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Archive for the ‘10 – The Black Gate Opens’ Category

Short ending to this fifth book. One more awaits.

As Pippin passes out, he hears calls that the eagles have arrived. Unclear on the importance of this, if any exists, Pippin accepts his fate.

He's gonna have a bad time.

He’s gonna have a bad time.

So the eagles, who play a major role in The Hobbit, are actually pretty minor characters here in Lord of the Rings. Their king, Gwaihir, has been an ally of Gandalf’s, but Pippin fails to see any reason why they might be helping now. He only remembers Bilbo’s old stories about them, and he’s really too far gone now to know any better than that.

If nothing else, this serves as a little bit of hope, since we’re clearly jumping away from this battle now. It would certainly be dreadful to leave with Pippin being crushed and accepting death. We have eagles!

Days Until The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug: 12

No one dies today.

“And his thought fled far away and his eyes saw no more.”

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This is the second to last page of the second to last book. Believe it or not, we’re only a small bit over 100 pages before the end. And…much less than that until we get to the end of the part where most people think this book ends.

Multiple endings?

Multiple endings?

Today’s page is a look into Pippin’s mind as the armies charge towards him. Part of him wishes Merry were here, just so they could die together. Another part of Pippin wishes that he was back at Minas Tirith with his friend, and hopefully awaiting an easier end than this one. He looks to his sword, believing that this must be the very sort of battle that it was made for, with its engravings of ancient Númenor. Pippin withstands the first charge, fighting beside Beregond, but watches the guard stricken down by a troll. Before the troll can bite Beregond’s neck (yeah, it was going to do that), Pippin thrusts his sword into it, killing the creature, but trapping himself beneath its body.

It’s hard to say if Beregond has died or not. Certainly Pippin saved him from a mutilation, but his life is uncertain. Pippin, meanwhile, loses consciousness beneath the troll.

If nothing else, lying beneath a troll may be one of the safer places on the battlefield. If you’re alive, no one can really know you’re there. Just lay there, conscious or not, until things blow over. Hopefully by then the smell won’t be too bad.

And in warfare there's no pinfall elimination!

And in warfare there’s no pinfall elimination!

This is where we’re going to leave this set of heroes, locked in a tense battle with no real hope. Pippin, our true lens into this side of the story, is knocked out.

There’s a little bit more tomorrow, but I don’t expect much from it.

Days Until The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug: 13

“Blackness and stench and crushing pain came upon Pippin, and his mind fell away into a great darkness.”

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...

When Gandalf freaks the Mouth out enough, he hustles back towards the Black Gate, and his guards blow a signal. Easterlings and orcs pour out from the Gate and from around the mountains, surrounding Aragorn’s army. There’s not any time to do anything else but form a defensive front and await the attack.

Yeah, so Gandalf expected a trap, and they got a trap. However, it does also seem that Sauron took the bait. His army is arranged in full force. Indeed, though we can’t know for sure yet, Sauron looks to have sent all or most of his orcs and men to battle. This would clear up a path for Frodo and Sam to possibly find a way through Mordor. That is plausible, of course, only so long as the Mouth’s threats were empty, and Frodo and/or Sam are alive and free.

So, there’s some despair, but in truth their gambit worked.

I never understood the point of Gambit.

I never understood the point of Gambit.

Unfortunately, all it looks like now is that this army is screwed. Mordor’s army is said to be “more than ten times” as large. That’s not a force that you can win against. I don’t care if it comes down to skill vs. skill, if that turns into a battle of attrition, the smaller force won’t win. And that’s why things look really bad.

Days Until The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug: 14

No one dies today.

“The wind blew, and the trumpets sang, and arrows whined; but the sun now climbing towards the South was veiled in the reeks of Mordor, and through a threatening haze it gleamed, remote, a sullen…”

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It’s a parley party, partially!

Got your hat!

Got your hat!

The Mouth of Sauron demands that Aragorn (and his friends) accept Sauron’s terms, or else their captive (presumably Frodo) will suffer greatly. The terms are that all lands east of Anduin will be ceded to Mordor, and those west of the river to the mountains will be under tributary rule of Sauron. They may field no army, and Isengard will be rebuilt to instill the Mouth as an overseer. And this is all in exchange for merely Frodo.

Yeah, Gandalf doesn’t see that as fair. However, it looks like he doesn’t have much of a choice. All are downcast, presuming Frodo’s demise and the ring’s capture.

Of course, the Mouth continues to refer to Frodo as a spy. A spy he was not. In addition, if Sauron already had the ring in his possession, I don’t think he would be asking for a deal. He could just run over everyone and take what he wanted. So, it’s pretty clear that he doesn’t have the ring. What’s up with Frodo? LET’S JUST GET TO A FRODO CHAPTER ALREADY, MAN.

The suspense is killing me.

The suspense is killing me.

For hope’s sake, Gandalf catches the Mouth taking a long pause when asked if Frodo can be presented. Yeah, something’s up.

Days Until The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug: 15

No one dies today.

“He cast aside his…”

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I’m still unsure why I was able to forget about the Mouth of Sauron, because this scene is really big. I should blame myself for being in 7th grade, I guess.

And there's a small sliver for "You totally overlook cool parts of Lord of the Rings."

And there’s a small sliver for “You totally overlook cool parts of Lord of the Rings.”

With little response coming from Aragorn, the Mouth turns his scorn to Gandalf. He then produces a bundle of things that can be linked to Frodo and Sam. Pippin cries out, giving away any secrecy that the group could have hoped in. However, the Mouth only sees the captured “creature” (singular) as a failed spy.

It’s safe to say that I don’t think the Mouth has any knowledge of the ring. Well, we know that Sam has it instead of Frodo, and there’s no way that it was taken from the only person that Mordor captured, that being Frodo. As long as one of them is free, there’s still hope.

It’s hard to tell that to any of our heroes now looking on Frodo’s belongings with horror. It’s irrefutable that one of them at least has been captured. They know nothing more. Again, almost no one’s seen Frodo or Sam since they bolted at Amon Hen. If nothing else, this is just a confirmation that they’re alive, somewhat. Faramir did interact with them briefly, but he knew they were heading right to Mordor. There’s been no news since they went into the hardest part of their journey to date.

It’s all about the disconnect. The folks here don’t know what’s going on with Frodo and Sam, and we as readers feel very distant from them, since it’s been almost a good 150 pages since we saw them.

Though Frodo is far from a tiger.

Though Frodo is far from a tiger.

Words My Computer Didn’t Like:

-shouldst

We didn’t have that already? Really? You’d think there would be few words left to cause problems, but they’re still pretty consistent.

Days Until The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug: 16

No one dies today.

“‘If so, take swift counsel with…'”

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It’s page 888, and it’s almost time for another rumpus. And by rumpus, I mean battle.

Rumpus rumpus rumpus.

Rumpus rumpus rumpus.

But not quite yet. Aragorn rides at the head of his captains to treat with Sauron. After a long silence, the Black Gate opens to reveal the Mouth of Sauron, the evil lord’s lieutenant and speaker. He mocks the gathered folk.

First Mentions:

-the Mouth of Sauron: As you know, I don’t normally give people or things a First Mention if they aren’t properly named. However, the Mouth has no other name. It’s literally been lost to time. He’s a man, living, no wraith. He joined up with Sauron a long time ago, and advanced to this high rank.

This is, to me, one of the more interesting scenes. I think it might be because I find the Mouth to be a totally mysterious character. He doesn’t have a name. He doesn’t come from anywhere. He’s just this dark dude, bumming around doing Sauron’s dirty work. He doesn’t have the power of or inspire as much fear as the Ringwraiths, but he’s a nasty guy all the same. And this is all we ever see of him.

I think there’s also a portion of me who thinks he’s cool because I had completely forgotten about him in the book, and then he showed up in the Return of the King Extended Edition DVD. Who is this guy? He seems awful. I took an interest.

Oh hey there.

Oh hey there.

Now he comes out to insult our heroes. It’s a bold strategy. Let’s see if it pays off, Cotton.

Words My Computer Didn’t Like:

-enamoured

Good opportunity to blame the English. Also because we’re celebrating that whole Thanksgiving thing here in the US, and I guess that’s sort of anti-British, in a way.

Don’t worry, Brits, I actually do like you a lot. You gave us Doctor Who, if nothing else.

Days Until The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug: 17

No one dies today.

“‘It needs more to make a…'”

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The gate is in sight. The army has rounded around to the north, coming southeast towards the looming towers. All is quiet. Too quiet, one might say.

Even the cats know.

Even the cats know.

That doesn’t dispel the feeling of dread at all. Everyone knows that an army larger than could be conceivable waits on the other side of the Black Gate. The Ringwraiths hover above, their presence bringing more fear.

Unable to do anything else, Aragorn arrays the army, and rides ahead with his captains.

Just like that the board is set. Sauron is showing nothing, letting the ominous feeling work in his favor. Aragorn’s army is all out there, and he has nothing to hide. If he’s going to play this game, he has to continue to look like he’s overcompensating for something. Remember, he’s trying to make it look like his ego is inflated by the ring. Only such a man would be dumb enough to assault Mordor like this. The results won’t be pretty, but he has to keep up the ruse that he has little idea what he’s doing.

Just no idea.

Just no idea.

There’s also some line about “maggot-folk” of Mordor. I don’t know what that means, but it sounds bad. Another word for orcs it might be, but I’m envisioning literal maggot-folk. Only in Mordor.

Words My Computer Didn’t Like:

-amidmost

Okay, that one actually looks made up. I give a lot of slack, but “amidmost” just seems like an unnecessary amalgamation of words.

Days Until The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug: 18

No one dies today.

“When all was ordered, the Captains rode forth towards the Black Gate with a great guard of horsemen and the banner and heralds and…”

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