Archive for the ‘1 – Minas Tirith’ Category

Finally, FINALLY, this chapter comes to its end. How many transitions did it have that I thought could have qualified it for a new chapter? Too many.

For one last transition, Pippin makes his way back to his and Gandalf’s lodging. Gandalf still isn’t back. Though Pippin tries to look out at Minas Tirith through their window, the city is in blackout. Nothing can be seen. So, with nothing else to do, Pippin sleeps.

He’s woken some time later, seeing Gandalf come in and begin pacing their room. He notifies Pippin (as Beregond had as well) that Denethor will send for him in the morning. However, Gandalf worries, morning will not come. The sun will not rise tomorrow.

In the arctic, this is normal.

In the arctic, this is normal.

Gandalf, for his part, says nothing about where he’s been, but is still wondering about the same thing that he mentioned when he set out: when will Faramir come back to Minas Tirith? Certainly he got no answer to this today. I half expected him to return with all the captains and lords marching in, but that didn’t happen. I figured that was the reason that we were getting to see that bit of action. Nope, it was just for world-building, I guess.

So…what’s next: an explanation of Gandalf’s activities from the previous day? Straight off to Pippin’s meeting with Denethor? Imminent attack? What a great divergence of things can happen!

No one dies today.

“‘There will be no dawn.'”

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The procession of companies ends shortly, as the sun begins to set behind Minas Tirith. Shadows lengthen, and a silence falls over the people. Pippin muses at the darkness before realizing that he and Bergil have to get back inside the gate before it closes. They hustle back and are the last to get in.

Just casually.

Just casually.

Bergil then bids Pippin farewell, and Pippin hustles again back up the circles of the city to find Beregond at the mess hall.

First Mentions:

-Golasgil: Lord of the Langstrand, who doesn’t seem very giving to his people. They are equipped lightly. He and his household are well-armed.

-Lamedon: Southern region of Gondor. Does it have valleys? Of course it does.

-Hirluin: Lord of…

-Pinnath Gelin: Green, hilly country next to Anduin.

Yep, more places and people that are rather unimportant. I mean, really, we’ve met all the people who matter at this point, right? I’m not thinking of any others that we haven’t at least heard of. Various lords and such from minor regions help fill out the picture of Gondor, but they aren’t necessary in any way.

I hate myself a little for saying that – world-building is important – but in more of a descriptive exercise rather than in a plot sense.

Behold, three generic characters with wonderfully rich backstories!

Behold, three generic characters with wonderfully rich backstories!

Learning words in the universe! Did I mention earlier that the concept of “daymeal” for the soldiers of Gondor seemed confusing? It sounded like the meal wasn’t during the daytime at all! Yes, this is true. Daymeal, as it is called, is being taken now, after sunset. This seems wrong. I don’t like it. I am still confused.

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Ah! What a wonderful chance to blame the English! BLAME!!

No one dies today.

“After the meal Pippin stayed a while, and then took his leave, for a strange gloom…”

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In some ways, it’s parade day.

Pikachu will save Gondor!

Pikachu will save Gondor!

Pippin and Bergil head out the Great Gate, and crowd in with many others to watch companies march in. This isn’t a scout team returning, as I had thought, but lords and princes from outer lands bringing men to fight for Minas Tirith. People are excited as they approach, but disappointed as they pass. Every company seems smaller than expected. Minas Tirith needs a lot of help, though, so any little bit is good.

First Mentions:

-Forlong: Lord of Lossarnach. Old and fat. But he came to help, so that’s something.

-Ringló Vale: Another one of those vales of Gondor.

-Dervorin: Son of the lord of Ringló Vale. I guess that would make him a prince. More so than Pippin, anyway.

-Morthond/Blackroot Vale: Well, it’s another valley. Morthond is the river, which is sometimes just the name of the place.

-Duinhir: Lord of Morthond. Hard to pronounce.

-Duilin: One of Duinhir’s sons, following in the tradition of naming similarly to the father.

-Derufin: Duinhir’s other son. Probably the rebellious one.

Well, that’s another list of things that runs together. In the long run, these places aren’t that important, but it goes to show that Gondor is bigger than just this corner with Minas Tirith and Osgiliath. There are a lot of vales and things, and the people there are trying their best to help the cause, but are dealing with their own problems as well.

Meanwhile, Pippin is allowing Bergil to be a more mischievous youth. Bergil doesn’t know the passwords to move around in the city, but Beregond just taught them to Pippin. He uses them to get out of the Great Gate, which Bergil remarks is something typically denied to him.

Great, so he’s going to run about and get to places he shouldn’t get to now.

What's this from?

What’s this from?

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Anfalas? Oh, that’s another name for Langstrand. Remember Langstrand?

No one dies today.

“From the Anfalas, the Langstrand far away, a long line of men of many sorts,…”

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If you ever thought that Pippin might suddenly fight a child to the death, then today is your day. This kid steps up and starts asking questions, so Pippin fires back. He doesn’t want to be judged as a small outsider, and he wants the child to know that he could very well kill him on the spot.


Behold Pippin, destroyer of worlds.

Behold Pippin, destroyer of worlds.

Faced with battle, the child braces, but then Pippin breaks down. He admits to being sent by Beregond, who is, unsurprisingly, this boy’s father. Bergil is his name. Bergil will gladly show Pippin around Minas Tirith, first to the Great Gate, where some men are expected back from a patrol.

First Mentions:

-Whitehall: Shire town, in the Westfarthing, where Pippin’s father farms.

-Iorlas: Bergil’s uncle, of the same age as Pippin. Therefore, he could possibly be Beregond’s brother. Or, naturally, Bergil’s mother’s brother?

-Bergil: Beregond’s son. A bit of a brat. But so is Pippin, so it’s okay.

A problem: soft “g” (bɜrʤɪl), or hard “g” (bɜrgɪl)? I want to say hard, but sometimes the rules can be confusing. This would be a soft “g” in our English language, but the rules are different in Middle-earth. International Phonetic Alphabet problems!

This is a fantastic example.

This is a fantastic example.

Regardless of his name, Bergil doesn’t make a very good first impression. This isn’t helped by Pippin goading him, but he comes across as a bit of a schoolyard bully.

Wait…he’s ten years old? Oh, this is more expected. Meanwhile, he’s likely the youngest character we’ve met so far. He’s pleaded with Beregond to let him stay in the city, and it’s worked so far. In reality, he’s acting older than his age in being brave enough to stand up to what might be coming. Some may call it foolhardy, but in this world, I’m sure they praise this.

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Yep yep yep!

No one dies today.

“‘Come with us and you will see.'”

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This was a very long day, and this is really starting to feel like a very long chapter, with ANOTHER transition.

Beregond and his company finish eating, and it’s now their time to go on duty. Beregond wishes Pippin well, and offers that his son could take Pippin on a guided tour of the city. He’s down in the lowest level of Minas Tirith, should Pippin be interested.

Seven levels, remember.

Seven levels, remember.

Pippin is interested, of course. He ventures down, noticing the stares he’s getting, and finds a house where children are playing outside. They approach this strange outsider.

First Mentions:

-the Old Guesthouse: An inn? Hostel? A big building! This is where Pippin is sent.

-the Rath Celerdain/Lampwrights’ Street: Where the Old Guesthouse is located, presumably also where lamps are made.

Noteworthy is that Beregond’s son (and, I would think, Beregond as well) live (or are found) in the lowest circle of Minas Tirith. Does this symbolize poverty? Why would Denethor send a poor man to groom Pippin? Are these questions worth asking?

Yes, always yes.

Ask, and ye shall get answers. Unless, of course, we’re reading a page at a time, and the answers come very slowly.

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Good luck deciphering what that means. Probably something to do with Pippin being hobbit royalty.

No one dies today.

“‘I was,’ said Pippin; ‘but they say I have become a man of Gondor.'”

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It’s finally time for Pippin and Beregond to get on with their lives. I can’t really say how long they’ve talked so far, but the bell rings for the midday meal. Beregond offers to take Pippin to lunch, since more food is never a bad thing. He can also then meet the other men of Beregond’s company. After checking to see if Gandalf has returned of left word for him at their room (he hasn’t), Pippin goes to the mess hall.

Let's clean this up!

Let’s clean this up!

Things get weird. Rumor has spread of Gandalf’s arrival with a hobbit, but it is believed that the hobbit is a prince of his people. He has promised aid for Gondor, with thousands of hobbit warriors marching to battle behind the riders of Rohan.

Okay, you guys…

Need I say that that’s not true? Pippin has a hard time breaking it to the guys. He doesn’t, however, fully refute his status as a prince. Why not stay a prince?

In other news, MORE FOOD!

It's a second wave.

It’s a second wave.

It’s an established fact that hobbits like to eat. Hobbits like to eat a lot. Pippin had gone for far too long without food, and thus was looking for it when he ran into Beregond. Now, after eating and talking for quite some time, the next meal is being prepared, and you don’t hear Pippin complaining one bit.

Oh, right, and he ate a few cakes with Denethor. As hungry as he said he was, HE’S BEEN EATING ALL DAY.

It’s good to be the prince of hobbits.

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No one dies today.

“Though Pippin had regretfully to destroy this hopeful tale, he could not be rid of his new rank, only fitting, men thought, to one befriended by Boromir and honoured by the Lord Denethor; and they thanked him for coming among them, and hung on his words and stories of the outlands, and gave him as much food and ale as…”

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Talking in theory about the war to come, Pippin and Beregond are depressed, then hopeful, and so on and so forth. There’s a lot to think about before all this starts. A shadow of fear is the first feeling on this page, as both think that something dark and evil blocked out the sun for a moment.

That little spot? Totally evil.

That little spot? Totally evil.

Next up, Pippin brings some hope. He’s seen Gandalf fall, yet he returned. Who is to say that this is the end of all things good? Gondor will continue, Beregond agrees. Even if they have to abandon Minas Tirith, the kingdom will be remembered in hiding.

While that’s not the most optimistic outlook, it’s better than nothing. Beregond also hopes that Faramir will provide a boost whenever he returns to the city.

I guess we can live with that. LITERALLY. Dying would be bad.

So bad.

So bad.

Hope is necessary in the face of this insurmountable evil. Fear is Sauron’s greatest power. He can mass armies, cover the lands in darkness, and send his terrifying servants to battle. However, any small warrior can combat that fear by simply not fearing it.

Easier said than done, of course. What Gondor truly needs is a leader, and Denethor is doing a very poor job of being one. Boromir wasn’t a bad option, but he’s dead, so the burden falls to Faramir. Beregond clearly knows that he’ll help when he arrives. But…when will that be?

No one dies today.

“‘Our reach is shortened, and we…'”

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Too much looking and not enough talking? Let’s listen to Beregond talk today!

Now featuring vague cubism!

Now featuring vague cubism!

Pippin is curious about why the beacons of Gondor were lit, when war has not yet begun. Beregond offers his theory: that a squadron of corsairs from the south are massing to attack up the river and cut off Minas Tirith from aid from the southern vales. They must immediately look to Rohan for help. It is good to know of their victory against Saruman, but still the hardest blow to the world of men will fall at Minas Tirith.

Wait, now. The strangest part of this page? These quotes are lifted and put into the movie – AND GIVEN TO GANDALF.

"It is but the deep breath before the plunge." - Beregond

“It is but the deep breath before the plunge.” – Beregond

It isn’t hard to see why – this is an important conversation, and Beregond is an unimportant character. We don’t really need to introduce another character just to show Pippin around at his arrival to Minas Tirith, but books can get away with this a lot easier than films can. Books assume that you have a longer attention span, while movies don’t require one. Do we need to get these ideas and phrases out? Well, then let’s give them to a character that we know well, and who is wise enough to give such powerful words. Gandalf is the best fit. It takes less exposition that way.

Unfortunately, this all ends poorly for Beregond, the small soldier of Gondor who nobody remembers, because his big scene was reassigned to somebody better.

Let us remember his sacrifice.

No one dies today.

“‘And, Master Peregrin, do you see any hope that we shall stand?'”

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Views are cool, but I have little to say about them.

Here's a vista in Vista!

Here’s a vista in Vista!

Perhaps this is why we invented the term “speechless”. What can you say, looking out over the world? Pippin sees more wagons going to and fro from Minas Tirith, and spots the ruined city of Osgiliath on the river. Beregond explains Osgiliath’s history as a battleground, and that it was recently retaken by the Black Riders. Pippin shudders, remembering their evil look. It’s hard to feel comforted here in the growing shadow of Mordor.

First Mentions:

-Tumladen: Just another valley in Gondor. There sure are a lot of those that I really don’t care much about.

I think what’s dragging me down right now is that there’s no way for me to really connect, in writing, with the images presented. It’s a lot of looking, without much else.

For a little bit of heart, at least, Beregond remarks that most of the children have been evacuated from the city, save those who refused to leave, and are trying to help. His own son is among them, and he doesn’t seem too happy about that.

Gosh, that reminds me of…

Wait...I meant to go for Game of Thrones here.

Wait…I meant to go for Game of Thrones here.

We’ll see if Beregond watches his son melt in green flames. I mean…um, SPOILERS!

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Clearly, everyone can see that there’s an extra “g” in that word. We need not belabor the fact of how wrong this is.

No one dies today.

“‘Boromir it was that drove the enemy at last back from this western shore, and…'”

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This chapter is starting to feel really long. We could have had a break there in transition from Denethor to Beregond. Oh well, I’m just noticing these things now, so I guess it’s time to shame myself for being too picky.

It’s lunch time!

Of course it's a spork.

Of course it’s a spork.

Pippin and Beregond dine on the high battlement overlooking all of Minas Tirith and the fields of Pelennor. Beregond marvels at Pippin’s combination of youth and experience. Though he looks like a child, he’s had more adventures than most hardy men. Pippin wistfully looks out over the lands, new to him, and sees people and wagons coming and going. Most are either coming to Minas Tirith or going out south on the main road.

In this manner, the page is spent mostly in thought, though Pippin mentions to Beregond that he has not, in truth, come of age according to the customs of the Shire. Most of the rest of the page describes the lands that lay below.

Hopefully the meal is good. We don’t talk about that, and it’s the most important part of the action for me.

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My Thu'um will crush the nonbeliever!

My Thu’um will crush the nonbeliever!

And this just got awkward.

No one dies today.

“But soon Pippin saw that all was in fact well-ordered: the wains were moving in three lines, one swifter drawn…”

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