The Lord of the... whatever, Rare Manuscripts:
Faramir In Disgiliath
Prof. J.R. Otlkein often ran through several thousand draughts
of his stories before deciding on a finished form. Most of
these draughts are indeed draughty, having holes in both plot
and paper big enough to ride a Warg through, but some have
come down to us in a more coherent state.
One such example is the rejected draught for Book IV,
chapter seven. This was completed at an early date, but
Otlkein seems to have put it aside for a long while (during
which time it received multiple scorch-marks, perhaps having
been used to light a pipe). Material in this chapter was
later reworked into chapters seven through eleven of Book
IV, which are of course far superior; but many readers may
find rewarding, or at least nauseating, this glimpse of the
Master at work.
This chapter is only extant in a single draught copy;
a later hand has scribbled at the top, in puce crayon, the
FARAMIR IN DISGILIATH
The feel of a hand on his shoulder woke Frodo. He tried to ignore it
and return to his pleasant dream. "Bluefin... catfish... cod, oh
cod!" he mumbled, and tried to turn his head to the pillow. But there
was no pillow: only the cold, damp stone floor of a Henneth Annun
"I've decided what to do with you and your companions," said Dr
Faramir's harsh voice. "You cannot be allowed to take the Isildur's
Shame to Mount Viagra, that is clear. So you shall come with me
instead. I and my students are going to Disgiliath, where we have a
'job' to do, as they say on this side of the River. Come on!"
He pulled Frodo roughly to his feet, blindfolded him, and forced him
up and down through the maze of twisty little passages, all alike.
From time to time, where the ground was rough or where there were, for
no particular reason, large gaps in the floor, Dr Faramir would hoist
Frodo to his shoulder and walk or leap carrying him like a sack. Frodo
had a great many things to say, but the tight grip of Faramir's gloved
hand on his mouth kept him silent. Frodo found he rather liked it.
When the blindfold came off, Frodo found himself in a large open field
with a small white house and a strange sense of déjà vu. Sam and
Spiegel were there, together with a large body of Faramir's students.
"Do not take the Ring to Denethor!" he screamed as soon as the
glove came off his mouth. "It will not restore his lost potency to him
-- it can only augment the seductive powers of those who retain their
"Who said anything about my Denethor?" Dr Faramir responded
contemptuously. "He cares nothing for rings and other trinkets, but
only for the bottom line. Whereas Isildur's Shame may fetch a pretty
price in the Black Markets of Disgiliath; with the proceeds we might
finally restore the educational system of Gondor to what it was in
the days of old. Move along!"
Frodo refused. He sank to the ground, curled himself into a small
ball, and sobbed to himself. "All wrong, Baggins!" he moaned to
himself. "We shouldn't be going to Disgiliath. Not right, Baggins!
Not the way it should be." He continued in this feeble attempt at
autodialogue until Faramir bound a leash around his neck (for some
reason it had spikes all around the collar) and gave the end into
Spiegel's hand. Then Frodo had to scamper to keep up with the other
two hobbits, as their way led out of the field, and down into the dizzy
weed-fields of Ethelien.
They had walked for hours or days, perhaps, but it seemed like mere
seconds under the influence of the vaporous flowers of those lands.
And now there came into sight the ruins of Disgiliath. Disgiliath,
City of Tomorrow, once the futuristic pride and joy of Gondor --
now turned into a sad piece of retro kitsch, whose monorails had long
since stopped running, whose once cutting-edge architecture now looked
pathetically quaint, even as older styles retained their ageless
serviceability. Above all else still reared the sad spire of Tol Ist,
the needle of heaven, built in the days of Insultir. But when the
Great Crash had come, in the days of King Telecom, Disgiliath had been
abandoned to the ravages of Orc and Spider, their public schools and
their dens of vice.
Into one of these last Dr Faramir now led the three hobbits. He had
words with an orc standing behind the counter, but the hobbits could
only hear the words "price... expensive.. good buyer". He soon
disappeared behind a red curtain, and the three hobbits were left on
Frodo felt the line about his neck go slack, and then drop. Spiegel
was being chatted up by a handsome orc-bouncer; Sam, on the other hand,
was being distracted by the perverse antics of a group of scantily-clad
she-balrogs up on a stage. At that moment complete clarity came to
Frodo's mind. He could see the deed he had to do, and he would do it.
He could feel himself being called, called, called...
A phone on the counter rang. Frodo picked it up. "Meet me outside, by
the Old Mall," a voice said. Then the line went dead. Frodo looked
around to make sure he wouldn't be followed, and then calmly walked out
To his left, further into the cities, he could see what had to be the
ruins of a major shopping mall in Disgiliath. Many stories tall it
must once have towered, but a bombardment in ancient days had left it
roofless, and since then the walls had fallen down, one after the
other. All but one; and below it there still stood a motionless
escalator, climbing to a balcony that must once have overlooked the
food court. Now it overlooked a gaping crater in the ground; but
hovering above it in slow flapping flight Frodo saw what he had come to
meet. The Nazdaq, mounted on the back of a gigantic eagle, not ten
feet away from him.
"Mmm... feathers," Frodo began to mumble as his eyes rolled back into
The Nazdaq sat motionless and stared silently at Frodo. "No time for
that," said the eagle. "Your friends will be coming for you soon."
"I didn't know the eagles worked for the Nazdaq!" Frodo exclaimed in
"You don't know much," sneered the eagle. "We work for anyone who pays
us. Where d'you think our chieftain gets his golden crown? We've
worked for Aruman, Gandalf, Radagast; but right now the Nazdaq are
paying double rates. Easy work, too; they don't weigh nearly as much
as you'd think. Over five thousand years you lose a lot of weight, I
The information went right over Frodo's head, as it had nothing to do
with his monomaniacal urges. "I must take the Ring to Mount Viagra and
claim my Estates," he said. "Can you take me there?"
"Nope, sorry," the Eagle answered. "That is, yes, I physically *could*
handle the job, but there's an explicit clause in our standard
contract: No packages delivered over central Gorgoroth. And there are
excellent union rules to justify that clause too. But I imagine you
won't be interested in hearing about them," the Eagle added hopefully.
Frodo wasn't interested. At that moment Sam came running up. "Mister
Frodo, Mister Frodo!" he cried. "You should see this dancer, she's
built like a..." He came to a halt, shuddering at the sight of the
Eagle and his Nazdaq. "Mister Frodo!" he called one more time, just
"Well, I'd better go," said the Eagle. "Look, if you ever really need
me, just call, or yodel or something. I can always fit in another
free-lance job, and I hear you're loaded. See you around!" And with
that the Eagle turned and slowly flapped up toward the top of Tol Ist.
"I've saved you!" shouted Dr Faramir as he ran up. Frodo shook his
head at him, and a tear began its slow journey down his face, the long
long road from tear duct to corner of the mouth. One's eye lingered
upon that tear, coursing its way across ruddy cheek, avoiding the
perils of a wisp of tangled hair, until at last it reached the end of
its long journey. But Frodo's own journey, unlike that of the tear,
was far from over.
"No?" whispered Dr Faramir. "You mean -- you've got a better deal
from... from him?" He pointed at the diminishing form of the eagle.
Frodo said nothing.
"I must let you go, then," Dr Faramir said. "Come not between the
Nazdaq and his deal, or you will be riddled with bulletholes and your
body dumped into the Mighty Anduin in pieces, or so it is said in my
country. And I was having trouble finding a buyer anyway. Fare well,
or ill, according to your deserts, if indeed we are recompensed for our
deeds as is said in the philosophy of King Eärwag, who ought to have
known if anyone did, Frodo Baggins. The Plush of the Velour go with
you!" And with that he hurried off toward the river, as if a whole
pack of Creditors were after him.
Sam and Spiegel, the latter looking somewhat dishevelled and with an
inexpressably silly-looking grin on her face, joined Frodo at the
ground level. Night was fallling and the lights of the club were
coming on. Sam took his master's hand and looked at him longingly.
"How about another drink, Mister Frodo?" he asked.
It began to rain.
This exciting piece of draft material is presented through the courtesy of
David Salo <dsalo-aaaaaaat-usa-dawt-net>.
Copyright © 2002 by the author. All rights reserved. Some variance between this
e-text and the original printed material by Professor Tolkien is inevitable. Using this
as an electronic resource for scholarly or research purposes may lead to a certain
degree of academic embarassment. All agree that the printed version of the text,
available from respectable publishers such as Houghton Mifflin and Ballantine Books,
is to be preferred.
Denethor and Gondor are trademarks of Saul Zaentz and Tolkien Enterprises, who hold all merchandising rights to Gondor and its subsidiaries.
Lawsuits with Peter Jackson regarding this draft are still pending.