07 December 2016

'And I'll bear no weapon, fair or foul' (RK 6.iii.937-38)


'There, I'll be an orc no more,' he cried, 'and I'll bear no weapon, fair or foul. Let them take me, if they will!' 
Sam did likewise, and put aside his orc-gear; and he took out all the things in his pack. Somehow each of them had become dear to him, if only because he had borne them so far with so much toil. Hardest of all it was to part with his cooking-gear. Tears welled in his eyes at the thought of casting it away.
...
With that he carried all the gear away to one of the many gaping fissures that scored the land and threw them in. The clatter of his precious pans as they fell down into the dark was like a death-knell to his heart.
(RK 6.iii.937-38)

Three quick remarks:

1) As Frodo utters these words, the most powerful weapon in the history of Middle-earth is hanging around his neck. He's heard it described as such by Boromir (FR 2.ii.267) and also, though unwittingly, by Faramir (TT 4.v.671). He has already used it himself to daunt and threaten Gollum (TT 4.i.618; iii.640; vi.687).

2) The words I have omitted contain Frodo's famous 'no taste of food, no feel of water' remarks in which he states that all else but the Ring is fading away for him. So he is keenly and painfully aware of it at all times.

3) Sam is the only one who can throw his precious into the pit, just as he was the only one who could give up the Ring with little or no hesitation (RK 6.i.911-12).

No irony in Tolkien?

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