Finally, Mount Doom! You can practically hear the bubbling and frothing of lava out of rocky fissures in the distance as we spend a disproportionate fraction of this episode debating whether Mount Doom is a true volcano—and, if so, what kind of volcano it is.
The lectio divina section looks at Sam’s split-second decision not to kill Gollum … and what this means for Gollum, for the story of the Ring, and for Sam.
You can find more information on Karen Wynn Fonstad’s Atlas of Middle-Earth, referred to in the episode, here.
Our protagonists are in the Moon country of Ithilien, which becomes clearer in this chapter than ever before. The Moon indeed seems to be playing a vital role, and these paragraphs abound in lunar imagery.
This week we are joined by Rev. Greg Farrand. Greg leads us through his own style of lectio divina as we puzzle through a crucial Gollum passage and let it speak to us. Gollum’s apparently innocent nocturnal fishing expedition reminds us of our own competing hungers, and we find ourselves asking: How do we keep from indulging the wrong hunger and falling to ruin? What happens when we cannot help ourselves?
The Tolkien Heads make a dramatic return from their summer hiatus by turning what might seem an uneventful chapter into one of the most illuminating and challenging discussions yet! At its center is the question of Sméagol-vs.-Gollum, but we also find ourselves unsure of the difference between ‘lords’ and ‘masters’—and whether this is even important. Etymologies and symbolic analyses abound in this episode.