Friday, December 4, 2015

Sam's Visions?

Recently I was looking through ROTK for one of my projects. I came across the scene on Mount Doom where Frodo and Sam encounter Gollum again. Gollum tries to take the ring from Frodo, and after Frodo fights Gollum off, Sam has a vision (sort of?):

Then suddenly, as before under the eaves of the Emyn Muil, Sam saw these two rivals with other vision. A crouching shape, scarcely more than the shadow of a living thing, a creature now wholly ruined and defeated, yet filled with a hideous lust and rage; and before it stood stern, untouchable now by pity, a figure robed in white, but at its breast it held a wheel of fire. Out of the fire there spoke a commanding voice. 

'Begone, and trouble me no more! If you touch me ever again, you shall be cast yourself into the Fire of Doom.'

The crouching shape backed away, terror in its blinking eyes, and yet at the same time insatiable desire. (ROTK 237)

The scene interested me because of our discussion on the Ring's binding power and how Gollum falls into the fires of Mount Doom. (I think Tulkas/Elijah posted about this a couple of weeks ago.) Gollum indeed does try to take the Ring from Frodo again, and he is cast into the Fire of Doom. I looked back to the scene at the Emyn Muil because I couldn't remember exactly what Sam saw here. This is the scene where Frodo is making Gollum swear by the Ring:

For a moment it appeared to Sam that his master had grown and Gollum had shrunk: a tall stern shadow, a mighty lord who hid his brightness in grey cloud, and at his feet a little whining dog. Yet the two were in some way akin and not alien: they could reach one another's minds. (TT 249-250)

I'm not really sure what to think about these visions. Why does Sam see them? Is it because he's the only other person there, or is there another reason? What is the significance? Are they visions from the past or are they showing a deeper, almost supernatural level of reality?

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