Gandalf visits Minas Tirith and reads the scroll of Isildur
Event Type: General
Age: 3rd Age - The Stewards
... Gandalf visits Minas Tirith and reads the scroll of Isildur.
The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, The Tale of Years: The Third Age
[Said Gandalf,] '... I forsook the chase, and passed swiftly to Gondor. In former days the members of my order had been well received there.... Less welcome did the Lord Denethor show me then than of old, and grudgingly he permitted me to search among his hoarded scrolls and books.
'"If indeed you look only... for records of ancient days, and the beginnings of the City, read on!" he said. "For to me what was is less dark than what is to come, and that is my care. But unless you have more skill even than Saruman, who has studied here long, you will find naught that is not well known to me, who am master of the lore of this City."
'So said Denethor. And yet there lie in his hoards many records that few now can read, even of the lore-masters, for their scripts and tongues have become dark to later men. And... there lies in Minas Tirith still, unread, I guess, by any save Saruman and myself since the kings failed, a scroll that Isildur made himself....
'[This] scroll concerns the Ring, and thus wrote Isildur therein:
The Great Ring shall go now to be an heirloom of the North Kingdom; but records of it shall be left in Gondor, where also dwell the heirs of Elendil, lest a time come when the memory of these great matters shall grow dim.
'And after these words Isildur described the Ring, such as he found it.
It was hot when I first took it, hot as a glede,1 and my hand was scorched, so that I doubt if ever again I shall be free of the pain of it. Yet even as I write it is cooled, and it seemeth to shrink, though it loseth neither its beauty nor its shape. Already the writing upon it, which at first was as clear as red flame, fadeth and is now only barely to be read. It is fashioned in an elven-script of Eregion, for they have no letters in Mordor for such subtle work; but the language is unknown to me. I deem it to be a tongue of the Black Land, since it is foul and uncouth. What evil it saith I do not know; but I trace here a copy of it, lest it fade beyond recall.'When I read these words, my quest was ended. For the traced writing was indeed as Isildur guessed, in the tongue of Mordor and the servants of the Tower. And what was said therein was already known. For in the day that Sauron first put on the One, Celebrimbor, maker of the Three, was aware of him, and from afar he heard him speak these words, and so his evil purposes were revealed.
The Ring misseth, maybe, the heat of Sauron's hand, which was black and yet burned like fire, and so Gil-galad was destroyed; and maybe were the gold made hot again, the writing would be refreshed. But for my part I will risk no hurt to this thing: of all the works of Sauron the only fair. It is precious to me, though I buy it with great pain.
'At once I took my leave of Denethor....'
The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Book 2, Ch 2, The Council of Elrond
1 glede — An archaic word meaning 'live coal', commonly spelt gleed.
The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, by Wayne G Hammond and Christina Scull, Book 2, Ch 2, The Council of Elrond
Elena Tiriel 22Jul07, 11Jan11