Literature Study GuidesThe Lord Of The RingsThe Return Of The King Book 6 Chapter 2 Summary

The Lord of the Rings | Study Guide

J.R.R. Tolkien

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The Lord of the Rings | The Return of the King (Book 6, Chapter 2) : The Land of Shadow | Summary



The two hobbits run until Frodo is exhausted. The Ring has become unbearably heavy, and its influence on his mind is growing. They set off again, hiding as a Nazgûl passes above them, and then continuing on again until Frodo needs a rest. When they wake up, they can see Mount Doom. Their food and water depleted, they continue walking slowly. At one point, passing Orcs think they are deserters from Sauron's army, and force the hobbits to go along with them. But Frodo and Sam are able to sneak away when more fighting breaks out among the Orcs.


The tone lightens a bit as Frodo and Sam continue into Mordor, and Sam even has enough of his hobbit cheerfulness to make a joke when they fall into thorny bushes: "I didn't know as anything grew in Mordor! But if I had a'known, this is just what I'd have looked for." And later, Sam notices a little light of dawn is showing through the shadow. He notes, "The wind's changed. Something's happening ... His darkness is breaking up out in the world there." Sam notices that the same wind change allows Aragorn's ships to pick up speed; if Sam could see what was happening, he'd be watching Aragorn come to the aid of Gondor and win victory in the Pelennor fields.

Although Sam finds it hard to maintain his positive attitude, he gets another boost when they find water, and another when he sees a white star twinkling overhead. The star reminds him there is "light and high beauty for ever beyond [darkness's] reach."

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