March 18–24HomeMarch 27–28

March 25, S.R. 1419 (T.A. 3019)

The Tale of Years hardly prepares us for how much happens in quick succession as Frodo and Sam reach the Mountain.

  1. The Host is surrounded on the Slag-hills. Frodo and Samwise reach the Sammath Naur. Gollum seizes the Ring and falls in the Cracks of Doom. Downfall of Barad-dûr and passing of Sauron.

To avoid too ferocious a torrent of events, we note that a pair of distant events can be described together when the narrative makes clear—or when we can guess—that they happened simultaneously.

The Shire-Reckoning · Mar 25 · 6:15 am

The morning of March 25 brings a dim light to Mordor. Sam wakes. ‘Now for it! Now for the last gasp!’ He’s able to stand, but Frodo with the Ring can only crawl. Sam lifts Frodo on to his back and starts climbing Orodruin, the Mountain of Fire in the heart of Sauron’s realm.

The Shire-Reckoning · Mar 25 · 7:55 am

The wind turned to the north overnight. Now the morning shows the bleak land around the Morannon to be completely empty. Only the eight Nazgûl are visible, circling high above the Black Gate. Aragorn and the Captains prepare the army, arranging them on two hills of slag.

The Shire-Reckoning · Mar 25 · 9:15 am

Sam has carried Frodo far up the slope, but has to stop. They lie down so Sam’s back can rest. They wonder: how much further will they have to climb? Looking up the slope, they realize they have climbed nearly to a road that’s cut into the side of the mountain above them.

The Shire-Reckoning · Mar 25 · 9:38 am

Aragorn rides toward the Gate with Gandalf, Éomer, Prince Imrahil, and a heavy guard. Gimli, Legolas, the sons of Elrond, and Pippin ride as witnesses for the other free peoples.

‘Let the Lord of the Black Land come forth! Justice shall be done upon him.’

There is no answer.

The Shire-Reckoning · Mar 25 · 9:45 am

After a long silence, the Captains turn to go. But drums roll and an emissary rides forth from the Black Gate. He displays Sam’s sword, Frodo’s mithril-coat, and an elven-cloak—promising long torment to ‘he that bore these things’ should they fail to yield to Sauron’s terms.

The Shire-Reckoning · Mar 25 · 9:47 am

Gandalf seizes the sword, coat, and cloak. ‘These we will take in memory of our friend. But as for your terms, we reject them utterly. Get you gone, for your embassy is over and death is near to you.’ As the emissary rides back to the Gate, his men blow horns to start the attack.

The Shire-Reckoning · Mar 25 · 9:53 am

Orcs and Easterlings pour forth from the hills. In the first wave of the attack, Pippin stabs a troll, but is crushed beneath it. As Gandalf stands on the hilltop, Frodo and Sam both feel a call—‘Now, now, or it will be too late!’—and start crawling up toward the road.

The Shire-Reckoning · Mar 25 · 10:01 am

Gollum attacks Frodo, who grasps the Ring and dooms Gollum with a curse: ‘If you touch me ever again, you shall be cast yourself into the Fire of Doom.’ Sam draws Sting, but can’t bring himself to slay Gollum.

One hundred miles away, Gandalf looks north. ‘The Eagles are coming!’

The Shire-Reckoning · Mar 25 · 10:03 am

Frodo enters the Sammath Naur. ‘I have come. But…I will not do this deed. The Ring is mine!’ He puts on the Ring and vanishes.

Sauron’s forces suddenly waver. The Nazgûl turn and fly away south. Gandalf cries: ‘Stand, Men of the West! Stand and wait! This is the hour of doom.’

The Shire-Reckoning · Mar 25 · 10:05 am

Gollum bites off Frodo’s finger. Holding both finger and Ring aloft, he squeals, ‘My Precious!’ Stepping back, he falls with the Ring into the chasm.

Fire leaps up. Sam carries Frodo out. As they watch, the shadows around the distant Barad-dûr lift, then the tower crumbles.

The Shire-Reckoning · Mar 25 · 10:07 am

Gandalf proclaims: ‘The realm of Sauron is ended! The Ring-bearer has fulfilled his Quest.’ The Black Gate and its towers fall. Orcs turn and flee.

Gandalf asks the great eagle Gwaihir to carry him south.

‘I would bear you whither you will, even were you made of stone.’

The Shire-Reckoning · Mar 25 · 10:10 am

In Minas Tirith, Faramir sees a shadow rise above Mordor. ‘It reminds me of Númenor…of the great dark wave climbing over the green lands and above the hills, and coming on, darkness unescapable. I often dream of it.’

But the Shadow departs. He kisses Éowyn upon the high wall.

The Shire-Reckoning · Mar 25 · 10:17 am

‘I am glad that you are here with me. Here at the end of all things, Sam.’ Frodo is himself again. ‘We are lost in ruin and downfall, and there is no escape.’

‘Well, Master, we could at least go further from this dangerous place here, from this Crack of Doom. Now couldn’t we?’

The Shire-Reckoning · Mar 25 · 10:57 am

Frodo and Sam reach the mountain’s foot. ‘What a tale we have been in, Mr. Frodo, haven’t we? I wish I could hear it! And I wonder how it will go on after our part.’ Molten rock flows past. Ash rains down.

They fall, senseless—but are caught up by two great Eagles of the north.

The Shire-Reckoning · Mar 25 · 12:30 pm

An Eagle of the north reaches Minas Tirith.

‘Sing now, ye people of the Tower of Anor,
for the Realm of Sauron is ended for ever,
and the Dark Tower is thrown down.’

The Shire-Reckoning · Mar 25 · 4:30 pm

The Lord Aragorn calls not only Sam and Frodo back from the brink of death—they will sleep and recover for two more weeks before waking—but also Pippin: Gimli spotted his small Hobbit foot sticking out from beneath the troll on the battlefield.

March 18–24HomeMarch 27–28

©2002–2022 Brandon Rhodes •