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Archive for the ‘2 – The Riders of Rohan’ Category

Wait…Dad? DAD?!

Dad!

No, no, no! The old man is nobody’s dad. Aragorn shouts out to him, but nothing happens. He has disappeared. So have the horses, which Legolas is the first to notice. They sit there, dumbfounded, and Gimli grumbles a bit. They all think that it must have been Saruman, stealing their only means of transportation and leaving them stranded in this desolate area. The rest of the night is uneventful and depressing.

Poof! Magic disappearing horses! So much for Hasufel and Arod. I thought they were going to be so much more. Although, Gimli jokes about eating them, which is both weird and unexpected. You would think that the Rohirrim are one of two ways: they either love horses way too much to eat them, or they’re like the Dothraki, and only eat horsemeat because they view it with some sort of godlike power. Either way, I’m pretty sure horsemeat isn’t typical dwarf-fare.

Meanwhile, I finally saw Hugo for the first time today, which is just another film in which Christopher Lee is clearly making plans for his Uruk-hai army behind the scenes.

“The hour grows late, and Hugo Cabret runs to my library seeking my counsel.”

However, was this really a visit from Saruman we’ve just experienced? Why only steal the horses when he could destroy these three with his mind? Maybe it’s not Saruman…maybe it’s SOMEONE ELSE! Besides, Éomer mentioned that Saruman walks in Fangorn hooded. This man had a hat. A HAT!

(That last sentence best spoken with the inflection of “And they call it a mine. A MINE!”)

When all is said and done, this is the end of the chapter. Times is bad, folks. Times is bad.

“The old man did not appear again, and the horses did not return.”

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Strange things are a-happening. This is definitely NOT the kind of place where I’d like to stay up late and keep watch.

Everything’s fine. Nothing wrong at all.

The three hunters talk about how they were warned not to venture into Fangorn. Why is that? Well, nobody knows for sure. Legolas recalls old stories of ents living in the ancient wood, but knows nothing more. Time for sleep!

Gimli draws the short straw and has to take first watch. Aragorn warns him to stay vigilant, before falling asleep himself. Looking out into the night, Gimli suddenly sees an old man on the edge of their firelight. His start wakes Aragorn and Legolas, and the three of them stare at the figure. Saruman?

Aw, the fact that I know who this is is ruining everything for me! Let’s act like we don’t know yet.

DUDE, CREEPY OLD GUY IN THE NIGHT!!

They’re everywhere!

There’s no doubting that Fangorn has an eerie feel to it. Generally speaking, anyplace that is known best for its old tales of creepy things is going to make you feel uncomfortable. Even more so when the stories are mostly forgotten by the people you’d expect to know them: Aragorn and Legolas.

I guess that makes Gimli (and dwarves in general) pretty ignorant. Well, there’s no questioning the fact that they love to stay underground and deal with their own business. Heigh-ho, heigh-ho.

Words My Computer Didn’t Like:

-Onodrim

-Ents

“Onodrim” is the elvish term for “ents”, which, as you should know, are old, mysterious, and mostly only known of in tales of yore. They’ll totally stay that way, right?

“The old man did not speak or make a sign.”

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The length of this chapter is surprising. We’ve now left the riders of Rohan behind, but the chapter with that name drags on. However, it ends in two more pages, as I discovered in turning the page after typing up today’s. It’s the little things like that that keep me going.

Like Twinkies, I guess.

We start today with a conversation about how hard this news (Merry and Pippin’s deaths) will be for people like Frodo and Bilbo. While Elrond insisted that the two be left out of the Fellowship Company, Gandalf wanted them to come. He certainly didn’t mean for them to meet their ends like this.

“He didn’t mean for a lot of things to happen, Sam.”

Yep, he definitely didn’t intend on falling into a dark pit either. Oops.

The night wears on, and Gimli wants to build a fire. Aragorn warns him against doing that, as the woods of Fangorn are full of evil tales. Since their path will likely take them into the forest, he doesn’t want to risk angering the trees. But no need, because Gimli finds sticks already broken from the branches, and uses these instead of harming the living matter. He puts a fire together, while Aragorn broods and Legolas again stares off into the middle distance.

If I didn’t know better, I’d call Aragorn heavily superstitious. However, he has a point. And, as a baseball fan, I actually look pretty favorably on superstitions.

Because having a clean helmet means you’ll never get a hit again.

Strangely enough, the tree above their camp seems to be reacting favorably to the fire. Honestly, this is the opposite response that I would expect, but we’ll go with it. Trees have feelings too.

The supposed state of Merry and Pippin? Still dead.

“It may have been that the dancing shadows tricked their eyes, but…”

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And…we’re back on the trail. Upon their two horses, Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli ride along the path of the orcs, but it’s been ridden over already by the riders of Rohan, and the tracks are muddled. Éomer had mentioned a group of orcs that had joined the main pack from the east, and Aragorn rides alone up that trail just to check it out. There’s nothing exciting to see there.

Just like driving through Ohio.

They ride slowly back on the larger trail, as Aragorn thinks that the orcs might have tried to squirrel their captives away here once they knew they were being followed. There’s still nothing, until they reach a clearing just a short way within Fangorn forest. There’s the pile of burned orcs! A burial mound for the Rohirrim slain in battle lies nearby. The three hunters search around the area, but by nightfall they have found no sign of Merry or Pippin.

Nothing says “grisly” like a veritable bonfire stack of charred remains. A head on a stake sits at the height of the pile of ashes, which is done pretty darn accurately in the movie:

World’s worst kebab.

In contrast, the burial mound of the Rohirrim is quite respectful. Near where the Entwash flows out of the forest, it has been recovered with grass. Fifteen spears stand around the mound, presumably one for each of the fallen. Not a bad location to be buried at all, if it weren’t for the steaming pile of evil just across the way.

Meanwhile, still no sign of Merry or Pippin. Our heroes are now considering the very real possibility that they’re just as charred underneath all the orcs. Oops.

“‘It will be hard news for Frodo, if he lives to…'”

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Aw, Éomer turns out nice in the end! Instead of being a jerk about it, he’s going to allow Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli to continue their journey. Even better, he’s going to give them his extra horses!

Majesty!

Gimli, however, refuses. He doesn’t feel comfortable riding a horse, and now he’s going to be grouchy about it.

But that’s okay! Legolas will allow Gimli to sit behind him on the same horse, which is somehow less humiliating for him. As a part of the bargain, Éomer makes Aragorn promise that he will make his way directly to Edoras, the capital of Rohan, once their purpose is served. With that, the two horses are handed over, and the Rohirrim ride swiftly away.

First Mentions:

-Meduseld: The house of the king in Edoras. Basically a mead hall. Read your Beowulf.

-Hasufel: A dark grey horse, given to Aragorn.

-Gárulf: A late rider, killed in the recent battle with the orcs. Hasufel was his horse.

-Arod: Another horse. Lighter than Hasufel, but with a quick temper.

Oh, that Arod. I don’t know if his mood will be a factor at all later, but Legolas uses his elven powers to subdue the horse. He responds to Legolas’ commands at a word. Legolas even discards the saddle and reins, preferring the more natural approach. I doubt that Gimli likes this one bit.

Like this, but without the saddle.

So, all of a sudden, Éomer trusts Aragorn with his life. Yep, he’s a bit worried that letting the three hunters go will cost him his life. That’s a dear price for a rather minor overlooking. Especially since Aragorn does have a favorable relationship with the men of Rohan, no matter that he hadn’t met Éomer before today.

And Gimli means to re-educate Éomer on the ways of Galadriel. Don’t you bet against him.

Words My Computer Didn’t Like:

-Meduseld

-Hasufel

-Gárulf

-Arod

Were those surprising? No, those were not surprising.

“When after a little Gimli looked back, the company of Éomer were already…”

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Now let’s debate the possibility of Merry and Pippin’s survival. Could they have been carried away before the riders were able to fully encircle the orcs? Éomer finds this unlikely, unless the two were able to magically slip past their vigilant watch.

Deathly Hallows: level 1 of 3.

But wait! Aragorn reminds Éomer that Merry and Pippin would be clad in elven cloaks just like the three hunters are. And the riders went right by them in broad daylight. It’s highly likely that two similarly veiled hobbits could pass through unnoticed at night in the forest.

And now things get dicey. Éomer turns an unfriendly eye, and explains that the laws of Rohan do not permit strangers to wander the countryside. If Aragorn will not come with him willingly, he must be taken by force. Naturally, Aragorn takes offense to that, laying out how he’s been friendly to the people of Rohan in the past.

Speaking of the laws of Rohan, one must not forget that Éomer IS THE LAW.

Stallone can sub in for now.

And only one man can stand against THE LAW, and that’s Aragorn. His all-caps phrase is way better. HE’S JUST THAT GOOD.

Perhaps by the time this is all said and done, I’ll give everyone an all-caps phrase. Keep an eye out. So far, we’ve got Aragorn (HE’S JUST THAT GOOD), Éomer (IS THE LAW), and, sadly, Boromir (HE’S JUST NOT THAT GOOD). I think that’s all I’ve got for now.

Should Boromir’s change to “HE WAS JUST NOT THAT GOOD”? Past tense, womp womp.

Oh, and what’s Aragorn’s threat as to why Éomer shouldn’t forcibly detain him and his friends? If he does so, there will be less men to return home. That’s right, appeal to his sense of not-wanting-anyone-to-die. Works pretty much every time.

“‘My company chafes to be away, and every…'”

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Is it rude to say that I’m getting a little bored with this conversation? This is the sixth page, and I’m getting sick of the “times is bad” rhetoric. Perhaps this is my punishment for doing this even while I already know the story so well.

Oh, dear.

Anyway, Éomer begs Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli to come aid his people in their quarrels with Saruman. With the way things are going, Rohan is likely to find itself hemmed in from both sides when the war against Sauron is begun. At the moment, Éomer needs to return south, as his job cutting down the orcs passing through the north is completed.

Unfortunately, Aragorn declines to ride with Éomer. He must discover what has become of Merry and Pippin!

First Mentions:

-the Westemnet: Like the Eastemnet, but to the west. The western part of Rohan, for those of you who have no sense of context.

In terms of new names, Éomer calls Fangorn “the Entwood”, which follows the pattern of everything in this region being called the “Ent-something”. Entwash, Entwade, Entwood…it goes on and on. It’s like this must be a good part of the world to find ents or something…

This is ENTirely possible!

Éomer brings up the worst-case scenario of the moment: the possibility that Sauron and Saruman will ally with each other. In fact, that was his worry as he pursued the orcs moving through the north. Some bore Saruman’s White Hand, while others did not, and must have crossed Anduin from the east. That alliance is scary, and is where “The Two Towers” gets its name, or at least that’s what most believe.

Speaking of believing, Éomer strongly believes that Merry and Pippin are dead and gone. Oh no, suspense!

Words My Computer Didn’t Like:

-dwimmer-crafty

-Westemnet

-Entwood

Say what now? “He is a wizard both cunning and dwimmer-crafty,” says Éomer, “having many guises.” Is that to mean that Saruman, being “dwimmer-crafty”, is a master of disguise? Sure, because that’s exactly what I thought that phrase would mean…

“‘But between the wall and the downs we have found no other trace of…'”

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