THE LORD OF THE RINGS: fragments and episodes

sound sample:
the relevant passage is highlighted in red in the analysis below. The text is given under Seven Tolkien Songs [see Songs with piano]
These fragments and episodes, some of them substantial, were written at various times over a period of thirty years. In the 1970s I prepared a complete libretto for a complete cycle of operas based on J R R Tolkien’s legend The Lord of the Rings which extended over a period of thirteen evenings (including two evenings derived from The Hobbit which acted as a prologue). I had at this stage already written The Black Gate is closed (which would form the ninth of the thirteen evenings) and the two evenings of The Hobbit. The full text for those evenings was included in both the orchestral and vocal scores, and the text of The Hobbit is given in this volume with the analysis of the score. For the sake of continuity, the text for The Black Gate is closed is repeated here in context, as is that for Tom Bombadil and The Grey Havens. Throughout, the text not included in these Fragments and episodes is given in smaller type.  Details of the cast involved, the nature of the voices required, and other material are given in the full score.

The fragmentary score of The Hobbit has already been issued separately; so also has The Black Gate is closed. Other works whose genesis dates from this period (although only more recently completed and orchestrated) are Tom Bombadil and The Grey Havens.

But there also remain a number of other sketches and fragments, including some made very recently. These range in scope from the very substantial series of scenes which open this selection of fragments (the first three and a bit scenes from the third evening) to the patches of one minute or less. They also include orchestral versions of the two Songs of the Mark and of a number of the Seven Tolkien Songs (all except the final song, which came from the final scene of The Hobbit and had already been issued as part of that score).

Although these various fragments were composed at various times over the last thirty years, they are assembled here in the order in which they would have occurred in the projected cycle. It is no longer possible to state with any great degree of certainty when some of the fragments were in fact written, since some of them derive from little more than undated sketches. Some have also been revised (including substantive parts of the orchestration) to form part of this collection. The original manuscripts of all the material have been lodged with the National Library of Wales.
The Shadow of the Past


There are five fragments included here. One is the most substantial section of the score, consisting of the whole of the first three scenes and part of the fourth.  These were only completed originally in piano short score, but were orchestrated for inclusion in this published version.

The second fragment is Bilbo’s walking song The road goes ever on. The material is also included in The Grey Havens as sung by Frodo at the end of the work, but this original use of the material is marginally different and has already been quoted during the interlude before the fourth scene.

The third fragment is the section depicting Gandalf’s reading of the words engraved on the One Ring. This draws upon material from The Silmarillion.

The fourth fragment consists of a single page which was originally intended for the opening of the third act.

The fifth fragment, the drinking song for Pippin and Merry, was originally published as one of the Seven Tolkien Songs and was orchestrated for this version.


   Flight to the Ford

The whole of the first act of this evening, as already noted, constitutes  the  work  separately published under the title Tom Bombadil.

Frodo reads the lines All that is gold does not glitter from Gandalf’s letter, and this is the setting that was subsequently included in the Seven Tolkien Songs. The orchestration for this edition is original, but the material was also used (in a rather different form) in the final scene of Tom Bombadil.

Sam’s Song of Gil-galad was not originally designed for use in the opera cycle but may perhaps be most conveniently included in this collection of fragments. It will be noted that the original intention was that Aragorn should sing his lay of Beren and Lúthien under Weathertop. But in view of the fact that the scene, including the same words, had been treated so fully in the Love scene from that work, any setting would necessarily have used much of the same material; and it might therefore be that some other song, probably the Lay of Gil-galad, would have been substituted here.

Sam’s Song of the troll was originally intended to form one of the Tolkien Songs but was left incomplete and was therefore excluded from the published cycle of songs.

    The Fellowship of the Ring

The first extract originally derives from a solitary page containing an orchestral sketch for the prelude which was designed to open the evening. However there is also a draft short score which takes the same material somewhat further, and this has been orchestrated for this edition to continue the action a little.

The poem Eärendil was a mariner was subsequently set for solo voice and full orchestra as an independent work with close connections with The Silmarillion, and is not therefore included in the Fragments and episodes. However the text is given in full here for the sake of continuity.

The second extract, The Song of the Blessed Realm, was designed to close the First Act.  Although originally scored for voice and piano (and intended to form one of the Tolkien Songs) it was then revised to include the chorus and orchestral parts and was excluded from the published edition of the Seven Tolkien Songs.

The third extract is the prelude to the Second Act, which exists in a full orchestral score that breaks off abruptly as the curtain rises.

The fourth extract consists of the words sung by Boromir as heard by him from the distant voice Seek for the sword that was broken.
    The Ring goes South

The first extract consists of the opening pages of the First Act, as Gandalf and the company arrive at the Gates of Moria.  It only ever existed in a very fragmentary piano sketch, and was orchestrated in this collection for the first time.

The second extract (published in the vocal score as an Appendix) is a much later version of the same scene, including a completely new theme for Gandalf’s reading of the legend on the Gates. There is another version of this same theme designed to accompany the opening of the Gates.

The third extract is Galadriel’s Namárië sung by her as the Fellowship of the Ring leaves Lothlórien. The melody is of course the same tune that Tolkien himself sang to Donald Swann, and was included in the Seven Tolkien Songs with a new accompaniment.  It can be seen here that this accompaniment, and the substantial piano postlude included in that version, were originally designed for use in the opera cycle and have a considerable dramatic intent.


    The Plains and the Forest

The first extract is the sketch for the prelude to the First Act, here orchestrated for the first time. This was the only work ever undertaken during the 1970s on any section of this evening.

There were however a number of earlier drafts made in the late 1960s which, although generally very immature, may be exceptionally included here since they would quite probably have been drafted into use in a revised score. The first of these consists of a setting of the poem for Boromir’s funeral, for which the orchestration has been heavily revised for this edition. It will be noted that the poem is very substantially cut.

The setting of Treebeard’s song is very primitive and would have been subject to very considerable reworking before inclusion in any final version.  However the single page sketch which contains the opening lines of Quickbeam’s lament for the fallen rowan is considerably more developed, and most notably contains the germ of the theme which would later be transferred to Gwindor in The Silmarillion.

These three early fragments were conceived in connection with a vocal and orchestral suite, and not as part of the thirteen-evening cycle. In the score I have accordingly omitted all stage directions, which refer in any event to a scenario drafted six or seven years after the original sketches for the music.


The King of the Golden Hall


There is only one very small fragment intended for use in the final cycle. This consists of Saruman’s opening words; but it is interesting because it shows the use of Bilbo’s Good morning! theme as a hypocritical greeting which is transferred here to Saruman. This was definitely intentional, because the same use is made of theme as a motif for Saruman in the dream sequence in Tom Bombadil, and is also transferred to both Ted Sandyman and the Sackville-Bagginses in the opening scene of The shadow of the past.


The Black Gate is closed


When the score of the Fragments and episodes was originally published, three extracts were included from the score of the completed opera The Black Gate is closed: the orchestral setting of Gollum’s song which was extracted to become one of the Seven Tolkien Songs, the full setting of Oliphant which is also found in the suites from the opera, and the setting of Faramir’s narration from the Second Act.


The Passing of the Grey Company


The prelude to the Third Act was designed to consist of a complete setting of the poem From dark Dunharrow in the dim morning. This has already been published as the first of the two Songs of the Mark for male choir and piano, and is here orchestrated from the original short score.
The Black Gate opens

The only sketch which appears to exist for any of the material designed for this evening is a single sheet of full orchestral score headed Prelude, which appears to be intended for the opening of the Third Act. In essence much of the same material was developed for use in the interlude following Bilbo’s finding of the Ring in The Hobbit, but this version is somewhat more extended as well as clearly being an earlier draft.

   The Return of the King

Sam’s song in the tower was purloined for use in Beren and Lúthien, but the original version remained as one of the Seven Tolkien Songs. It is included here using its original words, but with an adaptation of the scoring from Beren.

The  final  chords  of  the  Field  of  Cormallen  scene

were sketched for use at the end of the Second Act.

The Song of the Eagle was published as one of the Seven Tolkien Songs but is included here in its original form including chorus and orchestra (which predates the piano score). It was designed to form the prelude to the Third Act of the opera.

    The Grey Havens

The funeral chant for Théoden was designed to form the second scene of the opera, and was included in a version for male choir and piano as the second of the Songs of the Mark. It is here orchestrated from the piano sketch with the baritone solo part restored to Merry.

The song for Bilbo as the Fellowship returns to Rivendell was originally written as a second verse to the earlier Song of the Traveller (included here in the music for The shadow of the past). There was a link between the two verses which was closely modelled on the similar passage in Fire and Water and this has been omitted from the current version. The final verse given here was orchestrated especially for this collection.

The whole of the final act of course constitutes the work published under the title of The Grey Havens.





The Black Gate is closed was the first of my operas to be written, during the period 1967-69.  It was originally conceived for an extremely large and rather bizarrely constituted orchestra (including quadruple woodwind, six horns, eight recorders and six saxophones), but this version proceeded only as far as the end of the first scene before I started again on a rather more modest and less extravagant scale.  At this time, and for some time afterwards, it was entitled The Doom, and three orchestral suites were extracted from the score under that name.  The score was complete, apart from some passages of particularly heavy orchestration which remained in sketch form.

The whole opera was then incorporated into my plans for a thirteen-evening operatic cycle on The Lord of the Rings, of which it would have formed the ninth evening. At that time the original title was dropped, and the more authentically Tolkienian The Black Gate is closed was substituted.

It was my original intention that only the suites, now published separately with some revision under their later title, should be made available. The work on the original score was too primitive to be incorporated satisfactorily into the complete cycle, although three short excerpts were extracted for separate publication and reworked for that purpose. The Song of the Fisherman was included as one of the Seven Tolkien Songs, the Oliphaunt chorus was extracted as a separate item for male choir (although never published in that form), and Faramir’s Dream was also reworked as a solo aria for tenor. These three extracts, all somewhat remodelled from their original, were included in the score of The Lord of the Rings: fragments and episodes.

In order to make the full score of this very early work available, some judgements have had to be exercised. The material of the score was often wildly at variance with the themes used in later work on The Lord of the Rings, and I had to consider whether to remodel these to match their later context. I decided against this, because it would have involved a very substantial rewriting of the whole score. Instead I have compromised. Where later reworkings exist, as in the material included in the Suites and Fragments and episodes, I have used these in preference to the version included in the original score. I have also made some adaptations to the barring, rhythm and layout of the score (much of the original was laid out in very short—and often very empty—2/4 bars, to the detriment both of musical sense and legibility), and have corrected some blatant instances of lack of balance in the orchestration. Otherwise the score, including some of the more extravagant orchestral demands, remains substantially as it was when it was originally completed in 1969, and I have made no further revisions.



Scene One

The curtain rises. The bleak barren hills of the Emyn Muil. On the left of the stage, rough scrubby ground; on the

right towards the back this drops away in a steep cliff. Below the cliff there lies a wide expanse of marshes and

swamps; in the distance, beyond the festering green, looms a dark ridge of mountains. It is dusk, and dark clouds

loom overhead. Much of the background is concealed by the inner curtain and veiled by grey mists which swirl

about constantly. Frodo and Sam appear through the mists on the left, Sam leading and Frodo dragging behind.

Sam comes forward, seeking a way down the cliff, and halts

SAM   Well, master, we’re in a fix and no mistake.

He stares with puckered eyes towards the mountains, from whence issue a series of red flashes like the leaping up of

great fires

What a fix! That’s the one place in all the lands we’ve ever heard of that we don’t want to see any closer; and that’s just where we can’t get, nohow. We can’t get down; and if we did, we’d find all that green land a nasty bog, I’ll warrant. Phew! Can you smell it?

FRODO [staring at the distant mountains] Mordor!...If I must go there, I wish I could come there quickly and make…an end!

At the back the red glow dies, but dark thunderclouds roll up towards the front, directly overhead. Sam turns

towards the back anxiously, and then returns to his former position

SAM   Did you see them again, Mister Frodo?

FRODO [still troubled] No; I’ve seen none of those eyes for three nights now. But he…he’s not my chief worry. There’s an Eye…an Eye!

He turns away, his face in his hands; and then looks up with sudden resolve

Come on! We must get down! Where does this gully lead to?

SAM   A nasty drop, I’ll warrant.

FRODO   Look! The cliff looks easier here.

SAM           Well,  it’s  always  easier   getting  down; those  as can’t fly can jump!

FRODO   All the same, we must try. I’m going down to try it out.

He clambers down; his voice is heard from below, muffled

One step down! And this ledge broadens out to the right. I could stand there without a hold. I’ll―

His words are cut off by a loud and sudden clap of thunder. At the same time there comes an unearthly shriek from

the clouds: the shriek of a Black Rider, a Nazgûl. Frodo cries out in horror and agony. Sam rushes to the edge and

leans over, dropping his pack to the ground

SAM   Master! Master! Master!

FRODO [weakly, from below] All right! All right! I’m here. But I can’t see.

A sheet of hail sweeps down across the scene, obscuring even Sam totally from view

SAM   I’m coming down to you.

FRODO [in a stronger voice] No! Wait! You can’t do anything without a rope.

SAM [slaps his forehead] Rope! Ha ha ha!...

He collapses, helpless with laughter, to the ground, his head thrown back into the rain. The storm begins to pass

FRODO [from below, in an annoyed voice] Stop laughing! Are you trying to tell me you’ve got some rope in your pocket? If so, out with it!

SAM   Yes, Mister Frodo, in my pack and all. Clean forgot about it!

FRODO   Then get busy and let us an end down!

Sam runs to his pack, rummages in it, brings out his rope and throws one end down to Frodo below. He heaves

Frodo up. Frodo scrambles up to the level. The storm clouds gradually begin to lift, and it slowly becomes clearer,

revealing a night sky. A crescent moon hangs over the Emyn Muil. Frodo rises and wanders thoughtfully along the

cliff edge, staring at the mountains which once more grow visible. Sam comes up behind, curling the rope

SAM  Now don’t go doing anything silly in the dark, Mister Frodo! And I haven’t got over that scream yet, if you have. Like a Black Rider…But, if you must climb, why not use the rope?

FRODO [with sudden resolution] Make it fast to that stump, then!

SAM   Oh, very well! Let’s get it over with!

He ties the rope to a stump near the edge and swings himself over. Frodo continues for a while to stare at the distant

mountains, until at last he turns to follow Sam. As Frodo scrambles over the edge and disappearscarefully

checking the knotthe mists from the back sweep forward to the front of the stage, obscuring the scene. It grows

dark, and the inner curtain falls. At first the vapours remain steady, but they soon begin to swirl upwards, thus

giving the impression of descent from the hills


Scene Two

As the mists slowly clear and the light grows, the area at the foot of the cliff is revealed. Bare ground with a few

tussocks of grass. Near the base of the cliff is a small bush; behind this, a gully runs off right. Sam is holding the

bottom of the rope, down which Frodo is still climbing. Frodo scrambles to the ground and turns to Sam with


FRODO  Well! We’ve done it! We’ve escaped from the Emyn Muil! But now

SAM   Ninnyhammers! Noodles! My beautiful rope! As nice a sign for that Gollum as we could leave. Made by Galadriel herself, maybe…Galadriel!...

He pulls at the rope as if in farewell. To his surprise it comes loose and falls down on top of him. He collapses to the

ground, and Frodo rushes forward to help him

FRODO [laughing] Who tied the knot? A good thing that it lasted as long as it did[He looks up at the cliff, and suddenly jerks Sam’s arm] Look!

SAM   Where?

FRODO    On the cliff!

SAM   Snakes and adders! Gollum!

FRODO   Sh! he’ll hear you!

Frodo and Sam retreat behind the small bush at the base of the cliff

GOLLUM [from above, descending the cliff] Ach, ss! Cautious, my precious! More haste, less speed, gollum! Where is it, where is it, my precious, my precious? It’s ours, it is, and we wants it! [He comes slowly into view, creeping down the cliff head downwards] The filthy swine, the thieves! Curse them! We hates them―ach!

He falls, but a few feet from the ground. At once Sam dashes from hiding and falls onto him. They struggle together,

but Gollum seizes Sam’s throat and Sam cannot break the hold. Frodo rushes from concealment, drawing his sword.

He grabs Gollum from behind, holding the blade to his neck

FRODO   Let go, Gollum! This is Sting. You have seen it before on a time. Let go! Or I’ll cut your throat!

GOLLUM [collapses shivering on the ground] Don’t hurt us! Don’t let them hurt us, they won’t hurt us will they, nice little hobbitses? We’ll be very good, yes, Gollum!

SAM [angrily rising and fingering his neck gently] What are we going to do with him?

Frodo is not listening. He hears instead two voices from the past. He stares unseeingly before him; Gollum and Sam

look at him in amazement

Voice of FRODO  What a pity that Bilbo didn’t stab Gollum, when he had the chance!

Voice of GANDALF   Pity? It was pity that stayed his hand.

Voice of FRODO   I do not feel any pity for Gollum. He deserves death.

Voice of GANDALF  Deserves death! I daresay he does. Many that live deserve death, and many that die deserve life…

The voices fade into silence. Frodo lowers his sword and sighs

FRODO   Very well. For now that I see him, I pity him.

GOLLUM   Yes, wretched we are, precious. Hobbits won’t hurt us, no, precious. We’ll help, yes, gollum. Find them paths in the dark, we will. But where were they going, we wonders?

FRODO   You know, Sméagol, or you guess: to Mordor!

GOLLUM   Ach, ss! We guessed, yes we guessed, and we didn’t want them to go, did we? Ashes, ashes and dust, and thirst there is: and pits, pits, pits, and Orcses, thousands of Orcses.

FRODO   So you’ve been there, and you’re being drawn back, aren’t you?

GOLLUM   Yess. Yess. No! Once, by accident it was, wasn’t it, precious? Yes, by accident. But we won’t go back, no, no! [His voice suddenly changes: he collapses flat on the ground, puts his hands to his face, and speaks towards the East, to the right of the stage] Leave me alone, gollum! You hurt me. Oh, my poor hands, gollum! I―we―I―don’t want to go back. I can’t find it. Ach! Not for you! Go away! Don’t look at us! Go to sleep!

FRODO   He will not go away or go to sleep at your command, Sméagol, but if you really wish to be free of him again, then you must help us to find a way towards him.

GOLLUM   He he he! He’s over there. Always there. Orcs will take you all the way.

FRODO   Get up! Now!

GOLLUM [gets up and backs against the cliff] Don’t ask Sméagol! Not now, no! Rest a bit…first…nice hobbits!

FRODO   Then sit down, and don’t move!

Gollum slowly settles down flat on the ground, as if for sleep. Frodo and Sam lean back against the cliff, exchanging

meaningful glances. Gollum slowly opens one eyes, looks warily up, and springs away. Sam leaps after him and

grabs his ankle, bringing him to the ground

SAM  You’re a nasty treacherous creature!

FRODO   Your rope might come in useful again.

Sam brings up his rope, bends down to Gollum and ties his ankle

GOLLUM   Ach! It hurts us! Take it off!

FRODO   No, I will not take it off, unless you promise

GOLLUM   Sméagol!...Sméagol will swear on the Precious.

FRODO [drawing himself up] On the Precious? How dare you! One Ring to rule them all and in the darkness bind them. Would you commit your promise to that, Sméagol? Beware! It will hold you―but it will twist your words.

GOLLUM   On the Precious, on the Precious!

FRODO   No! not on it. All you wish is to see it and to touch it, if you can, though you know it would make you mad. Not on it. Swear by it, if you will. For you know where it is. Yes, you know, Sméagol. It is before you.

   Gollum falls at his feet, as if in worship

Now speak your promise!

GOLLUM   I will serve the Master of the Precious. Good Master, good Sméagol, gollum, gollum! [He tries to bite at the rope round his ankle]

FRODO   Take the rope off, Sam!

Sam reluctantly obeys. Gollum, as soon as he is free, springs  up  and  begins  dancing  about,  clicking       his fingers

with delight

SAM   Well, Gollum, we’d better be going.

GOLLUM   Yes, come down here!

He skips away to the right, down the gully. Frodo and Sam exchange glances and then follow. From the gully

Gollum’s voice can be heard. As his song progresses this grows steadily fainter and finally fades away. At the same

time dark green fumes rise up and veil the stage. They swirl across the stage, becoming gradually darker

Alive without breath,

as cold as death;

never thirsty, ever drinking,

clad in mail never clinking.

Drowns on dry land,

thinks an island

is a mountain;

thinks a fountain

is a puff of air.

So sleek, so fair!

What a joy to meet!

We only wish to catch a fish,

so juicy-sweet!

   The stage is totally obscured and darkened


Scene Three

Lights begin to flicker suddenly through the mists. They flash out more and more brightly. In the green flare is seen a

marshy mere. Will-of-the-wisp flickers about. Hardly anything is visible. Gollum, Frodo and Sam appear and begin

to feel their way slowly across the pool

SAM   What are they, Gollum?

GOLLUM [leading] The tricksy lights? Candles of corpses, yes, yes. Don’t look at them! Where’s Master?

SAM [turning back] Come on, Mister Frodo! Don’t look at them!

FRODO [dreamily] All right. I’m coming.

Sam turns and makes back towards Gollum, but suddenly trips and falls in the water

SAM    Ach! [He wrenches himself up]  There are dead things, dead faces in the water!

GOLLUM [turning] The Dead Marshes, yes, yes, that is their name. You should not look in when the candles are lit.

SAM   Who…what are they?

FRODO [dreamily] I don’t know…but I have seen them too. They lie in the pools, pale faces, deep under the dark water. I saw grim faces and evil, and noble faces and sad. Many faces proud and fair, and weeds in their silver hair. But all foul, all rotting, all dead. A fell light is in them. I know not who they are.

GOLLUM   All dead, yes, all rotten. There was a great battle long ago, for days and months at the Gates. But the marshes have grown since then…creeping, always creeping. You cannot reach them. You cannot touch them. No precious! all dead.

SAM   Can’t we get on and get away?

GOLLUM [beginning to lead them on again]   Yes, yes, but slowly, slowly…or the hobbits go down to join the dead and light little candles. Follow Sméagol! Don’t look at the lights!

While he has been speaking, the lights have been growing once more fainter. The green smokes gradually obscure

the stage again


Scene Four

The mists have slowly transformed into a grey colour, and now fade away altogether as a yellow veil. High mounds

of crushed and powdered ash, great cones fire-blasted and poisoned earth, stand about. In the foreground lies a

pool choked with ash. On a muddy mound to the left, Frodo and Sam are lying asleep. Below, on the edge of the

pool, Gollum sits staring into the water

GOLLUM   Sméagol promised.―Yes, we promised to help the Master: the Master of the Precious. But if we were Master…―But Sméagol said he would be very very good.―Yes, let’s be good, precious, to ourselves.―But the nice hobbit took the rope of Sméagol’s leg.―But he’s a Baggins, my precious. We hates Bagginses. We must have it!―But he’ll see, he’ll know! He’ll take it from us!―He sees, he knows. Must take it, not for him, for ourselves! We wants it! But…not yet, eh? Perhaps not. She might help, yes.―No! not that way!―Yes! we wants it! we wants it!

He rises and scrambles round to Frodo’s head. He stretches out his hands towards the hobbit’s neck, when Sam stirs

suddenly in his sleep

SAM [waking] Wh―what’s the time?

GOLLUM   Ss! [He falls sideways, fawning on Sam] Nice hobbits! Nice Sam! Sleepyheads leave Sméagol to watch!

SAM   But it’s evening. We should be going. Wake up, Mister Frodo!

FRODO [shaken and waking] Ah! I feel almost refreshed. [He looks beyond Sam at Golluim, and smiles at him] Come! You have guided us well and faithfully. Bring us to the Gate, and you may go.

GOLLUM   To the Gate, eh? But it won’t look nice at all, no, no!

SAM   Well, let’s get it over!

They rise and get ready to move on. Darkness descends on the scene. After a while the inner curtain rises, and the

lights go up again. Frodo, Sam and Gollum are discovered lying in a similar hollow, but now opposite the Black

Gate itself


Scene Five

The Black Gate is closed. High cliffs lower on every side, and between them is a high rampart of black stone with

two great gates of iron. Above the Gates are two strong towers, with a battlement running between them. To either

side of the Gates roads lead away to south and east. Smoke curls upwards from within the battlements. Sunrise.

Trumpets ring out harshly from the towers; steel glints on the battlements

SAM   Well, here’s the Gate! And it looks to me as if that’s about as far as we’re going to get. We can’t go no further.

GOLLUM   No,  no,  we  can’t  go  no  further.   Sméagol

said so. Sméagol knew.

SAM   Then what the plague did you bring us here for?

GOLLUM   Master said so: Bring us to the Gate. So Sméagol does so.

FRODO   I did say so, because I purpose to enter Mordor, and I shall go this way.

GOLLUM   No, no, Master! Don’t take the Precious to him! He’ll eat us if he gets it, eat all the world. Keep it, nice Master; or go away, and give it back to little Sméagol. Sméagol will keep it safe. Hobbits go home. Don’t go to the Gate!

FRODO  I am commanded to go to the land of Mordor, and therefore I shall go.

GOLLUM  Not this way, Master! There is another way: darker, more secret.

FRODO [suspiciously] Another way?

GOLLUM   Sméagol found it. Let Sméagol show you!

FRODO   You have not spoken of this before.

GOLLUM   Master did not ask. Kind Sméagol always helps.

A sudden fanfare rings out from the tower on the left, answered from the right. The Gates slowly open and a posse of

Orcs march out, taking up a rapid march eastwards towards the right of the stage. Frodo starts up to the edge of the

dell and watches them, then slowly sinks back once more and turns again to Gollum

FRODO   Sméagol, I will trust you. Tell me of this way.

Gollum glances anxiously up at the Gates above, and timorously begins

GOLLUM  If Master goes along the western road, he will come to a crossing in a circle of dark trees. On the right, a road goes on down to the River; and straight ahead it goes down to the south, yes.

FRODO   But what of the other way?

GOLLUM   Oh, yes, the road to the left. At once it begins to climb up, up, winding and climbing back towards the tall shadows. When it turns round the black rock, you’ll see it.

SAM   See it? What?

GOLLUM   The old fortress, very old, very terrible now. Horrible things live there. We used to hear tales from the south when Sméagol was young—yes, there were many tales about the Tower of the Moon.

FRODO   That would be Minas Ithil that Isildur the son of Elendil built. But what has it to do with us?

GOLLUM   Well, Master, there it was and is: but not beautiful, not now. Very dreadful things live there: the Silent Watchers. But there is another way, a little path leading up into the mountains, and then a long cleft, and then a tunnel, a dark tunnel; and at last a path high above the pass.

SAM [roughly] I don’t like the sound of it. If it’s still there, it’ll be guarded too.

FRODO  Is not this way guarded?

GOLLUM  Yes, yes, maybe. But there is no other way.

Frodo sits staring at the ground. A distant peal of thunder crackles over the mountains. At last, when Frodo sits up

and looks as though he will answer, a sudden roar of singing breaks out close to them, only just above their heads


                Grey as a mouse,…

SAM   What’s that?


                …big as a house,…

   Gollum starts up to the edge of the dell to see

                …nose like a snake,

                I make the earth shake;

   They march on: the Gates swing open to meet them

                biggest of all,

huge, old and tall.

   They pass through the Gates

                If ever you’d met me

                you wouldn’t forget me;

                if you never do,

                you won’t think I’m true;

The Gates close behind them with a crash. Their voices are heard behind the scenes

                But old Oliphaunt am I,

                and I never lie.

GOLLUM [turning] We must move, Master. This place is unsafe.

FRODO   Well, Sméagol, I will come with you.

GOLLUM   Good Master, wise Master, nice Master! But soft and quick as shadows we must go!

Frodo and Sam gather up their packs. The Curtain falls





Scene One

The Curtain rises. A glade in Ithilien. To the left, a tree-covered bank slopes upwards to the rear. To the right, a

thicket of fern. In the centre of the stage, Sam sits leaning against the bank. In the fern Frodo lies asleep. Across the

back the mountains are dimly visible. Gollum is sitting on a boulder which lies on the left of the stage below the

bank, looking at the sleeping Frodo. On the extreme right of the clearing, a spring rises. Sunrise. Gollum rises and

turns towards Sam

SAM   Hello, Gollum! Is Mister Frodo asleep?

GOLLUM [moving to crawl away into the fern] Yes, Master sleeps.

SAM   Hi! Gollum! Where are you going?

GOLLUM   Hunting.

SAM   Well, old noser, could you find something for a hungry hobbit?

GOLLUM   Yes, perhaps. Sméagol always helps.

He crawls away. Sam turns towards the fern and looks at the gently sleeping Frodo

SAM   Too thin and drawn he is. Not right for a hobbit.

He sighs deeply and Frodo stirs gently. Sam returns to the clearing. Suddenly there is a crackle in the fern and

Gollum comes out, carrying a dead rabbit in each hand

GOLLUM   Sméagol always helps.

He puts the rabbits down by Sam, who rummages in his pack and brings out two pans

SAM   Good Gollum! Now I’ve another job for you. Fill these pans with water.

Gollum takes the pans over to the spring. Sam moves to the centre of the stage, building a small fire. Gollum returns

with the water, suddenly sees what Sam is doing, and rushes forward

GOLLUM  Ach, sss, no! Mustn’t do it!

SAM   Do what?

GOLLUM   Not make fire! It burns, it kills! It will bring…sss…enemies.

SAM   Don’t see why. Anyway, I’m going to stew these coneys.

GOLLUM   Stew the coneys! What for? They are young, they are tender. Eat them, silly hobbit!

SAM   Now, now! If you give me a coney, the coney’s mine to eat as I like. Go and eat yours if you like…out of my sight.

The fire is completed and lit. Gollum picks up one of the rabbits and goes off into the fern, grumbling. Sam puts his

rabbit in a pan on the fire, and then goes to wake up Frodo. Frodo rouses himself and sniffs the air

FRODO   Hello, Sam! What’s that I can smell?

SAM  A rabbit stew from Gollum. It’ll be ready soon—

He breaks off. The fire has caught the fern and blazes up. He rushes back and stamps it out. The sound of a horn is

heard. Frodo and Sam stare at each and dive into the fern. Voices are heard approaching from the right

ANBORN   Here is where the smoke came from!

FARAMIR   ’Twill be in the fern.

DAMROD   We have it trapped!

They stride onstage and begin to beat the bush; Frodo and Sam suddenly leap up, drawing their swords. The men

start back in surprise, also drawing

MABLUNG   What have we here?

ANBORN   Not Orcs.

DAMROD   Elves?

FARAMIR    Nay! not Elves, for they are fair to look on.

SAM   Meaning we’re not, I take you. Thank you kindly. [Faramir laughs] And who are you?

FARAMIR   I am Faramir, Captain of Gondor. But declare your errand!

FRODO   We are hobbits of the Shire. Frodo, son of Drogo, am I; and this Samwise, son of Hamfast. We are travellers from Rivendell, or Imladris as some call it. [Faramir starts, and grows suddenly intent] Seven companions had we: two men, Aragorn and Boromir—

ALL   Boromir!

FARAMIR   Boromir, son of the Lord Denethor? What know you of him?

FRODO   Are the words known to you that Boromir brought to Rivendell?—

                Seek for the Sword that was broken,

                In Imladris it dwells?

FARAMIR   They are known indeed, and are some token of your truth.

FRODO  Aragorn whom I named is the bearer of the Sword that was broken. And we are the Halflings that the rhyme spoke of.

FARAMIR   I see that might be so. And what is Isildur’s Bane?

FRODO   That…is hidden for the moment.

FARAMIR   I must know more of this. [There is a sudden burst of horns in the distance] But at present I am busy engaged. There will be an ambush near at hand ere the day is full. I will leave Mablung and Damrod to guard you. If I return, I will talk to you again.

FRODO   May the light shine on your swords!

FARAMIR   Farewell!

He and Anborn disappear over the bank. Frodo looks after Faramir, and then turns back to Mablung and Damrod

FRODO   For whom are you in ambush?

MABLUNG  For the Southrons, curse them!

DAMROD   Aye, curse them! For the Enemy has been among them, and they have returned to him.

MABLUNG   I doubt not that the days of Minas Tirith are numbered, so great is his strength.

FARAMIR [from the left] Gondor! Gondor!

   Sounds of battle come from the left

MEN OF HARAD   Ware!—Aid!—Ah!—Mûmak!

FARAMIR, ANBORN and MEN OF GONDOR   Faramir!—Ware!—Ithilien!—Valar!    

FRODO   I wonder where Gollum is?

SAM   It sounds like a thousand smiths all smithying together.

DAMROD [leaping up the bank] Some have broken from the trap!

MABLUNG [joining Damrod] They are coming!

A Southron stumbles into the glade from the bank and stands staring at Frodo and Sam in wonderment. Damrod

stabs him in the back


Faramir and his followers return to the glade. At a motion from Faramir some remove the body of the dead

Southron, and then all form a line along the bank. Faramir comes forward alone, and seats himself on a stone

FARAMIR   And now, Frodo, of your errand?

FRODO   Of that I may not speak; but return to Minas Tirith, and Boromir will explain all when he comes.

FARAMIR   So! You were a friend of Boromir’s?

FRODO   For my part.

FARAMIR   Then you would grieve to know that Boromir is dead?

FRODO  I would grieve indeed…Dead? But how do you know?

FARAMIR   Night oft brings news to near kindred. Boromir was my brother.—Nine days ere we set out his horn was heard in Minas Tirith: but dim, as an echo in the mind. And on the third night I say by the waters of Anduin, in the dim dark under the young pale moon; and the sad reeds were rustling. Then I saw, or it seemed that I saw, a boat glimmering grey on the water, and a pale light was round it. An awe fell on me, for the boat turned towards me, and it was filled with clear water, from which came the light. And wrapped in the water lay Boromir, my brother, dead. A broken sword was on his knee. And I cried out: but he was gone. The boat passed glimmering on into the night. Dream-like it was, and yet I do not doubt that he is dead and has passed down the River to the Sea.

FRODO   Alas! that is Boromir indeed! Go back, Faramir,   valiant    Captain   of           Gondor,   and    defend  y our

City while you may!

FARAMIR   Indeed we must move hence without delay, for vengeance may come from the hills if we further stay. We are weary. I will take you to a secret refuge of the men of Ithilien, where we may rest.

The scene begins to cover slowly with mist, and the inner curtain descends


Scene Two

The chorus slowly move off to the left. Frodo and Faramir appear to follow: after them comes Sam, then Mablung

and Damrod with Anborn bringing up the rear

FARAMIR   I broke off our speech together, because I felt that we were drawing near to matters which should not be discussed openly before my men. Isildur’s Bane —clearly it is a mighty heirloom of some sort. You were not friendly with Boromir, or you did not part in friendship. For I remember of Boromir when a boy, that it always displeased him that his father was not a king. Alas, poor Boromir! But I stray. If this heirloom were a fell weapon, I can well believe that Boromir, ever anxious for glory, might desire such a thing. But fear not! I would not take this thing, if it lay by the highway. I do not ask to know more; but if you trust me, I may aid you.

    Sam suddenly swings round, and then turns back

SAM [to himself] I’m not sure of it, and why should I bother about the old villain?...

They halt. A rocky wall appears at the back. Anborn moves off back along the path, and Faramir turns to Frodo

FARAMIR  Here, alas, I must blindfold you.

FRODO   As you will.

Mablung and Damrod cover their eyes, and lead them off. Darkness covers the scene. The sound of rushing water is

heard, drawing continually closer


Scene Three

   The voice of Faramir is heard at the front of the stage

FARAMIR   Let them see!

The lights rise, and the interior of a large cave is seen. At the left, a passage leads outside; to the right, the cave

goes further in. Across the back, a large window in the inner curtain looks out through a waterfall, through which

there shines the light of the setting sun. At the back, where the men are unpacking, there is a large table half onto

the stage; to the left, near the front, there is a small table; and at the right there are couches in a recess in the wall.

Faramir, leading the hobbits, has unbound their eyes; they stare about them

This is the Window of the Sunset, Henneth Annûn, fairest of the falls of Ithilien.

He moves to the recess on the right of the cave. The sun sets, and the golden glow fades. Torches are lit. More

soldiers enter. Faramir seats himself on the couch. The hobbits wander over to the left and sit down. Anborn comes

in with a group of scouts

You saw and heard nothing, Anborn?

ANBORN   No, lord: no Orc at least. But I saw, or I thought    that    I     saw,  something  a    little   strange.  It     was deep dusk, so perhaps it was no more than a squirrel. But if so, I saw no tail; and I thought I heard it hiss at me from the branches. A large black squirrel, maybe.

Faramir glances at Frodo and Sam suspiciously, makes a remark to Anborn, and then moves over to them. The men

at the back pass largely from the stage; but several sit around at the large table and begin to eat

FARAMIR   You  may soon desire to sleep; but first let us talk a while.

FRODO   Yes. But tell me first of your own fortunes. For I would learn more of Minas Tirith the long-enduring. What hope have you?

Food—some bread and meat—is brought for the hobbits, who eat and listen intently

FARAMIR   It is long since we had hope. For the Enemy increases, and we decrease. We are a failing people, a springless autumn. Childless lords sit in ancient halls, musing on heraldry; in secret chambers men compound elixirs, or in high cold towers ask questions of the stars.

   Frodo is lost in thought

SAM [with his mouth full] You don’t say much about Elves, sir.

FARAMIR   No, indeed, Master Samwise; yet I envy you that you have spoken with the White Lady of Lórien.

SAM [swallowing hard] Galadriel!...Warm as sunlight, cold as frost in stars. Now Boromir[He stops suddenly and flushes red]

FARAMIR [sharply]   Yes? Now Boromir, you would say?

SAM   Yes, sir, it’s my opinion that in Lórien he first saw clearly what he wanted: the Enemy’s Ring!

FRODO [coming out of his thoughts too late] Sam!

   Sam turns white and gasps

FARAMIR [grimly] So that is the answer to all the riddles! The One Ring, that was thought to have perished from the world! Ha!

He stands up, his eyes glinting. Frodo and Sam knock over their stools and, drawing their swords, leap back to the

walls. All the men in the cave cease eating and stare. All stay still for a moment; then Faramir laughs quietly and

sits down again

Not if it lay by the highway would I take it, I said. Sit at peace!

The hobbits return and sit down cautiously. The men return to their meal

Fear not! Sleep now, in peace, both of youif you can. But first tell me, if you will, whither you go and what to do.

FRODO [with infinite weariness] I am going…to… Mordor. I must find the…Mountain of Fire…and…cast …the thing…into the Gulf of Doom…

He suddenly collapses into Faramir’s arms. Sam comes forward, and silently they help him to the couch where Sam

lies down beside him. The remaining men finish their meal and disperse, some into the cave and some outside. The

torches are extinguished. All is still and dark, save the moon shining in through the waterfall. There is no

movement.       The sound of the waterfall again is heard; all becomes completely dark. Suddenly a beam of light falls

on Frodo’s couch. Faramir is seen bending over him, awakening him

FARAMIR   There is a matter on which I desire your counsel. Come!

Silently Frodo rises and follows him out. Sam suddenly stirs and leaps up after them. The light fades. The sound of

the waterfall is heard clearly once more as the inner curtain rises in the darkness


Scene Four

The light returns to disclose the pool at the base of the waterfall. The fall cascades down from the left into a deep

pool, which stretches across the front of the stage. Above the fall rises a high bank, where Anborn stands staring

across the water. Along the back lies a thin strand of sand, with the ground rising behind it covered with thick

undergrowth. The moon is shining behind the trees. Faramir and Frodo enter above left, with Sam lagging behind

FARAMIR   Moonset over Gondor. Fair Ithil, as he goes from  Middle-earth, glances upon the white locks of old Mindolluin.

He steps up beside Anborn. A small dark creature is seen diving in the pool

Now what is that, Anborn?

ANBORN   ’Tis not a squirrel. It seems we are discovered at last. [He draws his bow] Shall I shoot?

FARAMIR [turns to Frodo] Shall we shoot?

FRODO [quickly] No!

FARAMIR   Come now, tell me why it should be spared.

FRODO   Because he is allured him by a mastering desire.

FARAMIR   Does he then know of your burden?

FRODO   Indeed yes.

FARAMIR  Then…he is pursuing it?

FRODO   Maybe.

FARAMIR   What else could he seek?

FRODO   Fish. Look!

From the water Gollum cautiously emerges, carrying a fish in each hand

ANBORN   Shall we not shoot, captain?

FARAMIR   Wait, Anborn. Now, Frodo, why should we spare?

FRODO   He is my guide. Let me go down to him.

FARAMIR  Go then! Be swift!

He signals to Anborn, who leads Frodo off left. Silence. Frodo enters slowly below right, with Anborn behind

FRODO   Sméagol!

GOLLUM [to himself]   Fissh, nice fish.

FRODO [louder] Sméagol! Come to Master!

GOLLUM   No! Master can wait.

FRODO   Sméagol, come now! Precious is waiting!

GOLLUM   Ss!...

He creeps along the bank towards Frodo, still carrying his fish. Suddenly he catches sight of Anborn in the shadows

There’s something there! Master, master, wicked, tricksy, false!

He  suddenly  turns  on  Frodo,  but   Mablung  leaps down behind and grabs him

MABLUNG   Hold still!

He ties his hands roughly. Anborn steps down from behind

FRODO   Easy, easy! Sméagol! Trust Master!

Gollum turns round and spits at him. Mablung places a hood over his head, and he and Anborn carry him off. The

moon sets and all becomes still. The waterfall roars on. Darkness and silence. The inner curtain falls


Scene Five

The cave of Henneth Annûn, as in Scene Three. Torches are lit once again. The large table has gone, and a high

chair has been placed in the recess in which Faramir sits grimly. Frodo and Sam enter anxiously, Frodo from

outside and Sam from within. As they meet, Gollum, bound, is brought in by Mablung and Anborn

SAM   Got him?

FRODO   Yes, I’m afraid.

FARAMIR   Bring the prisoner to me.

Gollum is brought forward and the hood is removed from his eyes

GOLLUM   Loose us! Loose us!

FARAMIR   Unbind him, Frodo!

   Frodo loosens Gollum’s bonds

Come hither! Look at me! Have you been here before?

GOLLUM   Never came here; never come here again.

FARAMIR [to Frodo] Are you satisfied?

FRODO   Yes.

FARAMIR   Then I surrender this creature, Sméagol, to your protection. This is my doom. As for you, Frodo, I declare you free. [Frodo bows low; Faramir turns sternly towards Gollum] And may death find you swiftly, in Gondor or without, if you do not well serve your master. Whither were you leading him? [Gollum is silent] Answer me!

FRODO   I will answer. He said there is a path near to Minas Ithil.

FARAMIR   Minas Morgul. Do you know the name of the pass?


FARAMIR   It is called Cirith Ungol. [to Gollum] Is it not?

GOLLUM   No. Yess!...There is no other way.

FARAMIR   How do you know?...Take him away, Anborn. [Gollum is led away] Frodo, I do not think you should go to Cirith Ungol.

FRODO   What do you know of this place?

FARAMIR   Nothing certain; but there is some dark terror that dwells in the pass.

FRODO   But where else will you lead me?

FARAMIR   I know not. It is a hard doom and a helpless errand. But at least beware of this Sméagol. He has done murder before now; I read it in him. Now hasten while you may! If you are ready, you should go.

Sam goes and picks up the packs from against the wall. Mablung and Damrod wait to lead them out of the cave.

Gollum is brought after them

FRODO [bowing low] Farewell!

FARAMIR   Go, with the good will of all good men!

The sun rises, and the fall becomes a curtain of living fire. As Frodo and Sam leave, Faramir walks over to the fall

and stares out. His silhouette is still starkly visible as the Curtain falls





Scene One

The Curtain rises. The Cross Roads are revealed before the inner curtain. Four roads meet beneath a circle of dark

fir trees. It is dusk, and all is still. At one side, in deep shadow, stands a gnarled statue of an ancient king of Gondor.

Frodo, Sam and Gollum cautiously approach

FRODO [to Gollum] Do you know where we are?

GOLLUM   Yes, Master: dangerous places—the Cross Roads, yes. This is the road from the Tower of the Moon down to the ruined city by the River. We must go east now, away up there. [He indicates the road eastward: as he does so a dull rumble of thunder echoes from the mountains] Make haste! Be silent!

Suddenly there is a violent flash of lightning. In it the gaunt statue in the shadow stands suddenly out. On its brow

there sits a crown of trailing plants, set with stonecrop gleaming in the king’s hair. Another violent flash of


FRODO   Look, Sam! the king has got a crown again!

Another flash of lightning, followed by a nearer rumble of thunder

They cannot conquer for ever!

He stands looking at the gnarled face in the lightning flashes. Gollum suddenly rushes back and pulls him on

GOLLUM    We must go! Make haste!

Another violent flash of lightning tears across the stage. It becomes dark. A storm is brewing and growing closer


Scene Two

The inner curtain rises. The storm is reaching its height. On the near side of the stage, a narrow path threads its

way; below, it drops into a deep chasm. On the far right, the gate of the ghostly city of Minas Morgul, the Tower of

the Moon. Across from the gate, a bridge springs to the path on the nearer side of the chasm. Gollum leads Frodo

and Sam along the path

GOLLUM   This way! This way!

He leads them past the bridge and into the shadows on the far left

FRODO   I must rest a while, Sam.

GOLLUM   Ssh! Not here, no! Eyes will see us! Come away!

Frodo wearily struggles to his feet, when suddenly a violent crash of thunder shakes the ground. Trumpets ring out

from the city is increasing frenzy. A great red flash leaps into the sky from behind the mountains. A flare of vivid

lightning with forks of blue flame rises from the city. The gate swings open


                Ash nazg durbatulûk,

ash nazg gimbatul,

                ash nazg thrakatulûk

                agh burzum-ishi krimpatul.

The three travellers collapse to the ground. From the city, heralded by trumpets, ride the nine Ringwraiths at the

head of a large army. As these Nazgûl reach the head of the bridge, their leader stops and looks along the path. As

his glance falls upon the shadow where the hobbits lie hid, Frodo’s hand trembles and then moves slowly to the

Ring. He grips Sam’s shoulder, and Sam helps him to return his hand to its normal position. At that moment the Lord

of the Ringwraiths turns his horse westward and spurs it on. The army pours forth after him. As the final posse of

Orcs march off, Sam pulls Frodo’s arm

SAM  Come on, Mister Frodo!

GOLLUM [hissing from the deepest shadow] Make haste! Make haste!

Frodo rises. The glow of the city dies as the thunderstorm fades away. There is silence as it becomes dark again. The

inner curtain falls


Scene Three

Higher up the pass. Frodo and Sam are lying on the ground, resting in the gloom; Gollum is lying down slightly

further away. Suddenly from high above a red glow springs up. Gradually more are seen, and the shadow of a tall

black tower is outlined at the crest of the path above. Sam pulls Frodo towards him; Frodo looks and nods

SAM [to Gollum] So this secret way of yours is guarded after all!

GOLLUM   All ways are watched, of course. But hobbits must try some way.

SAM [to Frodo] There’s a wicked feeling about this place. And a smell…do you notice it?

FRODO   I like nothing here: step or stone, breath or bone. Earth, air and water, all seem accursed. But so our path is laid.

At the back Gollum slowly stalks away up the path, unseen by Sam or Frodo. The hobbits sink down into their own

thoughts. All is still. Suddenly Sam looks up again

SAM   Gollum—now where’s he gone?

FRODO   Sméagol!

SAM   I don’t like his sneaking off without saying.

FRODO   It’s no good worrying: if he’s false, he’s false.

SAM   All the same, I’d rather have him under my eye. All the more so, if he’s false. Do you remember he would never say if this pass was guarded? And now we see a tower there. Mark my words: if ever we get to the pass, he won’t let us take his Precious over the border without some kind of trouble.

FRODO   Yes, just biding his time and waiting on chance.

SAM   I’d be dearly glad to see you have a sleep, master. I’d keep watch.

FRODO   Sleep!...Yes, even here I could sleep.

SAM   Sleep then, master! lay your head in my lap.

Frodo settles down and falls immediately into a deep untroubled sleep.  Sam  watches  over him gently, but

slowly he too falls asleep. There is silence. Then slowly Gollum creeps back down the pass. He looks at them, with

pain in his eyes. He shudders, and peers back up the pass, shaking his head as if engaging in some inner debate.

Then he moves forward again and touches Frodo’s hand caressingly. Sam suddenly awakens

SAM   Hey, you! What are you doing?

GOLLUM [gently] Nothing, nothing…Nice master!

SAM   Where have you been sneaking off to, anyway?

Gollum suddenly starts, as if he had been struck; a green fire lights in his eyes

GOLLUM   Sneaking, sneaking! O nice hobbits! Sméagol is tired and thirsty; he guides them up secret ways, and they say sneak, sneak. O yes my precious, very nice.

SAM   But where have you been to?

GOLLUM [with a hiss] Sneaking.

SAM [bending over Frodo] Wake up, Mister Frodo!

FRODO [stirring]  It’s still dark.

SAM   It’s always dark here. But Gollum’s come back, so we must be going on. The last lap.

FRODO   The last lap!...But tell me, Sméagol, can we find the rest of the way by ourselves?

GOLLUM   O no! there’s the tunnel coming. Sméagol must go on. No rest for Sméagol. Not yet.

They rise; the light at once fades. Sulphurous fumes rise and conceal the stage


Scene Four

The fumes still cover much of the stage, but lift enough to disclose the entrance to a dark tunnel. Frodo, Sam and

Gollum stand before it

SAM   Ugh! that smell!

GOLLUM   This is the way in. This is the tunnel.

FRODO   Is this the only way?

GOLLUM   Yes, we must go this way now.

FRODO   Well, we must take it.

He passes inside. Immediately the stage becomes totally black. Absolutely nothing is visible. There is silence, but

growing tension. Suddenly Sam whispers

SAM   There’s more than one passage here. It’s as orc-like a place as ever there could be!

FRODO   Which way has Gollum gone? Sméagol! Sméagol!

SAM   He’s really gone this time, I fancy.

FRODO   This is blocked. Right or wrong, we must take the other.

SAM   And quick! I can feel something looking at us.

Suddenly there is audible a gurgling bubbling sound, and a long venomous hiss

Master, master! the star-glass! A light in dark places, it was to be!

FRODO   Why yes!

Slowly he draws out the Phial of Galadriel. A light shines out from it

Aiya Eärendil Elenion ancalima!

Slowly behind them two great clusters of eyes are delineated, glowing with a deadly flame. Sam turns to flee in

horror, but Frodo seizes his arm

Stand! Stand! Running is no use!

   Slowly the eyes creep nearer


He raises the Phial on high, and draws his sword. Then, slowly and steadily, he walks down towards the eyes.

Gradually they grow dimmer and vanish; they turn away and a great bulk, beyond reach of the light, heaves itself in


SAM   Master, master! stars and glory! Now let’s get out of this foul hole—ugh!

Frodo comes up behind him, and holds the light up to the new obstacle

Cobwebs! But what a spider! Have at ’em!

He slashes at the web three times before one cord breaks

It will take days to clear the road like this! Have the eyes come back?

FRODO   No, not to be seen; but if the light failed, they would soon come again.

SAM   Trapped in the end!

FRODO   Come! Let us see what Sting can do! It is an Elven blade. Here! Take the glass and watch!

Sam takes the glass. Frodo draws his sword, steps up to the web, and with one stroke cleaves a great gash through

it. After several strokes the web is shattered and Frodo steps through

Come on! On! The pass, Sam! Let’s run, run and we’ll be through before anyone can stop us!

He dashes off right through the web. Sam scrambles through after him. As the star-glass vanishes all becomes dark



Scene Five

The mists have now dispersed, and the area of the stage is clearly lit with a dim twilight. The highest point of the

pass is very close and is visible in the background. The exit to the lair is on the extreme left, and next to it is another

cave. At the extreme right a high pinnacle of rock reaches up. Frodo rushes out of the tunnel at the far left. He

breathes deeply, and then sets out to run the short distance to the head of the pass. Suddenly from the other cave a

monstrous creature in spider-form squeezes her monstrous body out into the light. Frodo is unaware of her presence,

and she sets out after him. Sam rushes out of the tunnel and cries out

SAM   Look, Mister Frodo, look out! I’m—

Suddenly Gollum rushes out from the other tunnel and grabs Sam’s neck

GOLLUM   Got him! We takes this one, Shelob takes the other. O yes, Sméagol promised; but he’s got you, you nassty filthy little sneak!

Frodo, from behind the outcrop of rock on the right, gives a sudden scream. Sam jumps and drives his elbow into

Gollum’s stomach. Gollum, winded, lets go and springs back; Sam draws his sword and Gollum, with a squeal, leaps

back into the tunnel. Sam dashes after him, and then suddenly turns

SAM   Master! Master!

He rushes back up the pass when suddenly Shelob reappears from behind the rock, pulling Frodo whom she has

already bound, after her. Sam, with a shout, leaps over and stabs her in one of the eyes. The monster,  with a great

hiss,  knocks  him over beneath her. Sam, crushed beneath the weight of her body, suddenly sees Frodo’s sword

lying on the ground. He seizes it and with a mighty thrust stabs her beneath. She leaps up with a great bubbling cry

and jumps clear. Sam rouses himself, his sword in his hand

                A Elbereth Gilthoniel,

                o menel palan-díriel

                le nallon si di ’nguruthos!

                A tiro nîn, Fanuilos!

Now come, you filth!

He draws the star-glass out from beneath his cloak, and its light leaps into the air with a flash like a white torch.

Shelob gives a great scream and backs away. Sam, holding the Phial aloft, forces her back and back, with the

sword still in his right hand. Shelob suddenly turns and rushes back into the tunnel. Sam is left alone; slowly he

turns back towards Frodo, lying motionless on the ground

Master, dear master! Frodo, Mister Frodo, don’t leave me here alone! Wake up, Mister Frodo, wake up! Ach! [He suddenly stops] He’s dead!...Not asleep, dead!

He casts his hood over his head and falls onto the ground, convulsed with weeping

What shall I do, what shall I do? Not leave Mister Frodo dead, and go home? Or…go on? Go on? And leave him?

Going to Frodo, he composes his body, and wraps the cloak of Lothlórien around him

What am I to do?...See it through…What, we go alone to the Crack of Doom? Me take the Ring? Let me see now…The war’s begun…No time to go back…Then take It, and go!

He bends down slowly and draws the Ring from around Frodo’s neck

Goodbye, my dear master! Forgive your Sam! Rest you in quiet; and may no foul creature come anigh you!

He bows his own head and places the Ring on its chain about it. Slowly he rises and raises the Phial on high. Then

he turns, places the Phial within his cloak, and turns towards the cleft of the pass. Suddenly a voice is heard on the

far side of the summit

SHAGRAT   Ya hoy, my lads!


SAM [reels back against the cliff] I am caught…How can I save the Ring?...the Ring…

He slowly draws the Ring from off his neck and places it on his finger

SHAGRAT   Ya hoy! ya herri hoy!

He appears through the pass at the head of a posse of Orcs. Suddenly, with a cry, another posse issues from the

tunnel. Sam cowers back against the rock, but the Orcs pass by

SHAGRAT   Hola! Gorbag, you lubber! What are you doing up here?

GORBAG   Orders, so speak civil!

ORCS of MINAS MORGUL   Ya hai! hai!

ORCS of CIRITH UNGOL   Hai! hola! A spy!

All the ORCS   A spy!

They rush down upon the body of Frodo, lying on the path. Sam suddenly starts out, as the last Orc passes. Rapidly

the Orcs raise the body and carry it off into the tunnel

ORCS   Ya hoy! ya herri hoy! Up! up!

SHAGRAT   Now off! Back to the Under Gate!

Sam rushes into the tunnel after them. It becomes once again completely dark


Scene Six

All is dark but the voices of the Orcs can still be heard

ORCS   Ya hoy! ya herri hoy! Up! up! Ya hoy!

GORBAG   Can’t you stop your rabble making such a racket, Shagrat?

SHAGRAT   Wait a bit; there’s a place we can talk a bit, while the lads go on.

ORCS [dying away] Ya hoy! ya herri hoy!...

Torches are lit by the Orcs; Shagrat and Gorbag take one. As the other Orcs move off, Shagrat and Gorbag halt. As

they talk, Sam is seen hovering on the edge of the conversation, invisible to them

GORBAG   When were you ordered out?

SHAGRAT   About an hour ago; I came at once.

GORBAG   I was ordered out a day ago from Lugbúrz. But in the meantime enemies have got up the Stairs. What are you for?

SHAGRAT   All right, don’t try and teach me my job. My lads saw Shelob on the go. I thought her sneak—

GORBAG   Her sneak? What’s that?

SHAGRAT   Must have seen him: thin little fellow, like a spider himself. Anyway, my lads said her Ladyship was having fun, and that was good enough till the message came. But she got him in the end, didn’t she?

GORBAG   Got him—this little one? But there was more than one. Who cut the cords she put around him, Shagrat? Who stuck a pin into her Ladyship? Same one, I reckon. And where is he? Where is he, Shagrat? By all the signs, I’d say  there’s a warrior loose in your bounds, and you’ve never even spotted him!

SHAGRAT   We’ll see. Come on now! Let’s go and look at the prisoner!

GORBAG   What are you going to do with him? If there’s any game—

SHAGRAT   None of that! All trespassers are wanted by Lugbúrz safe and whole.

GORBAG   You’ll find that difficult. He’s nothing but carrion now.

SHAGRAT   You fool! Carrion! Is that all you know of her Ladyship? When she binds with cords, she’s after meat. She doesn’t suck cold blood; this fellow isn’t dead!

   Sam reels against the rock wall, faint with shock

Nar, he’ll wake up in a few hours; he’ll be all right. Or would be, if Lugbúrz would let him alone.

GORBAG   This is going to be more funny than I thought. Let’s go!

SHAGRAT   There’s to be no fun, I tell you!

GORBAG [laughing] All right!

They begin to move on again, leaving Sam faint against the wall

SAM   May I be forgiven! I knew it in my heart. Now I’ve got to get back to him. Somehow, somehow!

SHAGRAT [some way ahead] I’m going to put him in the topmost chamber. I don’t trust you, when you’re mad for fun. He’ll be safe up there.

Sam suddenly springs to his feet and rushes after them. As he does so, a door suddenly opens in the tunnel wall and

Shagrat and Gorbag pass through

SAM   Come on, Sam, or you’ll be too late!

The Orcs come running down to meet Shagrat and Gorbag

ORCS   Ya hoy! ya herri hoy! ya hoy!...

The gates shut with a great crash. Sam hurls himself against them and falls senseless to the ground. It is totally dark

again. The Curtain falls





The Black Gate is closed has many faults of dramatic pacing and orchestral balance; but some parts of the score were always too good to be lost, and one section (the Prelude to the Third Act, which opens the third of these Suites), found its way substantially unchanged into The Children of Húrin.  In these suites, too, there may be seen the original germs for themes that were afterwards developed in a different manner and subsequently incorporated into later work.

The original version of the motif of the Ring had already been rhythmically and melodically altered, whilst retaining its original harmonic outline, some three years later when it found its way into The Hobbit and from there, later again, into the Akallabêth and Beren and Lúthien.  Gollum’s theme also found its way, melodically changed, into The Hobbit; but the ‘hobbit’ theme itself was not changed at all. Although the ‘Sauron’ motif used in The Hobbit and Beren and Lúthien also derived from work in The Black Gate is closed, it only figures briefly in the Suites, and in both cases in a slightly changed rhythmic form. There is also a hint of the Shelob theme which later (in a rhythmically changed version) became the theme for Ungoliant in Fëanor.

At the original time of writing the instrumentation of the Suites was reduced for a normal-sized orchestra. The passages chosen for inclusion were largely the orchestral interludes between scenes, and as such do not give a completely rounded impression of the opera as a whole; but each of the suites does present, in chronological order, sections from each of the individual Acts. As such they may be fairly said to give an overview of that section of the complete work. There are some brief extracts from the vocal sections (the Fisherman’s song is one; another is the Oliphaunt chorus), where the vocal parts have been rescored into the orchestra.

The full orchestration of the original suites was never completed, having the same lacunae as the full score from which they derived; this was rectified when they were extracted for publication in 1998. At the same time some alterations were made to the barring of the original, and some minor amendments were made to the orchestration. The temptation to alter various of the themes to what might be regarded as their more ‘familiar’ later guises was, however, resisted.