New chapter, foreshadowing where we’re going next. I’m not always a big fan of that, but whatever.
The gist of this page is everyone meeting up. Gandalf and Erkenbrand ride down from the slope, meeting Théoden, Aragorn, and Legolas. Éomer, Gimli, and Gamling come running from the back of the valley, and Gimli is bragging about his kills, even though he’s taken a blow to the head. Everyone is glad to see each other, though Éomer chides Gandalf for the manner of his coming. The wizard counters that he said he would return to them, and he always intended to find Erkenbrand. He says nothing about the sudden forest. The men are uneasy about it, but Gandalf laughs it off. No, he didn’t bring it here, but it worked out nicely, right?
General rule of thumb: if it’s strange, yet helpful to the forces of good, Gandalf probably had something to do with it. But not today! I think he enjoys playing around with the fact that he magicked the trees here, but that was beyond his plans. Sometimes, the world just wants you to win a battle.
But, aha! An injury!
For the first time, at least that I can think of, one of our heroes is actually hurt. I’m not counting Boromir. He just died.
I don’t know what happened to Gimli, but he seems to have taken a nasty gash to the head. Luckily, his personality isn’t harmed, since he can only talk about killing and such. He’s sad that his axe got chipped (some orc had an iron collar), but otherwise appears normal. However, the injury shows us that our favorite characters aren’t immortal. Just in case you were worried about that..
“‘Better than my design, and better even than my hope the event has proved.'”