And far away, as Frodo put on the Ring and claimed it for his own, even in Sammath Naur at the very heart of his realm, the power in Barad-dur 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 he 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 terror ran, his slaves quailed, and his armies halted, and his captains suddenly steerless, bereft of his will, wavered and despaired. For they were forgotten. The whole mind and purpose of the Power that wielded them was not 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 Nazgul, the Ringwraiths, and with a storm of wings they hurtled southwards to Mount Doom.
I love it. I love readin git aloud. I love that Tolkien must have enjoyed writing it, and that sudden sole glimpse into the mind of Sauron as he thinks what every Evil Overlord eventually must: “Oh shit.”
These days it is also overlain by two further points. The first, the Tolkien Sarcasm Page’s** note that Barad-dur is a pre-fab. The second that as the result of a letter by Tolkien on this very passage, I asked my mother what “impotent” meant.
On the other hand, I cannot stand the Eagle's song in Minas Tirith, thanks to the worst moment in the splendid BBC Radio adaptation, that 'orrible choirboy.
**Not a trivial resource. It kept me sane during my MPhil (I had not yet discovered HPFGU) and taught me calculus.