It’s a pleasant surprise to log into the blog and see your viewership spiked overnight. Welcome back, Reddit!
What ISN’T a pleasant surprise is finding out that your liege lord is holed up in a mausoleum trying to burn himself and his son alive. While running out to find Gandalf, Pippin breaks this news to Beregond. Though at first he believes the rumor that Faramir is dying, he actually does find the truth to be believable, as strange as it is. Pippin implores him to go and do something to stop Denethor, though Beregond is conflicted with his orders to stay at his post. Either way, he directs Pippin to the lower circles to look for Gandalf in the heat of the battle.
When Pippin arrives at the city gate, he does see Gandalf, but is also taken aback by the silence, suddenly broken by a menacing thud. Right. There’s that battle going on.
The starkest contrast you can see between the text and the film is that the film at this point is ALMOST ALL BATTLE. I can’t really find this surprising – action sequences are way more exciting than scenes about Denethor’s unraveling, especially on film, while madness is a whole lot more interesting and easier to explore in writing. At this point in the text, we have basically no idea what is going on outside the walls. Last we heard, forces with siege towers were just marching across the fire-trenches towards the outer wall, but that was some time ago. I don’t doubt that the near silence that Pippin encounters is meant to build suspense for whatever big reveal begins to happen at the page break.
And, really, it kills me when there’s a big reveal over a page break. If I was reading this like a normal person, it wouldn’t be a problem, but I have to wait A WHOLE DAY to find out what it is and report back. Golly.
On another note, remember all those boring pages where people were just walking from one place to another? We get more action now. Pippin is running. Running! How dramatic.
No one dies today.
“He had found Gandalf; but he shrank back, cowering into a shadow.”