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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
Now here's a little question

Hamfast Gamgee

Jan 17, 10:30am

Post #1 of 10 (1671 views)
Now here's a little question Can't Post

Imagine you are a Hobbit. With your Master and the One Ring. You have travelled as far as Shelob's pass when you are anbushed, attacked by Shelob and trapped. Now, then you are not going to beat Shelob with one measly knife called sting against a demon of the ancient world which has laid low might Elves and Man warriors, that just isn't going to happen, you are just a simple Hobbit, after all. But you do have one chance, if chance it is. You could put on the Ring, become invisible and use that as a possible tactical advantage. But the question is should you? Remember that you are on the borders of Mordor and Sauron eye is watching for anyone going into the wraith world on the borders of his land. So the question is should you use the Ring in this situation or not. Oh, and you only have half a minute to decide this. Although we could have longer to discuss this here.


Jan 17, 11:12am

Post #2 of 10 (1631 views)
Of course you shouldínt [In reply to] Can't Post

Because instantly Sauron would be aware that someone had put on the ring in the direction of Cirith Ungol, but then itís also approximately the direction of Minas Tirith, so maybe the Dark Lord would just put more pressure on the attack of the city before presumably Aragorn could use the ring.
But Samwise would not consider this. If he had taken his time to think he would have used the ring as Bilbo used it agaist the Mirkwood spiders. Would it have been any help against the half-Maya Shelob..?

"Don't take life seriously, it ain't nohow permanent!" Pogo


Jan 17, 11:16am

Post #3 of 10 (1624 views)
Well, Sam didnít have the ring, though... [In reply to] Can't Post

It was on Frodos body...

"Don't take life seriously, it ain't nohow permanent!" Pogo


Jan 18, 5:05pm

Post #4 of 10 (1601 views)
"He was not aware of any thought or decision." [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for inventing this game HG!

Well, I feel sure I'd mess up this challenge - I'm an over-thinker and would try to think things out until I ran out of time.

Sam isn't like that - he tends to act spontaneously. So I expect that even if he had been given the present of the Bug Spray Of the Sindar back in Lorien he'd probably just forget all about it in the heat of the moment and wade right in with his swords. Ninnyhammer.

Later, Sam does put the Ring on, and the text tells us that "He was not aware of any thought or decision." as he does so (this quote is from when the party of orcs some up and he puts on the Ring as he would otherwise be captured). So as it happens, he manages to go invisible without terrible consequences, but also I note without worrying what might be going to happen.

So maybe Sam fails this game too. Nice to have company!

Perhaps it is just as well that Sam is like this. An entirely 'logical' Sam might decide:
=>(If he had the Ring at the point where Shelob has just dropped Frodo) that the best course of action is to use the Ring to escape. Shame about Mr Frodo, but the quest must be completed. It would be a bit like the thought that occurs to Frodo fleetingly in the Barrow.

=> (That instead of the Sam who composes Frodo's body, tries to head to Mt Doom alone, and just can't go through with it) that the best course is to hide Frodo's dead body as well as possible - roll it over one of those handy precipices, maybe - then make a dash for Mount Doom, hoping to get there and destroy the Ring before the alarm is raised. Indeed a dead Frodo retrieved from a chasm would also seem like a solitary spy who had fallen to his death, whereas Sam's careful composing of the body gives away that there was another person present who needs to be caught.

So Ninnyhammer Sam is better than that hypothetical Psychopathic Sam. I suspect that Tolkien is making a point here about 'heart' beating 'head'?

"You were exceedingly clever once, but unfortunately none of your friends noticed as they were too busy being attacked by an octopus."
-from How To Tell If You Are In A J.R.R. Tolkien Book, by Austin Gilkeson, in 'The Toast', 2016 https://the-toast.net/...-a-jrr-tolkien-book/

(This post was edited by noWizardme on Jan 18, 5:07pm)


Jan 27, 12:19pm

Post #5 of 10 (1479 views)
Too little time... [In reply to] Can't Post

As Asger points out the Ring was on Frodo's body, and although Sam could grab Sting easily and quickly it does not look as if he had any time left to grab the Ring too. He could have used it otherwise (as well as the Phial of Galadriel) as he was still not over the Ephel Dķath (and he would use it later).


Jan 27, 3:10pm

Post #6 of 10 (1474 views)
Also... [In reply to] Can't Post

...I'm not sure that the Ring would have helped Sam. Shelob might be one of those beings that can see into the ethereal plane and so be able to see anyone wearing the Ring. The lesser spiders of Mirkwood were not immune to the Ring's invisibility, but that might not apply to Shelob.


Hamfast Gamgee

Feb 8, 9:37pm

Post #7 of 10 (1198 views)
Then again [In reply to] Can't Post

If her offspring couldn't have seen someone bearing the Ring, I doubt that she could do so. Or at least not clearly, she might well have been confused by it.


Feb 15, 7:47pm

Post #8 of 10 (1060 views)
an unpopular take on this [In reply to] Can't Post

If I understand that the ring is the power of pure evil (or Satan, in the Christian world view Tolkien would have had) then NO of course I SHOULD not for any reason put it on (in effect borrowing the power of Satan). Yes, even if it would mean taking the risk that I might not destroy that power eventually. But then, the fellowships' journey is a journey of pure faith (in their case, a faith in the great stories and the star Sam spies if nothing else). That faith would dictate that it would turn out OK even if I don't give into the temptation to safe my mission by adopting evil.

However, that is not to say what I WOULD do. Would I as a frail and fallen being have the strength to defy Satan himself and his temptations if I, in my insignificance or tortured mind, felt it would mean saving the world? Probably not. I would probably give in and likely put the whole thing at risk in the process...because evil...

The term is over: the holidays have begun. The dream is ended: this is the morning.

(This post was edited by hatster on Feb 15, 7:49pm)

Hamfast Gamgee

Mar 3, 12:15am

Post #9 of 10 (687 views)
Well [In reply to] Can't Post

The main issue which I have with this piece is that Sam somehow manages to defeat Shelob who no warrior, many mightier than he, no doubt, failed to do. And Sam been a quiet servant from the Shire as well. But i did think of one thing he might possibly do a bit more realistic and possibly just as heroic. He could initially be terrified by Shelob, which would be understandable and flee for a moment. But Shelob does not kill Frodo straight away as is her wont. But later, Sam comes back and frees his Master from the web bonds, but he doesn't kill her, the Spider not been present. Now there is nothing in the annals of Shelob which suggested that that hadn't happened before. Of course, the later adventures with the Orcs might have to be adjusted, but that's another story.


Mar 3, 2:51pm

Post #10 of 10 (638 views)
Do we know that Sam kills Shelob? [In reply to] Can't Post

Shelob is seriously, maybe mortally, wounded by Sam, but the last we see of her, she is dragging herself back into her tunnels. Perhaps Shelob survived the attack and eventually even healed. Tolkien never really says, does he?



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