Sammath Naur Pt. 4: ‘The Ring is mine’, plus jan-u-wine’s “That Which is My Own”.
The book text continues here until Frodo, or Sauron’s Ring working through Frodo, reaches his terrible decision. How much, if anything, of Frodo remained at this moment? I believe some corner of his consciousness remained, some pocket of last defiance that could not be extinguished. I just finished rereading Tolkien’s The Children of Húrin, and this sounds like something Morgoth, and Sauron after him, would relish: rendering his adversary helpless to resist, but letting him live, only to make him the witness of his own ruin and debauch. That there was some part of Frodo left, some corner of his mind still aware of what was happening to him while it happened, overpowered as he was, is borne out by his subsequent feelings. If he hadn’t been somehow “present” as the Ring and its Maker pinned his will to the mat, he would not have remembered what had happened enough to feel the sense of guilt and failure Tolkien said he did, once he was back in the Shire.
Jan-u-wine, proof-reading this post for me, made an observation I want to add here. Speaking of how Frodo being taken by the Ring and Sauron, she wrote,
[N]ot only is it Sauron's pleasure to squash Frodo til he can’t resist, then torture him by letting him live to witness his own degradation, he also must witness Sam's heartbreak: leer at it with Frodo's own face: Frodo taking that in, and Sam's reaction.
Whatever the filmmakers intended to do, they evoked this dynamic very, very well.
Book scene, continued, from Mount Doom.
The light sprang up again, and there on the bring of the chasm, the very Crack of Doom, stood Frodo, black against the glare, tense, erect, but still as if he had been turned to stone.
‘Master!’ cried Sam.
Then Frodo stirred and spoke with a clear voice, indeed with a voice clearer and more powerful than Sam had ever heard him use, and it rose above the throb and turmoil of Mount Doom, ringing in the roof and walls.
‘I have come,’ he said. ‘But I do not choose now to do what I came to do. I will not do this deed. The Ring is mine!’ And suddenly, as he set it on his finger, he vanished from Sam’s sight. Sam gasped, but he had no chance to cry out, for at that moment many things happened.
Below, the film scene continues. Sam, having said, "Just let it go!" waits in suspense, Frodo still turned away from him.
Frodo: The Ring is mine.
Sam: No, no!
That Which is My Own
~ by jan-u-wine
Yours is the only voice I hear now:
a voice without sound,
of crushing Darkness
through my mind,
carrying the small spark of myself
yet remaining into nothingness.
It matters not that I cry
out against you,
it matters not
if I fight until breath leaves me.
It matters not.
No one will hear -
no one will save me in this empty Night.
Your thought covers mine,
from my unwilling lips.
How lost I am:
my foot stumbles upon the finality of the Road,
Even this you will deny me,
even the small, stark comfort that waits beyond the Sea,
beyond the veil of bright Eärendil.
mercy, you have left me
these tears are my own.
Entries in this series:
~ Sammath Naur Intro: "Why I fell for Frodo” ~ Main essay for series (this essay is friends locked).
~ Sammath Naur 1: ‘I’m here, Sam.’
~ Sammath Naur 2: ‘Throw It in the fire!’
~ Sammath Naur 3: ‘Just let It go!’, plus three poems by jan-u-wine.
~ Sammath Naur 4: ‘The Ring is mine’, plus jan-u-wine’s “That Which is My Own”.
~ Sammath Naur 5: Gollum Bites, plus jan-u-wine’s “Frodo’s Remembrance of Gollum”.
~ Sammath Naur 6: Gollum Falls, plus essay on Gollum’s oath.
~ Sammath Naur 7: ‘Give Me Your Hand’, plus jan-u-wine’s “Within the Chamber”.
~ Sammath Naur 8: ‘Take my hand’, plus jan-u-wine’s “The Claiming".
~ Sammath Naur 9: ‘Don't you let go’, plus jan-u-wine’s “In the Garden of the Mind".
~ Sammath Naur 10: ‘Reach’, plus jan-u-wine’s “And I Don’t Mean To".