Episode 200 Summary

Tony Meade

Active Member

No signs or tidings of the Riders:
  • It’s not clear how the Ringwraiths travel when deprived of their horses and outer shaping clothing, though it seems that they travel quickly, since they return to Mordor before the scouts.
  • The scouts are able to confirm the uncloaking and unhorsing of the Nazgûl, which was their primary objective, but it also seems important that no other servants of the Enemy are seen.
  • To what other servants of the Enemy does this refer? Gandalf was suspicious of birds and beasts being spies of Sauron, and feared their presence in the Shire, so which other servants is unclear.
  • It’s also possible that the spies that Gandalf suspected were actually in the service of Saruman.
  • Aragorn was aware at the time that there were spies and other allies of the Enemy in Bree, but he servants of the Enemy referred to may be limited to actual military threats, like orc armies.
  • The conclusion is that there is no force that is surrounding Rivendell, which had been feared because of the appearance of the Nazgûl, even though they know there are spies in the West.
  • What they are able to conclude is that the best route south is in the no-man’s-land between the Greyflood and the Misty Mountains, through Eregion, which is completely unpopulated.
  • The Eagles seem to have been used to confirm what the scouts on the ground had already seen.
The wild wolves still gathering:
  • The fact that the wolves are hunting far up the Great River plays into the decision regarding how much of the Anduin Valley that they party will go through on the way south to Mordor.
  • Note: The mention of the wild wolves is also a bit for foreshadowing for the Fellowship in Hollin.
  • Since these wolves referred to as wild, this must distinguish them from both wargs, though this distinction is unclear, and the other wolves that are specifically seen as servants of Sauron.
  • This is also a reference to the events of The Hobbit, placing the wolves and Eagles in the same context. This specifically means that these are the wolves that are independent of Sauron.
  • The use of “still gathering” refers to the rumors that the wolves and goblins of the Misty Mountains returning to their former numbers, but they are not moving as a force; or not yet.
  • That any wild wolves would gather in such numbers is an unnatural thing for wild animals to do, which seems to be part of a plan that has not yet come fully to fruition, but rather preparing.
  • This makes them cross the Mountains as far south as they can while avoiding the Gap of Rohan.
Vanished from the North:
  • The slashing of the cloak could possibly have come from many physical or spiritual forces in the River, though it is reminiscent of the cloak left behind by the Witch-king below Weathertop.
  • Note: Was the Witch-king also uncloaked when Frodo called out to Elbereth at Weathertop? Why else would he leave the slashed cloak behind? Due to the use of the Dúnedain blade?
  • These physical uncloakings seem to be given special significance, and though the reason and mechanism for this are unclear, they are pivotal moments in Frodo’s journey with the Ring.
  • It’s possible that the power that gave the Witch-king shape through the cloak was removed and he was disembodied in those moments, which caused the cloak to fall away from his body.
  • This could be supported further by the dropping of the Morgul-knife, which was also left behind.
  • These are both events that the Witch-king would not do willingly or consciously decide to do.
  • This report doesn’t account for the boots that the Nazgûl were provided as the Black Riders.
  • It seems likely that Glorfindel was leading the party in search of the Black Riders, due to his power to oppose them. This would also account for the surety that the Riders have gone away.
  • Also, Gandalf had testified that he was able to detect the passing of the Black Riders, so it’s important that this presence is not perceived anywhere near Rivendell by the scouts.
  • Note: Tolkien wanted to make the Black Riders averse to crossing running water, matching real-world traditions regarding evil creatures, but found it to be impractical with so many rivers.
  • It’s likely that the Ringwraiths would cross over the Mountains and into the East as quickly as possible, before heading south toward Mordor, as this would bring them closer to their allies.