Posts Tagged ‘Edoras’

What does Bilbo do when he’s done singing? Fall asleep, of course! That’s what Bilbo does now.

Sam offers some quiet criticism of Bilbo while he sleeps, and that perks the old hobbit up to prove that he isn’t asleep quite yet. In fact, he has one last gift: he gives Frodo some notes and his diary, in hopes that he might be able to organize them all together. When next they meet, Frodo can give Bilbo the completed documents.

A glamorous end for Frodo.

A glamorous end for Frodo.

The hobbits and Gandalf set out the next morning. Elrond pulls Frodo aside alone, telling him to look for him and Bilbo in the Shire come fall. This conversation is secret from everyone else.

Why secret? Well, I don’t rightly know. I don’t go around pretending to understand Elrond’s motives. I don’t think I’ve ever tried.

And that’s the end of the chapter! It began in Minas Tirith, brought us to Edoras, Isengard, and Rivendell, and now finally comes to a close. I’m pretty sure that’s the most physical ground we’ve covered in a single chapter so far. Right?

Of course, I guess calling it “physical” ground is sort of a stretch. Fiction…physicality…you know what I mean.

This came up with my search results, so here you go.

This came up with my search results, so here you go.

I think we also learn that Bilbo still isn’t as daft as we might think. I don’t quite think all that sleeping has been fake, but I think he’s taking some tactical naps when he needs to.

Well, maybe I’m giving him too much credit. Perhaps the phrase “tactical naps” is a bit too academic for this discussion. I like the concept of tactical naps, though.

No one dies today.

“These words no one else heard, and Frodo kept them to himself.”

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Onward, bacchae, onward!

All obscure Greek tragedy references aside, that’s really what happens today.

That man in red is wearing turquoise contact lenses.

That man in red is wearing turquoise contact lenses.

By that, I mean that the feast ends. Revelry continues somewhat, but those that have traveled to Rohan start preparing to make their way home or onward in their journey. Arwen shares a private moment with Elrond, in what becomes their final meeting. Éomer and Éowyn gift Merry an ancient horn brought to Rohan by Eorl long ago. It is the only gift they feel fit to give him, and that he also will not refuse. It’s quite the treasure.

With that, those traveling northward set off. They arrive at Helm’s Deep after some time, and Legolas makes good on his promise to visit the caves there with Gimli. He notes that the agreement must be made whole with a walk in Fangorn, and they travel northward still towards Isengard, where the ents still hold fast.

First Mentions:

-Scatha the Worm: A great dragon of the north, killed by ancestors of Eorl before he led them all south to found Rohan.

One item troubles me here: have we seen the last of Aragorn? If they have left Edoras and traveled north to Helm’s Deep and Isengard, did he accompany everyone or return to Minas Tirith? Gondor is in the opposite direction, so it wouldn’t make much sense for him to keep riding north. Unfortunately, not much is said on this front, though it wouldn’t make sense for Arwen to say goodbye to Elrond and then still ride alongside him for some way. It’s awkward when you do something like that. We have joked about that as a society for a while now.

Socially Awkward Penguin understands this phenomenon.

Socially Awkward Penguin understands this phenomenon.

Anyway, the narrative is jumping ahead quickly now. Three settings on one page! I feel like we’re getting that last tour of characters important to the story. In some ways, it’s a lot like David Tennant’s last episode of Doctor Who, but I didn’t like that, so I try not to mention it.

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I’m excited to see what Treebeard has to say, because he holds the keys to the last little bit of plot we have left.

No one dies today.

“All the stone-circle had been thrown down and removed, and the land within was made into a garden filled with orchards and trees, and a stream ran through it; but in the midst of all there was a lake of clear water, and out of it the…”

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WOAH WOAH WOAH. Today is full of stuff, including our first song in, like, years.

Plot-wise, Merry is just riding down the line of people wishing the army well as they leave Dunharrow. It’s a silent march, and much of this is made into song later, though the people are too full of emotion now to think of it.

The ride passes swiftly, until the column reaches Edoras for lunch. Théoden takes his meal before denying Merry the right to come with them for one last time.

Merry just isn't ready for the open market.

Merry just isn’t ready for the open market.

First Mentions:

-Underharrow: Small town in the valley of Harrowdale. Under…harrow. It makes sense.

-Upbourn: Small town, also in the valley, along the Snowbourn river. This also makes sense.

-Folde: Region of Rohan, near Edoras. Most of their stuff has “fold” in it somewhere.

-Fenmarch: Eastern region of Rohan with some marshes, or fens. Get it? This is part of the eastern border with Gondor.

-the Firienwood: A forest literally on the border of Rohan and Gondor.

And that’s a lot of First Mentions! This is outlining the path that Théoden rides as he makes his way to Gondor. Of course, none of this has happened yet, but it is memorialized in the song that is shown today. Future song!

Tolkien Songs In Real Life:

It’s been…very long. I had to refresh my memory on how to do this. That, and also I’m now recording out of my walk-in closet, which is different. (It sounds better, trust me.)

“From dark Dunharrow in the dim morning,

with thane and captain rode Thengel’s son:

to Edoras he came, the ancient halls

of the Mark-wardens mist-enshrouded;

golden timbers were in gloom mantled.

Farewell he bade to his free people,

hearth and high-seat, and the hallowed places,

where long he had feasted ere the light faded.

Forth rode the king, fear behind him,

fate before him. Fealty kept he;

oaths he had taken, all fulfilled them.

Forth rode Théoden. Five nights and days

east and onward rode the Eorlingas

through Folde and Fenmarch and the Firienwood,

six thousand spears to Sunlending,

Mundburg the mighty under Mindolluin,

Sea-kings’ city in the South-kingdom

foe-beleaguered, fire-encircled.

Doom drove them on. Darkness took them,

horse and horseman; hoofbeats afar

sank into silence: so the songs tell us.”

Back from the hiatus, I present:

The Funeral to War

(The Funeral – Band of Horses)

First of all, I just realized now that it was relevant to pick Band of Horses for this song. It is Rohan, after all.

Rock on, guys.

Rock on, guys.

Anyway, note how the song is a tribute to Théoden and the honor he has in fulfilling his oath with Denethor. You’d almost think that something is going to happen to him, or something…

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Wait, why no First Mention for Sunlending? It’s the name in Rohan for the region in Gondor known as Anórien. I like Rohan’s name better.

No one dies today.

“‘And in such a battle as we think to make on the fields of Gondor what would you do, Master Meriadoc, swordthain though you be, and greater of heart than of stature?'”

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Okay, okay, Merry can come along for PART of it. But only part of it. Because we’re being nice now.

That’s Théoden’s concession, allowing Merry to ride to Edoras, but then no further. Éowyn gets Merry outfitted in helm, shield, and knife, though no armor will fit him. It’s purely ceremonial, of course…

Like many things in life.

Like many things in life.

The army gathers in the gloom, and some five thousand riders set off. Merry rides behind the king with the messengers from Gondor.

Okay, I can live with Merry’s consolation prize. He gets to feel important, and we’re all about feeling here. Plus, the garb from Éowyn helps him play the part of warrior. And that’s purely for show. Éowyn has no plans of sending him off. Why would she do that? She knows her place. She won’t fight either. This totally isn’t a ploy.


This looks bad.

This looks bad.

For plausibility, Merry is able to ride with the column to Edoras because they won’t yet be able to get up to full speed. The mountain dales between Dunharrow and Edoras are not helpful for that. Speed will pick up after Edoras, where the plains open up. So, Merry, on his little pony, won’t be able to keep up then. For now, he’s okay.

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We didn’t have that already? Hm. Now you know.

No one dies today.

“But when they…”

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Théoden’s arrival at Dunharrow is noted quickly, and the horns are sounded. Not to anyone’s surprise, the captains present ride down to meet the king as he rides up the valley. However, there are more captains than would be expected. Things are moving ahead of schedule.

At the behest of Gandalf, the men are gathering at Dunharrow instead of Edoras. He apparently told in his journey across Rohan through Edoras that this would be best. Well, it should save some time! By having the meeting here, Théoden won’t have to ride out tomorrow to meet everyone at Edoras. Efficiency!

Kansas City is really into this, I guess...

Kansas City is really into this, I guess…

First Mentions:

-Dúnhere: Chieftain of Harrowdale, valley of Dunharrow. I guess that puts him in charge, at least until Théoden shows up.

Did I miss Gandalf giving that order (or, suggestion) to the men at Edoras? Let’s look back…

Well, we didn’t miss anything. The ride from Rohan to Gondor from Pippin’s perspective is blurry and fragmented. There’s a line about Gandalf giving some orders once they stop briefly at a place clearly described as Edoras, but no conversation is quoted. I’m sure that’s when Gandalf’s orders went through to meet at Dunharrow, but we didn’t know at the time. So, great! It’s a surprise.

Dúnhere also mentions the dark winged shadows that have passed over Rohan. None have come up the valley to Dunharrow, but still. Ringwraiths are on the prowl!

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We’re done here.

No one dies today.

“Flats and meads of rough grass, grey now in the falling night, lay all about, but in front on the far side of the dale Merry saw a frowning hill, a last outlier…”

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To be truthful, Merry hasn’t been jogging, or “fast walking” as we might call it. He’s been fast animal walking. There’s a difference.

Did you know I'm riding this horse backwards?

Did you know I’m riding this horse backwards?

It’s been three long days, and Merry has spent a lot of time talking to Théoden, swapping stories about their homelands. Unfortunately, this has become a cause of laughter for the riders behind them, though neither party seems to care. Couldn’t Théoden crack some skulls for that?

Anyway, with the group rolling into Dunharrow, Théoden is deciding his next course of action. He plans to ride tomorrow for Edoras, where the warriors of Rohan will gather. Éomer counsels Théoden that perhaps he should return to Dunharrow afterwards, instead of going to war. Théoden is displeased at these words, and accuses Éomer of sounding like Wormtongue. The king will fight, and die if need be.

So, that’s settled. However, what was the reason in coming to Dunharrow first? Let me compare this journey to that of Aragorn. He stopped first at Edoras, for a brief rest, then journeyed on to Dunharrow, had his falling out with Éowyn, and went into the Paths of the Dead from there. Hold on, so the meeting of the Rohirrim is at Edoras, but Théoden is stopping at Dunharrow first. Why? Wouldn’t it make more sense to go straight to Edoras? Let’s look at a map.

We have those!

We have those!

I make no claim to the veracity of this map (people have feelings about these things), though it looks solid for what we need. Clearly, one can travel directly from Helm’s Deep to Edoras without much problem. However, looking at this reminded me of the first reason why Aragorn and Théoden parted ways – Aragorn needed speed, while Théoden sought the cover of the hills rather than the open fields. Théoden’s been skirting the mountains, taking slower roads, while Aragorn flew straight to Edoras. Naturally, the road north from Dunharrow would be more sheltered. And there’s the reason. Logic!

No one dies today.

“‘One evening of peace at least is left us. Let us ride on!'”

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I can already tell that there are going to be some jokes about mustard in this chapter.

The mustard of Rohan!

The mustard of Rohan!

The chapter starts with a little bit of context, as Merry’s storyline starts back up a few days after we left him. For placement, this is at the same time as Pippin watches the armies march into Minas Tirith. However, it’s been a few days since we saw Merry, and the riders of Rohan have taken a slower route to get to Dunharrow. The valley gets a little more description, and the mountain is colored with both shadow and sunset. Merry is overwhelmed with the enormity of it all.

First Mentions:

-the Snowbourn: River gathering in the valley that runs down past Edoras. Not to be confused with Snowmane, Théoden’s horse. I confused it with Snowmane for a moment.

-Starkhorn: Tall mountain rising above the valley. It’s a Stark, so it will die.

It only feels right that Merry’s chapter is begun with a reference to Pippin for definition and context. Merry always seems like the fourth hobbit, and tags along with Pippin more than the other way around. I think that the movie actually establishes well that Merry is more broken up by Pippin’s leaving than Pippin is himself. Adding to this “fourth hobbit” feeling, a few days of Merry’s journey to Dunharrow are completely skipped over, while Pippin’s ride to Minas Tirith was described in some form of detail, even though he was unconscious for most of it.

Somebody get Merry another carrot!

Somebody get Merry another carrot!

Come to think of it, Pippin’s chapter was also ridiculously long. Perhaps Merry will get a lengthy chapter as well. We all know that Frodo and Sam have enough chapters to themselves as it is.

Wait, I’m asking for a long chapter? Shoot.

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If “Snowbourn” wasn’t already not a word, we could blame the English for that extra “u”. Darn.

No one dies today.

“Hour after hour for nearly three weary…”

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With Legolas and Gimli pretty much in tow, Aragorn lays down some history of the men of the mountains. They once swore allegiance to Isildur, back in the founding of Gondor. However, when called upon to fight against Sauron, they balked, having once worshiped him in the past. Isildur then cursed them, and their spirits haunt the Paths of the Dead.

Aragorn calls out for all to join him, and he, Legolas, and Gimli walk out to lead the rangers. They ride quickly to Edoras, then Dunharrow, where Éowyn welcomes them. Oh yeah, her!

The one who likes swords.

The one who likes swords.

Today, strangely enough, is about timelines. On the most basic level, the reason for why this chapter (and last, mind you) is laid out in this manner becomes apparent. Gandalf and Pippin left first from the pack, and arrived at Edoras before continuing to Minas Tirith. Théoden rode next, but is taking slower hill roads to make his way across country. Aragorn is leading his rangers quickly across the plains, and so comes to Edoras after Gandalf and Pippin, though before Théoden. Théoden himself is also headed to Dunharrow, but will take much longer. Aragorn’s hope is in speed.

For all that, we’re following groups as they move from place to place chronologically. It wouldn’t have made sense for the narrative to stay with Merry, because he’ll arrive at these places after Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli. And even though the plotline of this chapter hasn’t caught up to as long as we spent with Gandalf and Pippin, it would be too hard to keeping jumping back and forth from Minas Tirith to Rohan. It’s simpler with this division. Get their action out of the way first, then spend time with those left behind. We’ll probably move to Merry and his ride with Théoden next.

Next…more of a timeline question.

I still can't wrap my mind around Zelda's timeline.

I still can’t wrap my mind around Zelda’s timeline.

The men of the mountains swore an oath to Isildur before the first war with Sauron and the Last Alliance. But…Isildur wasn’t the king of Gondor then. He was the prince, yes, but Elendil was king. Why were they swearing to Isildur? Was there another battle with Sauron, after the one where Elendil was slain and Isildur took the ring, where the mountain men could have faltered?

Ah, ah! Wait. The internet has answered this for me. Though Elendil was king of both Arnor and Gondor, he ruled in the north, and left Gondor to the rule of Isildur and Anarion, his sons. So, at the time before the first war, Isildur would have had substantial ruling powers in Gondor to take oaths from the men of the mountains. There it is.

You know, I could delete that first paragraph there, and make it look like I knew what I was talking about all along, but it’s about the journey, you guys, not the destination.

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The English. So much blame.

No one dies today.

“And when they sat at supper with her, they talked together, and she heard of all that had passed since Théoden rode away, concerning which only hasty tidings had yet reached her; and when she heard of the battle…”

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As much as I would like to revel in the glory of the beginning of the final third of our journey, there’s a lot to talk about today!

And we’re off…

Were you expecting to get a quick resolution to Frodo’s imprisonment and Sam’s frustration? NO. Let’s go on over to Pippin and Gandalf.

Buddy cop adventure?

Buddy cop adventure?

When we last left them, Gandalf was bearing Pippin with all speed to Minas Tirith. It’s been two days since Pippin gazed into the palantír. They’ve ridden across Rohan, with an apparent stop at Edoras, and are now just entering Gondor. Pippin has felt a part of a waking dream most of this time, but has just shaken himself awake. He sees fires on the mountaintops. Gandalf spurs Shadowfax ahead, as the beacons of Gondor signal that war has begun.

First Mentions:

-Anórien: Northern reach of Gondor. This is where Pippin and Gandalf find themselves currently.

-Amon Dîn: Summit of the first beacon of Gondor, directly west of Minas Tirith.

-Eilenach: Second beacon summit, just west of Amon Dîn.

-Nardol: Third summit. Sensing a pattern?

-Erelas: Fourth

-Min-Rimmon: Fifth.

-Calenhad: Sixth.

-the Halifirien: The seventh summit. THE Halifirien State University.

It’s been a long time since I had that many First Mentions to deal with! Gandalf runs down the names of the beacon summits, so it really isn’t all that surprising. Also, it’s a huge jump to a new place, so we have to get our bearings.



However, if you do want some added threatening danger, bear (BEAR, hah) in mind that Pippin and Gandalf are being hunted by Nazgûl. There was a flyover back in the camp when Pippin looked into the palantír, and there was another just after they took shelter in Edoras. They may not be in as exciting a place as Frodo and Sam, but Pippin and Gandalf sure have their work cut out for them.

Oh, and the beacons, remember all those names up there? They’re already lit. That forgoes one of my favorite sequences from the film, if only for the music.

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There’s that list again.

No one dies today.

“But Shadowfax paused in his stride, slowing to a walk, and then…”

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How many different places have I written this blog? Evanston, sure, where I started. Chicago, where I live now, obviously. But also, out at my parent’s house in the suburbs and a brief weekend in St. Louis. Is that it? Well, now you can add the Philadelphia airport. EXCITING.

Not yet on an airplane proper.

Not yet on an airplane proper.

As such, it’s hard to concentrate. But let’s try.

Faramir seems satisfied with Gollum’s answers, and Frodo is relieved that they look to be holding water. Faramir releases Gollum into Frodo’s care…but Frodo has no idea what Faramir intends to do with him. It hasn’t been established. However, Faramir announces that Frodo is free to go. He must appear before Denethor in Minas Tirith within a year, but otherwise he is good to go. Anyone under his protection (Sam and Gollum), is free as well. Gollum, however, is under more of a agreement. Should he leave Frodo, his life is forfeit once more. Not a lot of room to screw up.

Today’s Gollum Meter: 61 – “You have a second chance. Better shape up.”

Good stuff today. Faramir is nice, Gollum seems to be believable, and Sam…well, Sam stays out of it. Frodo gets exactly what he hoped for. I know Sam didn’t hope for it (he sighs when Frodo accepts Gollum back), but he needs to learn sometime, as we all know.

And Faramir makes the one demand that Frodo must appear in Minas Tirith within a year. You know who made a similar demand? Éomer. Remember that? He let Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli continue to roam the lands of Rohan, but they had to agree to visit Edoras once their hunt was over. They did, and things went well! See, people are good.

No one dies today.

“Gollum made no reply.”

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