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The Two Towers
The Two Towers
by J.R.R. Tolkien
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The Two Towers Book 4, Chapter 6 Summary

The Forbidden Pool

  • A sleeping Frodo is awakened by Faramir. He wants Frodo to come with him. Where, we're not sure.
  • After walking through a dark passageway that curves upwards through several stairways, they come out on a wide, flat rock next to the falls of Henneth Annûn, looking down over a pool.
  • There is a man standing there—Anborn—who spotted a small black shadow following Faramir's men.
  • Sam wants to know what's going on, so Faramir tells them to watch the pool at the base of the falls.
  • That's when Frodo sees it—something small and dark diving into the pool. Gollum.
  • Anborn doesn't recognize what it is, but he has his bow, and he has posted archers on either side of the bank to take the creature out if need be.
  • When Faramir asks Frodo if he should give the order to shoot, the hobbit says no (though Sam wishes he had jumped in and said yes).
  • Why on earth is this creature jumping around so openly, as if he is in no danger? wonders Faramir.
  • So Frodo explains that Gollum is wily, but he's not exactly a people person. He may not even know that there are humans around.
  • Plus, Gollum is so drawn by the Ring that he can't help himself following. The thing has no control over his actions.
  • Faramir is stunned to hear that that creature bore the Ring for many years.
  • Anborn has Gollum in his sights: should he shoot?
  • Nope. Frodo asks Faramir to spare the life of his guide.
  • Even though he's stunned that Frodo trusts Gollum, Faramir obeys. But if Frodo doesn't want Gollum shot, then Frodo has to go down and get him out of the pool.
  • As he creeps down to retrieve the creature, Frodo hears Gollum muttering to himself about "Fissh, nice fissh" and "nasty hobbits" (4.6.37), who have left him all alone.
  • Addressing Gollum as Sméagol, Frodo asks him to trust him, and to come on out of the pool.
  • Gollum argues a bit and wants to finish his fish, but Frodo insists. He even uses the Precious as an incentive. He has pushed the right button.
  • Finally Gollum agrees: "Nice hobbit, come back to poor Sméagol. Good Sméagol comes" (4.6.50).
  • But of course, Anborn soon catches him and ties him up, at which point Gollum hisses and spits. He just wanted to catch some fish, guys, come on!
  • Wanting some intel, Faramir asks Gollum if he knows the name of this place (Henneth Annûn), and if he had ever been there before.
  • But Gollum swears he hasn't, on the Precious, so Faramir places Gollum back in Frodo's care.
  • As for Frodo, Faramir declares that he is free to go about his business, along with all of his companions, as long as they do not come back to this secret place.
  • He also says that, if Frodo comes to Gondor in the next year and a day, he will seek to extend this free passage in Gondor for Frodo's lifetime.
  • Faramir then demands that Gollum tell him where he is planning to lead Frodo and Sam.
  • When Frodo describes the path they were planning, Faramir realizes that he is talking about a pass called Cirith Ungol.
  • Faramir asks Anborn to lead Gollum out of the room, and then, when he is alone with Sam and Frodo, he strongly advises Frodo not to go to Cirith Ungol. It's a deeply evil place.
  • What is more, the pass of Cirith Ungol will take Frodo past Minas Morgul, which, while once the twin city of Minas Tirith, is now controlled by the Nazgûl.
  • But, asks Frodo, what's he supposed to do? What safer way is there?
  • Sensing a lost cause, Faramir sighs and merely reminds Frodo one last time: "beware of this guide, Sméagol. He has done murder before now. I read it in him" (4.6.109).
  • Then, Faramir blesses Frodo and takes his leave.
Next Page: Book 4, Chapter 7
Previous Page: Book 4, Chapter 5

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