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Posts Tagged ‘Aragorn’

This page moves by fast. Frodo and Sam are looking at the Red Book, full of Bilbo’s and Frodo’s stories. Its title page is a mess of scratched out ideas.

Because sometimes you change the title.

Because sometimes you change the title.

Frodo’s story is unfinished, and a few pages are left blank at the end. Frodo will give the book to Sam, and now it’s Sam’s turn to write.

Frodo and Sam set out from Bag End on September 21st (the day before the big birthday day). They ride out through the Shire, seeing parts of it that they saw at the very beginning of their great journey.

First Mentions:

-Strider: Frodo’s pony, the very one that bore him all the way home from Minas Tirith. It’s no secret who he’s named after.

-the Stock Road: A road through the Shire, undoubtedly to Stock.

And, I mean, about half this page is taken up with the numerous titles, subtitles, and parenthetical additions to the titles of the Red Book. It was quite the tale, and the story’s changed since Bilbo first put it down. I think some of his edits are in there, but also those that Frodo changed or added once his story became a part of the whole. Once again, I’ll bring up that this is technically the framing device of the whole book. If you want to think of it this way, we’re reading the Red Book right now.

Or, don’t think of it that way. Sometimes it feels more like an adaptation of the Red Book. It has been mentioned that many editions are made throughout the following years and years, so it’s possible that someone eventually fleshed out this great tale from the ramblings of the two hobbits.

Well, Tolkien did that, I guess. META.

Sly dog.

Sly dog.

Finally, I want to touch on one sad note. According to the Internet (well, according to…life), the horse who played Shadowfax in the films, Blanco, has died. He fell ill some time ago, and the decision was made today to put him out of his suffering. While unfortunate, I’m sure many horses couldn’t have ever dreamed (if horses do that) of being such a beautifully prominent character on screen. And I’m sure that he lived as good a life as a horse can.

But in our story…

No one dies today.

“‘It seems like a dream now.'”

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I hope you like bravado. We have plenty.

And footpads. We have those, too.

And footpads. We have those, too.

That is to say that the leader of this group of men has stopped Frodo, Sam, Merry, and Pippin on the road, and seems intent on lecturing them about what the Shire needs. It needs guidance, he seems to think, and he and his pals are going to provide it. Their boss, the mysterious Sharkey, has control over Lotho Sackville-Baggins, but he can remove him as “Chief” at any time if he wishes. Frodo reminds this man that his boss (we all know it’s Saruman) has no power anymore. He was thrown down. A new king reigns, and his people will reclaim the land scoured by these ruffians. The man laughs at that.

This makes Pippin mad. As a sworn man of Gondor, he stands up for Aragorn. Swords are drawn.

I want to jump back a bit and cover something that I meant to do earlier. Sharkey is not some random name meant to refer to sea creatures. Very little is made in Middle-earth of sea creatures, so that hardly makes sense as a reasoning. In fact, Sharkey is a bastardization of “sharkû”, meaning “old man” in the orc tongue. Saruman is indeed an old man, and I would expect that these men (part-orc/goblin or not) are using that term in a more colloquial sense. Thus, Sharkey.

However, he's less friendly than Jabberjaw.

However, he’s less friendly than Jabberjaw.

BUT, for those of you who may have super-fanned the films, you may recognize this word. Sharku (note the dropped “û”) is the warg-riding orc who fixes to throw Aragorn of the cliff in Two Towers. This scene is not in the book. Sharku, the character, is not in the book. This is a re-appropriation of a known term into another context.

Of course, you can then make matters worse by noting that the actor who played Sharku also plays Snaga, an orc in the company transporting Merry and Pippin, and…oh, yeah, he’s also the guy who plays Nori in the new Hobbit films. Jed Brophy is Peter Jackson’s…um, BROphy.

No one dies today.

“Fearless hobbits with bright swords and grim faces were a great surprise. And there was a…”

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Butterbur finally realizes that it’s Aragorn – his mysterious Strider – that has become king of men. That elicits a lot of this:

WHA-

WHA-

This does seem to confirm that better times are coming for Bree. Butterbur is ready to turn in for the night when he remembers one more thing. Bill the pony, who Sam took along with them once upon a time ago, has returned! He found his way back to Bree, messy and hungry, but alive. Sam demands to see him.

The four hobbits and Gandalf stay in Bree the next day, and interest grows in their appearance. Butterbur’s business is good the next night.

I’m gathering that this means we’ll be moving on from Bree soon. I think we’ve exhausted the possibilities here. Butterbur’s story is tied up (and Bill the pony’s), and he’s ready for his happily-ever-after. Pretty much everyone else has had that moment. The hobbits just need to get back to the Shire to have theirs.

You get a happy ending! YOU get a happy ending!

You get a happy ending! YOU get a happy ending!

Unfortunately, it’s not like I see the end of the chapter approaching. I’m thinking we have one more left after this, but I guess it could be possible to squeeze two more in. We’re looking at 16 more pages, so two short chapters wouldn’t be crazy.

I know I could look this stuff up, but it’s about the journey!

Words My Computer Didn’t Like:

-horsethieving

Because that’s a totally necessary word. Why not?

No one dies today.

“For a while out of…”

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More to come of the conversation with Butterbur, which is really just catching us up on the goings on of the northern lands.

It would seem that Bree is safe from marauders for the time being. They must be afraid of the five companions who rode into town in armor and heraldry, and, more importantly, the rangers who have been returning north. I had forgotten about this, but I finally realized why it made sense for Aragorn to continue riding north for a while: the rangers were leaving Gondor. They traveled north with the four hobbits and numerous elves, and have now returned to the lands that they were long protecting.

And yes, the people of Bree have finally noticed that the rangers were actually doing something good for them.

Pretty much.

Pretty much.

Gandalf makes sure to tell Butterbur that times will improve. Aragorn will be sending more men north to the old kingdom of Arnor to rebuild it. He will come himself, sometime, and there will be many folk passing by Bree. Good for business!

Strangely enough, I can actually reconcile some of the changes made in the film adaptation. Bear with me here…

So, in the films, no rangers ride to meet Aragorn in Rohan. Halbarad and his Dúnedain do not feature in the events of the story. Let’s think logically from that point. If no rangers ride south, then they must all still be in the North. If they remain in the North, they continue to protect the lands around Bree and the Shire. With the rangers still about, wayward bandits cannot come unchecked into the area and terrorize its inhabitants. Thus, the events of the Scouring of the Shire cannot happen. The rangers would not allow it. That’s why it doesn’t happen.

BOOM.

Of course, some would argue that the films kill off Saruman, thus further negating any possibility of his occupation of the Shire. However, Saruman’s death only appears in a deleted scene added to the Extended Edition of Return of the King. So, it’s not necessarily a part of the films!

Okay, okay, I’m stretching here. But why not try and make sense of the cuts? I have little else left to do.

But I can't make sense of these cuts.

But I can’t make sense of these cuts.

Words My Computer Didn’t Like:

-Erain

-Norbury

Both added/different names for Fornost, old capital of Arnor. Because more is better!

No one dies today.

“‘And the King will come there again one day; and then you’ll have some fair folk riding through.'”

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All our friends are leaving now.

At least not in that way.

At least not in that way.

With Legolas and Gimli off on their way yesterday, and Treebeard literally on the way out at the top of today’s page, Aragorn joins them in absence when the group reaches the Gap of Rohan. I’m still not sure why he came all this way, even after the business at Isengard, but whatever. He’s the king.

This leaves our group as the four hobbits, Gandalf, and the combined parties of Elrond, Galadriel, and Celeborn. Not gonna lie: that’s a strange group. They’re entering into mostly barren lands, too, so there isn’t much more to note.

I’m mostly lost time-wise, but we do get almost a full week of travel (six days) onward from the departure of Aragorn. And that’s just in the last half paragraph. We saw these lands ever so briefly when the Fellowship (Hey, look at that!) traveled this way long, long ago. It hasn’t gotten any more interesting, but at least the Gap of Rohan has become safe enough for travel. It’s the easiest way to go.

The Gap of Rohan also sells horse armor.

The Gap of Rohan also sells horse armor.

So, yeah. Not much to it. Is it safe to say that this, at least in terms of the journey, is the home stretch? Sadly, I feel like I’ve been looking for a “home stretch” for a while now. Basically, any “last” counts as the beginning of a possible home stretch. But it’s almost March, and that’s where we’re going to find our end.

No one dies today.

“As they came out…”

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So, Treebeard, keeping Saruman? How’s that going? Is he still sulking around? Treebeard? Saruman, is he still all locked up tight? All going well? Treebeard? Hey, answer me. Treebeard? Saruman, Treebeard?!

Everything's fine!

Everything’s fine!

Gandalf is dismayed to learn that Treebeard has let Saruman go free. Treebeard hates to see things caged up, and it seemed like Saruman could do no more harm. Why not let him go? Ah, Gandalf believes that Treebeard has been tricked by Saruman’s voice. It is true, Saruman can do little harm to the world, but having him roaming about at large isn’t exactly the best thing. More to come on that later.

As a matter of fact, this means that the tower of Orthanc will have a new owner. It is Aragorn’s by right, and he is given the keys. He will allow the ents to remain at Isengard and tend their works, so long as Orthanc remains locked and empty.

After the discovery of Saruman’s escape, the rest of this page is just procedural business. I can’t find much interesting to say about that. Saruman’s escape, of course, is mildly important, but there isn’t much note to it quite yet. It’s not surprising that Saruman wriggled out of Treebeard’s grasp. In fact, Treebeard mentions boring Saruman with long stories, and I’m sure that it was during those times that Saruman understood what it was that he would have to say to Treebeard to maneuver his release. Listening is where he can learn Treebeard’s weaknesses.

Drought, fire, parasitic insects.

Drought, fire, parasitic insects.

But hey, it’s page 980! 30 more to go, if my math’s right.

No one dies today.

“‘When this valley is filled there is room and to spare west of the mountains, where once you walked long ago.'”

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What happens when the ents find that they have a new playground? Well, they make it as gardenlike and foresty as they can.

By that I mean that they’ve torn down the ring wall of Isengard, filled in the center with trees, other plants, and a clear lake, and generally made the place friendly again.

It wasn't very friendly before.

It wasn’t very friendly before.

Treebeard greets those assembled, and explains what they’ve been up to since we last saw them. Most importantly, the ents happened upon a force of orcs that had crossed the river and was coming down behind Rohan after being held at the borders of Lórien. The battle was deadly for the hordes, as the ents left few alive. They can be nasty when provoked.

Aragorn (Hey! He’s still here!) thanks Treebeard for all that the ents have done. Amazingly, Treebeard already knows of the victory in the south, and welcomes the new age.

Now that I have my answer, I still wonder what this journey holds for Aragorn. He’s not going anywhere of use to him, unless he’s just taking that opportunity like I mentioned yesterday to make a last tour of people and places. Unfortunately, I don’t find that to be a very good motivating force. Well, he’s the king. He does get to do what he wants.

Among other news, Isengard has been renamed. It is now the Treegarth of Orthanc.

Party on, Treegarth.

Party on, Treegarth.

Orthanc, of course, is the name of the tower, and it was built long before Saruman ever took up residence there. It can remain as an ancient structure devoid of his evil.

But get ready, guys.

Words My Computer Didn’t Like:

-Treegarth

-evileyed-blackhanded-bowlegged-flinthearted-clawfingered-foulbellied-bloodthirsty

morimaite-sincahonda

WHAT.

I think that’s Treebeard partially translating the name for orcs into the Common Tongue, though he stops because it gets to be too long. What’s more fun is that those last two terms occur in succession, so there’s literally one and a half lines of PURE BLOOD RED UNDERLINE PANIC supplied by my computer. It’s just absurd. Treebeard has given us the best fake words.

No one dies today.

“‘The New Age begins,’ said Gandalf, ‘and in this age it may well prove that the kingdoms of Men shall outlast you, Fangorn my friend.'”

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