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Archive for the ‘5 – The Ride of the Rohirrim’ Category

Finally, finally, Rohan arrives. Today’s page ends the chapter by bringing this side of the story up into line with the horn blasts that Pippin heard at the end of his last section.

Riding into the field, Théoden braces as the sun rises. Shouting louder than any could imagine, he summons the Riders of Rohan to battle, and blows on a horn so hard that it snaps in two. As such, he rides forward at such speed that none can catch him, riding and singing to the aid of Gondor.

One of the better moments.

One of the better moments.

First Mentions:

-Guthláf: Théoden’s standard-bearer, getting this crazy late mention right before the battle.

-Oromë: One of the great Valar, known as a huntsman, horseman, and horn-blower. No stretch that he comes up here.

This part gives me chills every time. I think it’s partially in knowing the outcome for many of these characters, and in how much the battle is turned by the arrival of Rohan. This really is a huge moment, when the two kingdoms finally come together, and when some of our characters finally appear in the same place together again.

However, it’s mostly about Théoden. He’s the obvious foil to Denethor, leading by example with honor and courage. He’s intensely lovable, made more so by Denethor’s failings. As for structure, with this scene coming second to Denethor’s madness, we’re left with a much better feeling than we would have been if the two were flipped. In essence, Denethor has been taken out of the battle, while Théoden shows up to change fortunes. The comparison given to Oromë is stunning. In this moment, Théoden becomes just as strong at heart and in battle as this legendary god.

HIS POWER IS OVER 9000.

HIS POWER IS OVER 9000.

Once again, look forward to a possible perspective shift tomorrow. I actually didn’t even glance ahead to figure out who we might be going to, if even shifting at all.

Words My Computer Didn’t Like:

-Guthláf

-Oromë

Ride now, ride now! Ride to the rest of your day!

Days Until The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug: 67

“And then all the host of Rohan burst into song, and they sang as they slew, for the joy of battle was on them, and the sound of their singing that was fair and terrible came even to the City.”

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What’s worse, being late or never arriving? Most would answer being late, but the army of Rohan arrives in view of Minas Tirith to see the horrors in action. Fires burn in and around the city, with a host of orcs as far as the eye can see. Merry sees Théoden balk at the madness, and hope seems frail. But…here comes that change Wídfara predicted. Dawn can be seen oh so faintly behind the clouds.

Ride now.

Ride now.

First, my apologies to Wídfara. I still disagree with your butting in on the conversation, but you were right in the end. Things are looking up.

I did skip over the small fact that the riders blow through the Rammas without much of a fight from the orcs there. They clash briefly, but the orcs are completely surprised, and really not in a defensive position. Again, no one thought that Rohan would break through the army set to cut them off.

In positioning news, Dernhelm Éowyn has been sticking a whole lot closer to Théoden than to her company. Though I understand her desire to protect her uncle and king, she’s dangerously close to blowing her cover.

BAHAHAHAHA.

BAHAHAHAHA.

Not that it matters, though. What would Théoden do if he discovered Éowyn and Merry right now? They’re on the verge of battle, and you can’t just send them home back through dangerous lands. In all likelihood, there would be some disappointment, but ultimately they would still probably just go right to battle. Might as well, if they’ve come this far.

Days Until The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug: 68

“For a searing second it stood…”

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This is a special day. Why? Sports.

SPORTS.

SPORTS.

Suffice it to say, I’m really, really overly excited for a game in a little over an hour from now. We’re going to try to not let that affect our Lord of the Rings coverage because, frankly, those two things normally don’t mix.

Unfortunately, the action on today’s page isn’t horribly thrilling. Rohan rides in the night, and Théoden makes plans for the attack. Éomer will lead one company up the middle, with Elfhelm (Merry’s group) on the right and Grimbold on the left. They go forth, with the premonitions of a precocious scout to give them hope.

First Mentions:

-Wídfara: A scout returning to report, and claiming that he has the ability to feel the change in the wind in regards to the possibility of success. I am skeptical.

Personally, I don’t have anything against Wídfara – people are looking for all sorts of reasons to give themselves hope – but he forces himself into an odd place when talking to Théoden. Yes, as a scout in times of war he has the right to report directly to the king, but then he suddenly interrupts another scout, giving his highly subjective report that the winds are changing. Wait? Why do we care? You were sent to see what was going on with the orcs. Did you instead stand and feel the wind about you?

Théoden probably handles the moment pretty well, but ultimately he’s dismissive of the comment. There are better things to worry about than weather-war relationship conjecture.

Figure it out, Jamestown.

Figure it out, Jamestown.

Words My Computer Didn’t Like:

-Wídfara

Meanwhile, I feel my anxiety growing. It’s time to shut this down, and cower in my little jersey-wearing ball on the couch.

Days Until The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug: 69

No one dies today.

“Merry was riding behind Dernhelm, clutching with the left hand while with the…”

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The guidance of the Woses ends, and they mysteriously disappear back into the woods. A fitting exit for a strange people. Théoden and Éomer decide to let the army rest for now. They can resume their ride tomorrow, going quickly down the road.

Unfortunately, bad news arrives with the return of the scouts. They found bodies on the road ahead, those of the errand-riders who visited Dunharrow to ask for Théoden’s aid. It’s clear that news of the coming of Rohan never reached Minas Tirith.

Snail mail is for losers.

Snail mail is for losers.

First Mentions:

-the Grey Wood: Smaller portion of the Drúadan Forest, still set before the army of Rohan.

Pretty pedestrian page, after the Woses fade away. It only seems right that they just step back into the woods, never to be seen again. All that’s left is the sound of the drums echoing in the distance. As if they never existed, life goes on in the war around their forest.

Speaking of life…er, death, Hirgon’s body is one of those that is found by the scouts. Logic says that he was returning to Minas Tirith following his meeting in Rohan, but found the road held against him. He turned back, and was killed in his retreat. While this doesn’t change Rohan’s plan of attack, it does let them know that their coming isn’t expected.

Well, it might be expected by orcs, but that doesn’t matter all that much. They were expected to come down the road, but found a way around. So, if anything, their element of surprise is greater.

Weren't expecting that, were you?

Weren’t expecting that, were you?

All this is building to the battle being joined sometime soon. It’s still a ways to go to Minas Tirith, but the way is fast. We should see arrival any page now.

Days Until The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug: 70

No one dies today.

“‘And mayhap in this time shall the old saw be proved truer than ever before since men spoke with mouth.'”

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In short, the travel on this hidden road is easy. We skip most of it, only knowing that it does indeed take some time to get everyone through. Thickets cover most of the way, which is the last cover this group is going to see before battle.

Is it thick? It's the thickest.

Is it thick? It’s the thickest.

Coming out of the woods, the army stops for a quick council. Éomer sends scouts, which GBG mocks. He has had men out scouting the enemy already, and they’re almost back. Word has it that the orcs have taken down the out-wall of Minas Tirith, actually solving a problem for Théoden’s forces. Instead of having to break through a defense of the wall, the Rohirrim can ride right through.

Indeed, this has been the easiest march to war I’ve ever seen. Enemies were lurking in every path, but Rohan found a way through. Now, basically there, all they need to do is walk right in. How fortuitous!

You really can’t underestimate the necessity of the aid from the Woses. Sure, it’s skipped over in every major summary you’ll see, but the Rohirrim would never have been able to get to Minas Tirith without them. Perhaps they’re the most underrated characters in the entire story.

Actually, that honor has to go to Beorn.

Actually, that honor has to go to Beorn.

Words My Computer Didn’t Like:

-púkel-shapes

That sounds gross.

Days Until The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug: 71

No one dies today.

“‘Once again I thank you, Ghân-buri-Ghân of the woods,’ said…”

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So it is agreed upon. With little other choice, Théoden and Éomer choose to follow Ghân-buri-Ghân on his hill road. Admittedly, they don’t entirely trust him, though good old GBG (I’m calling him that now) will go along at the head. If there’s some sort of trap, he’ll allow Théoden to kill him. So it is. The horses can go four abreast, and it will take over ten hours for everyone to get through.

To war!

To war!

With the conversation over, Merry sneaks back to his camp. No one ever saw him there.

First Mentions:

-Stonewain Valley: The proposed route heads through this valley, presumably rocky in nature.

Another brief look into Woses culture: even though the sun is darkened (and it has been for a few days now), GBG is still able to tell night from day. His tribe shares some sort of connection to the sun, and feels it even through cover of darkness. On a further note, this speaks to Sauron’s dark magic blotting out light. If the sun was like, afraid or something, and not around, this would be a scary thing. But it’s not. The sun is there, just darkened by magic. And we can deal with magic!

Inspirational thoughts.

Hey, the sun!

Hey, the sun!

So, ultimately, all this serves to provide the army of Rohan with a way to pass the armies blocking the road. Why didn’t we really need to hear about how they did that before we heard them arrive at Minas Tirith in the previous chapter? Well, because it was pretty easy.

Words My Computer Didn’t Like:

-Ghân

-Stonewain

When even the text is shortening a character’s name by two thirds, then you know it’s okay to give him an acronym.

Days Until The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug: 72

No one dies today.

“Each company was guided…”

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I guess you could call this a parley, but Rohan and the Woses are not really on opposing sides. Whatever you call it, there’s some tension to the conversation. Théoden and Éomer are specifically looking for aid in battle, which the man cannot provide. His people have no interest in the conflict. However, they do hate orcs, and would look to aid the enemies of their enemies in some other way. He suggests taking a long-forgotten path around the waiting armies.

Thus SKIRTING the opposition.

Thus SKIRTING the opposition.

First Mentions:

-Ghân-buri-Ghân: Headman of the Woses. I presume that “buri” must imply “son of” or something, making him Ghân, son of Ghân. Much like Timmett, son of Timmett, chieftain of the Burned Men. No one likes them.

There’s a lot of history presented here from the Woses’ perspective. They refer to the people of Gondor as the “Stonehouse-folk,” differentiating themselves by the way that they live. Since, when the men arrived from over the sea they carved rock like hunters carve meat, the Woses had thought that possibly these Stonehouse-folk actually ate stone.

So, uh...

So, uh…

Likewise, Ghân-buri-Ghân defines Rohan by their horses. To be honest, it is their defining characteristic. Here they are, living this simplistic life in the woods, observing the world, but not getting involved in wars. They’re pretty alright. Perhaps the Woses are actually the best of all the “kingdoms” of men.

Words My Computer Didn’t Like:

gorgûn

-Ghân-buri-Ghân

-Stonehouse-folk

-Rimmon

Guess what came out today? The trailer for the next Hobbit movie, The Desolation of Smaug! Check it out:

And do you know what that means?

Days Until The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug: 73

No one dies today.

“‘Then you will kill gorgûn and drive away bad dark with bright iron, and Wild Men can go back to sleep in the wild woods.'”

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