this is actually the only time we get his perspective in the books. it's basically the most intense panic attack of all time as he realizes just how badly he's misunderstood what's happening, and how close he is to losing everything. > *And far away, as Frodo put on the Ring and claimed it for his own, even in Sammath Naur the very heart of his realm, the Power in Barad-dûr was shaken, and the Tower trembled from its foundations to its proud and bitter crown. The Dark Lord was suddenly aware of him, and his Eye piercing all shadows looked across the plain to the door that he had made; and the magnitude of his own folly was revealed to him in a blinding flash, and all the devices of his enemies were at last laid bare.* ***Then his wrath blazed in consuming flame, but his fear rose like a vast black smoke to choke him. For he knew his deadly peril and the thread upon which his doom now hung.*** > *From all his policies and webs of fear and treachery, from all his stratagems and wars his mind shook free; and throughout his realm a tremor ran, his slaves quailed, and his armies halted, and his captains suddenly steerless, bereft of will, wavered and despaired. For they were forgotten. The whole mind and purpose of the Power that wielded them was now bent with overwhelming force upon the Mountain. At his summons, wheeling with a rending cry, in a last desperate race there flew, faster than the winds, the Nazgûl, the Ringwraiths, and with a storm of wings they hurtled southwards to Mount Doom.* emphasis mine just because that's one of my favorite lines in the book.


I'm partial to the previous line: "and the magnitude of his own folly was revealed to him in a blinding flash, and all the devices of his enemies were at last laid bare." Because Tolkien's used 'laid bare' before a few times when talking about Sauron and his enemies. Via Gandalf in 'The Shadow of the Past': >If he recovers it, then he will command them all again, wherever they be, even the Three, and all that has been wrought with them will be laid bare, and he will be stronger than ever. Via Galadriel in 'The Mirror of Galadriel': >Do you not see now wherefore your coming is to us the footstep of Doom? For if you fail, then we are laid bare the Enemy. Yet if you succeed, then our power is diminished, and Lothlorien will fade. The idea each time is that this would be disastrous for the Free Peoples. That this clarity and perception into his enemies would allow him to defeat them. And then, when it happens, when he gets functionally complete insight into their plans, it's not something that will help him defeat them. He gets nothing out of it except to feel the fear of his just desserts.


One of the best passages in the book!


The freaky thing about all the above is just how close a shave it was. If Gollum hadn't chomped Frodo's finger off and fallen into the lava with the Ring before the Nazgul got there, the Nazgul would have retrieved the Ring for their master and it would have been Game Over for, well, everyone. I mean, even if Gollum fell in but the Ring bounced onto to a rock, they would have gotten hold of it in just a few minutes more. And yeah, this is one of my favorite passages of all time. A super-duper villain understands exactly what happened before he's destroyed.


According to Tolkien, the Nazgul would had been unable to touch Frodo, because his command of the ring at that point would had been quite good. They would have to either convince him to leave or wait for Sauron to arrive. Given how far Barad Dur was, they would have at least some hours to destroy the ring before he gets there.


Probably that Oh sh!t feeling we get times 100.


Definitely a Brown Note moment.


He flipped out. He commanded the Nazgûl to drop whatever they were doing and haul ass to Sammath Naur and get it ASAP. I doubt he felt joy. It was right next to the only place it could be destroyed.


"oh, cool, my glasses were on my fking face all the time"


finally, the ringwraiths got it


That feeling when you are doing a presentation in front of a room full of people and realize your fly is down.