Archive for the ‘6 – The King of the Golden Hall’ Category

Come out into the light, Théoden. It’s warm here.

But not today in Chicago!

Gandalf has coaxed Théoden outside, and they open the doors to the terrace. Gandalf takes care of the old man, shooing off a serving woman who is actually the best ever. Aragorn notices her, and finds her pretty…


Meanwhile, Théoden looks out on the land, and gains strength. He throws his cane aside and straightens up. Youth comes back to him.

First Mentions:

-Éowyn: Théoden’s niece and caretaker. She’s pretty, subdued, and blends easily into the background. Then she kills you.

So you see, Théoden isn’t actually that old. I never quite understood the nature of the spell cast on him, and I think the book does a better job of showing it than the movie does. In the movie, he’s immeasurably old, and the age wears away after Gandalf works his power against it. Here in the text, Théoden’s age is more of a physical state. He’s bent over, leaning on a staff, and seems distant. Coming outside, he’s able to stand up straight and focus his eyes on the land. Gandalf also implies that Théoden has been told of his age repeatedly, which has made him believe his weakness.

Not to say that being old is a weakness.

Shall I rag on Aragorn for making eyes at Éowyn? Yes, I shall.

What’s this guy doing, smoldering at every girl that passes by? There aren’t many women in this story, and he can’t have them all for himself! Yes, he’s supposed to be the king, but good moral-abiding characters don’t typically go around doing this sort of thing. We’ll keep an eye on that. I thought their relationship (flirtatious-wise) was mostly contrived for the movies. I guess not entirely so.

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Éowyn is already plotting her takeover of everything.

Days Until The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey: 20

“‘Dark have been my dreams of late,’ he said, ‘but I feel as one…'”

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The accusations are flying, and Wormtongue believes Gandalf to be allied with the evil witch of the Golden Wood!

She be cray.

This makes Gimli angry, but Gandalf holds him back. Singing an incantation, he tells Wormtongue off, then speaks directly to Théoden. Raising his staff, Gandalf brings darkness upon the room. Only he can be seen, but he points out a bright spot in the sky through a window. He wants Théoden to come outside. Too long has he been cooped up in this hall.

First Mentions:

-Gálmód: Wormtongue’s father, and probably a jerk. Only jerks have more than one accent in their name. How does that even work?

Is it a spell? Is it a song? The text says that Gandalf “softly sang”. So I say it’s a song. A song, I say!

Tolkien Songs In Real Life:

I like these one-page songs.

“In Dwimordene, in Lórien

Seldom have walked the feet of Men,

Few mortal eyes have seen the light

That lies there ever, long and bright.

Galadriel! Galadriel!

Clear is the water of your well;

White is the star in your white hand;

Unmarred, unstained is leaf and land

In Dwimordene, in Lórien

More fair than thoughts of Mortal Men.”

Full of leftover turkey, I present:

All My Lives

(All My Life – Foo Fighters)

Yeah, the joke is that Gandalf has lived multiple lives. You totally got that, right?

Don’t you raise your eyebrow at me!

So, what is he doing? Well, the song seems to be a defense of Galadriel, saying that Wormtongue has no concept of her power and beauty. Meanwhile, he’s trying to circumvent Wormtongue and talk to Théoden. Gandalf feels that some fresh air would be good for him, and maybe then he’ll listen to the warnings. Maybe even by looking outside he’ll learn something about the land he’s been neglecting.

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Dwimordene is another name for Lothlórien, because something needs more than three names to be officially recognized in Middle-earth.

Days Until The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey: 21

“‘Too long have you sat in shadows and trusted to twisted tales and crooked promptings.'”

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Early morning Thanksgiving edition!

Gobble, gobble.

This will be a rather quick hit today, seeing as I have to get ready and head out to my parents’ house. Onward!

The debate between Théoden, Gandalf, and Wormtongue has begun. Théoden and Wormtongue believe that Gandalf only comes to seek aid for himself, trying to profit from the shortcomings of those at war. As such, they don’t want to give him a warm welcome and fall into his traps. Gandalf, of course, denies this. Wormtongue replies, saying that Gandalf is quite the beggar, at least from looking at his clothing. His mysterious three companions are woefully clad as well. Their worth, Gandalf shoots back, is not in their looks.

First Mentions:

-Théodred: Théoden’s son, and Second Marshal of the Mark. Recently deceased. Oh no!

-the West Marches: The western fields of Rohan, and I would presume the Second Marshal’s land.

There is some talk of Éomer here, and thus it sounds like he did return with news from Aragorn to Edoras. However, he didn’t seem to have been received well. Wormtongue laughs at the news that he had brought of Gandalf’s demise, now clearly false. There’s also some question of whether Éomer had tried to take power for himself. “Few men would be left to guard your walls,” says Wormtongue, “if he had been allowed to rule.” Was that ever up in the air?


There are two more nicknames for Gandalf on this page as well! First, “Stormcrow”, referring to how he brings ill tidings often. Second, “Láthspell“, which means “Ill-news”, referring to…the same thing.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Days Until The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey: 22

“‘Grey is their raiment, for the Elves clad them, and thus they have passed through the shadow of great perils to your hall.'”

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Our four heroes enter a long hall. It would probably be a nice place, if there weren’t some impossibly old dude sitting on a throne at the end. They approach him, and Gandalf hails Théoden. The reply isn’t as warm as you’d like.

Face it: he’s too cool for you.

First Mentions:

-the Battle of the Field of Celebrant: A battle long ago between the men who would later found Rohan, those from Gondor, and vicious Easterlings. The good guys won. Rohan was established shortly thereafter.

-the Field of Celebrant: That’s where the battle took place! Southeast of Lothlórien, on the western banks of Anduin.

It looks like Théoden isn’t the biggest fan of Gandalf, and this is going to be difficult. Don’t forget that, the last time he was here, Gandalf stole the best horse in Rohan. However, you’d think that wouldn’t be all that bad. Apparently, Gandalf just brings trouble wherever he goes.

Okay…that’s not all that wrong. He kind of does. BUT, the reason it feels that way is because Gandalf tends to stay ahead of trouble, and goes places to warn people. The trouble isn’t his fault, but it will follow him if people don’t listen.

And you know what? Théoden isn’t listening. To be honest, at his apparent advanced age, it would probably be hard to hear anyway.

Say what now?

It’s too bad that Théoden has to go and ruin the mood of this hall. It otherwise looks great. Lots of sun, nice tapestries… Seems like a good place for good people. Stinks to be a jerk.

Days Until The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey: 23

“‘Troubles follow you like crows, and ever the…'”

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Resistance is futile. If the king wants you to hand over your weapons, you hand over your weapons. So says Gandalf, and Aragorn begrudgingly relinquishes his sword after Gandalf gives his up. Gimli follows with his axe. Háma still isn’t quite pleased, and requests Gandalf’s staff.


Gandalf, naturally, declines. He wouldn’t dare part an old man from his walking stick! Háma thinks about things, and decides that the four do not pose too much of a threat. Gandalf can keep the staff. Thus, they are allowed to proceed.

First Mentions:

-Telchar: Great dwarven smith, and maker of Narsil, which became Andúril. Did you think that blade was elven-made? You were wrong.

It’s clear to me that Gimli was only waiting to lay down his axe until Aragorn did the same with Andúril. A bit of a follower, that dwarf is. Legolas doesn’t care. If anyone, he’s really the honey badger of this group. Nothing really fazes him.

Isn’t there some YouTube about this?

Fortunately, Gandalf gets to keep the staff. Here’s my question: do wizards really need their staffs to use their power? I would think that their abilities are greater than a simple stick, but it seems important. Does the wizard channel his power through this staff, perhaps wielding it like one would a Ring of Power? When you consider how rare it is that one of these higher beings exhibits the true force of their might, it could very well be that these items are necessary in that matter. Think about that.

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I’m going to start a knock-off cell phone provider, and call it Telchar. The phones may or may not light on fire randomly.

Days Until The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey: 24

“The guards now lifted the heavy bars of the doors and swung them slowly inwards grumbling on their great hinges. The travellers…”

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Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli, and Gandalf have been given admittance into Edoras, but the greeting isn’t exactly cheerful. Something feels dead about this town, and they have to climb a stair under the watchful eyes of tall, imposing guards.

Not a funny hat to be seen.

The guard from the gate leaves them at the top, and one of the guards there approaches. His name is Háma, and he’s in charge of the very door into Théoden’s hall. He demands their weapons, and Legolas complies immediately. Aragorn hesitates, knowing the value of his legendary sword. Háma won’t let him through, however, and turns a little hostile.

First Mentions:

-Háma: The Doorward of Théoden, and mighty tall. He may or may not be the ringer in the Rohirric basketball league.

There’s nothing wrong with having an imposing figure to guard your throne room. In fact, it’s encouraged. Stubbornness is also encouraged. When I think about it, Háma passes most of the tests I would put past someone who I was vetting for a personal guard position. And I do that a lot.

Basically, I’m saying we should give Háma the benefit of the doubt. We’ll all be friends eventually, anyway.

And you want that guy on your team.

But Aragorn does have a point in not giving Andúril away. This is a big deal sword – the Sword that was Broken! You can’t go handing that to every tall dude who asks. And you don’t know what horrible things will happen when it gets put through the x-ray machine.

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Ultimately, this book is all about the corslets. Have you been following the fashion choices of our heroes?

Days Until The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey: 25

“‘Needless is Théoden’s demand,…'”

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And now time to convince this guy that our four heroes aren’t here to do anything bad. He correctly notices that Gandalf is a wizard, which leads him to believe that he might be a spy from Saruman. Okay, I get that.

You have to watch your back. These are troubled times.

Aragorn counters by saying that these are indeed horses from Rohan, and they are being returned, as Éomer wished. Where is Éomer, anyway? Shouldn’t he have warned everyone that this was going to happen? Well, he doesn’t appear to be here. In fact, only two days ago was it that a certain slimy advisor told the guards not to let anyone strange in. Did someone know these folks were on their way?

Anyway, the three hunters and Gandalf give their names, and the head guard departs to see if they will be allowed entry. He returns in short time, letting them in, but telling them that their weapons must be left at the gate. In they go!

First Mentions:

-Wormtongue: King Théoden’s most trusted counselor. I don’t know why anyone trusts someone whose last name is “Wormtongue”, but whatever. His first name is Gríma, which is similarly ugly.

Admittedly, that was easier than I had thought it would be. Oh, maybe that guard will go talk to some folks and see if they can come in. That will take, what, an hour or so? Nope, he comes right back. Part of me thinks that Gandalf pulls some Jedi mind tricks to get them in.

Obi Wan just beat you in the circle game.

However, the guard doesn’t seem convinced that everyone is who they say they are. I get that for Aragorn, but for Gandalf, the guy who came by a few months ago and took that very king of horses out from under your nose, you’d think he could believe him. Who else could it be? This guard clearly has no experience with wizards.

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I have 10 more pages to go before I finally catch up with what I lost so long ago. It will be a good day. And that day is nearly upon us. Verily.

Days Until The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey: 26

“Many houses built of wood and many dark doors they passed.”

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Aragorn sure knows how to set a tone, reciting a poem about the founder of Rohan. With that they pass through the kingly barrows, coming to the gates of Edoras. Guards stand there, seeming lazy, but they spring to life at the strangers’ approach.

No. Stop. I am a guard dog.

The guards speak the language of Rohan, which Gandalf calls them out on. Why would they greet strangers in this way? It’s not very welcoming. Well, you see, they have been told that no foreigners are to enter Edoras in these troubled times. So much for this being easy…

First Mentions:

-Felaróf: So-called “father of horses”, and the steed of Eorl the Young, founder of Rohan. Undoubtedly Shadowfax descends directly from him.

Okay, I lied a little. Some foreigners are to be allowed into Edoras: those from Mundburg, which I thought was some cool new place in Gondor. It’s not new, though still cool. Mundburg is the translation for Minas Tirith in the language of Rohan. Unfortunately, it sounds horribly uglier and less awesome than “Minas Tirith” proper does. Now I can see why Gandalf calls them out for speaking this language. It’s silly!

Just like Esperanto.

I understand taking some measures to make sure that bad people aren’t just waltzing into your capital city, but I would say that these four travelers are pretty clearly okay. First of all, since when do a man, elf, and dwarf just walk around normally? Oh, and there’s a wizard, too? They’re totally friends, and definitely reconciled enough between themselves that they’re not looking for trouble. Perhaps, with some easy observation, these guards would get that.

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Thank goodness for the Common Tongue. This book would be impossible to read otherwise.

Days Until The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey: 27

“‘He is one of the Mearas, unless our eyes are cheated by some spell.'”

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Some days, you take a few hours, listen to the entirety of the three Lord of the Rings movie soundtracks, and bang out over half of the remaining pages you still have to rewrite from when your flash drive crashed many months ago. These are the good days.

In fairness, I really just wanted to listen to the streaming Hobbit soundtrack, but that stream apparently has been taken down, so my half hour or so of glory last night of cooking to said stream was fleeting.

It was majestic.

Meanwhile, on this one page that I’m actually supposed to care about today, Legolas details Edoras as he sees it in the distance. The city feels asleep, but Gandalf warns that the people are on their guard, and the four of them should approach with caution. Burial mounds dot the hills leading up to Edoras, where the kings of Rohan are put to rest. White flowers cover their western sides, and the group remarks how many kings must have lived since the building of Edoras. To Legolas, immortal elf as he is, it only seems like a short time, but some five hundred years have passed in that span.

First Mentions:

-Evermind: The white flower on the mounds, which blossoms in all seasons. Whatever it may smell like, it does not smell like teen spirit.

Aragorn counts 16 mounds. That’s 16 kings, for those of you scoring along at home.

How does one notate that Théoden is being pinch-hit for in the bottom of the seventh?

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Gandalf is right in saying that they should take care. Four unannounced visitors won’t be looked kindly upon in a time of war. Also, the last time Gandalf was hanging around here, he basically stole Shadowfax out from under Théoden, when everybody else thought that the horse was unable to be tamed. Here he is sauntering up on said horse, looking for an audience. Good luck with that.

Days Until The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey: 28

“Then he began to chant softly in a slow tongue unknown to the…”

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And we’re gonna keep this narrative with Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli, and Gandalf. I hope you enjoyed playing the probably not fun at all game of wondering who we would be following next. If you had fun, good for you.

Yeah, dude.

Today basically deals with our four heroes riding across Rohan. They ride into the night, until even Aragorn is tired. Then they rest for a short time, though Aragorn and Gandalf fail to get any sleep. The stop is short, and they head on again rubbing the sleep from their eyes in short time. As dawn breaks, Shadowfax halts, and the four stare ahead at the southern mountains. A valley cuts in before them, and the glint of Edoras can be seen on a lonely height.

That was an exciting page. Nothing like riding on horseback and sleeping. Or not sleeping. As you will.

It’s nice to know that the movie version of Edoras seems to have done good by the book version. It’s probably the most visually spectacular set piece, in my opinion.

Not to mention they actually built the city on that rock.

It’s not like there’s that much more to say about this. They ride. They stop. They ride. They see some pretty stuff. All in all, because very little happened, it was probably a good day for them. No battles. No serious pain, other than aches and pains from riding. I’ll take that, if, of course, I live in a medieval-type society where all sorts of bad things can happen every day. It’s all about perspective.

Days Until The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey: 29

“‘Where it issues from the shadow of the vale a green hill…'”

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