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Timeline Event

Gollum nearly repents after seeing Frodo asleep

Event Type: General

Age: 3rd Age - Ring War

Date: March 12, 3019

Description:

Gollum visits Shelob, but seeing Frodo asleep nearly repents.

The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, The Tale of Years: The Third Age

'Mark my words: if ever we get to the pass, [Gollum] won't let us really take the precious thing over the border without making some kind of trouble.'

'We haven't got there yet,' said Frodo.

'No, but we'd better keep our eyes skinned till we do. If we're caught napping, Stinker will come out on top pretty quick. Not but what it would be safe for you to have a wink now, master. Safe, if you lay close to me.... I'd keep watch over you; and anyway, if you lay near, with my arm round you, no one could come pawing you without your Sam knowing it.'....

And so Gollum found them hours later, when he returned.... Sam sat propped against the stone,... his breathing heavy. In his lap lay Frodo's head, drowned deep in sleep.... Peace was in both their faces.

Gollum looked at them. A strange expression passed over his lean hungry face. The gleam faded from his eyes, and they went dim and grey, old and tired. A spasm of pain seemed to twist him, and he turned away, peering back up towards the pass, shaking his head, as if engaged in some interior debate. Then he came back, and slowly putting out a trembling hand, very cautiously he touched Frodo's knee — but almost the touch was a caress. For a fleeting moment, could one of the sleepers have seen him, they would have thought that they beheld an old weary hobbit, shrunken by the years that had carried him far beyond his time, beyond friends and kin, and the fields and streams of youth, an old starved pitiable thing.

But at that touch Frodo stirred and cried out softly in his sleep, and immediately Sam was wide awake. The first thing he saw was Gollum — 'pawing at master,' as he thought.

'Hey you!' he said roughly. 'What are you up to?'

'Nothing, nothing,' said Gollum softly. 'Nice Master!'

'I daresay,' said Sam. 'But where have you been to — sneaking off and sneaking back, you old villain?'

Gollum withdrew himself, and a green glint flickered under his heavy lids. Almost spider-like he looked now, crouched back on his bent limbs, with his protruding eyes. The fleeting moment had passed, beyond recall. 'Sneaking, sneaking!' he hissed. 'Hobbits always so polite, yes.... Sméagol brings them up secret ways that nobody else could find. Tired he is, thirsty he is, yes thirsty; and he guides them and he searches for paths, and they say sneak, sneak. Very nice friends, O yes my precious, very nice.'

Sam felt a bit remorseful, though not more trustful.... '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. But Mr. Frodo, he's that tired, I asked him to have a wink; and well, that's how it is. Sorry. But where have you been to?'

'Sneaking,' said Gollum, and the green glint did not leave his eyes.

The Two Towers, LoTR Book 4, Ch 8, The Stairs of Cirith Ungol

Contributors:
Elena Tiriel 11Mar07

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