[Note: June 14, the day of the Second
Battle of Helm's
Deep, was also a pivotal day in a different plotline.]
Fire explodes from the center of his body.
at his limbs, consuming him. It burns through his
mind, bringing painful awareness after a long sleep.
Then, as quickly as it came, it is over.
He sees nothing, feels nothing but exhaustion.
Everything hurts. He is brittle. The tiniest gust of
wind might shatter him and blow him away.
Icy mists numb his mind, swirl around him,
coax him to
wake. Fragments of thought appear in his head, but it
is too hard to sort through them. He is too tired.
It hurts to think.
He does not know how long he lies there,
rise out of the haze that is his mind. Faint images
flicker before his eyes, but not long enough to
register. He becomes frustrated with the struggle,
but then the anger gives him strength. He is going to
remember, and that's flat.
As if obeying him, a memory surfaces like
bubble from the depths of his mind. A voice, gentle
and musical, sad and strong.
Sam my dearest hobbit, friend of friends.
A thrill courses through him. Sam. That
is his name,
isn't it? Yes! That is his name-Samwise Gamgee! Why
it excites him so much to remember this, he doesn't
know. But he feels his strength growing. His mind is
awakening. He is coming back.
Back from where?
Sam my dearest hobbit. That is what he
is, a hobbit.
An image comes into focus: Bagshot Row No. 3, with his
old Gaffer working in the garden, and his mother,
brothers and sisters preparing dinner in the kitchen.
He can see the rolling green hills of his homeland.
Yes, that is what he is-a hobbit of the Shire.
Or is he?
Fire ended his sleep, but a worse fire
began it. What
was that fire that burned away his thoughts and
memories? Whose was the terrible laughter that
destroyed him bit by bit? He can see the dread figure
blazing on his great throne, hear the commands, feel
the ever-tightening grip on his soul. He can feel the
shaking grasp of small weak hands on his own, can hear
the gentle voice of his "friend of friends" sobbing
his name over and over.
And then he remembers. He is no longer
a hobbit. He
is a wraith, a servant of the Dark Lord Sauron, taken
by a morgul blade. His heart plummets. He and Mr.
Frodo must still be prisoners in the Dark Tower.
Poor, dear Mr. Frodo! How those fiends torment him!
But wait-if he is a wraith, his memories
fading, not coming back. Yet he can remember the
Shire with pristine clarity. He reaches tentatively
back into the past, to see how much he can remember,
expecting the images to slip from his grasp as usual.
But they solidify, forming a framework, then growing
details, until he can see all the events of his life.
He remembers growing up in Hobbiton and playing with
his siblings. He remembers the Cottons, especially
Rosie. He remembers working for Mr. Bilbo at Bag End,
Mr. Bilbo's departure from the Shire, and his own
growing friendship with Mr. Frodo. He remembers the
discovery about the Dark Lord's Ring, and leaving the
Shire with Mr. Frodo, Mr. Merry and Mr. Pippin. He
remembers every event of the Quest, his capture with
Mr. Frodo, and their imprisonment. He remembers
everything, up till the fire that burned him away.
Can it really be possible? He thought
blade could not be undone! Is he really free? His
mind leaps up to full awareness and realizes the
delicious feeling of no longer being encumbered by a
body. He looks to the sky, and instead of dark mists,
he sees pure daylight. The spell is broken! He
cannot fathom how it happened, but he is a hobbit
again! He dances for joy. "Look, Mr. Frodo!" he
whoops. "Look at me! I'm free!"
There is no answer. He quiets himself
and turns about
to examine his surroundings. Alarm bells sound in his
mind when he realizes he is not in the Dark Tower at
all. He is on a battlefield! He is before a great
stone fortress set among rocky cliffs. The landscape
is strewn with bodies of orcs, horses, men, elves,
and are those hobbits? In the distance he sees a
great army driving orcs away from the fortress.
Gigantic siege machines, unlike anything he has ever
seen, stand abandoned where the orcs left them. He
blinks when he notices a forest of walking trees
towering above the battle.
But none of that matters, because he cannot
Frodo anywhere. Terror grips him. How will he find
his master in all this chaos? "Mr. Frodo! Mr. Frodo!
Master!" he calls over and over.
A hobbit wearing green and white livery
walks up to
him. "Hullo, Sam," the hobbit smiles to him.
"Mr. Merry?! What-what happened?
What is this place?
What are you doing here?"
"Pippin called me."
"Pippin?" Sam follows Merry's
sad gaze to a heap of
black cloth at his feet. Then he realizes there is
something under the cloth. The black material covers
a small body, hiding all except the head, upon which a
silver helm rests. Most of the face is hidden, but a
familiar voice issues from inside the helm.
"Merry, Merry," Pippin wails,
"why don't you come for
"Oh no," Sam breathes. "What happened to him?"
Merry looks surprised a moment, then places
a hand on
Sam's shoulder. "Sam, you poor lad. How much do you
"Well, I remember the Tower, and the
Dark Lord. He
hurt my master, and said awful things about him, and I
was terribly angry, but then I couldn't think
anymore... the fire..." he trails off.
Merry nods sympathetically. "Well,
this is Helm's
Deep, the stronghold of Rohan. The great battle of
the War is being fought here. The West has won a
victory against Mordor, and has pushed them back for a
time." He kneels beside Pippin, looking down at him
with a proud smile. "Pip fought, too. It was his
first battle. He was so brave, he surprised even me."
Merry finds the lump in the black cloth where
Pippin's hand is and pats it.
"So he was hurt in the fight."
Suddenly Sam gasps in
horror. "Mr. Merry, what am I doing here? If I was
here, as awhen I was awellwas I fighting on the
wrong side, if you follow me? Did I hurt Mr.
"No," Merry replies. "He
hurt you. Remember those
swords Tom Bombadil gave us at the Barrow? They were
not ordinary swords. They could kill wraiths. Pippin
had the last one left. The enemy made you threaten
him, so he struck outand here you are."
Sam falls to his knees on the other side
"Then Mr. Pippin is the one who undid the spell! Oh,
thank you, Mr. Pippin! Forgive me! I'm so sorry!"
Pippin gives no sign of having heard.
aware of a barrier between himself and Pippin,
invisible yet tangible. Though they seem to be in the
same place, the distance between them is infinite, for
he realizes that Pippin is alive and he is not. Sam
looks back up to Merry, and realizes that Merry is on
the same side of the barrier as he is.
Merry is staring darkly up into the sky.
for circling above them on a fell beast is the
Witch-King of Angmar. "It's not your fault, Sam.
It's his fault," Merry hisses. There is more in his
voice than anger for Sam's plight.
"Mr. Merry, what did he do to you?" Sam asks softly.
"His mace crushed my body into the
ground at Pelennor,
when Gondor fell," Merry replies bitterly.
"Oh!" Sam cries in horror.
"At least it was quick," Merry
mutters. "But now
there is no one to look after Pip."
A whimper from Pippin turns their attention
him. "Merry?" Pippin calls again.
"I'm here, Pippin. I've been here!
Can't you hear
"Merry, help me!" Pippin's voice
rises in fear as the
Black Shadow strengthens its hold on him. "They're
coming for me! Where are you?"
"Oh, Pip," Merry groans, bowing
his head in despair.
Sam turns away, unable to bear the sight.
At first, all Sam can think of is how sad
this is for
Mr. Merry and Mr. Pippin. But as his head clears,
Sam's first concern resurfaces: Mr. Frodo. Where is
he? If Mr. Merry found Mr. Pippin by following his
calls, perhaps Sam can find his master in the same
way. Surely Mr. Frodo is still calling him. How can
he get on without his Sam?
Sam concentrates all his energy on listening
Frodo's beloved voice. Soon Sam senses it, a
continuous cry, too intense to be put into words. It
issues ceaselessly from Frodo's heart. His hopeless
longing for his old friend has become as much a part
of him as his name. Sam covers his face, heartbroken
at Frodo's grief.
When Sam looks up, he is no longer at Helm's
is in Mordor. He recognizes the barren plains of
Gorgoroth, but his jaw drops at the party he sees
traveling across them. At the back of the procession
is a wain, covered with an ornate black and red
pattern, and drawn by six black horses. Before the
wain is a company of horsemen, all wearing the livery
of Mordor that is so horribly familiar to Sam. One of
the horsemen carries a large banner of the Great Eye.
Another carries a trumpet. At the company's head is a
man whose arrogance and fine uniform mark him as the
leader. His mouth seems set in a perpetual smirk. As
he jokes with two other horsemen, his wolfish grin
reveals perfect teeth. From time to time he raises a
flask of wine to his lips.
"Ah, it will be good to live in Nurn,"
he says. "Good
food, good wine, luxurious accommodations, lovely
views, and lovelier wenches!" He joins his two
friends in wicked laughter.
"The only disadvantage is that we
must say it all
belongs to the shakh," his friend sneers. "I fear he
will give us trouble, Vartang. They say he even gave
the Lord Khamul grief."
"Not while he is sick," Vartang
laughs. "Have no
fear! I can manage a puny halfling."
"Yes, but he is going there to recover,
"Why, then the most enjoyable part
of the mission
begins! We shall find every way to bring him
pain - pain of his mind, which will be worse than bodily
tortures. When he is paraded around as the Friend of
Sauron, when he is made Lord of the Slaves, when he
sees the destruction he has brought on the West, why,
he will go mad! He shall be utterly humiliated, then
sent back to his home as a thrall!" Vartang and his
friends double over laughing.
Shock washes over Sam as he realizes they
about Frodo. In his desperation, Sam almost reaches
for Sting, wanting to kill every one of these evil
men. But he does not even have Sting anymore. He is
powerless, utterly defeated.
Powerless, defeated... The words echo in Sam's mind
as though another has uttered them. He finds himself
inside the dark wain, looking down at a bundle on a
bed. As he adjusts to the dim light, he discerns an
emaciated little body curled into the fetal position.
Dull curls peek out from under the blanket. Sam
kneels beside the bed to peer at the face. His heart
breaks: it is his dear Mr. Frodo, but barely
recognizable. Shrunken and fragile, Frodo bears a
chalky pallor that makes him look like a corpse. One
side of his face is still heavily scarred from the
blow of Khamul's gauntlet. Frodo's arm lies extended
towards Sam; it is covered in cuts and bruises from
protecting Frodo's head during beatings. Sam gives a
heavy sigh, then bends over Frodo's hand and
reverently kisses it.
"Mr. Frodo?" he whispers. "Mr,
Frodo, it's me! I'm
Frodo's eyelids flicker open. He frowns
A desperate hope grows in his eyes as they dart around
the wain's interior. Then, seeing nothing, they fill
with tears. With a sigh, he seems to melt into the
bedclothes. Small sobs hitch in his throat, making
his thin shoulders shake.
Sam slumps until his forehead rests on
"Dear Mr. Frodo! They've broken your body until it
can't bear anymore, and now they'll do the same thing
to your heart. And there isn't a thing I can do to
stop them!" Grief washes over him, sending him into a
"No!" Sam backs away from the
shipwright. "I won't
go. Where is my master? I won't leave him!"
A kind old man, the shipwright stands on
of his tall white ship. "You have done your duty to
your master, Samwise. No one else could have done as
well. Now your task is finished." He holds out his
hand to Sam, beckoning him onto the ship.
The fragrant sea breezes speak to Sam of
relief. He clings to this hope, drowning in sorrow
for Mr. Frodo, for his Gaffer and his siblings, for
Rosie and what can never be.
"You will see them again someday,"
Sam smiles sadly. He walks to the shipwright,
his extended hand, and follows.
Harthad Uluithiad (Hope Unquenchable):
In an early draft of "Many Partings," Gandalf gave
this name to Sam.
"... I name before you all Frodo
of the Shire and
Samwise his servant. And the bards and minstrels
should give them new names: Bronwe athan Harthad and
Harthad Uluithiad, Endurance beyond Hope and Hope
The History of Middle-earth, vol. IX,
"Many Partings," p. 62]
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