Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘4 – The Siege of Gondor’ Category

Third time’s the charm, as Grond breaks the gate on its third stroke. In rides the Witch-king, menacingly black against the fires behind. All flee except Gandalf, who sits atop a surprisingly calm Shadowfax. Only he withstands the fear. The Witch-king lowers his hood to reveal a crown sitting on the brow of an invisible head.

Fear me.

Fear me.

Meanwhile, a rooster crows somewhere in Minas Tirith. It’s answered by horn calls from the north. Rohan arrives.

I really have one question, though: what about that army from the north that was massing with the express purpose of cutting off aid from Rohan? Ingold mentioned that when he and his men came in from the Rammas. Are we to believe that Rohan already rode roughshod over that force, or they found some other way through? I wouldn’t think that this would be abandoned so easily, so perhaps we’ll get an explanation when perspective shifts.

Oh, and this is the end of the chapter, so that perspective is just about to change!

Nightmare fuel.

Nightmare fuel.

There’s also a very good chance that we’re going to spend more time out on the battlefield, with this scene being the end of this chapter to transition us out there with some context. Very likely we’ll be back with Merry tomorrow.

No one dies today.

“Rohan had come at last.”

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Finally, we jump back and hear what’s been happening on the battlefield. This isn’t exactly chronologically linked to where we were yesterday with Pippin running down to the lowest levels of Minas Tirith. Instead, it’s more of a recap to get us up to speed on the battle as it’s been going on through the night.

Unsurprisingly, it hasn’t been going well for the forces of good. Orcs and wild men are crowded around the outer wall, drawing attention at every point. Beasts pull siege towers. However, this entire assault is meant to be a distraction while the forces pull an enormous battering ram towards the main gate. The hulk lumbers forward, and even though the defense is strongest at the gate, and orcs and beasts are slain consistently, a stream of reinforcements is in place to keep the march going.

Like a conga line OF DEATH.

Like a conga line OF DEATH.

When the ram reaches the gate, a lone horseman in black appears. There he is: the Witch-king. As the ram hammers the doors, he screams aloud to offer…encouragement?

First Mentions:

-Grond: The great battering ram. Wrought of black steel in the shape of a wolf.

-the Hammer of the Underworld (aka Grond): Grond’s namesake, the mace of Melkor/Morgoth. Safe to say, it was pretty menacing.

So, with all of this catching us up, the first thud of Grond is what Pippin hears when he arrives at the first circle. There is a great silence and stillness when the Witch-king arrives, with all present cowering in fear. Pippin also hears the Witch-king’s cry.

HYEAHHHH!

HYEAHHHH!

No word on Gandalf, though, even though it was mentioned that Pippin saw him as he came down.

Words My Computer Didn’t Like:

mûmakil

-Grond

A lot of dead people get stepped on today. Just thought you should know that what makes the forces of evil especially evil is that they have no respect. Heck, most of the attackers are just meat used as a distractions. No one cares if they live or die.

“Then the Black Captain rose in his stirrups and cried aloud in a dreadful voice, speaking in some forgotten tongue words of power and terror to rend both heart and stone.”

Read Full Post »

It’s a pleasant surprise to log into the blog and see your viewership spiked overnight. Welcome back, Reddit!

What ISN’T a pleasant surprise is finding out that your liege lord is holed up in a mausoleum trying to burn himself and his son alive. While running out to find Gandalf, Pippin breaks this news to Beregond. Though at first he believes the rumor that Faramir is dying, he actually does find the truth to be believable, as strange as it is. Pippin implores him to go and do something to stop Denethor, though Beregond is conflicted with his orders to stay at his post. Either way, he directs Pippin to the lower circles to look for Gandalf in the heat of the battle.

Must remain at post. Forever.

Must remain at post. Forever.

When Pippin arrives at the city gate, he does see Gandalf, but is also taken aback by the silence, suddenly broken by a menacing thud. Right. There’s that battle going on.

The starkest contrast you can see between the text and the film is that the film at this point is ALMOST ALL BATTLE. I can’t really find this surprising – action sequences are way more exciting than scenes about Denethor’s unraveling, especially on film, while madness is a whole lot more interesting and easier to explore in writing. At this point in the text, we have basically no idea what is going on outside the walls. Last we heard, forces with siege towers were just marching across the fire-trenches towards the outer wall, but that was some time ago. I don’t doubt that the near silence that Pippin encounters is meant to build suspense for whatever big reveal begins to happen at the page break.

And, really, it kills me when there’s a big reveal over a page break. If I was reading this like a normal person, it wouldn’t be a problem, but I have to wait A WHOLE DAY to find out what it is and report back. Golly.

I'M SO FLUSTERED THAT THIS COMPUTER HAS BECOME DELICIOUS.

I’M SO FLUSTERED THAT THIS COMPUTER HAS BECOME DELICIOUS.

On another note, remember all those boring pages where people were just walking from one place to another? We get more action now. Pippin is running. Running! How dramatic.

No one dies today.

“He had found Gandalf; but he shrank back, cowering into a shadow.”

Read Full Post »

Everything is about fire. Again, everything is already on fire, or soon to be on fire. If I didn’t know better, I would think this was something to do with the Hunger Games.

Make me the girl on fire!

Make me the girl on fire!

Walking down from the highest seventh circle of Minas Tirith, Denethor leads his men and Pippin to a door into the mountain. It leads down a road to where the kings and stewards of Gondor are interred. Laying on a broad table beside Faramir, Denethor gives orders to bring wood and oil for a fire. Once again, this spooks Pippin. He runs out, hoping to find Gandalf and bring an end to this madness.

First Mentions:

-Fen Hollen: The lightly-used door to the tombs of the leaders of Gondor. Though only the lord and caretakers ever use it, a guard remains. Even in the war. Think about that.

-Rath Dínen/the Silent Street: This block is the location of the tombs. Aptly named.

-the House of the Stewards: This house (one would assume less grand than the others) is the final resting place of the stewards of the throne of Gondor. When you’re not really king, you get a different house.

So, finally, Pippin loses his wits enough to go and get help. I admire him for staying strong despite Denethor’s descent, but at some point, something needed to be done. He even stops and mentions to one guard left behind that Denethor is acting strangely. Best not to listen to him!

Honestly, how could anyone think that Denethor was acting rationally?

Not all leaders are sane.

Not all leaders are sane.

Pippin must be the only one understanding the situation fully, as he even expects Gandalf to be so completely busy with leading the defense that he won’t have time to take care of Denethor. Yes. War takes effort. Does no one see that? I can’t imagine that Denethor put any thought into preparing for this battle, so people must be running mad in the streets.

Monkey see, monkey do.

Words My Computer Didn’t Like:

-Hollen

-Dínen

Again, don’t forget about that war. It’s still going.

No one dies today.

“‘Your master is not himself,’ he said. ‘Go slow! Bring…'”

Read Full Post »

Denethor’s leadership? Bad, and only getting worse.

When men come again to the tower to ask for his guidance, he yells at them to return to their posts – they’ll all die eventually, might as well get it over with. This is troubling. Denethor goes on about the fire outside and the fire seemingly burning up inside Faramir.

It's a fever, dude. Get over it.

It’s a fever, dude. Get over it.

Denethor releases Pippin from his service, with his final command being to send in his other servants. Pippin, honorably, does not want to be left like this. He’ll serve Denethor to his death, as was his word. Whatever. Denethor doesn’t care. Pippin gets the servants, who hurry in and carry Faramir out on Denethor’s orders. Pippin stays with Denethor and the servants as they process into the madness outside.

For once, Denethor’s thought process is pretty clear: there is fire outside. Faramir is hot. There must be fire. LET’S BURN. EVERYBODY BURN.

Burn, baby, burn.

Burn, baby, burn.

No, seriously. He tells the men to go burn as soon as they can, and seems intent on burning himself as well. Only Pippin is saved from the fire. Denethor advises him to die in the way that he feels is best. Hey, at least he’s got options!

Lost in the madness is that the men announce to Denethor that not all will follow Gandalf. I can’t say why – Gandalf is clearly the best leader around right now – but Denethor’s ranting makes them run right out of the room. With that report, no man will ever want to follow Denethor again, should he live. It really reminds me of Howard Dean’s infamous “HYEAAAHH!” that ran him right out of the presidential race. Being crazy can do that.

No one dies today.

“Out from the White Tower they walked, as if to a funeral, out into the darkness, where the overhanging cloud was lit beneath with…”

Read Full Post »

Not surprisingly, Pippin’s effort to comfort Denethor fails. Even when men come to the citadel requesting orders for the next phase of the defense, Denethor refuses to leave Faramir’s side and lead. This leaves Gandalf as the leader of Minas Tirith by default. He moves about the walls with Imrahil, raising morale everywhere he goes.

Denethor's previous strategy.

Denethor’s previous strategy.

Unfortunately, the boost only lasts as long as Gandalf passes by. The men return to their fear when he leaves. This isn’t helped by the army massing outside. The assault begins in earnest overnight, with siege towers rolling towards the ruined first circle.

So, you could say that things are going…alright. Denethor withdrawing isn’t too bad of a thing. His leadership was usually done poorly anyway. Oddly, though, seeing Gandalf in the lead is off as well. It’s seemingly been his place to counsel and aid instead of lead directly. It is said that his mission from the Valar is to help Middle-earth save itself in the fight against evil, but not to do the saving himself. Kind of a hands-off approach, normally. Here he is, however, leading anyway. He has no other choice.

As for actual strategy, I’m not sure what Gandalf has planned. So far, no one has been able to accomplish anything other than falling back from the lower levels.

Running away has been a theme lately.

Running away has been a theme lately.

You would think that this would leave fairly easy access for the orcs, but remember, the outer wall is extremely solid. They’ll need something strong to break through.

GROND. GROND. GROND. GROND.

“Slowly the great siege-towers built in Osgiliath rolled forward through the dark.”

Read Full Post »

So, heads are flying everywhere, and people are noticing guys that they used to know. Between that, and the Nazgûl circling in the mist above the city, things are looking pretty bleak. Morale is low.

What's up, guys?

What’s up, guys?

We flip back up to the citadel, where Denethor sits grimly over a supposedly dying Faramir. Pippin is standing by, but has absolutely no idea how to help. He suggests that Gandalf could perhaps provide comfort, but Denethor doesn’t like that at all.

I have a very special announcement to mention today:

IT’S FRODO AND BILBO’S BIRTHDAY!

Yep, September 22nd: the day that those two dudes were born. Day of the long-expected eleventy-first birthday party. Nearly the very day that Lord of the Rings begins. Let’s celebrate the two hobbits who began all this craziness.

Photoshopped candles are important.

Photoshopped candles are important.

One other thing has my attention today, and that’s the strange connection between Lord of the Rings and Breaking Bad.

What? Those two things? How?

If you’ve been following the ridiculously intense meth-cooking drama, you’ll know that the series is coming to an end. Walter White is at the end of his wits, and how the heck does it all tie together in the end? We’ve got one more week to find out.

However, a single act caught my eye during tonight’s penultimate episode: Walt, not being able to wear his wedding ring anymore, ties a string on it and places it around his neck. (This can’t possibly be some horrible spoiler. He has cancer. He’s getting thinner.) So, with the ring around his neck, there’s only one thing he can possibly do to save the world and redeem himself…

TAKE THE RING DEEP INTO THE CRACKS OF DOOM IN THE LAND OF MORDOR, MR. WHITE. THERE IT WAS MADE, AND ONLY THERE CAN IT BE UNMADE.

We’ll see how this turns out. Stay tuned.

Words My Computer Didn’t Like:

-dishonoured

Seriously. Check back in a week for Breaking Bad’s end of all things.

No one dies today.

“‘Comfort me not with wizards!’ said Denethor. ‘The fool’s hope…'”

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »