Episode 245 Summary

Tony Meade

Active Member

The weather and the high pass:
  • The decision seems to be based on Aragorn’s desire, but Gandalf shows willingness to go along.
  • Gandalf leads with the reasons that he was reluctant, like their exposure to spies and weather.
  • It is important that Gandalf doesn’t open the group up to debate by showing them all of their options, but rather explains the need for haste and that the decision has already been made.
  • Gandalf does not list any advantages for taking the mountain pass in contrast to the dangers.
  • Any of the spies searching this region would assume that anyone there would make for the Pass.
  • Gandalf is gentler now than he was with Aragorn when expressing concerns about the weather.
  • That Gandalf is supporting the mountain pass in spite of this is significant. Though the chances of making it over the pass are low based on known dangers, but it is better than the unknowns.
  • Only Frodo seems to be aware of any other options that were available to them before this.
The dark and secret way:
  • Frodo’s relief is based on Aragorn’s dismay at the mention of Gandalf’s dark and secret way.
  • That Frodo’s response is revealed before Gandalf’s speech is presented is because his relief might seem incongruent with the dangers that Gandalf reveals, but in light of the other option.
  • While the mountain pass sounds terrible, Frodo’s empathy for Aragorn’s horror sways him.
  • Frodo is used to “Strider” being completely unflappable, so his dismay is unsettling for Frodo.
  • Aragorn was not as dismayed as this when facing the Ringwraiths at night on Weathertop.
  • Gandalf’s euphemism of the “dark and secret way” is actually a quiet argument in its favor.
  • The use of “abandoned” implies that this is a fulfillment of Frodo’s wishes on the matter.
  • Aragorn’s rejection of the Gap of Rohan is based on reason but is willing to have it as an option.
  • Note: There is no evidence that Aragorn is having any specific foresight about Moria yet, nor is there any option on the table that points to an intervention of Providence, as they saw before.
  • Why doesn’t Frodo speak of this with the other hobbits? Probably in order to preserve their morale, and he is also in a dubious position by eavesdropping, so he can’t spread any rumors.
  • Frodo also won’t undermine Gandalf’s leadership by sharing Aragorn’s fear of Gandalf’s ideas.
  • Beyond leadership, there are also friendship issues involved in sharing secrets among them.
Snow may come:
  • Note: By priming the reader to feel fear at the thought of Moria, we are prepared for when we arrive later, but there is also a cognitive dissonance with the dangers outlined for the Redhorn Pass. This emphasizes that there are no good options going forward, just as Aragorn said. There is no real amdir for this journey, but only estel, as Elrond had argued for in the Council. This is what Gandalf points out to Denethor when he chides Gandalf for sending a hobbit into Mordor.
  • The only sense in which the Redhorn Pass is the better option is that it doesn’t bring the Ring into the territory of dark powers, unlike the Gap of Rohan, or by passing through Orc realms.
  • This shows that the primary concern for Gandalf and Aragorn is the quest, not their own safety.
  • It is far more likely that they would die on the mountain pass than on the other routes, but if that prevents the Ring falling into the hands of the Enemy, then that makes it the better plan.
  • Gandalf acknowledges that in the three to four days it will take them to cross over, snow may come, but his gentleness allows him to try preserving the morale of the hobbits for the crossing.
  • The fact that the hobbits are short is an issue if any snow becomes deep while travelling on foot.
Looking at Caradhras:
  • It is notable that this is the one time that the sides of the mountain are not seen glowing red.
  • For its sides to be black means that the sun is blocked by the clouds bringing in the weather.
  • The use of “sullen” personifies the character of Caradhras, and its mood as they approach it.
  • This is ominous as they are about cross the pass, as if it is preparing to prevent their attempt.
  • Note: Whether this is a mere personification or if the mountain has an active spirit becomes more unclear as they attempt to cross the pass, and there is an intentional ambiguity about it.