Study Guide

The Fellowship of the Ring Book 2, Chapter 10

By J.R.R. Tolkien

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Book 2, Chapter 10

The Breaking of the Fellowship

  • The Anduin splits around an island, Tol Brandir, at the top of the Rauros Falls; Aragorn leads them down the right-hand arm of the river.
  • They moor their boats beneath the hill, Amon Hen. The hill on the opposite bank is called Amon Lhaw. (Keep these straight – there will be a quiz later.)
  • Aragorn guides them to a grassy lawn, Parth Galen, at the foot of Amon Hen, where they can rest for the night.
  • While Frodo is on watch, Aragorn wakes up and draws his sword; for some reason, he feels tense and nervous.
  • Frodo follows suit and draws Sting. He knows that Orcs are close, but not too close; either way, they must be careful.
  • The next day, Aragorn calls the Company for a conference. It's seriously time to decide where they're going to go: west to Gondor, east to Mordor, or split up the Fellowship? Decisions, decisions.
  • No one says anything for a long time. Awkward silence...
  • Aragorn finally tells Frodo the decision rests with him.
  • Frodo wants an hour alone to make his choice; Aragorn agrees, and Frodo wanders off to the trees at the base of Amon Hen.
  • He listens to the rushing sound of the falls, and suddenly feels as though something is coming up behind him.
  • He's right: it's Boromir, asking if he can speak to him. He wants to tell Frodo that he doesn't need to suffer like this.
  • But Frodo is afraid of taking the way that seems easier, only to discover that it is the wrong way.
  • Boromir wants to see the Ring. Hmmm.
  • Frodo refuses. (Smart move.)
  • Boromir speaks plainly: "Minas Tirith will fall, if the Ring lasts. But why? Certainly, if the Ring were with the Enemy. But why, if it were with us?" (2.10.34).
  • Boromir starts ranting about what he would do with the Ring: he sees a string of glorious victories, where he himself would be at the head of Gondor's armies.
  • Frodo replies that he sees now – his mind is clearer.
  • Boromir misunderstands; he thinks that Frodo has agreed to come to Minas Tirith. These two are definitely not on the same page. Something's up.
  • Frodo backs away.
  • Boromir demands that Frodo lend him the Ring: it should have been his anyway.
  • Suddenly, Boromir springs at Frodo; Frodo backs away and slips on the Ring. Uh oh.
  • Boromir immediately regrets his actions: "What have I done? Frodo, Frodo! [...] Come back! A madness took me, but it has passed" (2.10.58).
  • Frodo climbs to the top of Amon Hen, the Hill of the Eye of the Men of Númenor; he sees Rohan and Isengard and the Misty Mountains.
  • Everywhere that Frodo turns, there are signs of war: Orcs are pouring out of the mountains, and none of these lands are safe.
  • Suddenly, Frodo sees the Eye of Sauron. The Eye looks back at him, catching a glimpse of Amon Lhaw and Tol Brandir.
  • Frodo finally yanks the Ring off, before the Eye can get a clear look at him in his Lothlórien cloak.
  • He makes his decision: he knows that the Ring is too evil to carry with so many people. He must take it alone to Mordor.
  • Frodo puts the Ring back on to sneak off to Mordor.
  • Meanwhile, the rest of the Company is wondering what Frodo's decision will be.
  • They know that taking the Ring to Gondor will only delay the evil day of confrontation with Sauron, but Aragorn worries that having too many people go east to Mordor will actually be counterproductive.
  • Sam looks around and sees that Boromir has gone; he tells the rest of the Company that Frodo knows he should go to Mordor. He's just working up the courage to do it.
  • Sam is also certain that Frodo will want to go alone, and he's definitely not okay with that.
  • Boromir comes back: he admits that Frodo vanished after Boromir talked to him about Minas Tirith.
  • Now the Company really panics. Where is Frodo?
  • Legolas, Gimli, Merry, Pippin, and Sam all dash off to find him.
  • Aragorn groans, "Now we shall all be scattered and lost" (2.10.92).
  • Aragorn tells Boromir that he has to help now, even if he did have a part in Frodo's disappearance, and he sends Boromir after Merry and Pippin.
  • Sam reasons that Frodo would have gone to the boats; he dashes back to the river bank and sees a boat sliding into the river.
  • He rushes straight into the Anduin after Frodo, and Frodo pulls him up into the boat.
  • Frodo curses Sam as a nuisance. Poor Sam, he always gets the short end of the stick.
  • Sam protests that he couldn't stand it if Frodo were "[a]ll alone and without [Sam] to help [him]" (2.10.108). He knows that Frodo is going to Mordor, and he is totally going with him.
  • Frodo thanks Sam; in reality, he's glad to have the company.
  • Sam and Frodo cross the Anduin to the southern slopes of Amon Lhaw, on the east side of the river. There, they look for a path through Emyn Muil into Mordor...
  • And...that's it (for now)!
  • Check out the The Two Towers to see what befalls Frodo, Sam, Merry, Pippin, Legolas, Aragorn, Gimli, and, of course, poor Boromir.

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