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Archive for the ‘3 – The Uruk-hai’ Category

Is this page necessary?

It’s three lines long. The end of that one sentence (see above), and another longer one. In essence, I’m going to quote the entire thing between that first line and the last one of the chapter.

Oh, what happens? Nothing, really. The news of the orcs’ demise doesn’t reach Isengard or Mordor. They are horribly insignificant. The riders burn their bodies, and the smoke rises high in the sky. Whoop-dee-doo.

WASN’T THAT EXCITING?!

Picture of an owl, for dramatic effect.

“So ended the raid, and no news of it came ever back either to Mordor or to Isengard; but the smoke of the burning rose high to heaven and was seen by many watchful eyes.”

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A forest is generally a good place to hide, especially if you’re a hobbit. Pippin asks Merry whether they should chance going into Fangorn, as they’ve heard tales of its dangers before. But, what’s the other option? Oh right, heading out towards the battle. Probably not the best idea.

CHAOS!

Instead, they head into the forest. Out of the shadows, they can watch the dawn break and the battle begin. The initial cavalry charge pretty much does the trick, and the orcs officially scatter on the return charge. However, one wedge is moving towards the forest, unbroken, with Uglúk at the head. Merry and Pippin scurry off, missing the end, when Uglúk gets brought down in straight combat by Éomer. Not that the hobbits know who Éomer even is yet, but whatever.

The two hobbits are convincingly away from the fighting, so you can officially call them escaped. Happiness!

Too bad for Uglúk, but at least he went down in a powerful way. I had talked about how he wasn’t so bad, as orcs go. He healed Merry and Pippin, and, in a roundabout way, was looking out for their safety. It is because of this, that I think he gets to die more on his terms than normal. First off, he leads a failed attempt to escape into the forest. When that falls apart, he has to be taken down by Éomer mano-a-mano.

I really want it to have looked like an old-timey boxing match, but with swords.

It’s a respect thing. Even though Uglúk was an evil character, he wasn’t necessarily a “bad guy”. Killing him off in single combat with Éomer is a way to go that suits him. If nothing else, I find the connection between his death and the small amount of sympathy I feel to be interesting.

That’s what I’m here for, right?

Tomorrow’s page is painfully short, as we keep moving right along.

“Then when they had laid their fallen comrades in a mound and had sung their praises, the Riders made a great fire and scattered the…”

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And they crawled. They crawled so far away. Had to get away.

Misquoting never felt so good.

Merry and Pippin do just that, trying to stay out of sight. The battle has died down, as the riders have dispatched the newly arrived orcs. Now they’re just getting ready to finish off the main pack. With the sun almost up, that time is drawing near.

Mostly out of the way, Merry and Pippin walk along the Entwash river, discussing their captivity in jest, and bemoaning Pippin’s dropped brooch. Merry realizes that he knows where they are!

This is why you have to love these characters: Merry and Pippin are incredibly lighthearted. “No listener would have guessed from their words that they had suffered cruelly,” the text remarks, “and had been in dire peril, going without hope towards torment and death; or that even now, as they knew well, they had little chance of ever finding friend or safety again.”

If that isn’t optimism, I don’t know what is. And I love me some optimism. They seem to think that the worst thing to happen has really just been Pippin dropping his brooch. It’s unlikely to be found.

Oh, right. Nevermind.

Merry, meanwhile, points out the Misty Mountains and the approaching forest of Fangorn. While we were making so much fun of Sam earlier for being incredibly useless at reading maps, Merry was able to do some research in Rivendell, and knows these parts of the world well enough. Good for you. A+ in Geography.

“‘The butt-end of the Misty Mountains is in front, and Fangorn Forest.'”

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Nope, I was wrong about the first sentence. Grishnákh survives that one. But first paragraph? He doesn’t make it. The arrow goes through his hand, and he screams loud enough to give away his position. A horse rides him down and its rider puts a spear in his back. End of story.

SPEAR!

That leaves Merry and Pippin alone, but still tied up. Not to worry! Pippin tells Merry about how he managed to loosen his wrist bonds, and he grabs some lembas from his pocket. Meanwhile, Grishnákh’s scream roused the rest of the orcs, and the battle has finally begun. To add to matters, that band coming out from the forest does indeed show up. The riders move their circle closer inwards, and the two hobbits find themselves outside of it without even having to move. How easy is that? Pippin uses Grishnákh’s knife to cut them free, and it’s time to go.

Needed more proof that the elven cloaks will hide just about anyone? The rider that killed Grishnákh didn’t see any bit of the two hobbits on the ground. His horse conveniently did, though. Otherwise, there would be two flat hobbits on the ground.

Must not crush the hobbitses!

All in all, things worked out amazingly well. Without actually doing anything, Merry and Pippin are free of Grishnákh, far away from both the orcs and men, and revitalized. Well, I guess they had to do something themselves to get revitalized, but eating is pretty easy, as things go.

While they eat, they forget all about the chaos going on around them. That’s pretty much how I eat, too.

FOOD.

“With this he quickly cut their bonds.”

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So that’s what the ploy is: no ring for Grishnákh unless he unties Merry and Pippin…at which point they probably just run away as fast as possible. That will totally work.

The convincing is harder than it sounds. Merry points out that if Grishnákh takes them all the way to Saruman (if, of course, they live that long), the wizard will take both the ring and the credit for finding it. Grishnákh falls right into the pride trap. However, he reasons that he might as well kill them both, as he can have the ring whether they’re dead or alive. Grabbing them both, he heads towards a gap in the fires. He slams them on the ground and watches for any sign of men in the night. Nothing? Time to kill them!

If only!

Oh, is that a man coming up from behind?

Yep, Grishnákh’s gonna die. Right now. But, what do we say to the God of Death? Not today.

My bet’s on first paragraph tomorrow. First sentence, if we’re lucky. There’s an arrow, and it’s flying this way, but that’s where we end at the bottom of the page.

I guess you could say that Merry and Pippin’s plan failed. Grishnákh is totally ready to kill them, which definitely isn’t what they want. If nothing else, they’ve succeeded in sufficiently confusing the witless orc, which has resulted in him turning violent. When a generally violent creature gets confused, they tend to resort to what they know best: violence.

In 3…2…1…

So, Grishnákh draws his sword, makes a noise, lets it gleam in the light of the fire…and the rest isn’t going to end well. Thank goodness for his stupidity. A few more yards, and he’d probably be far enough away to finish them off easily. Impatience is not a virtue.

“An arrow came whistling out of the…”

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And so it begins.

Some men have crept up and attacked one flank of the orc camp, causing mass panic. For the moment, Merry and Pippin are unguarded, but not for very long.

O hai!

Grishnákh grabs them, creepy as usual. He starts searching them violently, and Pippin eventually figures out that he’s looking for the ring. Time to play a trick! Pippin acts as if Grishnákh is going about his search wrong, which confirms that Grishnákh is indeed looking for the ring. Merry, picking up the act, offers to give the ring to Grishnákh for a price.

Tricksy hobbitses! Even more so, as Pippin impersonates Gollum’s cough, which Grishnákh clearly responds to. I’m not sure how Grishnákh knows about Gollum’s characteristic hack, but it definitely rings a bell. Perhaps he was one of the torturers who worked out the information from Gollum?

There he is! Right there!

However, how does Pippin know the sound? I’m assuming that Bilbo told about that in his stories. Passing it down to Frodo, he could have told Pippin. That’s a whole lot less of a stretch in my mind. Grishnákh, meanwhile, doesn’t seem like a high enough ranking orc to have interacted much with Gollum unless it happened circumstantially.

Today’s Gollum Meter: 55 – “Oh, look, you’re being helpful! In a weird, turnabout way…”

And, in all of this, here comes the attack. The Rohirrim don’t want to let the orcs have a restful night of sleep. No one gets any good sleep around here, except for Legolas, because ELVES DO WHAT THEY WANT.

*New all-caps phrase!*

Words My Computer Didn’t Like:

-ve-ry

That’s “very”, split into two syllables. Emphasis is important in Middle-earth.

“‘We could save you time and trouble. But…'”

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Do you care about football? I’m going to guess not, because you’re reading a blog about Lord of the Rings. However, when an entire game is decided by a blown call at the very end, on Monday Night freakin’ Football, people are going to go nuts. I’m a Chicago guy. I hate the Packers, but man, that was wrong. Everything about that was wrong. Don’t know what I’m talking about? Don’t worry, it’s probably going to be the only thing talked about in sports for the next week.

Times is bad.

Anyway, that was just so shocking, there was nothing else to lead off with. Sports!

Fantasy novels!

While the orcs are preparing themselves emotionally for the battle to come, Merry and Pippin get a chance to talk. Merry needs to get his energy back to try anything, and Pippin suggests lembas. If only they could get to the stores in their pockets…

However, the orcs have settled down, and they notice the two talking. None of that! They watch fires go up around them, but the men seem to stay hidden. Uglúk mentions that they may have some help coming to them, which seems…well, a little too hopeful. We’ll see about that.

First Mentions:

-Mauhúr: He’s another orc, and apparently he’s coming from Fangorn. Actually?

Personally, I think this group coming out of the forest is more pump-up hogwash than actual fact. Even if help is on the way, how would they get through the ring of men guarding everything? These orcs are cut off, and there’s no way around it. You can’t fault Uglúk for trying to do something to raise morale.

Nice beefy arms, dude.

Meanwhile, Merry and Pippin try to hatch a plan. I think, based on earlier events, that Pippin was about to reveal the fact that he loosened the bonds on his hands before the orcs notice them and stop their conversation. If he can slip his bonds off, then he can reach into a pocket and grab some lembas. Once you have lembas, anything can happen! It’s like spinach for Popeye.

Words My Computer Didn’t Like:

-Mauhúr

Now, let’s all take a collective breath, and watch the NFL tear itself to bits. Roger Goodell is gonna have a bad time.

“It did indeed become very dark again; for the moon passed westward into thick cloud, and Pippin could not see…”

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I TOTALLY FAILED AT EVERYTHING.

I can’t believe it, but I forgot to say something about it being Bilbo and Frodo’s birthday yesterday. That’s, like, a thing. It’s the reason why so much stuff has come out to preview the new movie this week. I even knew it was yesterday, but I forgot to mention it in my post, and now I feel like I failed everyone, everywhere.

All the fun of Arrested Development, with the gravitas of Game of Thrones.

Anyway, let’s get back to running.

Oh, wait! Today’s running is slightly more exciting than every other day’s, because it includes death! With Pippin being carried along, he twists around to see the men on horseback nearly upon them. Both he and the orcs know that a battle is imminent. What will happen when it does, Pippin wonders. He fully expects to be killed just as if he were an orc. Gradually, archers ride up and fire volleys into the crowd of orcs. Many fall. However, by nightfall no battle is begun. The orcs slow to a stop, cut off in every direction. Some orcs run ahead to try to make it into the cover of Fangorn. Only a handful come back alive.

Times is…both good and bad. These orcs are going to die! That’s good, but also the men of Rohan are unlikely to notice the difference between all the orcs and their two captives. Kill everything! That’s not a very good prognosis. Oh well, not too much that Pippin can do right now.

But, oh, right, now that the orcs aren’t running, they do the only other thing that they’re good at: argue. Let’s all make fun of Uglúk for leading everyone into a trap!

His only friend is the wall.

Do I feel a little sorry for Uglúk? Maybe…

I wouldn’t have expected to ever feel sympathetic for an orc. I guess this is why we had that scene of him healing Merry and Pippin and making them feel well enough to run. The guy’s not so bad, but he’s not a very good leader. And now that’s coming back to haunt him.

“‘They’re not to be killed, unless the filthy Whiteskins break…'”

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Oh, we’re going to keep running. As if that was in doubt.

Basset. Hounds. Running.

Uglúk orders Grishnákh and his folk to get a move on, and they do, while Merry and Pippin get scooped up once more. It’s another awful and pointless day, but by afternoon they start to pass the struggling northern orcs, who clearly had no business running off in the first place. The Uruk-hai jeer at them as they go by, unfazed by the sunlight.

This is just continuing to prove that orcs are dumb. If you’re going to run away, why would you run in the direction that you’re sure to be overtaken by the stronger orcs who aren’t worried about running through the daylight hours? The orcs from Moria are dead tired, while the Uruks just shoot right on by. If this were a race, the northern orcs are the tortoise to the Uruks’ hare. But this time the tortoise is dumb.

To be fair, the tortoise’s intelligence is never mentioned. Just the hare’s laziness.

Meanwhile, there’s nothing much more to say about just another day of running. At this point, I’m getting sick of that. We just heard about Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli running all this way, and now we have to do it again?! And Pippin’s perspective isn’t even that interesting – he’s mostly unconscious or forgetful about these events. Soooo exciting…

Words My Computer Didn’t Like:

-savoured

Even the “new” words are boring. Although, to be honest, the first sentence of this page (where “savoured” comes from), is really awesome: “‘Nazgûl, Nazgûl,’ said Grishnákh, shivering and licking his lips, as if the world had a foul taste that he savoured painfully.” You have to admit that that’s kind of sickeningly cool.

Now let’s hear the last line!

“The soldiers of Mordor lifted their…”

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Well, that’s nothing new. Let’s deal with it.

The northern orcs want to get the heck out of here, and Uglúk gives them that chance. Pippin watches as over a hundred orcs dash away.

“Run away!!”

The remaining orcs are looking uneasy. Some look to the south, where they know that the Rohirrim have caught their trail. Others look east, while Uglúk grumbles something about Grishnákh. Sure enough, Uglúk’s nemesis returns, with many of his own at his back. Was he gone? Oh, I guess he was. These are some more orcs from Mordor, who probably snuck away with him, and he now intends to see Merry and Pippin to Isengard in one piece.

First Mentions:

-Snaga: One of the orcs that Uglúk has been using to scout ahead. He didn’t kill the Rohirrim scout. He’s a fool.

I’m pretty sure that Grishnákh’s reappearance was supposed to be a surprise. I definitely didn’t notice him leaving the group, save that the last time we saw him he was lurking back in the darkness while the rest of the orcs came to blows. Unfortunately, his arrival negates the good feeling that you get from the hundred or so northern orcs who just ran off. Net loss? Probably almost nothing.

I know me some math.

You know what the oddest kind of jokes are? Ringwraith jokes. Most people don’t mess with those guys, but Uglúk seems comfortable doing so. Grishnákh had mentioned falling back to the river, where a Nazgûl was waiting for him. Apparently, he did no such thing. Uglúk makes fun of him for that. “Has he had another mount shot under him?” he jests. Oh, that’s right, I remember that! Legolas shot that beast in the night during the journey down Anduin. It all comes back, eventually.

Words My Computer Didn’t Like:

-Snaga

I’m gonna go SNAGA snack from the fridge. NYUK.

“‘Now, if you’d brought him along, that might have been useful – if these Nazgûl are all they make out.'”

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