The Two Towers
by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Two Towers Book 4, Chapter 7 Summary
Journey to the Cross-Roads
- Breakfast time. Faramir, Frodo, and Sam eat together, and Faramir is nice enough to give them some extra provisions.
- He also tells them they'll have plenty of water in Ithilien, but whatever they do, they shouldn't drink anything from Imlad Morgul, the Valley of the Living Death where Minas Morgul now stands. Good tip.
- Oh, and just so they know, Mordor is oddly empty and quiet right now, as though Mordor is waiting for something. Faramir's not sure what it means, but it can't be good.
- As a last gift, Faramir also gives them each a staff cut from the tree lebethron, which the woodworkers of Gondor love.
- Frodo thanks Faramir for all of his help, and then, blindfolded, Gollum, Frodo, and Sam walk out of Henneth Annûn.
- They travel through the dreary countryside, occasionally stopping to eat. Gollum will have none of the Gondorian food.
- While Frodo and Sam sleep, Gollum slips off somewhere and does not return until dawn.
- They continue trekking along for three days, when the air takes on a threatening, watchful quality.
- Gollum says they can't keep going this way. It's the old road to the Tower of the Moon, and it will be watched.
- They rest until midnight, when Gollum wants to set off under the cover of darkness.
- When they get going again, they begin to climb steadily. They keep going through the night, until Gollum says it's time to hide, before the sun rises.
- While resting, Frodo and Sam eat a bit, and Gollum disappears again.
- Sam sleeps for about three hours, and when he wakes, it's only around noon but it looks like twilight. He hears a distant sound like drums, or maybe thunder.
- Frodo also notes that Gollum hasn't come back yet, and Sam is, predictably, annoyed.
- Frodo worries that they are going to run into danger no matter what, since Mordor is clearly preparing for war.
- But Sam reminds Frodo, "where there's life there's hope, as [his] Gaffer used to say" (4.7.57).
- Perhaps calmed by these words, Frodo falls into an uneasy sleep.
- Then, suddenly, Gollum reappears, hissing, "Wake up! No time to lose. We must go, yes, we must go at once. No time to lose!" (4.7.60).
- Deeply suspicious of Gollum's sudden eagerness, Sam assumes this can't be good.
- Gollum leads them down the hillside, and after about an hour of absolute silence, they reach a grove of ancient, ancient trees.
- They find themselves at a Cross-roads, where there are three paths to follow—the ones that Gollum told them about before.
- Behind them is the road to the Morannon, in front of them it goes a ways south, to the right is the old road to Osgiliath, and to the left is the path to Cirith Ungol.
- Onward, Shmoopers.
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