwise the Stouthearted!

Sam: Oh...

Frodo: "I want to hear more about Sam, dad. Why didn't they put in more of his talk, dad?"

[Sam laughs]

Frodo: "He makes me laugh, dad. And Frodo wouldn't have got far without Sam, would he, dad?"

Sam: Oh, now, Mr. Frodo, you shouldn't make fun. I was - I was serious.

Frodo: So was I, Sam, and so I am. We're going on a bit too fast. You and I, Sam, are still stuck in the worst place in the story, and it is all too likely that some will say at this point: "Shut the book now, dad; we don't want to read any more."

Sam: Maybe, but I wouldn't be one to say that. Why, even Gollum might be good in a tale.

[They laugh]

Sam: He used to like tales, once. I wonder if he thinks he's the hero or the villain?

Frodo: Well...

Sam: Gollum! Would you like to be the hero - oh, now where's he got off to again? I don't like him sneaking off without saying.

Frodo: Well...

Sam: He can't be looking for food up here.

Frodo: It's no good worrying about him, Sam. After all, we couldn't have got here, without him. If he's false, he's false.

Sam: Still, we'd better keep our eyes skinned. But it would be safe for you to have a sleep now, master.

[Frodo yawns]

Frodo: Sleep!

[He yawns again]

Frodo: Yes, even here I could sleep.

Sam: Well, sleep then, master! Lay your head in my lap.

Frodo: All right.

- - - - -

Narrator: The next day came with a morning like a brown dusk. And the hearts of men, lifted for a while by the return of Faramir, sank low. The winged shadows were not seen again that day, yet ever and anon, high above the city, a faint cry would come, and many who heard it would stand stricken with a passing dread, while the less stout-hearted quailed and wept. Denethor summoned his son before him.

Denethor: I have resolved that we should make no stroke of war unless, perchance, the Riders of Rohan should still come. The threat from the South is too great. We can only man the walls and wait.

Faramir: I am certain that the Rohirrim will come to our aid.

Denethor: I wish I shared your certainty. In the meantime, we should not abandon the outer defences, the Rammas made with so great a labour. And the Enemy must pay dearly for the crossing of the River. He cannot cross either north of Cair Andros because of the marshes, nor southward towards Lebennin because of the breadth of the River. It is at Osgiliath that the first blow will fall. How is the garrison there?

Faramir: It is not strong. I sent the company of Ithilien to strengthen it.

Denethor: Not enough, I deem. They'll have need of some stout captain there. It was there that Boromir denied the Enemy the passage.

Faramir: That was but a trial. Today we may make the Enemy pay ten times our loss at the passage and yet rue the exchange. For he can afford to lose a host better than we to lose a company. And the retreat of those we put out so far afield as Osgiliath will be perilous indeed, if the Enemy wins across in force.

Denethor: Much must be risked in war. But I will not yield the River and the fair fields of the Pelennor unfought - not if there is a captain who has still the courage to do his lord's will.

Faramir: I do not oppose your will, sire. Since you are robbed of Boromir, I will go and do what I can in his stead - if you command it.

Denethor: I do so.

Faramir: Then farewell!

[He begins to walk away]

Faramir: But if I should return, think better of me!

Denethor: That depends upon the manner of your return.

[Faramir exits silently]

Gandalf: Faramir.

Faramir: Gandalf!

Gandalf: Do not throw your life away rashly or in bitterness. You will be needed here, for other things than war. Your father loves you, Faramir, and will remember it ere the end. Farewell!

Faramir: Farewell.

- - - - -

Narrator: For four days and nights, and into a fifth, the Shadow Host of the Dead rode towards Pelargir on Anduin with Aragorn at their head. They moved with a terrible speed. Silent they were, but there was a gleam in their eyes. Everywhere men flew before them, crying out that the King of the Dead was upon them. They crossed the River Gilrain, driving the allies of Mordor in a rout before them. And there, for a while, they rested.

[The Gilrain flows]

Aragorn: Our respite must needs be short. Already Minas Tirith is assailed. I fear that it will fall ere we come to its aid.

- - - - -

Narrator: So they mounted again before night had passed, and went with all the speed their horses could endure across the plains of Lebennin, until they came to the Great River.

[The waters of the Anduin slowly ripples]

Legolas: Wide seems the water in this darkness.

[Seagulls fly above them]

Legolas: Alas for the wailing of the gulls!

Gimli: Heed them not. There is a great battle ahead. The men of Haradrim have fled before us, without weilding a stroke! Now with the River at their backs, they must stand and fight.

Legolas: Some are already in flight! Do you see, there? Ships moving away down the dark River.

Gimli: But those that remain are fierce in their despair.

Aragorn: Shades of Dunharrow! By the Black Stone of Erech I summon you!

[The Dead sigh with a single voice. A horn calls]

Gimli: The swords of the Dead are pale. Will they still bite?

Legolas: They need no other weapon but fear. None will withstand them.

Narrator: And so it proved. To every ship they came that was drawn up, and all the mariners were filled with a madness of terror and leapt overboard, save the slaves chained to the oars.

Gimli: Strange and wonderful it is that the designs of Mordor should be overthrown by such wraiths of fear and darkness. With its own weapons is it worsted!

Legolas: Strange indeed. Not for naught does Mordor fear Aragorn. How great and terrible a lord he might have become had he taken the Ring to himself.

Aragorn: Hear now the words of the Heir of Isildur! Your oath is fulfilled. Go back and trouble not the valleys ever again! Depart and be at rest!

[The Dead sigh as they fade away]

Narrator: Swiftly the whole grey Host drew off and vanished like a mist that is driven back by a sudden wind. And yet there was no wind.

Aragorn: No wind. No wind to freshen our sails. And it is fourty-two leagues from Pelargir to the landings of Harlond below Minas Tirith.

Narrator: But at midnight, there came a fresh wind from the Sea, and long ere day the masted ships hoisted sail and speeded up the Great River towards the beleaguered City of Minas Tirith.

- - - - -

Narrator: And on the stairs of Cirith Ungol, Gollum crawled back down the path from the gloom ahead and found Sam and Frodo still sleeping. Peace was in both their faces.

[The hobbits snore quietly]

Gollum: Sleeping soundly, little hobbitses? What a dainty dish they'll be for Her. She's hungry, oh yes She is, precious. Nothing to eat, except a very few skinny old orcsss for weeks. But they'll be sweeter meat. Little hobbitses, oh yes. But when She throws away the boneses and the empty garmentses we shall find it. We shall get it. Our precious! A reward for poor Sméagol who brings nice food. And we'll save the Precious as we promised. Oh, yesss! And when we've got it safe, then She'll know it. Oh, yes, we'll pay Her back, my precious. We'll pay everyones back!

[Frodo cries out in his sleep]

Gollum: Poor master. Sleeping so... peacefully. Poor little hobbitses!

[Sam wakes. Gollum whimpers]

Sam: What are you up to? Pawing at Mr. Frodo!

Gollum: Nothing! Nothing! Nothing! Nice, nice master!

Sam: I daresay. And where have you been to - sneaking off and sneaking back, you villain?

Gollum: S - sneaking, sneaking! Hobbitses always so polite, yes. Oh nice hobbitses! Sméagol brings them up secret ways that nobody else could find. Tired he is, thirsty he is. And he guideses 'em and he searchess for paths, yes, and they say sneak, sneak.

[He cries. Sam sighs]

Sam: Sorry. I'm sorry, but you startled me out of my sleep. And I shouldn't have been sleeping, and that made me a bit sharp. I'm sorry. Where have you been?

Gollum: Sneaking.

Sam: Oh, very well, have it your own way! I don't suppose it's so far from the truth. And now we'd better all be sneaking along together. What's the time? Is it today or tomorrow?

Gollum: It's tomorrow, or this was tomorrow when the hobbitses went to sleep. Very foolish, very dangerous - if poor Sméagol wasn't sneaking about to watch.

Sam: I think we shall get tired of that word very soon. But never mind. I'll - I'll wake the master up. Wake up, Mr. Frodo!

Frodo: Sam...

Sam: Mr. Frodo, wake up!

Frodo: Hm, what?

[He yawns]

Frodo: Oh dear! Calling me early, aren't you, Sam? It's still dark.

Sam: It's always dark here. But Gollum's come back and he says it's tomorrow. So we must be walking on. The last lap.

Frodo: Oh, the last lap! Hullo, Sméagol!

Gollum: Hello.

Frodo: Have you found any food? Have you had any rest?

Gollum: No food, no rest, nothing for Sméagol. He's a sneak.

[Sam sighs]

Frodo: Now, Sméagol, don't take names to yourself.

Gollum: Sméagol has to take what's given to him.

Frodo: Hm?

Gollum: He was given that name by kind Master Samwise, the hobbit that knows so much.

Frodo: Sam...

Sam: I - I did use the word, sir, waking up out of my - out of my sleep, sudden.

[Gollum growls]

Frodo: Yes. Yes.

Sam: I - I said I was sorry, but I soon won't be.

[Gollum hisses]

Frodo: Well, come! Yes, shh. Let - let it pass, then. Hm? But now we seem to have come to the point, don't we? You and I, Sméagol.

Gollum: Master?

Frodo: Can we find the rest of the way ourselves? Hm? You've done what you promised, and you're free: free to go back to food and rest, wherever you wish to go, except to the servants of the Enemy. And one day I may reward you, I or those that remember me. Hm?

Gollum: No, no, not yet. No, no, no! No, no. Hobbitses can't find the way themselves, can they? No, no indeed! No. There's the - the tunnel...

Frodo: Tunnel?

Gollum: ...coming.

[He laughs]

Gollum: No rest. No food. Not yet. Follow Sméagol.

- - - - -

Sam: Ugh! That smell!

Frodo: Ugh!

Sam: It's getting stronger and stronger.

[Frodo coughs]

Gollum: There's the cave! There it iss. This is the way in. This is the entrance to the tunnel.

Frodo: I've never... I've never known so...

[He stifles a cough]

Frodo: ...foul a stench! Is this the only way, Sméagol?

Gollum: Yes, yes! Yes, we must go this way. Now! Now!

Sam: Do you mean to say you've been through this hole? Phew! But perhaps you don't mind bad smells.

Gollum: He doesn't know what he minds, does he, precious? Oh, no, he doesn't. No, he doesn't. But Sméagol can bear thingss. Yes. Yes, he's been through. Oh, yes, right through. It's the only way.

Sam: And what makes the smell, I wonder? It's like, well - I wouldn't like to say. Some beastly hole of the Orcs, I'll warrant, with a hundred years of their filth in it.

Frodo: Well. Orcs or no...

[He draws a deep breath]

Frodo: ...if it's the only way, we must take it.

- - - - -

[Their footsteps crunch in the cave]

Frodo: I've never known such darkness, not even in the Mines of Moria.

Sam: Feel your way along the wall.

Gollum: Come along, little hobbitses! Come along!

Sam: There's more than one passage here. It's as orc-like a place as ever there could be!

Frodo: Yes, but there's - there's only one main way. Only I don't know how much of this I can stand!

[Sam reacts to something with disgust and fear]

Sam: Something is brushing against us! It's some kind of hanging growth! And that smell's getting worse, if ever it can be worse.

Frodo: It feels as if we've been in here for hours.

[He gasps]

Frodo: Careful, Sam! There's - there's a great opening in the rock on the side, here.

Sam: Oh! Ah! And I nearly fell down it!

Frodo: This is where it all comes from! The stench and the peril! Come! Now, let's get past it, quick!

[They run]

Frodo: Wait - the... the path forks. For the life of me, I can't tell which is the wider way.

Sam: Oh, which - which way has Gollum gone? And why didn't he wait?

Frodo: Sméagol...? Sméagol!

Sam: He's really gone this time, I fancy.

Frodo: We'll take the left hand way. Come on!

[They walk quickly]

Sam: I guess this is just exactly where he meant to bring us. If I ever lay hands on you again, Gollum, you'll be sorry for it.

[They stop]

Frodo: The way is blocked. Something's fallen across it. We - we must take the other.

Sam: And quick! There's something looking at us!

Frodo: Let's get back to the other turn.

[A creature breathes in the darkness]

Frodo: Listen!

[Sam quivers]

Sam: What is it? We're trapped in this accursed darkness! What - what are we going to do?

[Galadriel's voice is heard:

Galadriel: And you, Ring-bearer. For you, I have prepared this: a light when all other lights go out. ]

Sam: Master! Master, the Lady's gift. The star-glass! A light to guide you in dark places.

Frodo: The star-glass! Why, yes! And now alone light can help us. The Phial of Galadriel!

[Galadriel's voice again fills the air:

Galadriel: The light of the star of Eärendil set amid waters of my fountain. ]

[The phial shines out]

Sam: Look! Oh! Look, Mr. Frodo! Look there!

Frodo: Eyes! Hundreds of them! Two great clusters of eyes!

Sam: W - what is it?

Narrator: There agelong had she dwelt, an evil thing in spider-form, Shelob the Great, last child of Ungoliant to trouble the unhappy world. All living things were her food, and her vomit darkness.

[Shelob hisses]

Sam: Oh! Oh, quick, Mr. Frodo! Quick!

Frodo: Stand! Stand! Running is no use.

[A sword is drawn]

Frodo: I shall advance to meet it. Galadriel!

Aiya Eärendil Elenion Ancalima!

[Sam gasps. Shelob screams]

Sam: They're going away! Oh, the eyes are going away! Stars and glory! But the Elves would make a song of that, if they ever heard of it! And may I live to tell them and hear 'em sing. Oh, it's gone, whatever it was.

[He starts]

Sam: Don't go on, Master! Well, don't go down that foul den! Now's our only chance. Now let's get out of this foul hole!

Frodo: Then make for the right hand path!

[They run]

Frodo: Do you feel it, Sam?

[He sniffs]

Frodo: Do you smell it? Air!

[They stop]

Frodo: There's something in the way. I - I can't... I can't get through.

Sam: It yields to the touch! Hold the Phial up again, Mr. Frodo.

Frodo: All right. Here.

[The Phial shines out]

Sam: Oh! There's cobwebs! Thick as ropes, but cob - cobwebs nonetheless.

[They try to push through the webs]

Sam: Trapped like gnats in a net!

Frodo: Come! Let us see what Sting can do. It is an elven-blade. But you must be the guard and hold back the eyes. Here, take the star-glass. Do not be afraid. Hold it up and watch!

[Cobwebs snap as Sting meets them]

Sam: That's - that's the way, Mr. Frodo!

Frodo: Yes!

Sam: That's the way! Like a scythe through grass! We'll soon be through at this rate.

Frodo: We are through, Sam. Come on!

[They run and pant]

Frodo: There's the end of the tunnel! Out, out! Into the air!

Sam: Right you are, Mr. Frodo! I'm coming.

Frodo: The pass! There it is! Run! Run! And we'll be through - through before anyone can stop us!

Narrator: But too little did they know the craft of Shelob. She had many exits from her lair.

[Shelob runs after the two]

Sam: Look out, master! Look out behind! Look out Mr. Frod -

Gollum: Got him!

[Sam yells out and struggles]

Gollum: At last, my precious, we've got him, yes, the nasty hobbit. We takes this one. She'll get the other one! Oh, yes, Shelob will get him.

[Shelob lets a cry forth in triumph. Gollum laughs]

Gollum: There, there! She has. Sméagol promised Precious he wouldn't hurt master. But he's got you, you nasty filthy little sneak! Make hims drops his sword, precious! Make him drop his sword!

[The sword clanks to the ground. Sam cries out. Sam growls and retrieves it]

Gollum: No! No!

Sam: Now I'll show you!

[Gollum cries as Sam comes after him]

Gollum: No! Gollum!

Sam: I'll cut you!

Gollum: Gollum!

Sam: You! You! You! You!

[Gollum runs away, yelping]

Sam: Oh, master!

[Shelob hovers over Frodo]

Sam: Oh, master! Master! Oh, get away from him, you dirty great horror! That's for Frodo!

[Shelob hisses as Sting makes contact]

Sam: And that's for me!

[He swipes at Shelob, who gasps]

Sam: And that's one eye less to shine in your den!

[Shelob screams]

Sam: Now, Sam Gamgee. Hold fast! Her hide's thick as stone on the outside, but if she tries to crush me with her underbelly, I'll make her feel my sword!

[Sam grunts as he drives the point deep into Shelob's stomach, who screams in pain. Sam laughs grimly]

Sam: She felt that! But what do I do if she comes at me now?

[Shelob growls and hisses. Sam gasps]

Sam: Galadriel! The Phial! Let it shine out!

A Elbereth Gilthoniel
o menel palan-diriel,
le nallon sí di-'nguruthos!
A tiro nin, Fanuilos!

Now come, you filth! You've hurt your master, you brute. Come on, and taste my sword again! Come on, you brute! Come on!

[Sam thrusts with his sword, and Shelob screams]

Narrator: And Shelob, cowed at last, shrunken in defeat, jerked and quivered as she tried to hasten from him. She reached the hole and, squeezing down, leaving a trail of green-yellow slime, she slipped in. Shelob was gone. And whether she lay long in her lair, nursing her malice and her misery, and, in slow years of darkness, healed herself from within, this tale does not tell.

Sam: Oh, master! Oh, dear master! She's bound him round with her filthy webs. I'll cut them away.

[Sam struggles to remove Shelob's webs]

Sam: Now... there! Oh, oh... he's cold. He's cold as ice! Frodo! M - Mr. Frodo! Well, don't - don't leave me hear alone! Well, don't go where I can't follow! Oh, wake up, Mr. Frodo! Oh, wake up, Mr. Frodo! Dear, my... he's - he's dead. He's dead? That's what I saw in Galadriel's Mirror. It's not sleeping but dead! What - what shall I do? What shall I do? Well, did I come all this way with him for nothing? What can I do? Well, not leave Mr. Frodo dead - he's unburied on top of mountains... and go home? Or go on? Go on? Is that what I've got to do? Go on and leave him? Well, if I'm to go on then I must take your sword, Mr. Frodo.

[He picks up Sting]

Sam: Yeah, and, and, and, and I'll put this one to lie by you, here.

[He sets his sword by Frodo]

Sam: And you've got your mithril-coat from Mr. Bilbo. And your star-g... your star-glass. I'll need that, for I'll - I'll be always in the dark now. Well, the Lady gave it to you. Maybe she'd understand. There. Where now? To the Crack of Doom? With the Ring? Me take the Ring from him? Well, the Counsil gave it to him. But the Counsil gave him companions so that the errand should not fail, and I'm the last of the Company. I wish I weren't the last! I wish old Gandalf were here. Why am I left all alone...?

[His voice echoes]

Sam: Why am I left all alone to make up my mind? Make it up I must. Now, if we're found here, or Mr. Frodo's found and that thing's on him, well - well, the Enemy'll get it. And that's the end of all of us. Of Lórien, and Rivendell, and the Shire, and all. There's no time to lose or it'll be the end, anyway. The war's begun and more than likely things are going the Enemy's way already. And I have no chance to go back to get advice or permission... it's sit here till they come and get me or take it and go. Take it!

[He fumbles with Frodo's chain and gasps as he hangs it around his neck]

Sam: Oh! The weight of it! It's like a great stone round my neck! How Mr. Frodo got this far with it, I'll never know. Well, good-bye dear master! And forgive your Sam. Now, rest you quiet till I come back again. And may no fell creature come near you. Good-bye!

Narrator: And he turned and stumbled on into the growing dark. The Cleft with its orc-tower loomed ahead.

[Orc voices approach. Sam gasps]

Sam: Orcs! And coming right at me! You're caught, Sam Gamgee. The Ring! Put on the Ring!

[Sam puts on the Ring just as Orcs enter the clearing. Sam gasps]

Sam: It's gone dark! And I can feel something searching for me! Am I really invisible? Well, they didn't see me, at any rate.

[He gasps again]

Sam: There's two more coming!

Gorbag: What's all the noise about? What's going on?

Shagrat: Someone has slipped. We had a message from down below: "Spies feared on Stairs. Patrol to head of Stairs."

Gorbag: I thought you were supposed to keep watch, Shagrat.

Shagrat: Don't try to teach me my job, Gorbag. We knew there were funny things going on. Shelob was on the go. My lads saw her and her sneak.

Gorbag: Her sneak? What's that?

Shagrat: Little thin fellow, like a starved frog.

[Orcs talk loudly in the distance]

Orc: Hai! Hai! There's something lying in the road! A spy! A spy!

Sam: Oh, master! They've got the master's body!

Gorbag: Can't you stop your rabble making such a racket, Shagrat? We don't want Shelob on us.

Sam: I should have stood by it to defend it!

Shagrat: Bring whatever it is back here. It's to go to Barad-dûr.

Sam: How many can I kill before they get me?

Gorbag: What does the Dark Tower want with him?

Shagrat: How should I know? I have my orders. Any trespasser found is to be held at the Tower. Prisoner is to be stripped, full description of every article found on the body is to be sent to Barad-dûr at once.

Gorbag: Right. We've got him. What do we do with him?

Shagrat: Take him up to the Tower. I'll come and inspect him.

Gorbag: Off you go, lads! You heard Captain Shagrat.

Shagrat: What got him? Shelob?

Gorbag: Shelob! Her! Nothing gets past her! At least I hope not.

Shagrat: How do you mean?

Gorbag: She'd bound him up with her cords. Somebody had cut him loose. And somebody had stuck a pin into her Ladyship! Slime everywhere. I'd say there was a large warrior loose, an Elf most likely.

Shagrat: Right. We'll deal with him later. Let's go and look at the prisoner.

Orc: I shouldn't think there'd be much to look at after Shelob had finished with him.

Shagrat: Is that all you know of her Ladyship? You heard what he said. It was bound with her cords. When she does that, she's after meat. She doesn't eat dead meat nor suck cold blood. This fellow's alive.

Sam: Alive! And I let 'em take him!

Shagrat: She just gives him a dab in the neck. They wake up in a few hours feeling a bit sick, but they're all right. Come on, let's have a look at him and report to Barad-dûr.

[He begins to walk away]

Orc: If I were you, I'd catch the big one that's loose before you send in your report. It won't sound too pretty to say you've caught the kitten and let the cat escape.

Sam: Oh, I got it all wrong. I knew I would! Now they've got him, the devils! The filth! Never leave you master, never, never: that was my right rule. And I knew it in my heart. Oh, may I be forgiven!

[He cries]

Sam: Come on, Sam Gamgee! This is no time for you to be blubbing like a baby. But how am I to get Mr. Frodo out of a Tower bristling with Orcs, armed to the teeth? The Ring? Use the Ring against them? Samwise the Strong, hero of the Age. Armies flocking to my call, marching to the overthrow of Barad-dûr. Oh, but, w - what are you thinking about, Sam? You're no hero. A gardener, that's what you're meant to be. And all these notions are only a trick of Sauron's. He'd spot me pretty quick if I put the Ring on in Mordor. All I can say is this: things look about as hopeless as a frost in Spring. Just when being invisible would be useful...

[Loud clanking is heard]

Sam: ...I can't use the Ring. Huh?

[Orcs argue and fight]

Orc: It's mine! It's mine! Take your filthy hand off of it!

Orc: The coat is mine!

Sam: The coat! Mr. Frodo's mithril-coat, that's what the trouble's about. Well come on, you miserable sluggard. There's nothing for it. The front door it'll have to be. Off we go!

[He runs and stops suddenly and gasps, struggling to continue]

Sam: There's - there's something won't let me through! It's like Shelob's nasty webs, but invisible! What is it?

[He gasps]

Sam: And what are those things?

Narrator: They were the Two Watchers, like great figures seated upon thrones. Each had three vulture-heads, facing outward and inward, and across the gateway. They knew an enemy and could forbid his entry or his escape.

Sam: The star-glass! Let's see if that'll get us through. The Lady must be power against these creatures.

[The Phial shines]

Sam: It's done it! I'm through.

[A bell rings in the distance. Sam gasps]

Sam: Oh, that's done it! Now I've rung the front door-bell. Well! Come out, somebody! Tell Captain Shagrat the great Elf warrior is called, and with his Elf-sword too!

- - - - -

Narrator: In Gondor, the Lord of the City sat in a high chamber above the hall of the White Tower with Pippin at his side. And through the dim windows north and south and east, he bent his dark eyes as if to pierce the shadows of doom that ringed him round.

Pippin: You should rest yourself, my lord. You are weary with much watching.

Denethor: There will be a time for rest, Peregrin. Is there news of Théoden and the Rohirrim?

Pippin: The watchmen have seen nothing. Will he come, do you think?

Denethor: He'll remember our old alliance. He will come, but he will come too late.

[Footsteps enter]

Denethor: Well, Mithrandir! And what bad news have you to bring us? Whence come you?

Gandalf: From the wreck of Osgiliath. The passage of the Anduin is lost. The Enemy is swarm across us like beatles.

Denethor: Then Faramir has failed. Has he returned?

Gandalf: He still lived when I left him. Yet he is resolved to stay with the rearguard, lest the retreat over the Pelennor become a rout. He may, perhaps, hold his men together long enough, but I doubt it. He is pitted against a foe too great. For one has come that I feared. Few will stand and abide even the rumour of his coming. His own folk quail at him and they would slay themselves at his bidding.

Pippin: Not - not the Dark Lord?

[Denethor laughs bitterly]

Denethor: Nay, not yet, Master Peregrin! He will not come save only to triumph over me when all is won. He uses others as his weapons. So do all great lords, if they are wise, Master Halfling. Or why should I sit here in my tower and think, and watch, and wait, spending even my sons?

Gandalf: Yet now the most fell of all the captains of Sauron is already master of your outer walls. King of Angmar long ago, Sorcerer, Ringwraith, Lord of the Nazgûl, shadow of despair.

Denethor: Then, Mithrandir, you have a foe to match you. For myself, I have long known who is the chief captain of the hosts of the Dark Tower.

[He laughs]

Denethor: Is this all that you have returned to say? Or can it be that you have withdrawn because you are worsted?

Gandalf: It might be so. But I come rather to secure the safe return of the wounded men that can still be rescued. Soon there will be battle on the fields. A sortie must be made ready to bring the hurt men back. Let it be of mounted men. In them lies our brief hope, for in one thing only is the Enemy still poorly provided: he has few horsemen.

Denethor: And we also have few. Now would the coming of Rohan be in the nick of time.

Gandalf: We are likely to see other newcomers first. Another army is come from the Black Gate, crossing from the north-east.

Denethor: Some have accused you, Mithrandir, of delighting to bear ill-news. But to me this is no longer news. It was known to me ere nightfall, yesterday.

Gandalf: Ah?

Denethor: As for the sortie, I have already given thought to it. All the mounted men that are left in the City shall ride forth. But only to bring back what men of ours remain alive. We are too few to give battle before such an enemy. Oh, Mithrandir! If only you had not sent the Ring into the Dark Lands in the hands of a witless fool.

- - - - -

Narrator: It drew now to evening, by the hour, and the light was so dim that even far-sighted men upon the Citadel could discern little clearly out on the fields. Denethor, at last, released the sortie, but he did not permit the cavalry to go far. Once they had formed a screen against the hosts of Morgul, the companies who had been fighting in the field came marching back, bearing with them the body of Faramir son of Denethor, found upon the stricken field.

[Gandalf enters]

Gandalf: Your son has returned, Denethor, after great deeds.

Denethor: Is he alive?

Gandalf: He lives, but he is sorely wounded.

Denethor: Peregrin.

Pippin: My lord?

Denethor: See that a bed is made for him in my chamber and then give orders that I am to be left alone with him.

Pippin: My lord.

[Pippin's footsteps leave the room]

Denethor: And there is still no news of the Rohirrim?

Gandalf: None.

Denethor: Even if they could come, they would not avail us now. The enemy holds all the ways to the City.

Gandalf: The walls are strong. They will withstand the enemy while there are men left alive to defend them.

Denethor: Left alive! The enemy has a weapon that has brought low many strong places since the world began: hunger. The roads are cut. And as for our walls, the enemy has built great engines of war. Siege-towers. Our walls will not prevail against them. Leave me, Wizard. Leave me alone to lament the son I sent unthanked, unblessed into needless peril. Whatever may betide in war, my line, too, is ending. Even the House of Stewards has failed. And your fool's hope too has failed. The Enemy has found the Ring and his power waxes! He sees our very thoughts and all we do is ruinous! Leave me, Mithrandir. The defence of the City is in your hands.

[Gandalf exits]

- - - - -

[Sam's breath is short]

Sam: Not a sound. There's nothing but dead Orcs everywhere. Have they all killed one-another? Is there nobody left alive, at all? It looks as if Shagrat and Gorbag have done my job for me. Oh, where's the master? What have they done with him?

[A door opens]

Snaga: I'm not going down!

Sam: Well, there's somebody left alive up there, at any rate.

Shagrat: Curse you, you little maggot! I'll squeeze your eyes out, like I did in Radbug. Then send you to Shelob. News must get through to Barad-dûr or we'll both be for the Black Pits. Yes, you too!

Sam: Oh, it's that Shagrat!

Snaga: I'm not going down those stairs again, be you Captain or no! And you won't be Captain long when they hear all about these goings on. A nice mess you two precious Captains have made of things, fighting over the swag.

Shagrat: That's enough from you! It was Gorbag that started it, trying to pinch that pretty shirt.

Sam: I knew it! I knew it!

Snaga: Well, he had more sense than you, anyway! He told you more than once that somebody had got past the Watcher. One of those bloody-handed Elves! He's on the stairs now.

Sam: Oh, oh...

Snaga: And until he's off 'em, I'm not going down.

Shagrat: So that's it, is it? And when he does come you'll bolt and leave me? I'll put red maggot-holes in your belly first! Get out!

[Snaga yelps]

Shagrat: Come back, you dung! Come back!

Sam: Now for it!

[Snaga runs]

Sam: He's run off, up the stairs. But what about Shagrat?

[Limping footsteps approach. Sam gasps]

Sam: He's coming down! He's wounded. He's carrying a bundle. It must be the mithril-coat! Now, Sam Gamgee!

[Shagrat sneers at Sam]

Sam: Well, here's for you, you filth!

[Shagrat cries out and runs]

Sam: Well, there's no time to go after him now. I must look for the master. But where is he? Well, how am I ever going to find him? Well, if I can't find him, maybe I can make him know I'm here.

In western lands beneath the Sun
the flowers may rise in Spring,
the trees may bud, the waters run,
the merry finches sing.
Or there maybe 'tis cloudless night
and swaying beeches bear
the Elven-stars as jewels white
amid their branching hair.

[Above him, a door opens]

Snaga: Shut that row, you dunghill rat!


Though here at journey's end I lie
in darkness buried deep,
beyond all towers strong and high...

Snaga: Stop your squeaking, or I'll come and deal with you, do you hear?

Sam: He thinks I'm Mr. Frodo. Well, perhaps he'll lead me to him.


Beyond all towers strong and high,
beyond all mountains steep,
above all shadows rides the Sun
and Stars for ever dwell:

Snaga: All right, I'm coming for you!

[Snaga's footsteps are heard]


I will not say the Day is done,
nor bid the Stars farewell.

[A door creaks as it is opened]

Snaga: You lie quiet, or you'll pay for it! You've not got wrong to live in peace, now that Shagrat's run off. But if you don't want the fun to begin right now, keep your trap shut, see? There's a reminder for you!

[Frodo moans]

Snaga: And another!

Sam: Oh no, you don't!

[Snaga screams]

Sam: That's for the Shire!

[Snaga falls. A thud is heard in the distance below them. Sam gasps for breath]

Frodo: What is it? What? What?

Sam: Frodo! Mr. Frodo, it's Sam!

[Frodo mutters incoherently]

Frodo: Am I still dreaming? But - but the... the other dreams were horrible.

Sam: No, you're not - you're not dreaming at all, master. It's real. I've come.

Frodo: There was an orc with a whip, and then he turns into Sam! Then I - I wasn't dreaming when I heard that singing down below. It was you?

Sam: It was indeed, Mr. Frodo! I - I... I'd given up hope, almost. I - I couldn't find you.

Frodo: I - I - I... I woke and I fo - found myself here with O - O - Orcs all round me and they... they stripped me of everything and they - and they kept questioning me until I thought I'd go mad!

Sam: Oh, now...

Frodo: Then they - they le... they left me alone and there - there was nothing, Sam, nothing! And - and then the yelling and... and fighting began. And then they, ah - they, ah... they... I think they quarreled, they... and then they - over me, and - and my... things.

Sam: Yeah... What - there must have been a couple a hundred of the dirty creatures in this place! Well, it was a bit of a tall order for Sam Gamgee, but they've done all the killing themselves! Well, now what's to be done? Can you walk, Mr. Frodo?

Frodo: Well, I...

[He stands]

Sam: Yeah?

Frodo: Yes, I can! I can walk! I'm not hurt, Sam. Only very tired.

Sam: Well, w - we must find you some clothes. Well, you can't go walking in the Black Land in naught but your skin.

Frodo: Sam. They've taken everything. Do you understand? Everything! The Quest has failed, Sam. Even if we get out of here, we can't escape. Only Elves can escape. Away, away out of Middle-earth, far away over the Sea.

Sam: Mr. Frodo...

Frodo: If even that is wide enough to keep the Shadow out.

Sam: Eh, Mr. Frodo... no. Not everything. It hasn't failed, not yet. I took it, Mr. Frodo.

Frodo: Huh?

Sam: B - begging your pardon. And I've kept it safe. Well, it's round my neck now, and a terrible burden it is, too.

[Frodo gasps]

Sam: But I suppose you must take it back.

Frodo: You've got it? You - you've got it here? Sam, you - you're a marvel! Give it to me! Hm? Give it to me at once! Y - you can't have it!

Sam: Well, all - all right, Mr. Frodo. But you're in the Land of Mordor now, sir. And w - when you get it, you'll see the firey Mountain and all, and you'll find the Ring very dangerous now, and it's very hard...

Frodo: No, no!

Sam: bear. Now if, no, if it's too hard a job, I could share it with you, maybe?

Frodo: No! No! No! Give it to me!

[Sam cries out]

Frodo: Thief! Thief! It is mine! Mine! Mine!



Frodo: No! No! Give it to me. You shan't have the Precious! Thief! Thief! It's mine - the Precious is mine! Mine!

[Sam cries]

Frodo: Oh, Sam! Sam, what have I said? What have I done? Oh, after all you've done for me. Forgive me! It's the terrible power of the Ring. I wish it had never, never been found!

Sam: Sir...

Frodo: But don't mind me, Sam. I must carry the burden to the end. I... it can't be altered. You can't come between me and this doom.

Sam: That's all right, Mr. Frodo. I - I understand. But I can still help, can't I?

Frodo: Oh, yes, Sam.

Sam: I've got to get you out of here at once, see! B - but first you'll want some clothes and gear.

Frodo: Yes.

Sam: As we're in Mordor, we'd best dress up Mordor-fashion; and anyway there isn't no choice. It'll have to be orc-stuff for you, Mr. Frodo, I'm afraid. I'll scout round and see what I can lay my hands on. After all that killing, there shouldn't be any shortage of gear.

Frodo: All right, Sam.

- - - - -

[They rummage with the orc-gear]

Frodo: Sam, this is digusting, dirty stuff. Ugh!

Sam: There's nothing else for it, Mr. Frodo. Now put this black cap on.

[They laugh]

Frodo: Eh...

Sam: It's got the Evil Eye on it.

Frodo: Yes.

Sam: You see? It fits. Perfect little orc! At least you would be if we could cover your face with a mask, give you longer arms and make you bow-legged. But this cloak will cover some of the tell-tales.

[Frodo wraps the cloak around himself]

Frodo: Ugh!

Sam: Now. You're ready?

Frodo: Yes. But - but what about you, Sam?

Sam: Oh, well, Mr. Frodo. I... I'd best not leave any of my stuff behind and we can't destroy it. I'll just have to cover up. An orc-helm and a cloak will serve my purpose well-enough, I reckon.

Frodo: But... but how are we going to get out?

Sam: Well, I reckon the orcs have taken care of themselves. And as for the Watchers at the gate, the Lady's star-glass got me in, so I guess it'll get us out. And then it's the road for Mount Doom.

- - - - -

Narrator: They passed through the gate. And again, it gave its terrible warning. In the far distance, still many leagues away, lay Orodruin, the Mountain of Fire. There Sauron had once had his dwelling place, and there, in the Fire that welled from the heart of the earth, he had forged the One Ring, the Ruling Ring.

Sam: Well, there it is, Mr. Frodo. We'd best be on our way there.

[A Nazgûl screams above them. Sam gasps]

Sam: Run, Mr. Frodo! Quick!

[They break into a run]

Frodo: It must have heard the alarm from the Watchers.

Sam: Oh, the hunt'll be up now, and no mistake.

Frodo: Yes.

Sam: Well, let's get on.

Frodo: No! This won't do, Sam. If we were real orcs, we ought to be dashing back to the Tower, not running away. The first enemy we meet will know us. We must get off this road somehow.

Sam: With a cliff on one side and a precipice on the other, we'd need wings.

Frodo: Not quite. Look! Do you see? There's a bridge a little way ahead. We'll slip off the road there, then down into the valley, and turn northward as soon as we can.

- - - - -

Frodo: Oh, Sam.

[They are out of breath]

Frodo: Sam, we cannot hope to go much further.

Sam: Well, now, now, Mr. Frodo. Don't you go despairing. We'll manage.

Frodo: Will we, Sam?

[He laughs grimly]

Frodo: I wish I felt so sure. I wonder how long it will be before we are caught and all the toiling and the slinking will be over, and in vain.

Sam: Well, we really ought to press on, Mr. Frodo.

Frodo: Yes, Sam. We ought. Oh, and you must keep the Lady Galadriel's glass. I - I have nowhere to hold it now, except in my hand, and I shall need both hands in this blind night.

Sam: Very well, Mr. Frodo. I - I'll keep it safe.

Frodo: Sam, will you take Sting as well?

[He brings out the sword]

Frodo: No, no, no - I give it to you.

Sam: Yes...

Frodo: I have an orc-blade, but I don't think it will be my part to strike any blow again.

Sam: Mr. Frodo, have you any notion how far there is still to go?

Frodo: No, I haven't! Sam, in Rivendell before we set out, I - I was shown a map of Mordor that was made before the Enemy came back here; but I - I only remember it vaguely. Even if all goes well, we could hardly reach the Mountain in a week. I am afraid, Sam, that the burden will get very heavy, and I shall go still slower as we get nearer.

Sam: That's just as I feared. Well, to say nothing about water, we've got to eat less, or else move a bit quicker, at any rate while we're still in this valley. One more bite and all the food's ended, save the Elves' waybread.

Frodo: I'll try and be a bit quicker, Sam! Oh... come on, then. Let's start another march.

- - - - -

Narrator: In the chamber of the White Tower of Gondor, Faramir lay upon his bed, wandering in a desperate fever; and by him his father sat, and said nothing, but watched, and gave no longer any heed to the defence.

[Footsteps approach]

Beregond: My lord! My lord. My Lord Denethor!

Denethor: I gave orders that none should disturb me.

Beregond: The first circle of the City is burning, lord. Men cry out for the lord of the City.

Denethor: I will not come down. I must stay beside my son. He might still speak before the end.

Beregond: But what are your commands?

Denethor: Ask of Mithrandir.

Beregond: But you are still the Lord and Steward. Not all will follow Mithrandir. Men are flying from the walls and leaving them unmanned.

Denethor: Why? Why do the fools fly? Better to burn sooner than late, for burn we must. Go back to your bonfire!

Beregond: And you, my lord?

Denethor: I will go now to my pyre. To my pyre! No tomb for Denethor and Faramir. No tomb! No long slow sleep of death embalmed. We will burn like heathen kings before ever a ship sailed hither from the West. The West has failed. Go back and burned! Leave me!

Beregond: My lord.

[His footsteps leave the chamber]

Denethor: Faramir's hand is fevered. He is burning, already burning. The house of his spirit crumbles. Come hither, Peregrin!

Pippin: My lord?

Denethor: Farewell, Peregrin son of Paladin! Your service has been short, and now it is drawing to its end. I release you from the little that remains. Go now, and die in what way seems best to you. And with whom you will, even that wizard friend whose folly brought you to this death. Send for my servants and then go. Farewell!

Pippin: I will not say farewell, my lord. I will take your leave, for I want to see Gandalf very much indeed. But he is no fool; and I will not think of dying until he despairs of life. But from my word and your service I do not wish to be released as long as I live. And if the enemy comes at last to the Citadel, I hope to be here and stand beside you and earn perhaps the arms that you have given me.

Denethor: Do as you will, Master Halfling. But my life is broken. Send for my servants! They shall bear my son to the vaults of my ancestors. There we shall perish together on a singly pyre. Farewell!

Pippin: By your leave, lord.

[Pippin's footsteps leave the chamber]

Pippin: Poor Faramir! Where can I find Gandalf? In the thick of things, I suppose; oh, and he will have no time to spare for dying men or madmen. But find him I must!

- - - - -

Narrator: Ever since the middle night the great assault had gone on. To the north and to the south company upon company of the enemy pressed to the walls. It was against the Gate that they would throw their heaviest weight. Very strong it might be, wrought of steel and iron, and guarded with towers and bastions of indomitable stone, yet it was the key, the weakest point in all that high and impenetrable wall. In the first faint light of dawn, great engines crawled across the field; and in the midst was a huge ram, great as a forest-tree a hundred feet in length, swinging on mighty chains. Long had it been forging in the dark smithies of Mordor, and its hideous head, founded of black steel, was shaped in the likeness of a ravening wolf. Grond they named it, in memory of the Hammer of the Underworld of old. Great beasts drew it, orcs surrounded it, and behind walked mountain-trolls to wield it.

[A single horseman's footsteps are heard riding on the field]

Narrator: Over the hills of slain, a hideous shape appeared: a horseman, tall, hooded, cloaked in black. He halted and held up a long, pale sword.

[Drums beat. The mountain-trolls groan in effort]

Narrator: With a vast rush, Grond was hurled forward by huge hands. It reached the Gate.

[The trolls groan. Grond slams against the Gate]

Lord of the Nazgûl: Again.

[The trolls groan. Grond again hits the Gate]

Lord of the Nazgûl: Again.

[The trolls groan and Grond smashes the Gate. Many orc-voices cheer. The horseman approaches]

Narrator: In rode the Lord of the Nazgûl. A great black shape against the fires beyond, he loomed up, grown to a vast menace of despair. In rode the Lord of the Nazgûl, under the archway that no enemy yet had passed, and all fled before his face. All save one.

Gandalf: You cannot enter here! Do you not see that Dawn is at hand? Go back to the abyss prepared for you. Go back! Fall into the nothingness that awaits you and your master. Go!

[The Lord of the Nazgûl laughs coldly]

Lord of the Nazgûl: Old fool! Old fool! This is my hour. Do you not know Death when you see it? Die now and curse in vain!

[A clear horn is blown in the distance]

Gandalf: The horns of the Rohirrim! Théoden is come at last!

[The Lord of the Nazgûl screams in anger as he retreats]

Narrator: The darkness was breaking too soon; before the date that his master had set for it. Victory was slipping from his grasp even as he stretched out his hand to sieze it. But his arm was long. King, Ringwraith, Lord of the Nazgûl, he had many weapons. He left the Gate and vanished.

Gandalf: Turn back...

[A horn cries]

Gandalf: ...lord of darkness! Flee from the Gate of the City whose gates you were never destined to enter. The Riders of Rohan are come!

Pippin: Gandalf! Gandalf!

Gandalf: What are you doing here? Your place is with Denethor.

Pippin: He sent me away. But I am frightened! Something terrible may happen up there. Denethor's out of his mind, I think. I'm afraid he will kill himself and kill Faramir too! Oh, can't you do something?

Gandalf: I must go. The Black Rider is abroad and he will yet bring ruin on us. I have no time.

Pippin: But Faramir! He's not dead and they'll burn him alive if someone doesn't stop them.

Gandalf: Burn him alive? What is this tale? Be quick!

Pippin: Denethor has gone to the tombs, and he has taken Faramir, and he says we're all to burn and he will not wait, and they are to make a pyre and burn him on it...

Gandalf: Ah!

Pippin: ...and Faramir as well. Oh, can't you save Faramir?

[Gandalf sighs]

Gandalf: Maybe I can. But if I do, then others will die, I fear. Well, I must come, since no other help can reach him. But evil and sorrow will come of this. Even in the heart of our stronghold, the Enemy has power to strike us. For his will it is that is at work. Let us go, and quickly.

[A horn of Rohan again is blown]

- - - - -

Narrator: And so King Théoden and the last of the Rohirrim came to Minas Tirith, to the Pelennor Fields. It was a great battle, afterwards told in many a song in the feast-hall of Meduseld.

[A voice sings:

We heard of the horns in the hills ringing,
the swords shining in the South-kingdom.
Steed went striding to the Stoningland
as wind in the morning. War was kindled. ]

[Many horses gallop across the field]

Théoden: The Gate is broken, but the enemy has fallen back. There is not a moment to lose. Éomer, lead your company to the Gate to secure its defence and destroy the siege-engines.

[Éomer draws his sword]

Éomer: I go, my lord!

[He rides away]

Théoden: Where is the captain of the enemy?

Dernhelm: There! Where the banner with its black serpent flies in the wind. He's seen you! He spurs towards you!

Théoden: And we shall advance to meet him. Now, Snowmane! You have ridden hard and long. But bear me now against the adversary. Ride with me, Dernhelm!

[Snowmane neighs]

[A voice sings:

Like fire in a furnace they drove through the bowmen;
Théoden Thengel's son, where the press was thickest.
Shivered his spear as he struck down the Southrons. ]

[Men fight around them]

Théoden: Die, treacherous Haradrim! Captain of the Host of Mordor!

Dernhelm: Beware, my lord! This is not the captain!

[A Nazgûl screams]

Dernhelm: Behold! He comes!

[The men quail and cry out]

[A voice sings:

Came like a cloud, the creature of darkness,
Nazgûl the naked with neither quill nor feather,
Steed of the Morgul-king, mightiest in Mordor. ]

[The winged beast screams]

Lord of the Nazgûl: Yield, dotard king. The hour of thy doom has come. Throw down your sword.

Théoden: To me! To me! Up Eorlingas! Fear no darkness!

[The Nazgûl screams again]

[A voice sings:

Snowmane, the king's steed, started and reared high,
Crashed to the ground with the king crushed beneath. ]

[The Lord of the Nazgûl laughs]

Théoden: Help me, for I am dying.

Dernhelm: Merry, on your feet! I must defend the king!

Merry: I will stand by you, Dernhelm.

[The Lord of the Nazgûl laughs again, loudly and coldly]

Merry: But I am very frightened, king's man or no king's man. Oh, no! That terrible thing is coming again!

[The winged beast screams]

Dernhelm: Begone, foul dwimmerlaik, lord of carrion! Leave the dead in peace!

Lord of the Nazgûl: Come not between the Nazgûl and his prey! Or he will not slay thee in thy turn. He will bear thee away to the houses of lamentation, beyond all darkness, where thy flesh shall be devoured, and thy shrivelled mind be left naked to the Lidless Eye.

[A sword is drawn]

Dernhelm: Do what you will; but I will hinder it, if I may.

Lord of the Nazgûl: Hinder me? Thou fool. No living man may hinder me!

[Dernhelm laughs]

Dernhelm: Behold my face, lord of darkness.

[The sound of a helm being cast away is heard]

Éowyn: No living man am I! You look upon a woman. Éowyn I am, Éomund's daughter. You stand between me and the king, my kinsman. Begone, if you be not deathless! For living or dark undead, I will smite you, if you touch him.

[The Nazgûl screams at her]

Merry: Éowyn! She must not die! At least she will not die unaided!

[The beast screams]

Éowyn: Die, beast of Angmar!

[Éowyn strikes at the winged creature, whose screaming voice trails away. It's lifeless wings beat the earth and crumple]

Lord of the Nazgûl: You have killed my steed. Then prepare to feel my anger, woman of Rohan! Die!

[The Witch-king strikes her with his mace. She cries out]

Éowyn: Merry! Help me!

Lord of the Nazgûl: You who fight in battle like a man, die like a man.

Merry: No!

Lord of the Nazgûl: A Halfling? You sting like a gnat.

Merry: Éowyn, strike now!

Éowyn: Then die!

[Éowyn drives her sword into the Witch-king, who screams. A sudden wind rises and carries his voice away]

Merry: H - he's gone! There is nothing there but a crown and an empty cloak. The Nazgûl-king is destroyed!

Éowyn: Merry... look to the king, your master.

[Merry crawls]

Merry: Théoden, my lord!

Théoden: Farewell, Master Holbytla! My body is broken. I go to my fathers. And even in their mighty company I shall not be ashamed. A grim morn, and a glad day, and a golden sunset!

Merry: Oh, forgive me, lord, if I broke your command, and yet have done no more in your service than to weep at our parting.

Théoden: Do not grieve!

[Merry cries]

Théoden: It is forgiven. Great heart will not be denied. Live now in blessedness; and when you sit in peace with your pipe, think of me!

[He laughs quietly]

Théoden: For never now shall I sit with you in Meduseld, as I promised, or listen to your herb-lore. Where is Éomer? For my eyes darken, and I would see him ere I go. He must be king after me. And I would send word to Éowyn. She would not have me leave her behind, and - and now I see her not again, dearer than daughter.

Merry: Lord, lord, she is -

[A horse approaches and comes to a stop]

Éomer: How is it with the king?

Merry: You come in good time, my lord!

Éomer: Oh, Théoden! My king!

Théoden: King no longer, Éomer. Take thou my standard.

Éomer: Oh...

Théoden: Hail Éomer-king!

[The surrounding men cry: "Éomer-king!"]

Éomer: Let his knights remain here, and bear his body in honour from the field, lest the battle ride over it!

[A voice sings:

Then said Éomer: "Mourn not yet! Mighty was the fallen,
meet was his ending. When his grave-mound is raised,
great shall be the weeping. But war calls us now!" ]

Merry: My lord, Éomer! Your sister, Éowyn.

Éomer: Éowyn, Éowyn! How came you here? What madness or devilry is this? Death, death, death! Death take us all! Death! Ride, ride to ruin and the world's ending!

[The men cry: "Death! Death!"]

- - - - -

[A voice sings:

Dark was the doom that fell upon Denethor:
the end of his House and the high host of Gondor,
fortune had failed him and fighting was vain now.
So in despair, he runs to destruction,
heaps up a pyre for his son and himself;
longs to destroy the last of the Stewards. ]

Gandalf: What is this, my lord Denethor? The houses of the dead are no places for the living. Put out your torches!

Denethor: Since when has the Lord of Gondor been answerable to thee, Mithrandir? And may I not command my own servants?

Gandalf: You may. But others may contest your will, when it is turned to madness and evil. Where is your son, Faramir?

Denethor: He lies within, burning, already burning. They have set a fire in his flesh. But soon all shall be burned. The West has failed. It shall all go up in a great fire, and all shall be ended. Ash! Ash and smoke blown away on the wind!

Gandalf: Where is Faramir?

Denethor: In the room beyond, on the pyre of death.

Gandalf: Stand aside, Steward of Gondor!

- - - - -

Narrator: There they found Faramir, still dreaming in his fever, lying upon a table. Wood was piled under it, and all was drenched with oil, even the garments of Faramir. But as yet, no fire had been set to the fuel.

[Faramir moans in his sleep]

Gandalf: Faramir.

Faramir: Father... did I do right?

Denethor: Do not take my son from me!

Faramir: Father!

Denethor: He calls for me.

Gandalf: He calls, but you cannot come to him yet. For he must seek healing on the threshold of death, and maybe find it not. Take him from the pyre!

[Denethor groans. Footsteps approach to carry out Gandalf's orders]

Gandalf: Whereas your part, Lord Steward, is to go out to the battle of your City, where maybe death awaits you. This you know in your heart.

Denethor: He will not wake again. Battle is vain. Why should we wish to live longer? Why should we not go to death side by side?

Gandalf: Authority is not given to you, Steward of Gondor, to order the hour of your death. And only the heathen kings, under the authority of the Dark Power, did thus, slaying themselves in pride and despair, murdering their kin to ease their own death.

Denethor: Pride and despair!

[He laughs]

Denethor: Do you see this, Mithrandir?

Pippin: The stone! The stone!

Gandalf: The stone of Anor!

Denethor: A palantír. Didst thou think that the eyes of the White Tower were blind? Nay, I have seen more than thou knowest, Grey Fool. For thy hope is but ignorance. Go then and labour in healing! Go forth and fight! Vanity. For a little space you may triumph on the field, for a day. But against the Power that now arises there is no victory. To this City only the first finger of its hand has yet been stretched. All the East is moving. And even now the wind of thy hope cheats thee and wafts up Anduin a fleet with black sails. The West has failed. It is time for all to depart who would not be slaves.

Gandalf: Such counsels will make the Enemy's victory certain indeed.

Denethor: Hope on then! Do I not know thee, Mithrandir? Thy hope is to rule in my stead, to stand behind every throne, north, south, or west. I have read thy mind and its policies. Do I not know that you commanded this halfling here to be silent? That you brought him hither to be a spy in my very chamber? And yet in our speech together I have learned the names and purpose of all thy companions. So! With the left hand thou wouldst use me as a shield against Mordor, and with the right bring up this Ranger of the North, who claims the kingship, to supplant me.

Gandalf: He is the king.

Denethor: I say to thee, Gandalf Mithrandir, I will not be thy tool! I am Steward of the House of Anárion. I will not step down to be the dotard chamberlain of an upstart. Even were his claim proved to me, still he comes but of the line of Isildur. I will not now bow to such a one, last of a ragged house long bereft of lordship and dignity.

Gandalf: What then would you have, if your will could have its way?

Denethor: I would have things as they were in all the days of my life, and in the days of my longfathers before me: to be the Lord of this City in peace, and leave my chair to a son after me, who would be his own master and no wizard's pupil. But if doom denies this to me, then I will have naught: neither life dimished, nor love halved, nor honour abated.

Gandalf: To me it would not seem that a Steward who faithfully surrenders his charge is diminished in love or honour. And at the least you shall not rob your son of his choice while his death is still in doubt.

Denethor: The choice is not thine, Mithrandir. Come hither, my servants!

[They approach]

Gandalf: Hold still!

Denethor: They are not yours to command. Nor is the palantír of Minas Tirith in which I have seen our doom. Bring me fire! Light the pyre of Denethor.

[The servants approach with flickering torches]

Gandalf: Denethor!

Denethor: You have robbed me of my son, Gandalf.

[The pyre begins to burn around him]

Denethor: But in this, at least, thou shalt not prevent my rule. I will rule my own end!

Narrator: Wreathed in fire and smoke he took up the staff of stewardship and broke it on his knee and perished in the flames, clutching the palantír to his breast. And it was said that ever after, if any man looked into that stone, unless he had great strength of will to turn it to other purpose, he saw only two aged hands withering in flame.

[A voice sings:

Lamps were burning bright in Gondor.
Death came to Denethor; his doom fulfilling,
Faramir brought they forth from the pyre
to the House of Healing, for help of his wounds. ]

- - - - -

[A voice sings:

In the Field of Pelennor, fate turned against them;
Gondor's fortune failed in the morning;
monstrous ships in the middle distance,
wonder and fear and the watchers crying. ]

Voice: The Corsairs of Umbar! The Corsairs of Umbar! Look! The black sails of the Corsairs!

[The men fighting on the field despair]

Voice: Another enemy is upon us!

Voice: The pirates from the South are coming!

Voice: The pirates of Umbar have joined with the forces of Mordor!

Voice: We are lost! This is the last stroke of doom!

Voice: Back to the walls! Back to the walls!

Voice: Come back to the City before all are overwhelmed!

Éomer: Rally, men of Rohan! Rally to me!

[A horn is blown]


Out of doubts, out of dark to the day's rising
I came singing out of the sun, sword unsheathing.

[He pulls out his sword]


To hope's end I rode and to heart's breaking:
Now for wrath, now for ruin and a red nightfall!

Voice: The pirates, Lord Éomer!

Voice: See the black-sailed ships of Umbar!

Éomer: Let them come! Let all who are against us come, that we might know them face to face!

Voice: See, my lord Éomer! Their banner! They bear not the banner of the Corsairs!

Aragorn: Take heart, men of Gondor! Take heart, men of Rohan!

Éomer: Hope beyond hope comes to us now in the hour of doom. It is Aragorn son of Arathorn, returned from the Paths of the Dead!

Aragorn: On the wind of the sea, I come!

[The men cry out in joy]

Voice: Isildur's heir returns!

Gimli: And with him, Gimli Glóin's son!

Legolas: And Legolas the Elf! With bow and axe we come!

Aragorn: And Andúril is drawn for Gondor.

[A horn cries. The men cheer]

Aragorn: Thus we meet again, Éomer.

Éomer: Twice blessed is help unlooked-for, and never was a meeting of friends more joyful. Nor indeed more timely, for you come none too soon, Lord Aragorn. Much loss and sorrow has befallen us.

Aragorn: Then let us avenge it, ere we speak of it!

[A voice sings:

Death in the morning and at day's ending
lords took and lowly. Long now they sleep
under grass in Gondor by the Great River.
Grey now as tears, gleaming silver,
red then it rolled, roaring water:
foam dyed with blood flamed at sunset;
as beacons mountains burned at evening;
red fell the dew in Rammas Echor. ]

- - - - -

[Men moan. Merry gasps painfully]

Pippin: Merry! Merry, oh, thank goodness I have found you!

Merry: Oh, Pippin! Pippin!

Pippin: Yes! Yes, it's all right, Merry.

Merry: But where are King Théoden and Éowyn?

Pippin: They have been taken up into the Citadel. I think you must have fallen asleep on your feet and taken the wrong turning. When we found that you were not with them, Gandalf sent me to look for you, and - oh, how glad I am to see you again! Oh, but you are worn out, and I won't bother you with any talk. But - but tell me, are you hurt, or wounded?

Merry: No. Well, no, I don't think so. But I can't use my right arm, Pippin. Not since I stabbed the - since I stabbed the Nazgûl. My sword burned all away like wood.

Pippin: Well, you had better come with me as quick as you can. Oh, I wish I could carry you! You aren't fit to walk any further. They shouldn't have let you walk at all; but you must forgive them. So many dreadful things have happened in the City, Merry, that one poor hobbit is easily overlooked.

Merry: Oh, it's not always a misfortune being overlooked. I was overlooked just now by - no, no, I can't speak any more of it.

Pippin: Yes.

Merry: Help me, Pippin!

Pippin: Yes!

Merry: It's going all dark again, and my arm is so cold.

Pippin: All right! Lean on me, Merry lad! Come on, now! Foot by foot. It's not far.

Merry: Are you going to bury me?

Pippin: No, indeed, no! We are going to the Houses of Healing.

- - - - -

Ioreth: It grieves me, Master Gandalf, that our leech-craft cannot withstand this evil.

Gandalf: Evil indeed, it is, Ioreth. And the malady lies heavily on the halfling and the Lady of Rohan. For they are fast falling down into the darkness, and a grey shadow is creeping upon their faces.

Ioreth: And poor Lord Faramir! He burns still with fever. Alas! If he should die. Oh, would that there were kings in Gondor, as there were once upon a time, they say! For it is said in old lore: The hands of the king are the hands of a healer. And so the rightful king could ever be known.

Gandalf: Men may long remember your words, Ioreth! For there is hope in them.

Ioreth: Oh?

Gandalf: Maybe a king has indeed returned to Gondor.

- - - - -

Narrator: As the sun went down, Aragorn and Éomer drew near to the City with their captains and their knights.

[Horse-hooves walk swiftly]

Aragorn: Behold the sun setting in a great fire! It is a sign of the end and fall of many things, and a change in the tides of the world.

Éomer: Go we into the City now?

Aragorn: The City and realm has rested in the charge of the Stewards for many long years, so I will not enter in, nor make any claim, until it be seen whether we or Mordor shall prevail.

Éomer: But already you have raised the banner of the Kings of Gondor on the fields of Pelennor and defeated our adversaries.

Aragorn: No, Éomer. I deem the time unripe. For although we have won a victory, it is not yet the final one. Men shall pitch my tents upon the field, and here I will await the welcome of the Lord of the City.

Éomer: Then with your leave, Aragorn, I will go and pay tribute to the fallen, and look once more upon the faces of King Théoden and my sister, Éowyn.

Aragorn: Go, Éomer, and find ease for the burden on your heart.

- - - - -

[Éomer's footsteps are heard]

Éomer: Gandalf, I seek the Lady Éowyn. Where is she?

Gandalf: She lies within, and is not dead.

[Éomer sighs with relief]

Gandalf: But she is near to death. So too is Meriadoc the Halfling and the Steward of Gondor.

Éomer: What aileth the Lord Denethor, for he did not fight in the battle?

Gandalf: Denethor has departed and his House is in ashes. Faramir is now Steward of Gondor, but has taken grievous hurt.

Éomer: Should we not send for the Lord Aragorn?

Aragorn: He is come.

[His footsteps approach]

Aragorn: I have come because Gandalf begs me to do so.

Gandalf: I did so because it is only in your coming that any hope remains for the sick that lie in this House. Thus spake Ioreth, wise woman of Gondor: The hands of the king are the hands of a healer. And so shall the rightful king be known.

- - - - -

Aragorn: Good woman, you have store in this House of the herbs of healing?

Ioreth: Yes, lord, though not enough, I reckon, for all that will need them. But we do our best in this House with what we have, as I am sure your lordship will see.

Aragorn: I will judge that, Ioreth, when I see. One thing is short -

Ioreth: But you really...

Aragorn: ...time for speech! Have you athelas?

Ioreth: I do not know it, lord, at least not by that name. But I will go and ask the herb-master; he knows all the old names.

Aragorn: It is called kingsfoil, and maybe you know it by that name...

Ioreth: Oh!

Aragorn: ...for so the country-folk call it in these latter days.

Ioreth: That! Well, if your lordship had named it at first I could have told you. No, we've none of it, I'm sure. Why, I have never heard that it had any great virtue; and indeed I have often said to my sisters when we came upon it growing in the woods: "Kingsfoil," I said, "tis a strange name, and I wonder why 'tis called so; for if I were a king, I would have plants more bright in my garden." Still it smells sweet when bruised, does it not? If sweet is the right word: wholesome, maybe, is nearer.

Aragorn: Wholesome verily. And now, dame, if you love the Lord Faramir, run as quick as your tongue...

[Ioreth walks swiftly out of the room]

Aragorn: ...and get me kingsfoil, if there be a leaf in the City!

- - - - -

Ioreth: I have it, Sir! Kingsfoil; six leaves, but not fresh, I fear. It must have been culled two weeks ago at least. I hope it will serve, Sir?

Aragorn: It will serve, Ioreth. It will serve. Pour the hot water.

[Water is poured into a basin]

Aragorn: Now, I take the leaves and breathe upon them.

[Aragorn sighs softly over the leaves]


When the black breath blows
and death's shadow grows
and all lights pass,
come athelas! Come athelas!
Life to the dying
In the king's hand lying!

And then, I crush them.

[He crushes the leaves]

Aragorn: And cast them upon the water. Faramir! Faramir!

Faramir: My lord, you called me. I come. What does the king command?

Aragorn: Walk no more in the shadows, but awake! You are weary. Rest a while, and take food, and be ready when I return.

Faramir: I will, lord. For who would lie idle when the king has returned?

Aragorn: Farewell then for a while! I must go to others who need me.

[Aragorn walks away]

Ioreth: There! So it is the king! What did I say? The hands of a healer, I said.

- - - - -

Aragorn: Here is a heavy blow indeed, for alas! The Lady Éowyn was pitted against a foe beyond the strength of her mind and body. She is a fair maiden, fairest lady of a house of queens. And yet I know not how I should speak to her.

Éomer: What mean you, Aragorn?

Aragorn: When first I looked on her and perceived her unhappiness, it seemed to me that I saw a white flower standing straight and proud, shaped as a lily, and yet I knew that it was hard, as if maybe a frost had turned its sap to ice. Her malady begins far back before this day, does it not, Éomer?

Éomer: I marvel that you should ask me, lord. For though I hold you blameless in this matter, I knew not that Éowyn was touched by any frost until she first looked upon you.

Aragorn: I saw also what you saw, Éomer. Few other griefs amid the ill chances of this world have more bitterness and shame for a man's heart than to behold the love of a lady so fair and brave that cannot be returned.

Éomer: But what can be done for her now?

Aragorn: I have, maybe, the power to heal her body, and to recall her from the dark valley. But to what will she awake: hope, or forgetfulness, or despair, I do not know. And if to despair, then she will die, unless other healing comes which I cannot bring. Awake, Éowyn Éomund's daughter! Lady of Rohan, awake! For your enemy has passed away! The shadow is gone and all darkness is washed clean!

[Éowyn stirs in her sleep, but does not wake]

Aragorn: You must call her, Éomer, for she loves you more truly than me. For you she loves and knows as sister does brother, but in me she loves only a shadow and a thought. With you I leave her, and you must call her.

[Aragorn steps out of the chamber]

Éomer: Éowyn, Éowyn!

Éowyn: Éomer!

[Éomer sighs]

Éowyn: Oh, what joy is this? How long have I been dreaming?

Éomer: Not long, my sister. But think no more on it!

Éowyn: I am strangely weary. I must rest a little. But tell me, what of the Lord of the Mark?

Éomer: He is dead, but he bade me say farewell to Éowyn, dearer than daughter. He lies now in great honour in the Citadel of Gondor.

Éowyn: And what of the king's esquire, the halfling?

Gandalf: He lies nearby, Lady.

[His footsteps approach]

Gandalf: And I will go to him.

Éowyn: Éomer, you shall make him a knight of the Riddermark, for he is valiant!

Éomer: Indeed he is. And the valiant shall recieve his reward.

Gandalf: Éomer shall stay here for a while, but do not speak yet of war or woe, until you are made whole again. Great gladness it is to see you wake again to health and to hope.

Éowyn: To health? It may be so. At least while there is an empty saddle of some fallen Rider that I can fill, and there are deeds to do. But to hope? I do not know.

- - - - -

Gandalf: Come, Pippin. Let us see how your friend fares.

Pippin: Poor Merry! Aragorn, is he going to die?

Aragorn: Do not be afraid. I came in time, and I have called him back. He is weary now, and grieved, and he has taken a hurt like the Lady Éowyn, by daring to smite that deadly thing. But these evils can be amended, so strong and so gay a spririt is in him. His grief he will not forget; but it will not darken his heart. It will teach him wisdom. Awake, Meriadoc!

[Merry stirs and yawns]

Merry: Oh, I'm hungry. What time is it?

Pippin: Past supper-time now, though I daresay I could bring you something, if they'll let me.

Gandalf: They will indeed. And anything else that this Rider of Rohan may desire, if it can be found in Minas Tirith, where his name is in honour.

Merry: Good! Then I would like supper first, and after that a pipe.

[Pippin laughs. Merry remembers Théoden's words:

Théoden: ...and when you sit in peace with your pipe, think of me! ]

Merry: No. No, not a pipe.

[ Théoden: For never now shall I sit with you in Meduseld, as I promised, or listen to your herb-lore. ]

Merry: I don't think I'll smoke again.

Pippin: Why not?

Merry: Well, he is dead. King Théoden. It has brought it all back to me. I shan't ever be able to smoke again without thinking of him.

Aragorn: Smoke then, and think of him! For he was a gentle heart and a great king and kept his oaths; and he rose out of the shadows to a last fair morning. Though your service to him was brief, it should be a memory glad and honourable to the end of your days.

Merry: Very well, then. I will smoke and think of him, if Strider will provide what is needed. I - I had some of Saruman's best in my pack, but... but what became of it in the battle, I'm sure I don't know.

Aragorn: Master Meriadoc, if you think that I have passed through the mountains and the realm of Gondor with fire and sword just to bring herbs to a careless soldier who throws away his gear, you are mistaken. Besides, I must leave you now. I have not slept since I rode from Dunharrow nor eaten since the dark before dawn.

Merry: Oh, Strider! Forgive me. I am frightfully sorry. Oh, go at once! Oh, ever since that night at Bree we have been such a nuisance to you. But it is the way of my people to use light words at such times and... and say less than they mean. We fear to say too much.

Aragorn: I know that well, or I should not deal with you in the same way.

[He kisses Merry's brow]

Aragorn: May the Shire live for ever unwithered! Now rest. Come, Gandalf.

[Aragorn walks from the room]

Gandalf: Good-bye for the present, Merry. And well-done!

Pippin: Yes...

[Gandalf follows Aragorn. Merry sighs]

Pippin: Oh, was there ever any one like Aragorn? Why, except Gandalf, of course. I think they must be related. And as for you, my dear ass, your pack is lying by your bed, and you had it on your back when I met you.

[He laughs]

Merry: Hm? Oh!

Pippin: Of course, Aragorn saw it there all along. So come along and fill up with Longbottom Leaf while I run and see about some food. And then let's be easy for a bit. Ah, dear me! We Tooks and Brandybucks, we can't live long on the heights.

Merry: No, not yet, anyway. But at least, Pippin, we can now see them, and honour them. It is best to love first what you are fitted to love, I suppose: you must start somewhere and have some roots, and the soil of the Shire is deep. Still there are things deeper and higher; and I - I am glad that I now know a little about them. Oh, but I don't know why I'm talking like this. Where is that leaf?

Pippin: Sorry, Merry! Yes, of course.

[He rummages through Merry's pack]

Merry: A - and get my pipe out of my pack, if it isn't broken.

[Pippin hesitates]

Merry: Pippin, what is it?

Pippin: Well... I was just wondering about Sam and cousin Frodo, and whether they've got a pipe to comfort them where-ever they are now.

- - - - -

[Frodo laughs grimly]

Frodo: We seem to have come to a dead end, Sam. If we go on, we shall only come up to that orc-tower. But the only road to take is that road that comes down from it, unless we go back. We can't climb up westward or climb down eastward.

Sam: Then we must take the road, Mr. Frodo. We must take it and chance our luck, if there is any luck in Mordor. We might as well give ourselves up as wander about any more, or try to go back. Our food won't last. We've got to make a dash for it!

Frodo: All right, Sam! You lead me. As long as you've got any hope left. Mine is gone. But I'm afraid I can't dash, Sam. I'll just plod along after you.

Sam: Well, before you start plodding, you need sleep and food, Mr. Frodo.

Frodo: Oh...

Sam: Come and take what you can of them! And I'll have to leave you for a bit and trust to luck. We must have water or we'll get no further.

Frodo: Sam, be careful.

Sam: I will.

- - - - -

Sam: Mr. Frodo. Mr. Frodo!

[Frodo wakes suddenly]

Frodo: What! What is it, Sam? What is it?

Sam: Easy, Mr. Frodo, sir. It's all right. But I'm going to have to take a little sleep, and I - I can't hold my - my eyelids up much longer. But it's not safe for both of us to sleep.

Frodo: Why, Sam? What's up?

Sam: Well, that Gollum's about again. Well, leastways, if it wasn't him I spied nosing around, well then there's two of 'em.

[Frodo laughs]

Frodo: So he's still following us.

Sam: Well, yes. As if it isn't enough to have Orcs by the thousand, we've still got that stinking villain sneakin' about. I wish Faramir's men had shot him.

Frodo: Don't say that Sam, please! Remember Gandalf's words. Gollum may yet have some part to play, for good or ill.

Sam: Yeah, that's just what I fear, sir. That the part he'll play will be for ill.

- - - - -

Frodo: This is madness, Sam! We're right out in the open now.

Sam: Well, no matter. There's nothing to hide from yet a while. And one good thing at least: we've seen no more of Gollum.

Frodo: Sam...

Sam: What, Mr. Frodo?

Frodo: Look! There ahead, on the road. Torches coming towards us. I knew it, Sam. We've trusted to luck, and it has failed us.

[Marching Orcs approach]

Frodo: We're trapped!

Sam: It seems so. Well, we can but wait and see. If only they are in a hurry and will let a couple of tired soldiers alone and pass by.

Orc Captain: Hi, you!

[A whip cracks. The hobbits cry out in pain]

Orc Captain: Get up, you! Come on, you slugs! This is no time for slouching. Deserting, eh?

Frodo: No!

Orc Captain: Or thinking of it? Up you get and fall in, or I'll have your numbers and report you. No, no! Not at the rear. Three files up.

[He cracks the whip again. The hobbits cry out and moan]

Orc Captain: And stay there! Or you'll know it when I come down the line.

[He whips them. The marching orcs surround them]

Orc Captain: Now! On! On! On!

- - - - -

Narrator: As Frodo and Sam faced this new peril, the Captains of the West met in Aragorn's tent on the field of Gondor.

Gandalf: My lords, you may triumph on the fields of the Pelennor for a day, but victory against the Dark Lord cannot be achieved by arms. Whether you sit here to endure siege after siege, or march out to be overwhelmed beyond the River. You have only a choice of evils.

Éomer: Then you would have us retreat to Minas Tirith or Dunharrow, and there sit like children on sand-castles when the tide is flowing?

Gandalf: No! I still hope for victory, but not by arms. For in the midst of all these policies comes the Ring of Power, and if that is destroyed, then Sauron will fall, his power will crumble, and he will be maimed for ever. He knows that the Ring has been found again. And he knows too that if we have found this precious thing, there are among us some with strength enough to wield it. For do I not guess rightly, Aragorn, that you have shown yourself to Sauron in the seeing stone of Orthanc?

Aragorn: I have. I thought the Eye of Sauron should be drawn out from his own land.

Gandalf: That you have done, and now he is in great doubt, and his doubt will be growing even while we speak here. His Eye is now straining towards us, blind almost to all else that is moving. So we must keep it. For therein lies our hope. In wisdom or great folly, the Ring has been sent away to be destroyed, lest it destroy us. This then is my counsel: make war on Sauron so that we can keep his Eye from finding the Ring-bearer, until his quest is done or he fails in the attempt. What say the Captains of the West?

Aragorn: As I have begun, so I will go on. We come now to the very brink where hope and despair are akin. To waver is to fall.

Éomer: Aragorn speaks wisely. I have little knowledge of these deep matters, but I too will accept this counsel.

Gandalf: What force could we muster and lead out in two day's time, at the latest?

Aragorn: I judge that we could lead out seven-thousand of horse and foot and yet leave the City in better defence than it was when the assault began.

Gandalf: Then make preparations to do so. For we must push Sauron to his last throw. We must call out his hidden strength, so that he shall empty his land. We must make ourselves the bait, though his jaws should close on us. We must walk open-eyed into that trap with courage, but small hope for ourselves.

[A sword is drawn]

Aragorn: You shall not be sheathed again, Andúril, until the last battle has been fought.

Éomer: So say the men of Gondor.

[He draws his sword]

Éomer: And so, too, say the men of Rohan!

Gandalf: Then let us march out to meet the enemy before the Black Gates of the Land of Shadow. For it is there we must attack; furthest from where the Ring-bearer was known to be. And thither draw the Eye of Mordor, that Frodo may yet bear our hopes and fears towards the Crack of Doom.



[Orcs march. A whip is cracked. Sam and Frodo moan]

Orc Captain: Now! On! On!

Frodo: All hope is gone.

Orc Captain: On!

Sam: Never say die, Mr. Frodo, sir. That's what my old Gaffer would say, if he were here.

Orc Captain: Silence, slugs!

[They are whipped again. They wince]

Orc Captain: On! On!

Sam: Come on, Mr. Frodo.

Frodo: Sam...

Sam: Take my arm!

Frodo: Sam, I...

Sam: I'll help you along.

Frodo: I really can't take another step, Sam.

Sam: There's no need to, Mr. Frodo. Look! We're almost there.

Frodo: Where?

Sam: Oh, I don't know. Where-ever it is, we won't be walking.

Orc Captain: Halt! I said halt, you slugs!

[The orcs argue and talk to each-other]

Orc Captain: Now, then! This here is Udûn. And when we get inside the camp, you're to - hey!

[The orcs fight]

Orc Captain: Now, then! Now, then! What's all this?

Orc: It's them other orcs, trying to push in front.

Orc Captain: Wait your turn!

Orc: Get on, and stop holding us up!

Orc Captain: Don't you tell me what to do, you maggot-ridden bag of bile!

Orc: Who do you think your talking to, you filthy flea-bitten dung-heap?

[The orcs scream and fight]

Sam: Get down, Mr. Frodo! Get down!

[Frodo groans]

Sam: Now, crawl! Come on, Mr. Frodo - we've got to crawl! Come on, Mr. Frodo, come on.

Frodo: I... can't...

Sam: Yes, you can! One more crawl and we can get off the road.

[Sam drags Frodo]

Frodo: No, Sam, please... just let me be.

Sam: No! Just a bit further. And then you - you can lie still. There!

[They fall to the ground and gasp for breath]

- - - - -

Narrator: When the grey light of morning came, Sam woke first and looked out upon the land. All was dreary, flat, and drab-hued. Far off, like a dark standing shadow, loomed the Mountain. Smoke was pouring from it and floating in great rolling clouds down its sides to spread over the land.

[Frodo sleeps, uneasily]

Sam: It looks every step of fifty miles, and that'll take a week, if it takes a day, with Mr. Frodo as he is. Well, it's got to be faced, Sam Gamgee. We'll never come back. At best our food will take us to our goal, and when we get there, w - we'll be alone, houseless, foodless, and in the middle of a terrible desert. That was the job I felt I had to do when I started: to help Mr. Frodo to the last step, and then die with him. Well, i - if that is the job, then I must do it. I wish Gandalf hadn't fallen in Moria! He would have done something.

Frodo: Hello, Sam.

[He laughs]

Frodo: Talking to yourself, now?

Sam: No, I'm just thinking out loud, as you might say, Mr. Frodo. I - I've been having a look round, and there's nothing on the roads, and we'd best be getting away while there's a chance. C - can you manage it?

Frodo: I must.

Narrator: An ever-approaching threat beat upon them as they went, the dreadful menace of the Power that waited, brooding in deep thought and sleepless malice behind the dark veil about its throne.

- - - - -

Narrator: Over the city of Gondor, there hung a great dread. There, alone in garden of the Houses of Healing, walked Faramir, with a heavy heart looking out over the walls, eastward.

[A bird chirps]

Éowyn: My lord? My lord Faramir?

Faramir: Lady Éowyn! Why do you stir abroad? Should you not be resting? Is there something that you lack?

Éowyn: It is not lack of care that brings me to you. No houses could be fairer, for those who desire to be healed. But I cannot lie in sloth, idle and caged. I looked for death in battle. But I have not died, and battle still goes on.

Faramir: What would you have me do, lady?

Éowyn: I would have you bid them let me go.

Faramir: I am myself in the keeping of the healers. Nor have I yet taken up my authority in the City. But had I done so, I should still listen to their counsel, and not cross their will in matters of healing.

Éowyn: But I do not desire healing. I wish to ride to war like my brother Éomer, or better like Théoden the King, for he has both honour and peace.

Faramir: It is too late, lady, to follow the Captains, even if you had the strength. But death in battle may come to us all yet, willing or unwilling. You will be better prepared to face it in your own manner, if while there is still time you do as the healers command.

Éowyn: But the healers would have me still lie abed. And my window does not look eastward.

Faramir: That can be amended. If you will stay in this house in our care, lady, and take your rest, then you shall walk in this garden in the sun, as you will; and you shall look east, whither all our hopes have gone. It would ease my care, if you would speak to me, or walk at whiles with me.

Éowyn: How should I ease your care, my lord?

Faramir: Would you have my plain answer?

Éowyn: I would.

Faramir: Then, Éowyn of Rohan, I say to you that you are beautiful. In the valleys of our hills there are flowers fair and bright, and the maidens fairer still; but neither flower nor lady have I seen till now in Gondor so lovely, and so sorrowful. It may be that only a few days are left ere darkness falls upon our world, and when it comes I hope to face it steadily; but it would ease my heart, if while the sun yet shines, I could see you still. For you and I have both passed under the wings of the Shadow, and the same hand drew us back.

Éowyn: Alas, not me, lord! Shadow lies on me still. Look not to me for healing! I am a shieldmaiden and my hand is ungentle. But I thank you for this at least, that I need not keep to my chamber. I will walk abroad by the grace of the Steward of the City.

Narrator: Éowyn walked back to the house. But Faramir for a long while walked alone in the garden, and his glance now strayed rather to the house than to the eastward walls.

- - - - -

Narrator: Frodo and Sam struggled on towards the Mountain. Nearer and nearer it drew, looming blacker, like the oncoming wall of night at the last end of the world. In this way, four days passed, until dream and waking mingled, uneasily. The air was ever murky. While out from the Dark Tower, there crept the veils of shadow that Sauron wove about himself.

Sam: Oh, wake up, master. Wake up, master. It's time for another start. Come on.

Frodo: I... I can't... I can't manage it, Sam. It's such a weight to carry, such a weight.

Sam: Well - well, then let me carry it a bit for you, master. You know I would, and gladly, as long as I have any strength.

[Frodo growls]

Frodo: Get away from me!

Sam: Sir!

Frodo: Don't touch me! It's mine!

Sam: Mr. Frodo.

Frodo: No! No. No, Sam. You must - you must understand. It is my burden, and no one else can bear it. It's too... it's too late now, Sam. Dear Sam. You can't help me in that way again. I am almost in its power now. I couldn't give it up, and if you tried to take it I should go mad.

Sam: I understand. But I've been thinking, Mr. Frodo.

Frodo: Hm?

Sam: There's other things we might do without. Well, why not lighten the load a bit? We're going to the Mountain, now, as straight as we can make it. It's no good taking anything we're not sure to need.

Frodo: No. No, we shan't need much on that road. And at its end, nothing. Ugh, I shall be glad to be rid of all this.

[He pulls off his Orc-clothing]

Frodo: There, I'll be an Orc no more. I won't wear their armour and I'll bear no weapon fair or foul. Let them take me, if they will!

Sam: Oh, well, I - I don't know what I'm to part with, other than this orc-stuff, a - and my cooking gear.

[He gathers his gear]

Sam: But I've carried it so far and through so much! Do you remember that bit of rabbit I cooked for us, Mr. Frodo?

Frodo: Hm?

Sam: Just before we met Captain Faramir.

Frodo: No. No, I'm afraid not, Sam. At least, I know that such things happened, but I cannot see them now. No taste of food, no feel of water, no sound of wind, no memory of grass or flower, no image of moon or star are left to me. I am naked in the dark, Sam. And there is no veil between me and the wheel of fire. I begin to see it even with my waking eyes, and all else fades.

Sam: Oh... Well, then the sooner we're rid of it, the sooner to rest.

[He grabs his gear]

Sam: And talking won't mend nothing.

Frodo: W - where are you going, Sam?

Sam: Well, I'm not leaving a sword around for Stinker to find. And - and he isn't going to mess with my pans! And if it's all got to go, then it's going down one of these crevices.

[He heaves his gear which clammers on the rock as it descends]

Frodo: Bless you, Sam, hobbit of hobbits!

- - - - -

[Frodo moans in his sleep]

Sam: Are you asleep, Mr. Frodo? Mr. Frodo? Oh, well, Sam, we've done better than you expected. We've begun well, anyway. I reckon we crossed half the distance before we stopped. One more day'll do it. Oh, don't be a fool, Sam Gamgee. He won't go another day like that, if he moves at all. And you can't go on much longer giving him all the water and most of the food. I - I can go on a good way though, and I will. Where to? The Mountain, of course. But what then, Sam Gamgee, what then? When you get there, what are you going to do? The... the Cracks of Doom. That is if the master knows how to find them, because I don't - there you are. It's all quite useless. He said so himself, and you were a fool going on hoping and toiling. You could both have lain down and gone to sleep days ago. You'll die just the same. Or worse. You might just as well lie down now and give it up. You'll never get to the top, anyway. I'll get there, and if I leave everything but my bones behind, I'll get there. And I'll carry Mr. Frodo up myself, if it breaks my back and heart. So stop arguing!

[The Mountain rumbles]

Sam: Oh, Mr. Frodo! What's going to become of us?

- - - - -

Narrator: The last stage of their journey to Mount Doom came and it was a torment greater than Sam had ever thought that he could bear. The air was full of fumes. Breathing was painful and difficult. And a dizziness came over them.

[Frodo falls to the ground]

Sam: It - it's all right, Mr. Frodo! I'll - I'll get you up again.

Frodo: I...

Sam: There. And see, Mr. Frodo! We're at the Mountain's foot, at last.

[Frodo shivers]

Sam: Oh, you're cold, sir. I - I didn't have ought to have left my blanket behind. Would you like some - some Elf-bread? There's still some left.

Frodo: I'm... so parched... Sam. I couldn't even swallow it.

Sam: Well, we'll rest now and go on up in the morning.

Frodo: Yes. All the hazards and perils are drawing together to a point now: tomorrow will be a day of doom, a day of final effort or disaster, the last gasp.

- - - - -

Sam: Now for it! Now for the last gasp!

[Frodo begins to move away]

Sam: Oh! What... what - what are you doing, Mr. Frodo?

Frodo: I - I... I must crawl there.

Sam: No! No! I said I'd carry him, if it broke my back, and I will! Well. Come on, Mr. Frodo! I can't carry it for you, but I can carry you and it as well. So up you get! Now then, Mr. Frodo, dear. Sam'll give you a ride. Put... put your arms around my neck. That's the way.

[He pulls Frodo up]

Sam: And now, up with you! There. It's all right, now. Why bless me, Mr. Frodo, if he weighs no more than a hobbit-child I might give a piggyback to back home in the Shire.

Frodo: Thank you, Sam. How far is there to go?

Sam: Oh, I... I... I don't know, Mr. Frodo, because I don't know where we're going, except up. And up we go!

- - - - -

[Sam struggles, his breath short]

Sam: There! Well, Sam. That wasn't a bad effort. Oh, we've still got a good way to go.

[Frodo's breath quickens]

Frodo: Sam!

Sam: It's all - all right, Mr. Frodo! I'm just getting a second wind. Hoo! Look!

Frodo: What... what is it?

Sam: A path! See? Winding round the Mountain. Why, it might have been put there a-purpose. If it wasn't there, I'd... I'd have to say I was beaten in the end. But as it is, I - as it is, I think we'll conquer this Mountain yet.

Frodo: I... I'll crawl there, Sam. It's not far.

Sam: Are you sure, Mr. Frodo?

Frodo: Yes, Sam. I think - I think I can crawl that far.

- - - - -

Narrator: So, foot-by-foot, like small grey insects, they crawled up the slope until they came to the path, and found that it was broad and paved with broken rubble and beaten ash. Frodo clambered onto it, and then, as if by some compulsion, turned to face the East, where he saw, rising black, blacker and darker than the vast shades among which it stood, the cruel pinnacles and iron crown of the topmost tower of Barad-dûr. And from some great window immeasurably high, there stabbed forth a flame of red, the flicker of a piercing Eye.

Frodo: The Eye. The Eye! Help me, Sam! Help me! Help me, Sam!

Sam: Oh, of course, Mr. Frodo!

Frodo: Hold... hold... hold my hand! It would make me take out the Ring! I can't stop it.

Sam: Oh, now, there, there! It's all right!

[Frodo moans]

Sam: So he's spotted us. It's all up, or soon will be. Well, Sam, lad. This is the end of the ends.

Narrator: But the Eye was not turned to them.

- - - - -

Narrator: It was gazing North, to where the Captains of the West stood at bay.

Aragorn: Still the Enemy makes no sign, Gandalf.

Gandalf: No, Aragorn. And we will wait no longer. We will go to the Black Gate and we will summon him. You and I will go together, Aragorn, and wih us shall come Éomer of Rohan, Legolas the Elf, Gimli the Dwarf, and Peregrin the Halfling. For all the enemies of Mordor should have a witness. Come.

[Their horses walk swiftly]

Pippin: If only I might do something brave enough to draw level with old Merry! Still, I would rather him been well enough to have come. It's very lonely being the only hobbit among so many fine and brave people.

[The horses come to a stop]

Gandalf: Come forth! Let the Lord of the Black Land come forth!

Aragorn: The King of Gondor calls you forth!

[A horseman walks towards them and comes to a stop]

The Mouth of Sauron: I am the Mouth of Sauron.

[He laughs]

The Mouth of Sauron: Is there any in this rout with authority to treat with me? Or indeed with wit to understand me? Not thou at least, self-styled King of Gondor!

Aragorn: I am Aragorn son of Arathorn, and wear the blade once born by Isildur against the Dark Lord you claim to speak for.

The Mouth of Sauron: I am a herald and ambassador, and may not be assailed!

Gandalf: Where such laws hold, it is also the custom for ambassadors to use less insolence.

The Mouth of Sauron: So!

[He approaches a few more steps]

The Mouth of Sauron: Then thou art the spokesman, old greybeard? Have we not heard of thee at whiles, and of thy wanderings, ever hatching plots and mischief at a safe distance?

Gandalf: I am Gandalf the White.

The Mouth of Sauron: Well, Master Gandalf! This time thou hast stuck out thy nose too far; and thou shalt see what comes to him who sets his foolish webs before the feet of Sauron the Great.

Gandalf: Come to your message. If message you have for us.

The Mouth of Sauron: I have tokens that I was bidden to show to thee - to thee in especial, if thou shouldst dare to come.

Gandalf: What tokens?

The Mouth of Sauron: Allow me to show them to you.

[He brings each of the items forth, in turn]

The Mouth of Sauron: A sword, a grey cloak with an Elvish brooch, and a coat of silver-mail.

Pippin: Look! That's...!

[Gandalf hushes him]

Gandalf: Silence!

[The Mouth of Sauron laughs]

The Mouth of Sauron: So you have yet another of these imps with you! What use you find in them I cannot guess; but to send them as spies into Mordor is beyond even your accustomed folly. Still, I thank him, for it is plain that this brat at least has seen these tokens before, and it would be vain for you to deny them now.

Gandalf: I do not wish to deny them. Indeed, I know them all and all their history, and despite your scorn, foul Mouth of Sauron, you cannot say as much.

The Mouth of Sauron: Dwarf-coat, elf-cloak, blade of the downfallen West, and spy from the little rat-land of the Shire - these are the marks of a conspiracy.

Gandalf: Why do you bring them here?

The Mouth of Sauron: Maybe he that bore these things was a creature that you would not grieve to lose, and maybe otherwise.

[Pippin moans]

The Mouth of Sauron: One dear to you, perhaps? Good, good! He was dear to you, I see. Or else his errand was one that you did not wish to fail?

[He laughs]

The Mouth of Sauron: It has. And now he shall endure the slow torment of years, as long and slow as our arts in the Great Tower can contrive, and never be released, unless maybe when he is changed and broken, so that he may come to you, and you shall see what you have done. This shall surely be - unless you accept my Lord's terms.

[Gandalf sighs]

Gandalf: Name the terms.

The Mouth of Sauron: These are the terms. The rabble of Gondor and its deluded allies shall withdraw at once beyond the River Anduin, first taking oaths never again to assail Sauron the Great in arms, open or secret. All lands east of the River shall be Sauron's for ever, soley. West of the Anduin as far as the Misty Mountains and the Gap of Rohan shall be tributary to Mordor, and men there shall bear no weapons, but shall have leave to govern their own affairs. But they shall help to rebuild Isengard which they have wantonly destroyed, and that shall be Sauron's, and there his lieutenant shall dwell: not Saruman, but one more worthy of trust.

Gandalf: Is it Sauron's new lieutenant that speaks with me now?

The Mouth of Sauron: That is not a matter which concerns you, greybeard.

Gandalf: If you are to be the new tyrant of Isengard and we your slaves, it concerns us greatly.

The Mouth of Sauron: I have named the terms.

Gandalf: If indeed we rated this prisoner so high, what surety have we that Sauron, the Base Master of Treachery, will keep his part? Where is the prisoner? Let him be brought forth and yielded to us, and then we will consider these demands.

[The Mouth of Sauron laughs]

The Mouth of Sauron: Do not bandy words in your insolence with the Mouth of Sauron! Surety you crave! Sauron gives none. If you sue for his clemency you must first do his bidding. These are his terms. Take them or leave them!

Gandalf: These tokens we will take!

[He snatches the items]

Gandalf: These we will take in memory of our friend. But as for your terms, we reject them utterly.

[The Mouth of Sauron hisses]

Gandalf: Get you gone, for your embassy is over and death is near to you. We did not come here to waste words in treating with Sauron, faithless and accursed; still less with one of his slaves. Begone!

Pippin: But Gandalf... Frodo!

[The Mouth of Sauron rides away]

Gandalf: The Mouth of Sauron may lie.

The Mouth of Sauron: Uruk-hai!

[Orcs scream as they pour from the Black Gate]

Gandalf: The trap is sprung! We are surrounded by the whole Host of Mordor and we must fight!

- - - - -

Sam: Oh, come, master. We're here. Well, let us try and finish our task.

Frodo: Yes. Yes, Sam, it's all right, now. The Eye has looked away. But for a moment I almost took out the Ring. Eh! Sam, look out!

[Gollum attacks, hissing. Sam cries out]

Gollum: Take that, sneaky!

[He laughs]

Gollum: Now, now! Wicked master!

[He chokes Frodo, who groans and tries his best to breath]

Gollum: Wicked Master cheatses, cheatses Sméagol! Gollum!

Frodo: No!

Gollum: He mustn't go that way!

[Frodo coughs]

Gollum: He mustn't, no, precious! Give it to Sméagol! Yes.

[He hisses]

Gollum: Give it to us!

[Frodo's voice is stifled]

Frodo: Never, Sméagol! Never!

Gollum: Never, is it! Nasty!

[He hisses]

Gollum: Nasty hobbitses doesn't realize how long never isss!

[Frodo's voice is clear as he breaks free]

Frodo: No!

[Gollum cries out]

Frodo: Down, down!

[Gollum whimpers]

Frodo: Down, you creeping thing! And out of my path! Begone, and trouble me no more! If you touch me ever again, you will be cast into the Fire of Doom yourself.

[Gollum cries]

Gollum: Gollum. Gollum!

[He hisses, ferociously]

Sam: Look out, master! He'll spring!

Gollum: Gollum!

Sam: Q - quick, Mr. Frodo, go on! There's no time to lose!

[Gollum hisses]

Frodo: Yes.

Sam: I'll deal with him!

Frodo: I must go on.

Sam: Go on!

Frodo: Farewell, Sam! This is the end of ends! On Mount Doom doom shall fall. Farewell!

[Gollum hisses and spits]

Sam: Now! At last I can deal with you!

Gollum: Don't - don't kill usss.

[He whimpers]

Gollum: Let us live!

[Gollum cries. Sam remember's Frodo's voice:

Frodo: Remember Gandalf's words. Gollum may yet have some part to play, for good or ill. ]

Sam: Oh! Oh curse you, you stinking thing! Go away! Be off! I don't trust you, not as far as I could kick you, but be off! Or I shall hurt you, yes, with nasty cruel steel.

Gollum: Good hobbit!

Sam: Go on!

Gollum: Nice hobbit!

Sam: Go on!

Gollum: Yes, yes, yes, we go. We go.

[He laughs and slinks away]

Sam: Frodo! Master! Mr. Frodo, wait for me!

- - - - -

[A deep rumbling fills the air. Sam's voice echoes]

Sam: Frodo! M - master! Frodo! Master! Where are you? Mr. Frodo! Mr. Fro -

[Frodo laughs]

Frodo: I have come. But I do not choose now to do what I came to do. I will not do this deed. The Ring is mine! Mine.

[He places the Ring on his finger]

Frodo: Oh, Mr. Frodo. Master! Where are you? Where are you?

[Sam is struck by a hissing Gollum and falls to the floor]

Gollum: Sneak. Where iss...

Frodo: So.

Gollum: ...the Precious?

[He hisses]

Frodo: So now the Eye can see me.

Gollum: Give us the Precious, hobbit. The Precious. We wantss it.

Frodo: No.

Gollum: Yesss! Yes, we will have it.

[Frodo laughs quietly]

Gollum: Where's its handses? Got it!

[He hisses]

Gollum: Now, give us the Preciouss.

Frodo: No, Sméagol. It is mine!

[Gollum hisses and laughs]

Gollum: Well, if it won't give it usss, then we'll bites it and takeses it.

[Gollum bites down and Frodo screams]

Gollum: Lost its finger, has it, hm? Silly hobbit! Now, we've got the Precious! Precious, precious! My Precious!

[He laughs]

Gollum: Oh, my Precious! Now, we haveses it! Yes! Sméagol's got the Precious! Sméagol's got the Precious! Tricksy hobbitses! Couldn't trick Sméagol, no! Sméagol's got the...

[He trips and falls downward. His voice fades away into the depths]

Gollum: Precious!

[Mount Doom erupts]

- - - - -

[Lava flows around them]

Frodo: Well, Samwise Gamgee, this is the end.

Sam: Oh, master! Well, it's gone! The burden. You're free!

Frodo: Yes, Sam. Free!

Sam: Oh! But your poor hand! And I have nothing to bind it with, or comfort it. I would have spared him a whole hand of mine rather. But he's gone, for ever. Fallen into the Cracks of Doom.

Frodo: No, Sam. But for him, I could not have destroyed the Ring. The Quest would have been in vain, even at the bitter end. So let us - let us forgive him. For the Quest is achieved. Now all is over. Oh, Sam Gamgee, I am glad you are here with me. Here at the end of all things.

Sam: Oh, yes, I am with you, master. And you're with me. And the journey's finished. But after coming all that way, I don't want to give up, yet!

[Frodo laughs]

Sam: It's not like me, somehow.

Frodo: Maybe not, Sam. But it is like things are in the world. You see? Hopes fail. An end comes. We have only a little time to wait, now. Soon, we shall be engulfed in these rivers of fire. We are lost in ruin and downfall, and there is no escape.

Sam: Now, well, Master! We could at least go further than this dangerous place, here. Now, couldn't we? Well, come on, Mr. Frodo. Well, let's go down the path, at any rate.

Frodo: Very well, Sam. If you wish to go, I'll come.

[Their footsteps are muffled on the ash]

Sam: Well! What a tale we've been in, Mr. Frodo, haven't we? I wish I could here it told. Do you - do you think they'll say, "Now comes the story of Nine-fingered Frodo and the Ring of Doom"?

Frodo: Oh!

Sam: And then everyone will hush and listen. I wish I could hear it! I wonder how it will go after our part?

[Frodo loses his footing]

Frodo: I can go no further, Sam.

Sam: Sir...

Frodo: The smoke and the fumes! Let us stay here.

Sam: Very well, Mr. Frodo. Here we stay.

[Eagles' wings beat far above them]

Sam: Oh, that's - that's strange, Mr. Frodo. I thought I heard Eagles.

[He laughs as his voice fails]

Sam: Very strange. The Eagles.

[He laughs again]

Sam: Eagles...

Narrator: It was Gwaihir the Eagle and his brothers who came to them out of the North, bearing Gandalf across the ruin of Mordor, to the aid of Frodo and Samwise.

- - - - -

[Birds chirp. Sam wakes]

Sam: Bless me! Oh! Oh, how long have I been asleep? What a dream I had! Oh, I'm glad to wake - no, no! It wasn't a dream. Well, then, where are we?

Gandalf: In the land of Ithilien.

[Sam gasps]

Gandalf: And in the keeping of the King who awaits you.

Sam: Gandalf! Gandalf! I - I thought you were dead!

Gandalf: Ah.

Sam: Well, I - I... I thought I was dead myself. Well, is everything sad going to come untrue? What's happened in the world?

Gandalf: A great Shadow has departed. Well, Master Samwise! How do you feel?

Sam: Oh, how do I feel? I... I - well, I don't know how to say it. I feel like spring after winter, sun on the leaves, like - like trumpets and harps and all the songs I ever heard... Oh, but how's Mr. Frodo? Oh, isn't it a shame about his poor hand? I hope he's all right otherwise. He had a cruel time.

[Frodo laughs]

Sam: Ah!

Frodo: Yes, I'm all right otherwise, Sam! I fell alseep again, waiting for you, you sleepyhead. I was awake earlier this morning, but - but now it must be nearly noon.

Sam: Noon? What - noon of what day?

Gandalf: The fourteenth of the New Year, or if you like, the eighth day of April in the Shire reckoning. But in Gondor, the New Year will always begin upon the twenty-fifth of March when Sauron fell, and when the Eagles brought you out of the fire to the King.

Sam: The King? What King?

Gandalf: The King of Gondor and Lord of the Western Lands who has taken back all his ancient realm. He will ride soon to his crowning. He awaits only to do honour to the Ring-bearers.

- - - - -

[Music is played and minstrels sing:

Long live the Halflings! Praise them with great praise!
Cuio i Pheriain anann! Aglar'ni Pheriannath!
Praise them with great praise, Frodo and Samwise!
Daur a Berhael, Conin en Annûn! Elglerio!
A laita te, laita te! Andave laituvalmet!
Cormacolindor, a laita tárienna!
Praise them! The Ring-bearers, praise them with great praise!
Frodo and Samwise! Praise them with great praise! ]

Sam: Look! Mr. Frodo, look here! It's Pippin and Merry!

[They laugh]

Sam: And how they've grown! Bless me! I can see there's more tales to tell than ours.

Pippin: There are indeed! And we'll begin telling them as soon as we may, for it will take weeks.

[They laugh]

Merry: And then Frodo will have to be locked up in a tower in Minas Tirith and write it all down. Otherwise he will forget half of it, and poor old Bilbo will be dreadfully disappointed!

Frodo: My dear, dear hobbits! I never thought to see you again.

Sam: Gimli and Legolas!

[Frodo laughs]

Gimli: Hail Frodo! Hail Samwise!

Legolas: The first and second-born of the races of Middle-earth salute you.

Frodo: It's a joy to see you both again!

Gandalf: Come! The King is waiting. There will be time enough later for reunions.

- - - - -

Aragorn: Hail, Frodo. Sam!

Sam: Well, if that isn't the crown of all. Strider! Or I'm still asleep.

Aragorn: Yes, Strider. It is a long way, is it not, from Bree, where you did not like the look of me? A long way for all of us. But yours has been the darkest road. I bend my knee in acknowledgement of that.

Frodo: No, Strider! You - you must not bow. Not - not to us.

Aragorn: Come. You shall sit upon my throne. There. Praise them with great praise!

[Men answer: "Praise them! Praise them!"]

Aragorn: Let the minstrel sing to us.

Minstrel: Now, listen to my lay. For I will sing to you of Frodo of the Nine Fingers and the Ring of Doom.

Pippin: What about us?

Merry: Will we be in it, too?

Sam: O great glory and splendour! All my wishes have come true!

Frodo: Dear, dear Sam.

[Sam cries. Music is played]


Frodo went forth on a fateful journey...

- - - - -

Narrator: As the minstrel sang to them, away in the west, upon the walls of Gondor stood Faramir and Éowyn. A great wind rose, and their hair, raven and golden, streamed out, mingling in the air. The sun was unveiled. The light leapt forth, and the waters of the River Anduin shone like silver.

Faramir: See, Éowyn! The darkness has passed!

Éowyn: And look! How a mighty Eagle comes to us from out the East!

[The Eagle sings:

Sing, ye people of the Tower of Anor,
For the Realm of Sauron is ended for ever,
and the Dark Tower is thrown down.

Sing and rejoice, ye people of the Tower of Guard,
for your watch hath not been in vain,
and the Black Gate is broken,
and your King has passed through,
and he is victorious. ]

[Bells swing in the distance]

Faramir: Now you will wish to go and meet your brother and share in the celebration of this victory.

Éowyn: No, lord. I will tarry here.

Faramir: Why?

Éowyn: Do you not know?

Faramir: Two reasons there may be, but which it is, I do not know. Either you still fear to see the Lord Aragorn, or you wish to stay with me. Éowyn, do you not love me, or will you not?

Éowyn: I had wished to be loved by another. But I desire no man's pity.

Faramir: Look at me, Éowyn! I love you. Once I pitied your sorrow. But now, were you sorrowless, without fear or any lack, were you the blissful Queen of Gondor, still I would love you. Éowyn, do you not love me?

Éowyn: I stand in Minas Anor, the Tower of the Sun, and behold the Shadow has departed! No longer do I desire to be a Queen.

Faramir: That is well, for I am not a king. Yet I will wed with the White Lady of Rohan, if it be her will.

Éowyn: Then let it be as my good lord wishes!

Faramir: Éowyn!

[The Eagle sings:

Sing and be glad, all ye children of the West,
for your King shall come again,
and he shall dwell among you
all the days of your life. ]

- - - - -

Faramir: The last Steward of Gondor begs leave to surrender his office.

Aragorn: The office is not ended, and it shall be thine and thy heirs as long as my line shall last. And the princetom of Ithilien shall be thine also. Now, Steward, do your office.

Faramir: Men of Gondor, hear now the Steward of the Realm! Behold! One has come to claim the kingship again at last. Here is Aragorn son of Arathorn, chiefton of the Dúnedain of Arnor, Captain of the Host of the West, bearer of the Star of the North, wielder of the Sword that was Broken, victorious in battle, whose hands bring healing, the Elfstone, Elessar of the line of Valandil, Isildur's son, Elendil's son of Númenor. Shall he be King and enter into the City and dwell there?

[The people cry: "Yea!"]

Faramir: Men of Gondor, using the authority of the Steward, I have today brought hither the crown of Eärnur, the last king, whose days passed in the time of our longfathers of old. Take it now, lord.

Aragorn: Et Eärello Endorenna utúlien. Sinome maruvan ar Hildinyar tenn' Ambar-metta. By the labour and valour of many I have come into my inheritance. In token of this I would have the Ring-bearer bring the crown to me, and let Mithrandir set it upon my head, if he will; for he has been the mover of all that has been accomplished, and this is his victory.

Gandalf: Go on, Frodo! Take the crown from Faramir and bring it to me.

Frodo: Yes.

Gandalf: Aragorn son of Arathorn, I crown you King of Gondor and Arnor. Now come the days of the King, and may they be blessed while the thrones of the Valar endure!

Faramir: Behold the King!

[The Eagle sings:

And the Tree that was withered shall be renewed,
and he shall plant it in the high places,
and the City shall be blessed.
Sing! Sing all ye people! ]

- - - - -

Narrator: So the glad days passed. Then, one night, Gandalf took Aragorn out from the City, and brought him to Mount Mindolluin. And there, below the snows that clad the lofty peaks, they looked down over the precipice that stood behind the City of Gondor.

[A wind blows]

Gandalf: Do you still look for a sign, Aragorn?

Aragorn: Yes, Gandalf. The Tree in the Court of the Fountain which grew from the fruit which Isildur brought out from the West is still withered and barren.

Gandalf: Turn your face from the green world, and look where all seems barren and cold! Now, what do you see there?

Aragorn: A young tree! Why, Gandalf, it is flower. Yé! Utúvienyes! I have found it! Lo! Here is a scion of the Eldest of Trees! But how comes it here? For it is itself not seven years old.

Gandalf: Verily, this is a sapling of the line of Nimloth the fair; the White Tree of Númenor.

Aragorn: The sign has been given. The line of Gondor will be restored and will flourish and flower anew!

Narrator: Then Aragorn took the sapling and bore it back to the Citadel. And the withered tree was uprooted, but with reverence; and they did not burn it, but laid it to rest with the dead. And Aragorn planted the new tree in the Court of the Fountain, and swiftly and gladly it began to grow. And when the month of June entered in, it was laden with blossom.

- - - - -

Narrator: Then Midsummer came, and with it came news.

Frodo: Gandalf, messengers say that a company of fair folk are approaching the City. What does this mean?

Gandalf: It is Elrond, coming from Rivendell, with his daughter, Arwen.

Frodo: But why are they coming to Gondor?

Gandalf: Arwen comes to wed with Aragorn.

Frodo: Ah.

Gandalf: The cost of this union is great, for Aragorn has waited many years for this day and could not hope to marry her until he sat in Minas Tirith as the King of Gondor. And in deciding to cleave to Aragorn, the Lady Arwen has made a costly choice. For she must renounce the Twilight and become, like him, a mortal who must, one day, die.

Frodo: Just as Lúthien Tinúviel chose to become mortal for the sake of Beren.

Gandalf: Indeed. And when Aragorn first saw Arwen, he believed her to be Lúthien Tinúviel. For in her beauty, she resembles her.

Frodo: I had forgotten. But Bilbo spoke of this to me, long ago, in Rivendell.

Gandalf: Well, Frodo. Shall we go out and greet their arrival?

Frodo: Yes.

- - - - -

[Elves sing in the background:

A Elbereth! A Gilthoniel!
Silivren penna míriel!
A Elbereth! A Gilthoniel!
Silivren penna míriel!
A Elbereth! A Gilthoniel!]

Gandalf: There she is, Frodo. Arwen Undómiel, the Lady Evenstar.

Frodo: Oh, she is beautiful, Gandalf! At last, I understand why we have waited. This is the ending. Now not only day shall be beloved, but night too shall beautiful and blessed, and all its fear pass away.

Narrator: Then the King welcomed his guests, and Elrond layed the hand of his daughter in the hand of the King. And together, they went up into the high City, and all the stars flowered in the sky, and Aragorn, the King Elessar wedded Arwen Undómiel in the City of the Kings upon the day of Midsummer, and the tale of their long waiting and labours was come to fulfilment.

- - - - -

Narrator: When the days of rejoicing were over at last, Frodo went to the King, as he was sitting with the Queen Arwen by the Fountain.

[Water springs from the Fountain]

Frodo: My lord and most fairest of Queens...

Aragorn: I know what you come to say, Frodo. You wish to return to your own home.

Frodo: It is true that I wish to go back to the Shire, but first I must go to Rivendell. For if there could be anything wanting in a time so blessed, I miss Bilbo. And I was grieved when, among all the household of Elrond, I saw that he was not come.

Arwen: Do you wonder at that, Ring-bearer? For you know the power of that thing which is now destroyed; and all that was done by that power is now passing away. But your kinsman possessed this thing longer than you. He is ancient in years now, according to his kind; and he awaits you, for he will not again make any long journey, save one.

Frodo: What journey is that?

Arwen: Age and weariness will now fall on many. And they will yearn to cross the Sundering Seas to the Deathless Lands of the West. That is the journey which lies yet before Bilbo and my father, Elrond.

Frodo: Then I beg leave to depart soon, Queen Arwen.

Aragorn: In seven days we will go. For we shall ride with you far on the road, even as far as the country of Rohan. For we must bear Théoden back to rest in the Mark.

Arwen: But before you depart, a gift I give to you. For I am the daughter of Elrond, and I shall not go with him now when he departs to the Havens; for mine is the choice of Lúthien, and as she so have I chosen, both the sweet and the bitter. But in my stead, you shall go, Ring-bearer, when the time comes, and if you then desire it. If your hurt grieve you still and the memory of your burden is heavy, then you may pass into the West, until all your wounds and weariness are healed. But wear this white gem about your neck, in memory of Elfstone and Evenstar, with whom your life has been woven.

Frodo: Lady!

Arwen: There.

[She places the gem around Frodo's neck]

Arwen: When the memory of the fear and the darkness troubles you, this will bring you aid.

- - - - -

Narrator: At last, the day of departure came, and a great and fair company made ready to ride north from the City, and bear King Théoden upon a golden bier back to his realm of Rohan. There, they laid Théoden in a house of stone with his arms and many other fair things, and over him raised a great mound, covered with green turfs of grass.

[Men sing:

Out of doubt, out of dark, to the day's rising
he rode singing in the sunlight, sword unsheathing.
Hope he rekindled, and in hope he ended;
over death, over dread, over doom lifted
out of loss, out of life, unto long glory. ]

Merry: Farewell, Théoden, King of the Mark! As a father you were to me, for a little while. Farewell!

[The men cry: "Hail, Éomer, King of the Mark!"]

Éomer: This is the funeral of Théoden, the King. But I will speak, ere we go, of tidings of joy. He would not grudge that I should do so, since he was ever a father to Éowyn, my sister. Hear then, all my guests, fair folk of many realms: Faramir, Steward of Gondor and Prince of Ithilien asks that Éowyn, Lady of Rohan, should be his wife. And she grants it full-willing. Therefore they shall be trothplighted before you all. Thus is the friendship of the Mark and Gondor bound with a new bond, and the more do I rejoice.

Faramir: As do I, Lord Éomer.

Aragorn: Well, Éomer! You give thus to Gondor the fairest thing in your realm.

Éowyn: Wish me joy, my liege-lord and healer!

Aragorn: I have wished thee joy ever since first I saw thee. It heals my heart to see thee now in bliss.

Frodo: Now, though it grieves us to leave, we must be parted from you all.

Éomer: Farewell, Ring-bearer.

Frodo: Farewell, King Éomer. May you live long in the Golden Hall of Rohan. And may your people long know peace.

Éowyn: Farewell, Samwise!

Sam: Why... good-bye.

Éowyn: Legolas.

Legolas: Farewell.

Éowyn: Gimli.

Gimli: Farewell, Lady.

Éowyn: And Pippin.

Pippin: Good-bye.

Éomer: And farewell, Meriadoc of the Shire, Holdwine of the Mark! Ride to good fortune, and ride back soon to our welcome!

Merry: I will, my lord.

Éomer: Kings of old would have laden you with gifts; yet I have no gift that is worthy.

Éowyn: But this I beg you to recieve. Tis an ancient horn of silver. Take it as a memorial of the horns of the Mark at the coming of morning.

Merry: Thank you, Lady! It will serve thus. And as a memorial of Dernhelm, the knight of the Mark who carried me to battle.

Faramir: Now we must part. All speed to you, Ring-bearer and companions, all.

Frodo: We thank you, Faramir, Steward of Gondor.

Pippin: What about you, Gandalf?

Gandalf: I shall ride yet a while longer with you. For we must go with Elrond to Rivendell.

Sam: And... um, what about you, Strider? I - I mean, Lord Aragorn?

Aragorn: I will ride with you as far as Isengard, Sam.

Sam: Good news!

[Aragorn laughs]

Gandalf: Yes, we shall go to Isengard, though I am uneasy as to what we shall find when we come to the tower of Saruman.



[Birds chirp]

Merry: The Ents have certainly changed this place.

Pippin: Good old Treebeard!

Treebeard: Hoom, hoom, a-hoom...

[Legolas laughs]

Legolas: Here he comes.

Treebeard: A-hoom, a-hoom... welcome to the Treegarth of Orthanc! But why do you come here?

Gandalf: To see how your work goes, my friend, and to thank you for your aid in all that has been achieved.

Treebeard: Hoom, well, that is fair enough, for to be sure Ents have played their part.

Gandalf: Tell me: what of the task that I set you? How is Saruman? Is he not yet weary of his imprisonment in the Tower of Orthanc? For I don't suppose that he will think you have improved the view from his windows.

Treebeard: Ah! I thought you would come to that, Gandalf. Weary of Orthanc? Very weary at last; but not so weary of his tower as he was of my voice.

Gandalf: Was? What about is? Is he dead?

Treebeard: No, no. Not dead, as far as I know. But he is gone.

Gandalf: Gone!

Treebeard: Yes, he is gone seven days. I let him go.

Gandalf: Heh?

Treebeard: There was little left of him when he crawled out, and as for that worm-creature of his, he was like a pale shadow.

[Gandalf sighs]

Gandalf: But, Treebeard!

Treebeard: Now do not tell me, Gandalf, that I promised to keep him safe; for I know it. But things have changed since then. And I kept him until he was safe, safe from doing any more harm.

Gandalf: Ah... it is as I feared.

Treebeard: Gandalf, you should know that above all I hate the caging of live things, and I will not keep even such creatures as these caged beyond great need. A snake without fangs may crawl where he will.

Gandalf: Ah, you may be right, but this snake had still one tooth left, I think. He had the poison of his voice, and I guess that he persuaded you, even you Treebeard, knowing the soft spot in your heart.

Treebeard: Hrum...

Gandalf: Well, he is gone. There is no more to be said. But the Tower of Orthanc now goes back to the King, to whom it belongs. Though maybe he will not need it.

Aragorn: That will be seen later. But I will give all this valley to the Ents to do with as they will, so long as they keep watch upon Orthanc and see that none enter it without my leave.

Treebeard: It is locked.

[A ring of keys is heard]

Treebeard: I made Saruman lock it and give me the keys.

Aragorn: Now I thank you once more, and I bid you farewell. May your forest grow again in peace. When this valley is filled there is room to spare west of the mountains, where once you walked long ago.

Treebeard: We thank you. But I am forgetting my manners! Will you stay here and rest a while?

Gandalf: No, Treebeard, for we have a long journey yet before us.

Treebeard: Maybe there are some that would be pleased to pass through Fangorn forest and so shorten their road home?

Elrond: The Lord Aragorn returns to Minas Tirith, and most of the rest of our Company go with me to Rivendell. But our friend here, Legolas the Elf, may be pleased to accept this invitation?

Legolas: That is so, Master Elrond. Come, Gimli! By Fangorn's leave, will visit the deep places of the Entwood and see such trees as are nowhere else to be found in Middle-earth, and thus journey to our own lands in Mirkwood and beyond.

Gimli: I will come with you, for the sake of our friendship, which I hold dear.

Aragorn: Here then at last comes the ending of the Fellowship of the Ring. Yet I hope ere long you will return to my land with the help you promised.

Gimli: We will come, if our lords allow it. Legolas to tend your gardens, and I to instruct your stone-masons.

Legolas: When we come, my lord, your fair land shall be blessed for a while. For a while: a month, a life, a hundred years of men.

Aragorn: I will look for that day, and that blessing, my friends!

Gimli: Well, farewell, my hobbits! You should come safe to your own homes now, and I shall not be kept awake for fear of your peril.

Pippin: Farewell, Gimli.

Sam: Good-bye, Gimli.

Merry: Farewell, Legolas.

Legolas: Farewell! We will send word when we may, and some of us may yet meet at times. But I fear that we shall not all be gathered together again.

[Their voices have faded into the distance]

Legolas and Gimli: Namárië! Nai hiruvalyë Valimar! Nai elyë hiruva! Namárië!

Gandalf: Safe journey, Master Dwarf and Master Elf!

Legolas: Namárië!

The Company: Namárië!

Gandalf: Farewell.

Treebeard: I too must bid you now farewell. I do not think that we shall meet again. For the world is changing: I feel it in the water, I feel it in the earth, and I - I smell it in the air.

Elrond: Maybe not in Middle-earth, Fangorn. But when the lands that lie under the wave are lifted up again, then in the willow-meads of Tasarinan we may meet in the Spring.

Treebeard: Ah, the sight and and the smell of the Spring in Nan-tasarion. Farewell, Masters! And farewell, my merry little folk.

Merry: Good-bye, Treebeard.

Treebeard: You are a hasty people, you hobbit-children. The laughing-folk, the little-people.

Pippin: Half-grown hobbits, the hole-dwellers.

Treebeard: Yet you have already grown since I saw you last.

Pippin: It's those ent-draughts you gave us to drink, Treebeard.

Merry: You remember? You said you'd give us a drink that would keep us green and growing for a long, long while.

[Treebeard laughs]

Treebeard: So I did! By root and twig, so I did. Well now, Merry and Pippin, we must part.

Pippin: Good-bye, Treebeard.

Merry: Good-bye, Treebeard.

[Treebeard's voice slowly fades]

Treebeard: Hoom, hum. Hoom, hum, farewell, farewell! Boom, boom, rumboom, boorar, boom, boom, dahrar boom boom, dahrar boom.

Pippin: I wish we could have a seeing stone like the one that Saruman threw at us. Then we could see all our friends and speak to them from far away.

Aragorn: Only one now remains that you could use. For you would not wish to see what the stone of Minas Tirith would show you.

Pippin: No.

Aragorn: But the palantír of Orthanc the King will keep to see what is passing in his realm, and what his servants are doing. For do not forget, Peregrin Took, that you are a knight of Gondor, and I do not release you from your service. You are on leave now, but I may recall you.

Pippin: Yes, Aragorn.

Aragorn: But now our paths too must part. Farewell, Gandalf!

Gandalf: Farewell.

Aragorn: Elrond Halfelven, fare thee well.

Elrond: Farewell, Elfstone!

Aragorn: Good-bye, Meriadoc, brave squire of Théoden.

Merry: Good-bye, Aragorn.

Aragorn: Good-bye, Sam.

Sam: Sir.

Aragorn: I am glad I didn't turn out to be the play-acting spy you took me for at Bree.

Sam: Oh, Sir!

Aragorn: No...

[Aragorn hushes him]

Aragorn: It's alright, Sam. You were right to doubt the sinister Ranger with his strange tale. You are well-called Samwise.

Aragorn: Oh, Mr. Strider, Sir...

Aragorn: And lastly, farewell Frodo, Ring-bearer. Much has chanced since you put your foot - or should I say your finger...

[They laugh]

Aragorn: it at the Prancing Pony.

Frodo: Ah. I am pleased those words came true about you, Renewed shall be Blade that was Broken, the Crownless again shall be King.

Aragorn: You helped them come true, Frodo. And remember, dear friends of the Shire, that my realm lies also in the North, and I shall come there one day. Now, farewell!

Narrator: And with that, they parted, and it was then the time of sunset; and when after a while they turned and looked back, they saw the King of the West sitting upon his horse; and the falling sun shone upon him, and the white mantle of Aragorn was turned to a flame. Then Aragorn took the green Elfstone and held it up, and there came a green fire from his hand.

- - - - -

Narrator: So the dwindling Company went on, until at last, one evening, they came over the high moors to the brink of the deep valley of Rivendell, and saw, far below, the lamps shining in Elrond's house. And they went down and crossed the bridge, and came to the doors, and all the house was filled with light and song for joy at Elrond's homecoming.

[Elves sings in the background:

A Elbereth! A Gilthoniel!
Silivren penna míriel!
A Elbereth! A Gilthoniel!
Silivren penna míriel!
A Elbereth! A Gilthoniel!]

Sam: Well, Mr. Frodo, we've been far and seen a deal, and yet I don't think we've found a better place than this. There's something of everything here: the Shire and the Golden Wood and Gondor and kings' houses and inns and meadows and mountains all mixed.

[Frodo laughs quietly]

Frodo: Yes, Sam, yes, there is something of everything, except the Sea.

- - - - -

Narrator: First of all, before they eaten or washed or even shed their cloaks, the hobbits went in search of Bilbo. They found him all alone in his little room.

[A fire crackles]

Bilbo: Ah, hello!

[Bilbo and Frodo laugh]

Bilbo: So you have come back.

[They laugh]

Bilbo: And tomorrow's my birthday.

Frodo: Yes, Bilbo, I know!

[Bilbo laughs]

Frodo: So I wanted to be back in time.

Bilbo: How clever of you! Do you know I shall a hundred and -

Bilbo and Frodo: twenty-nine!

[Bilbo laughs]

Frodo: Yes.

Bilbo: And in one more year, if I am spared, I shall equal the Old Took.

Frodo: Yes!

Bilbo: I should like to beat him.

Pippin: You will.

Bilbo: We shall see.

Frodo: Bilbo, why... why didn't you come to Aragorn and Arwen's wedding?

Bilbo: Oh, I was invited, of course, and I've waited for it long enough. But somehow, when it came to it, I found I had so much to do here. And packing is such a bother! But now then, you've all been having a - a lot of adventures, by all accounts!

Pippin: We have! We went through the Dwarf-mines of Moria...

[Bilbo laughs]

Pippin: ...and we met the Ents of Fangorn, and there were battles with terrible Orcs, and Merry here was fearfully brave, and was made an esquire to King Théoden of Rohan!

Bilbo: Oh, how splendid!

Merry: And young Pippin is now a knight of Gondor.

Frodo: Yes!

Bilbo: How wonderful!

[He laughs]

Sam: And I saw the Elves of Lothlórien, Mr. Bilbo, just like you used to tell me tales about.

Bilbo: Did you now, Sam? Well, well!

Pippin: Yes, and Sam rescued Frodo from Orcs and killed a huge spider, and then they both went all alone into Mordor with the Ring.

Bilbo: Well, well. Fancy my old Ring causing such a disturbance.

[He laughs]

Frodo: Well, it's gone now, Bilbo.

Bilbo: Yes. Well, I don't suppose I would have had the strength or luck to deal with it. The trouble was, it grew, but I didn't. Don't adventures ever have an end? I wondered, when you went away. And it seems they do. But now, then! I shall have to make a note or two of these things that you've been doing.

[Frodo and Bilbo laugh]

- - - - -

Narrator: When nearly a fortnight had passed, Frodo looked out of his window and saw that there had been a frost in the night, and the cobwebs were like white nets. Then, suddenly, he knew that he must go.

Elrond: Well, Frodo, you feel then that it is time for you to depart from us.

Frodo: Yes, Elrond. I want to see my home again.

Elrond: As so you should. Rivendell is the Last Homely House east of the Sea, but I suspect not now so homely as it was when the desperate matter of the Ring was put in hand.

Frodo: And what will happen now to the three rings of the Elf-lords?

Elrond: It is as I said at our Counsil, now so long ago.

Frodo: Hm...

Elrond: The Three will fail and many fair things will fade and be forgotten.

Frodo: You bear one of the Three, and the Lady Galadriel bears another. But where is the third?

Elrond: Ask not now, Frodo. For it will be revealed to you, ere long. But come! You must gather your friends and say farewell to Bilbo.

Frodo: Yes.

- - - - -

[A fire crackles and Bilbo's breath is heavy in sleep]

Elrond: Little master. Bilbo?

[Bilbo wakes]

Elrond: A time for parting is upon us, little master.

Frodo: Good-bye, Bilbo. I must go back to the Shire.

Bilbo: Well, good-bye, my boy! If you must go, you must. I'm sorry. I shall miss you. It's nice just to know that you're about the place. Oh, you'd better take these books of mine with you.

Frodo: Oh...

[Pages turn]

Frodo: Translations from the Elvish, by B.B.

[He and Bilbo laugh]

Bilbo: I hope you'll be able to read them. My handwriting's rather spidery, I'm afraid.

Frodo: Thank you, Bilbo!

[Gold jingles in a pouch]

Bilbo: Here's a little bag of gold for you, Sam.

Sam: Oh! But Mr. Bilbo, sir. I -

Bilbo: No, no, no, now. You take it Sam, take it. May come in useful, if you think of getting married.

Sam: Oh, Mr. Bilbo...

Bilbo: And as for you young fellows, Merry and Pippin, I've not much to give you except good advice. Don't let your heads get too big for your hats!

[They laugh]

Bilbo: Oh, and one other thing! I want you to have these.

[He hands the pipes to Merry and Pippin]

Merry: Oh, thank you.

Pippin: Thank you.

Merry: Oh, what beautiful pipes!

Bilbo: Yes. They're pretty, aren't they? They're bound with silver, and the mouth-pieces are pearl. Think of me when you smoke them!

Merry: I shall.

Bilbo: The Elves made them for me, but I... I don't smoke now.

[His voice slowly trails away as sleep takes him. Frodo clears his throat, and Bilbo wakes again]

Bilbo: Ah! Now then.

[He laughs]

Bilbo: Now, where were we? Eh, yes, of course! Giving, giving presents. Yes - which reminds me: what's become of my Ring, Frodo, that you took away? Hm?

Frodo: I - I... I've lost it, Bilbo dear. I got rid of it, you know.

Bilbo: Yes. And what a pity! I would liked to have seen it again. Ah - oh, dear. How silly of me! That's what you went for, wasn't it: to get rid of it, hm?

Frodo: Yes, Bilbo.

Bilbo: The thing is, you see, it's all - ah, it's all rather confusing. Still, I think when all's said and done, perhaps it's more comfortable to sit here, and listen to all you young fellows' adventures, than having to be part of them.

[He sighs and falls asleep]

Sam: I don't think Mr. Bilbo's done much writing while we've been away. I shouldn't think he'll ever write our story now.

Bilbo: I heard that, Sam Gamgee!

Sam: Oh, oh...

Bilbo: You see, the trouble is: I'm getting so sleepy, and when I have time to write, I only really like writing poetry. I wonder, Frodo, my dear fellow...

Frodo: Yes, Bilbo?

Bilbo: ...if - if you would collect all my notes and papers, and my diary too, and take them with you, if you will.

Frodo: Yes, of course.

Bilbo: You see, I haven't much time for the selection and arrangement and all that. So get Sam to help you, and when you've knocked things into shape, come back, and I'll run over it, and I won't be too critical.

Frodo: Yes, Bilbo, I'll do it! And of course I'll - I'll come back soon: it won't be dangerous any more. Not now there's a real king.

Bilbo: Thank you. Thank you, my dear fellow. That really is... a very great... relief...

[His voice trails off again. His breathing becomes slow and steady]

Elrond: Frodo?

Frodo: Yes, Elrond?

Elrond: I think, Frodo, that maybe you will not need to come back, unless you come back very soon.

Frodo: Why?

Elrond: About this time of the year, when the leaves are gold before they fall, look for Bilbo in the woods of the Shire. I shall be with him.

- - - - -

Narrator: The next day, Gandalf and the hobbits took their leave of Elrond and his household, and turned their faces once more towards the Shire.

[A bird sings]

Pippin: How far are you going with us, Gandalf?

Gandalf: At least as far as Bree. I want to see old Barliman Butterbur.

Sam: This is the ford where we had all that trouble with those Riders, isn't it, Gandalf?

Gandalf: Yes, Sam, and it was almost a year ago.

Merry: Are you all right, Frodo?

Sam: What's the matter, Mr. Frodo?

Frodo: I...

Gandalf: Are you in pain, Frodo?

Frodo: Well, yes I am. It's my shoulder. The wound aches...

Gandalf: Ah.

Frodo: ...and the memory of darkness is heavy upon me.

Gandalf: Alas! There are some wounds that cannot be wholly cured.

Frodo: I fear it may be so with mine. Oh, there is no real going back. Though I may come to the Shire, it will... it will not seem the same; for I shall not be the same. I am wounded with knife, sting, and tooth, and a long burden. Where shall I find rest?

- - - - -

Narrator: So it was that near the end of a wild and wet evening in the last days of October, with the rain blowing in their faces from the low clouds that hurried through the darkening sky, the five travellers came to the Prancing Pony, at Bree.

[A cold wind blows]

Frodo: Oh, ring the bell, Sam!

Sam: Oh! Right on, Mr. Frodo.

[He rings the door-bell]

Frodo: Come on...

[They shiver. The door opens]

Nob: Who... who is it?

[Sam laughs]

Sam: It's us, Nob! We've come back.

Nob: Well, bless my soul! Mr. Butterbur! Master! They've come back!

Butterbur: Oh, have they? Well, I'll learn 'em. Now see here you...! Oh!

[The group laughs]

Butterbur: Well, I never! Nob, you woolly-pated ninny! Can't you give old friends their names?

Frodo: Hello, Mr. Butterbur!

Sam: Hello!

Butterbur: Well, well, well. And where have you come from? I never expected to see any of you folk again, and that's a fact: going off into the Wild with that Strider, and all those Black Riders about. But I'm right glad to see you, and none more than Gandalf.

[Gandalf laughs]

Butterbur: Well... Come in, come in! The same rooms as before? They're free. Well, when I see free, I mean they're empty, you know.

[They laugh]

Butterbur: Indeed most rooms are empty these days. Well, come in, come in! Make yourselves at home.

- - - - -

[Dishes clank]

Butterbur: Excuse me, Mr. Underhill, but -

Frodo: Um...

Butterbur: Oh, there I go! I mean Mr. Baggins, and all. I - I won't make so bold as to suggest you should come to the common room tonight; you'll be tired. But if you could spare me an half an hour before you go to your beds, I'd dearly like to have some talk with you, you know: quiet-like by yourselves.

Gandalf: That's just what we should like, too. Come, sit! Tell us how things are in Bree.

Butterbur: Ah, well, thank you.

[He sighs]

Butterbur: Well, now. Things in Bree are far from well, Gandalf.

Gandalf: Ah?

Butterbur: Business is down-right bad. No one comes nigh Bree now from Outside. And the inside folk, I mean - they stay at home mostly and keep their doors barred.

Merry: Well, why, Mr. Butterbur?

Butterbur: Well, there was trouble right here in Bree, that's what happened, Mr. Brandybuck. We had a real set-to, and there were some folk killed. Killed dead! If you'll believe me.

Pippin: And we thought we'd left all the trouble behind us.

Butterbur: Ah, well, that you haven't, Master, more's the pity. You see, we're not used to such trouble, and the Rangers have all gone away, folk tell me.

Gandalf: Ah!

Butterbur: I don't think we rightly understood till now what they did for us. Now there's - well, there's dark shapes in the woods. Oh, dreadful things that make the blood run cold to think of. It's all been very disturbing.

Gandalf: I expect it has. Nearly all lands have been disturbed these days, very disturbed. But cheer up, Barliman!

Butterbur: Why?

Gandalf: The Rangers have returned.

Butterbur: No!

Gandalf: And there is a king again. He'll soon be turning his mind this way.

Butterbur: Well, that sounds more hopefull, I'll allow. So long as he lets Bree alone.

Gandalf: He will. He knows it and loves it.

Butterbur: Oh, does he now? Though I'm sure I don't know why he should, sitting in his big chair up in his great castle, hundreds of miles away. And drinking out of a golden cup, I shouldn't wonder. What's The Pony to him, or mugs o' beer? Not but what my beer's good, mind.

Sam: Ah! Well, that's just what he says about it.

Butterbur: What? He... he says?

Sam: Of course he does. It's Strider!

[Pippin laughs]

Sam: The chief of the Rangers.

Butterbur: Strider! Him... him with a - what, with a crown and all and a golden cup! Well, well, what are we coming to?

Gandalf: Better times for Bree, at any rate.

Butterbur: Well, I hope so, I'm sure.

[He laughs]

Butterbur: Well, this has been the nicest chat I've had in a month of Monday's. But I've no doubt you'll - you'll be glad to have your beds now, eh? Strider a king? Well, well! King Strider. Hey, Nob! Nob, you slowcoach! Nob... oh, now. Now... what does that remind me of? Now...

Merry: Not another letter you've forgotten, eh, Mr. Butterbur?

Butterbur: Oh, now, now, Mr. Brandybuck, don't go reminding me of that! But there, you've broken my thought. Now - eh, what was I talking about? There was Nob, then there was, eh... slowcoach. Tha-tha-tha... that's it! That's it! I've something that belongs to you. That pony of Bill Ferny's. Well, it's here.

Sam: What! My Bill?

Butterbur: Yes.

Frodo: Sam!

Butterbur: He come back all of itself, it did. But where it had been to! Oh dear, well, you know better than me. It was as shaggy as an old dog, and as lean as a clothes-rail, but he was alive. And Nob's been looking after him.

Sam: Well, I was born lucky, whatever my gaffer may say. Well, there's another wish come true! Where is he? Well, there's no bed for me until I've seen him.

- - - - -

Frodo: Well, good-bye, Mr. Butterbur. I'm glad to have stayed at the Prancing Pony in what I hope are happier times.

Butterbur: Well, good-bye, and - and good luck on your road, and... and good luck be your homecoming. Oh, by the way. You'll find that all's not well in the Shire neither.

Sam: What?

Butterbur: If what we hear is true! Funny goings on, they say. Oh, I should have warned you before, but I forgot.

Gandalf: Barliman!

Butterbur: Well, you see, the trouble is: one thing drives out another, as it were, and I was full of my own troubles, but - but, if I may make so bold, you've come back changed from your travels, and you look now like folk as can deal with troubles out of hand. I don't doubt you'll soon set all to rights. Ah, good luck to you!

Frodo: Thank you, Mr. Butterbur.

Butterbur: And the oftener you come back, the better I'll be pleased.

Gandalf: Farewell for now, Barliman.

Butterbur: Good-bye, Masters.

Merry: Good-bye, Mr. Butterbur.

Pippin: Good-bye, Nob!

Nob: Good-bye, sirs!

Sam: Oh, Nob! Thank you for looking after Bill for me.

Nob: Oh, that's all right, Sam.

[Bill neighs]

Nob: Good-bye.

Butterbur: Nob!

[Nob whimpers and Sam laughs]

Sam: Good-bye!

[The Prancing Pony's door closes. Horses begin to walk]

Frodo: I wonder what old Barliman was hinting at.

Sam: I can guess some of it. What I saw in the Lady Galadriel's Mirror: trees cut down and all, and my old gaffer turned out of Bagshot Row. I ought to have hurried back quicker.

Merry: Never-mind! We've got Gandalf with us...

Gandalf: Ah.

Merry: things will soon be cleared up.

Gandalf: I am with you at present, but soon I shall not be.

Merry: What?

Sam: G - Gandalf!

Gandalf: I am not coming to the Shire. You must settle its affairs yourselves; that's what you've been trained for.

Pippin: I don't know what you mean, Gandalf.

[Gandalf sighs]

Gandalf: Do you not yet understand, Peregrin Took?

Pippin: No.

Gandalf: My time is over. It's no longer my task to set things to rights, nor to help folks to do so. And as for you, my dear friends, you will need no help. You're grown up now. Grown very high; among the great you are, and I no longer have any fear at all for any of you.

- - - - -

Narrator: They set off following the East Road, and, in a little while, they came to a point where Gandalf reigned Shadowfax to a halt.

[Horse hooves lightly stamp the earth]

Gandalf: Well, you may find more trouble ahead of you than you think. But you'll manage all right. Good-bye, dear friends. But not for the last time. Not yet. Good-bye!

Pippin and Merry: Good-bye.

Gandalf: On, Shadowfax!

[He rides away]

Frodo: Good-bye, Gandalf.

[Merry sighs]

Merry: Well, here we are, just the four of us that started out together.

Frodo: Yes.

Merry: We've left all the rest behind, one after another. It seems almost like a dream that has slowly faded.

Frodo: Not to me. To me it feels more like falling asleep again.

- - - - -

Narrator: Their return to Hobbiton was one of the saddest hours in their lives. As they drew near, they saw a new mill: a great ugly brick building, straddling the stream, which it fouled with a steaming and stinking overflow. But as they crossed the Bridge and looked up the Hill, they were even more horrified.

[The loud factory-sounds fill the air]

Sam: It's worse, even, than what I saw in Galadriel's Mirror.

Frodo: The chestnuts have gone!

Sam: Oh!

Pippin: And look at Bagshot Row! It's a gravel quarry!

Sam: Oh no - the Party Tree, where Mr. Bilbo made his farewell speech! Look! They've cut it down.

[Ted Sandyman begins to laugh]

Sandyman: Don't you like it, Sam? No, but then, you always was soft!

Sam: Sandyman!

Sandyman: Aye, that's right, lad. Ted Sandyman. Do you like my new mill?

Sam: No, I do not!

[Sandyman laughs]

Sam: See here, Sandyman. I've a score to pay in this village, and don't you make it any larger with your jeering, or you'll foot a bill too long for your purse.

Sandyman: Things have changed here. Sharkey's the Boss at Bag End, and he runs the Shire.

Sam: Huh?

Sandyman: He'll soon deal with the likes of you.

Merry: But I think it's about time that someone dealt with this Sharkey.

Sandyman: Oh, and how are you going to do that? Four of you against Sharkey! He's got the means to deal with you as you'll see, soon enough.

Pippin: Oh, Merry! What's happening?

Merry: We'll find out.

[A horn blows]

Merry: Hobbits of the Shire! The Horn of Rohan calls you!

[Merry blows his horn again. Hobbits, talking amongst themselves, approach]

Merry: Come out, hobbits of the Shire! Frodo Baggins has returned!

[The hobbits cry out in amazement]

Sandyman: You wait until the Boss hears about this.

Sam: Well, run and tell him if you dare, Sandyman!

Hobbit: They're back. Mr. Baggins and his friends are back!

Hobbit: Aye, and in the nick of time, too.

Frodo: Hello again, my dear hobbits.

Mr. Cotton: My, but it's good to see you all again.

Frodo: And you, Mr. Cotton!

Mr. Cotton: And young Sam's with you, I see. There you are, Rose! I said he'd come back!

Rose: Hello, Sam!

Sam: H... hello, Rose. How are you?

Rose: Oh, fine, thank you, Sam. And you?

Gaffer: Been mixing in strange company, by the looks of him, Rose.

Sam: Dad! Hello, dad!

Gaffer: What's become of your weskit, lad? I don't hold with wearing inronmongery, whether it wears well or no.

Sam: Dad...

Frodo: Hello, Mr. Gamgee! Glad to see you.

Gaffer: Aye, and glad indeed I am to see you, safe back. But you didn't ought to have sold Bag End, as I always said. That's what started all this mischief. Diggin' up Bagshot Row, throwing me out of me house and home, and ruinin' my taters!

Frodo: I'm sorry, Mr. Gamgee. But now I've come back. I'll do my best to make amends.

Gaffer: Ah, can't say fairer than that. And I hope my Sam's behaved himself, given satisfaction.

Sam: Dad.

Frodo: Perfect satisfaction. Indeed, if you will believe it, he's now one of the most famous people in all the lands.

Rose: Why, Sam!

Sam: Mr. Frodo, please, sir.

Pippin: But - but what has been going on here?

Mr. Cotton: Oh, much, Mr. Took. That there Lotho Sackville-Baggins made himself Chief and started doing whatever he liked.

Hobbit: Let all those ruffians into the Shire, he did.

Hobbit: Aye, and that's when things really went from bad to worse.

Mr. Cotton: Ah, but since Sharkey's come, it's been plain ruination.

Frodo: Who is this Sharkey?

Mr. Cotton: Biggest ruffian of the lot.

Hobbit: Never seen him, we ain't.

Gaffer: Up at Bag End, he is. He's the Chief now.

Hobbit: Look out, look out! Here come his men now!

[The hobbits cry out in fear]

Merry: No! Keep together, all of you! We can withstand them.

Frodo: Now, no killing! There must be no killing!

[The ruffians march up to the hobbits]

Ruffian: What are you lot doing?

Sam: This is not your country. And you're not wanted.

[The ruffians laugh]

Ruffian: Take 'em, lads!

[The hobbits moan in fright]

Merry: Don't move, any one of you.

Ruffian: Who says?

Pippin: We say so. Your day is over. The Dark Tower has fallen, there is a King in Gondor, and this is Mr. Frodo Baggins, the King's friend.

[The ruffian spits]

Ruffian: That's for your King. Get 'em!

[Weapons are drawn]

Merry: Lay one finger on anyone, and you will be shot.

Ruffian: Hurt 'em lads! Let 'em have it!

[Hobbits and ruffians scream as they collide. Weapons clash]

Merry: Meriadoc for the Shire!

[The Horn of Rohan fills the air]

Narrator: It was not a long fight, but when it was over, many ruffians, and some hobbits lay dead.

- - - - -

Narrator: The four companions continued to Bag End in search of Sharkey.

[A group of hobbits talk amongst themselves in the distant background]

Merry: There's no sign of any Boss here.

Pippin: All we've found is rats and mice.

Merry: Perhaps we should search those sheds, outside. I'm sure we could get some of those hobbits to help us.

Sam: Well, this is worse than Mordor! It's much worse, in a way. It comes home to you, because it is home and you remember it before it was all ruined.

Frodo: Yes. This is Mordor.

[Footsteps resonate behind them. Hobbits gasp]

Saruman: Oh, no. Not Mordor.

[Pippin gasps]

Pippin: Saruman!

Frodo: Sharkey!

Saruman: So you have heard my other name, have you? All my people used to call me that in Isengard, I believe. A sign of affection, possibly. I have looked forward to meeting you, Mr. Baggins. But evidently you did not expect to see me here.

Frodo: No, I did not. But I might have guess you were yet capable of a little mischief in a mean way.

Saruman: Quite capable, and more than a little. I have done much that you will find it hard to mend or undo in your lives. And it will be pleasant to think of that.

Frodo: Well, if that's what you pleasure in, I pity you. But it will be a pleasure of memory only, I fear. Go at once and never return!

Saruman: I will if you will ask those little rats crowding the doorway to this hole to let me pass.

Sam: Well, you ask 'em, Saruman.

[Hobbits scream: "Don't let him go!" "Kill him!"]

Saruman: Kill him! Kill him! Do not think that when I lost all my goods I lost all my power! Whoever strikes me shall be accursed.

[Hobbits gasp]

Saruman: And if my blood stains the Shire, it shall wither and never again be healed.

[They talk desperately amongst themselves in fear]

Frodo: Do not - do not believe him, hobbits! He has lost all power, save his voice. And that can still daunt you and decieve you, if you let it. But I will not have him slain. It is useless to meet revenge with revenge: it will heal nothing. Go, Saruman, by the speediest way possible!

[Saruman's footsteps leave Bag End]

Sam: Let's make sure he goes, Mr. Frodo.

Frodo: Yes, Sam.

[The surrounding hobbits talk in wonder]

Saruman: Worm! Worm!

Wormtongue: Coming, master.

Saruman: To the road again, Worm! These fine fellows and lordlings are turning us adrift again. Come along! Here's one last little remembrance for you, Mr. Baggins!

[Saruman stabs Frodo. The knife falls to the ground and the Hobbits gasp. Sam draw his sword]

Sam: So, you try and stab my master, would you, Saruman? Well, you've tried your last trick!

Frodo: No, Sam! No. Do not kill him even now. For he has not hurt me, you see? His blade failed against my Dwarf-mail. And in any case I do not wish him to be slain in this evil mood. He was great once, of a noble kind that we should not dare to raise our hands against.

Saruman: You are wise, and cruel, Halfling. You have robbed my revenge of sweetness, and now I must go hence in bitterness, in debt to your mercy. I hate it and you! But do not expect me to wish you health and long life. You will have neither. That is not my doing. I merely foretell. Come, Worm! Come!

[Wormtongue hesitates, softly moaning to himself]

Frodo: Wormtongue! You do not need to follow him. You can have rest and food here a while, until you are stronger and can go on your way.

Saruman: Come on, Worm!

Wormtongue: Ah... ah...

Frodo: Let him go, Wormtongue. I know of no evil that you have done to me.

Saruman: No evil? Oh no! Didn't you wonder, Mr. Baggins, what had become of your cousin, Lotho?

[Frodo catches his breath]

Saruman: You know, don't you, Worm? Will you tell them?

Wormtongue: No, no!

Saruman: Then I will. Worm killed Lotho, poor little fellow, nice little Lotho. Didn't you, Worm? Stabbed him in his sleep, I believe. Buried him, I hope; though Worm has been very hungry lately. Worm is not really nice. You had better leave him to me.

Wormtongue: You told me to; you told me to do it!

Saruman: You do what Sharkey says, always, don't you, Worm? Well, now he says: follow!

[Wormtongue hisses and Saruman cries out]

Saruman: Let go of me, Worm!

Wormtongue: The Worm has turned, Saruman. Die! Die!

[Saruman screams are muted as he is choked and dies. A wind rises]

Pippin: Look at Saruman's body! There's a grey mist gathering about it.

Merry: Something ghastly is happening to him. Look at his face!

[Wormtongue laughs]

Merry: It's shriveled to rags of skin upon a hideous skull.

Wormtongue: No more beatings now, Saruman!

[He laughs]

Wormtongue: Poor old Gríma's free of him at last!

[He laughs]

Merry: Don't let him get away!

Frodo: No more killing!

[An arrow hits Wormtongue, who screams]

Sam: Oh! And that's an end to that. And it's a nasty end for both of them, and I wish I needn't have seen it; but it's good riddance.

Merry: And the very last end of the War, I hope.

Frodo: Yes, I hope so, too. The very last stroke. Oh, but to think that it should fall here, at the very door of Bag End! Among all my hopes and fears I never expected that.

Sam: Well, I shan't call it the end, till we've cleared up the mess. And that'll take a lot of time and work.

[Frodo sighs]

Sam: Come on!

- - - - -

Narrator: It took less time than Sam had feared. One of the first things done in Hobbiton was the clearing of the Hill and Bag End, and the restoration of Bagshot Row. The Gaffer was reinstalled in number 3.

Gaffer: Well, it's an ill-wind as blows nobody no good, as I always say. And all's well as ends better.

Merry: We should give the place a new name. What about Battle Gardens?

Gaffer: Oh, Elves and Dragons, Mr. Merry! It don't need to be called nothing fancy. Simply call it New Row.

Frodo: Very sensible and Hobbit-like, Mr. Gamgee.

Pippin: Well, as far as I'm concerned, it will only ever have one name.

Frodo: Oh? What's that, Pippin?

Pippin: Sharkey's End.

[They laugh and groan]

Frodo: Well, now things really are beginning to get back to normal!

[Sam laughs]

Gaffer: Except for the trees, Mr. Frodo. They're a grevious loss.

Sam: Aye, Gaffer's right. To think that it will only be my great-grandchildren who'll see the Shire as it ought -

[He gasps]

Sam: Why, you ninnyhammer, Sam Gamgee!

Frodo: What is it, Sam?

Sam: The box that Lady Galadriel gave me! Why didn't I think of it before? And me carried it all the way from Lothlórien to here.

Frodo: I wondered when you'd remember it, Sam.

Pippin: Well, let's have a look at it.

[Sam rummages]

Sam: Hang on. Here we are!

Frodo: Well? Open it up, Sam!

[Sam opens it]

Gaffer: What's inside, Sam?

[Sam looks in wonder]

Sam: It's dust. Soft, fine, grey dust, and a... a seed. It's like a small nut with a silver shale. See? But - but what am I going to do with it?

Frodo: Use all the wits and knowledge you have of your own, Sam, and then use the gift to help your work and better it. And use it sparingly. There is not much here, and I expect every grain has a value.

- - - - -

Narrator: So Sam planted saplings in all the places where specially beautiful or beloved trees had been destroyed, and he put a grain of the precious dust in the soil at the root of each. And at the end, he found that he still had a little of the dust left; so he went to the Three-farthing Stone, which is as near the centre of the Shire as no matter, and cast it in the air with a blessing. The little silver nut he planted in the Party Field where the tree had once stood under which old Bilbo Baggins had made his farewell speech to the hobbits of the Shire. And there, in Spring, a beautiful, young sapling leapt up. It had silver bark and long leaves. It was a mallorn tree, like those which grew in the Golden Wood east of the Mountains.

Frodo: Well, Sam. It must be Spring in Lothlórien. The mallorn is in bloom.

Sam: Yes, Mr. Frodo! Isn't it beautiful? And more so because it reminds me of the Lady Galadriel and the fair folk of Lórien.

Frodo: It will be the wonder of the neighbourhood, Sam! You mark my words. People will come from far and wide to see it. The only mallorn west of the Mountains and east of the Sea. Sam!

Sam: Sir?

Frodo: Sam, I've been thinking. Why don't you move into Bag End with me, hm? Now - I mean, now it's all straightened out. It's... it's far too big a place for a Hobbit on his own. And a lonely place too, now Merry and Pippin have moved back to Buckland.

[Sam stutters]

Sam: Well, it's very kind of you, Mr. Frodo! But I... I don't know as I ought to.

Frodo: Oh, eh - there's no need to come, yet, if you don't want to, but - but well, you... you can't go on lodging with the Cottons for ever. And - and if you came here, you wouldn't need to worry about the Gaffer, because he'd be close at hand.

Sam: Well, it's - it's not that, Mr. Frodo.

Frodo: Well, what is it, Sam?

Sam: It's Rosie, Mr. Frodo.

Frodo: Ah.

Sam: It seems she didn't like my going abroad at all. But as I hadn't spoken, she couldn't say so. And I didn't speak, because I had a job to do, first. But now I have spoken, and she says, well, you've wasted a year, so why wait longer? Wasted? I said. I wouldn't call it that! Still, I can see what she means. And, oh - Mr. Frodo! I feel torn in two.

Frodo: But my dear Sam, how easy!

Sam: Huh?

Frodo: Get married as soon as you can and move in and bring Rosie with you.

Sam: Oh!

Frodo: There's room enough in Bag End for as big a family as you could wish for!

Sam: Oh! Well, thank you very much, Mr. Frodo. I - I... that is, we... I'd, I'd like it very much!

Frodo: Good. That's settled, then!

Sam: Yeah.

- - - - -

Narrator: And so, it was settled. Sam Gamgee married Rose the following Spring and they came to live in Bag End. And if Sam though himself lucky, Frodo knew that he was more lucky, for there was not a Hobbit in the Shire that was looked after with such care as Frodo Baggins. But despite all Rosie's care, Sam grew concerned at the way in which Frodo seemed still to be bothered by a shadow of old troubles.

[Frodo moans in pain]

Frodo: The wound aches! And the memory of darkness is heavy upon me.

[Voices return in Frodo's memory:

Gandalf: Alas! There are some wounds that cannot be wholly cured.

Arwen: If your hurt grieve you still, and the memory of your burden is heavy, then you may pass into the West, until all your wounds and weariness are healed. ]

Frodo: Where shall I find rest? Where shall I find rest? Where? Where shall I find rest?

- - - - -

Narrator: The following March, Frodo was ill again. But with a great effort, he concealed it from Sam, who had other things on his mind.

[A baby cries. Frodo laughs]

Frodo: Congratulations, Sam!

Sam: Thank you, Mr. Frodo. Though this puts us in a bit of a fix, I'm afraid.

Frodo: Oh, why is that?

Sam: Well, Rose and me had settled to call him Frodo.

Frodo: Oh...

Sam: But it's not a him, it's a her!

[They laugh]

Sam: So, we don't know what to do.

Frodo: Well, what's wrong with the old customs? Choose a flower name like Rose.

Sam: Oh, it'd have to be a beautiful flower, because, you see, I think she's very beautiful, and is going to be beautifuller still.

[Frodo laughs]

Frodo: Well, Sam, what about elanor, the sun-star, hm? You remember the little golden flower in the grass of Lothlórien?

Sam: Yes! Oh, you're right again, Mr. Frodo! That's what I wanted.

- - - - -

Narrator: Little Elanor was nearly six months old, and it was Autumn, when Frodo called Sam and Rose into his study one day.

Frodo: Sam?

Sam: Yes, Mr. Frodo?

Frodo: Ah, well - rather, I should say, Rose?

Rose: Yes, Mr. Frodo?

Frodo: Ro - Rose, I wondered if you could possibly spare Sam so that we might go off together?

Rose: Well, Mr. Frodo...

Frodo: Oh, of course, it... it won't be a long journey! I know Sam can't be away for a long time now.

Sam: Well, not very easily, Mr. Frodo.

Frodo: No, no, of course not. But, never-mind. You can see me on my way. And I won't keep Sam away for more than, oh, a fort-night, Rose.

Rose: That's all right, Mr. Frodo! Sam's looked after you all this time. Of course he'll go with you!

Sam: Oh, thank you, Rose. Well, I wish I could go all the way to Rivendell with you, Mr. Frodo, but the only place I really want to be in is here. Oh, I'm that torn in two!

Frodo: Oh, poor Sam! It will feel like that, I'm afraid. But you will be healed. You were meant to be solid and whole.

[Elanor cries in the next room]

Frodo: And you will be.

Rose: Oh, that's Elanor, wanting her supper.

[Frodo and Sam laugh to themselves]

Rose: If you'll excuse me, Mr. Frodo?

Frodo: Of course, Rose. Oh, a - and thank you!

[Frodo is holding keys]

Frodo: Now, Sam. These are the keys to Bag End, and these are all my papers and writings.

[The stack is set down]

Sam: W - what's that big red book, Mr. Frodo?

Frodo: Well here! See for yourself.

[Frodo clears his throat while Sam turns pages]

Sam: The Downfall of the Lord of the Rings, and the Return of the King (as seen by the Little People; being the memoirs of Bilbo and Frodo of the...

Frodo and Sam: ...Shire...

Sam: ...supplemented by the accounts of their friends and the...

Frodo and Sam: ...learning of the Wise.)

[Sam thumbs through the book]

Sam: Why, you've nearly finished it, Mr. Frodo! Well, you - you've kept at it, I must say.

Frodo: I've not quite finished, Sam. Chapter eighty is still to be completed, and there will still be some blank leaves left. The last pages are for you.

Sam: Oh...

- - - - -

Narrator: On September the twenty-first they set out together. It was a fair golden morning, and Sam did not ask where he was going: he thought he could guess.

[Birds sing]

Sam: Oh, bless me! Well if - if that isn't the very tree we hid behind when the Black Rider first showed up, Mr. Frodo!

Frodo: Yes.

Sam: Well, I shan't forget this road, nary.

[Frodo laughs]

Frodo: Bilbo often used to say there was only one road.

Still round the corner there may wait
A new road or a secret gate;
And though I oft have passed them by,
A day will come at last when I
Shall take the hidden paths that run
West of the Moon, East of the Sun.

[Sam gasps]

Sam: Oh, Mr. Frodo! It's the Lady Galadriel!

[Voices drift from the distance]

Elrond and Galadriel:

A! Elbereth Gilthoniel!
silivren penna míriel
o menel aglar elenath,
Gilthoniel, A! Elbereth!
We still remember, we who dwell
In this fair land beneath the trees
The starlight on the Western Seas.

[A memory of Elrond's voice returns to Frodo:

Elrond: When the leaves are gold before the fall, look for Bilbo in the woods of the Shire. I shall be with him. ]

Sam: Oh my, Mr. Frodo.

Narrator: There rode Elrond and Galadriel. Elrond wore a mantle of grey and had a star upon his forehead, and a silver harp was in his hand, and upon his finger was a ring of gold with a great blue stone, Vilya, the mightiest of the Three Elven Rings. Galadriel sat on a white palfrey and was robed all in shimmering white, like clouds about the Moon. And on her finger was Nenya, the ring wrought of mithril, that bore a single white stone flickering like a frosty star. Riding slowly behind, on a small grey pony, and seeming to nod in his sleep, was Bilbo.

[Bilbo's pony approaches]

Elrond: Well-met, Ring-bearer, Frodo, son of Drogo. Greetings, Samwise Gamgee.

Galadriel: Well, Master Samwise. I hear and see that you have used my gift well. The Shire shall now be more than ever blessed and beloved.

Frodo: We greet you, fair people. And our own dear Bilbo!

Bilbo: Hullo, Frodo! Well, I passed the Old Took's age today! So that's settled.

Frodo: Yes.

Bilbo: Now I think I am quite ready to go on another journey. Are you coming?

Frodo: Yes, I am coming, Bilbo. The Ring-bearers should go together.

Sam: W - where are you going, master?

Frodo: Beyond the Sundering Seas, Sam.

Sam: Wh... and I can't come?

Frodo: No, Sam. Not yet anyway, not further than the Grey Havens. Though you too were a Ring-bearer, if only for a little while. Your time may come. Don't be too sad, Sam. You cannot always be torn in two. You will have to be one and whole, for many years. Oh, you have so much to enjoy and... and to be, and to do. Come now, ride with me!

- - - - -

Narrator: As they rode, it seemed to Frodo that he wandered long in a dream of music that turned into running water, and then suddenly, into a voice. It seemed to be the voice of Bilbo, chanting verses. His last song.


Day is ended, dim my eyes,
but journey long before me lies.
Farewell, friends! I hear the call.
The ship's beside the stony wall.
Foam is white and waves are grey;
beyond the sunset leads my way.
Foam is salt, the wind is free;
I hear the rising of the Sea.

[A sea-gull calls. The wind blows and the ocean bellows]

Gandalf: You are come to the Grey Havens. All is now ready. Your ship awaits. The Third Age of Middle-earth is over, and the days of the Rings are passed.

Frodo: You too wear a ring, Gandalf!

Gandalf: It is the Third Ring, Frodo. Narya the Red-stone, Narya the Great, the Ring of Fire. I too am a Ring-bearer, though I wear it openly only now.

[Ponies gallop towards them, sliding to a stop]

Merry: Wait for us!

Sam: Oh, Mr. Merry! Mr. Pippin!

Frodo: What are you fellows doing here?

Pippin: You tried to give us the slip once before and failed, Frodo Baggins.

Merry: And this time you have nearly succeeded, but you have failed again. It was not Sam, though, that gave you away this time, but Gandalf himself!

Gandalf: Yes, for it will be better for Sam to ride back three together than one alone. Well, here at last, dear friends, on the shores of the Sundering Sea comes the end of our fellowship in Middle-earth.

Bilbo: Bye, Sam lad! Take care of Bag End for us, won't you?

Sam: I will, Mr. Bilbo.

Bilbo: Good-bye, Merry and Pippin.

Pippin: Good-bye.

Merry: Good-bye.

Bilbo: You young lads really must stop growing, you know.

[They laugh]

Elrond: Farewell, good Masters Meriadoc and Peregrin. And you, Samwise, faithful friend of the Ring-bearer, farewell to you.

Galadriel: Namárië.

Frodo: Good-bye, Merry.

Merry: Take care, cousin.

Frodo: Yes. Pippin.

Pippin: Good-bye, Frodo.

Frodo: Sam.

Sam: Oh, oh, Mr. Frodo, I - I thought you were going to enjoy the Shire for years and years after all you've done.

Frodo: So I thought too, once. But I have been too deeply hurt, Sam. I tried to save the Shire, and it has been saved. But not for me. It must often be so, Sam, when things are in danger. Someone has to give them up, lose them, so that others may keep them. But you - you are my heir! All that I had and might have had I leave to you, Sam. You will be the most famous gardener in all history! And - and you will read things out of the Red Book and keep alive the memory of the Age that is gone, so that people will remember the Great Danger, and so love their beloved land all the more. And that will keep you as busy and as happy as anyone can be... as long as your part of the story goes on.

[Frodo and Sam begin to cry]

Frodo: Oh, Sam...

Sam: Mr. Frodo, Mr. Frodo! My dear, my dear...

Gandalf: Now, go in peace! I will not say: do not weep, for not all tears are an evil.

Narrator: Then the Ring-bearers went aboard the ship; the sails were drawn up, and the wind blew, and slowly the ship slipped away down the long grey firth; and the light of the glass of Galadriel that Frodo bore glimmered and was lost. And the ship went out into the High Sea and passed on into the West.

[A voice sings over the water:

Guided by the Lonely Star,
beyond the utmost harbour-bar,
I'll find the havens fair and free,
and beaches of the Starlit Sea.
Ship, my ship! I seek the West,
and fields and mountains ever blest.
Farewell to Middle-earth at last.
I see the Star above my mast! ]

- - - - -

[Elanor cries. The door of Bag End opens and closes again as Sam enters. Frodo's voice returns:

Frodo: Don't be too sad, Sam. You have so much to enjoy and to be, and to do. ]

Rose: Sam, my dear!

Sam: Well, I'm back.