Frodo, Sam, and Gollum pass the Bridge of Minas Morgul
Event Type: General
Age: 3rd Age - Ring War
Date: March 10, 3019
Gollum was... hissing with fear and impatience. 'We must go,' he said.... 'Make haste!'....
Frodo and Sam were plodding along with heavy hearts.... Frodo's head was bowed.... As soon as the great Cross-roads had been passed, the weight of [his burden], almost forgotten in Ithilien, had begun to grow once more. Now, feeling the way become steep before his feet, he looked wearily up; and then he saw it, even as Gollum had said that he would: the city of the Ringwraiths. He cowered against the stony bank....
[Some] way within the valley's arms high on a rocky seat upon the black knees of the Ephel Dúath, stood the walls and tower of Minas Morgul. All was dark about it..., but it was lit with light.... In the walls and tower windows showed, like countless black holes looking inward into emptiness; but the topmost course of the tower revolved slowly..., a huge ghostly head leering into the night. For a moment the three companions stood there, shrinking, staring up with unwilling eyes. Gollum was the first to recover. Again he pulled at their cloaks urgently, but he spoke no word. Almost he dragged them forward. Every step was reluctant, and time seemed to slow its pace....
So they came slowly to the white bridge. Here the road... passed over the stream in the midst of the valley, and went on,... towards the city's gate.... Wide flats lay on either bank, shadowy meads filled with pale white flowers.... [They] gave forth a faint sickening charnel-smell; an odour of rottenness filled the air.... The water flowing beneath was silent, and it steamed, but the vapour that rose from it, curling and twisting about the bridge, was deadly cold. Frodo felt his senses reeling and his mind darkening. Then suddenly, as if some force were at work other than his own will, he began to hurry, tottering forward, his groping hands held out.... Both Sam and Gollum ran after him. Sam caught his master in his arms, as he stumbled and almost fell, right on the threshold of the bridge.
'Not that way! No, not that way!' whispered Gollum..., and he cowered to the ground in terror.
'Hold up, Mr. Frodo!' muttered Sam in Frodo's ear. 'Come back! Not that way. Gollum says not, and for once I agree with him.'
Frodo passed his hand over his brow and wrenched his eyes away from the city on the hill. The luminous tower fascinated him, and he fought the desire that was on him to run up the gleaming road towards its gate. At last with an effort he turned back, and as he did so, he felt the Ring resisting him, dragging at the chain about his neck; and his eyes too, as he looked away, seemed for the moment to have been blinded....
Gollum, crawling on the ground..., was already vanishing into the gloom. Sam, supporting and guiding his stumbling master, followed after him.... Not far from the near bank of the stream there was a gap in the stone-wall beside the road. Through this they passed, and Sam saw that they were on a narrow path..., winding its crooked way up into the northern sides of the valley.
Along this path the hobbits trudged..., unable to see Gollum in front of them, except when he turned back to beckon them on. Then his eyes shone with a green-white light.... Of that deadly gleam and of the dark eyeholes Frodo and Sam were always conscious, ever glancing fearfully over their shoulders.... Slowly they laboured on. As they rose above the stench and vapours of the poisonous stream their breath became easier and their heads clearer; but now their limbs were deadly tired.... At last they could go no further without a halt.
Frodo stopped and sat down on a stone.... Ahead of them there was a bay in the valley-side, and round the head of this the path went on, no more than a wide ledge with a chasm on the right; across the sheer southward face of the mountain it crawled upwards....
'I must rest a while, Sam,' whispered Frodo. 'It's heavy on me, Sam lad,... I must rest before we venture on....' He pointed to the narrow way ahead.
'Sssh! ssh!' hissed Gollum hurrying back to them.... His fingers were on his lips and he shook his head urgently. Tugging at Frodo's sleeve, he pointed towards the path; but Frodo would not move....
Weariness and more than weariness oppressed [Frodo]; it seemed as if a heavy spell was laid on his mind and body. 'I must rest,' he muttered.
At this Gollum's fear and agitation became so great that he... [hissed] behind his hand.... 'Not rest here. Fools! Eyes can see us. When they come to the bridge they will see us. Come away! Climb, climb! Come!'
'Come, Mr. Frodo,' said Sam. 'He's right.... We can't stay here.'
'All right,' said Frodo in a remote voice, as of one speaking half asleep. 'I will try.' Wearily he got to his feet.
But it was too late.
The Two Towers, LoTR Book 4, Ch 8, The Stairs of Cirith Ungol
Elena Tiriel 8Mar08