Posts Tagged ‘Gondor’

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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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.


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.

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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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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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Get ready for a lot of info. Most of it will seem useless.

Well, no. Most of it probably is useless.

Keep them shoes dry!

Keep them shoes dry!

Théoden’s funeral leads into a great feast. There is another tradition here where a minstrel recites the list of the kings of Rohan, and then the current king drinks a cup of wine to their honor. All assembled hail Éomer as the next king. He then announces Éowyn’s intent to marry Faramir, and then either actually marries them or just officially marks them as betrothed. Unclear, but good for them.

Here we go.

First Mentions:

-Aldor: Third king of Rohan, son of Brego, grandson of Eorl, and brother to that guy Baldor who went and died in the Paths of the Dead.

-Fréa: Fourth king of Rohan! Here’s where this gets super interesting.

-Fréawine: Fifth king of Rohan!

-Goldwine: Sixth king of Rohan.

-Déor: Seventh king.

-Gram: Eighth king. I hear he was light.

-Fréalaf: Tenth king. Wait, tenth? Yeah, we skipped Helm, because we already heard of him. Fréalaf was actually Helm’s nephew, breaking the direct line from Eorl.

-Léofa: Eleven.

-Walda: Twelve. No one ever knew where he was.

-Folca: Thirteen.

-Folcwine: Fourteen.

-Fengel: Fifteen.

This makes Thengel sixteenth, Théoden seventeenth, and Éomer eighteenth. When you think about it, that’s no too long of a line. Okay, well, it’s a lot of generations, but surprisingly easy enough to remember them all, I’d think. I can never do all the US Presidents, for my part.

Millard Fillmore: never forget.

Millard Fillmore: never forget.

And I forgot to mention the other day that I figured out exactly what it is that Faramir is going to be over in Ithilien. He’s a prince, just like Imrahil of Dol Amroth. Basically, I see it as being a secondary leader of Gondor, second in command should anything befall Aragorn, with a relatively autonomous little region to himself. Not too bad.

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We have nice little bookends there to break up that WALL OF NAMES. The spellcheck on WordPress isn’t having problems with “trothplighted”…although, now that I type it down here, we’re having issues. “Folca” isn’t underlined when I type it above, either, along with some others. I’m confused and distressed.

No one dies today.

“‘It heals my heart to see thee now in bliss.'”

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So, there’s two weeks of riding. We jump over that swiftly, with a brief pause in the middle when Aragorn arrives in the forest of Ghân-buri-Ghân and announces that it is to be given to him and his people.

Unsurprisingly, renderings of Ghân-buri-Ghân are quite strange.

Unsurprisingly, renderings of Ghân-buri-Ghân are quite strange.

The ride then lasts for two weeks, followed by a three-day planning period in Rohan for Théoden’s burial. He is interred in a mound among others for the prior kings of Rohan, and his minstrels and knights lead the Rohirrim in song.

First Mentions:

-the Barrowfield: Proper title of the field that contains the burial mounds of the kings of Rohan. No wights here!

-Gléowine: Théoden’s personal minstrel, in charge of writing his funeral tune. He will write no other songs.

It’s a cool tradition, having each king’s minstrel’s final song be for the king’s burial. I’d hope there’s some sort of great retirement package that the minstrel gets once his services are no longer required. Of course, I would also assume that a new minstrel has been appointed for Éomer already. How early do they start work on their final piece? You’ve got to plan well for it, I’d think.

Let’s have the song!

Tolkien Songs In Real Life:

I like the short ones.

“Out of doubt, out of dark, to the day’s rising

he rode singing in the sun, sword unsheathing.

Hope he rekindled, and in hope ended;

over death, over dread, over doom lifted

out of loss, out of life, unto long glory.”

Hoping to be forgiven for the white noise, I present:


(Hurt – Johnny Cash)

Yeah, yeah, yeah, this song was originally done by Nine Inch Nails, but the Cash cover is so much better. I had heard it before today, not realizing that it was a cover, but it truly is amazing. You should listen to it sometime if you’ve never heard it. Heck, listen to it anyway.

In the end, I like Johnny Cash because I can sing his octave easily. No dropping down needed! Too bad I’m not old, grizzled, and rebellious. I need to work on that.

Pictured: not Johnny Cash.

Pictured: not Johnny Cash.

So, we lay Théoden to rest, one of the more likeable characters, in my opinion. Goodnight, sweet prince.

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No one dies today.

Hope he rekindled, and in hope ended; over death, over dread, over doom lifted out of loss, out of life, unto long glory.

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Everything is awesome!

Well, that has nothing to do with Lord of the Rings, but I saw The Lego Movie tonight, and it’s really worth it. Not to plug for totally unrelated stuff, but really. Best movie for me, at least right now.

Anyway, let’s return to Aragorn and Gandalf’s mountain jaunt!

I'm too old for this...

I’m too old for this…

Of course, there has to be a point to this. Gandalf tells Aragorn that his (Gandalf’s) time in Middle-earth is ending, and Aragorn must lead the remaining men well as their king. The lands before him will all be under his dominion. However, Aragorn is waiting for some kind of sign. Gandalf tells him to turn around, and Aragorn sees a single tree growing out of the mountainside. It’s a tree similar to the white tree that Gondor prizes so highly, though it’s impossible to know how it rooted or grew up here.

First Mentions:

-Nimloth: Ancient white tree of Númenor, descended from…

-Galathilion: Ancient white tree made and tended by the Valar, descended from…

-Telperion: One of the great Two Trees, white and shining with a silver light. Yes, there are better records of the ancestry of some trees than of certain family lines.

This is a play by Gandalf to tell Aragorn to get a move on in letting things (read: his friends) go. Aragorn seems to be worried that his line will fail just like all those before him, and somehow this tree signifies for him that it will not. That’s putting a lot of faith in trees, but whatever.

*glorious music*

*glorious music*

Meanwhile, as Gandalf mentions that the Third Age is ending, I have to wonder who decides all these things? What authority is sitting in their towers saying: “Oh, I think it’s time to start a new age. Tell your friends!”? I would assume that it’s actually someone like Gandalf or Elrond, but we don’t get specifics. There has to be some system like the one that Westeros employs with maesters sending ravens here and there to tell people important things.

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Believe in yourselves, friends, and you too can rule the reunited kingdoms of men.

Wait, was that what I learned today? Shoot.

No one dies today.

“‘But this is an ancient hallow, and ere the kings failed or the Tree withered in the…'”

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It shouldn’t be surprising that Beregond’s punishment is light. Aragorn remarks that the standard punishment for his crimes is death. That won’t be necessary here.

And Carl was getting so excited...

And Carl was getting so excited…

For “punishment” Beregond is told to leave the guard and leave Minas Tirith. Okay, that’s actually something significant, but his next assignment is to be the captain of Faramir’s personal guard in Ithilien. So…it kind of just works out to a promotion. Needless to say, all are pleased.

Afterwards, Aragorn meets with Éomer and Éowyn, who wish to return to Rohan and deal with rebuilding their own kingdom. They will send for Théoden’s remains when they are ready. After Théoden is laid to rest, Éowyn will rejoin Faramir for their happily ever after.

That all seems reasonable. I mean, Éowyn should at least return to get ready for her, um…upcoming wedding, you know?

Meanwhile, we hear that the riders of Rohan are leaving on the 8th of May. It’s been exactly a month since Frodo and Sam awoke at the Field of Cormallen, and a month and a half past the destruction of the ring. That was 16 pages ago.

We ride!

We ride!

Indeed, things are accelerating. That doesn’t mean that the end is quite in sight yet, though. This chapter drones on. I keep reminding myself that we still have a bit of plot left in the Shire, not to mention the true end of the book. We’re also nearing about 40 pages left in all, so there’s less and less time in which to fit everything. A single page more or less devoted to Beregond’s sentencing is very detailed compared to what else we have left to do.

Of course, this is why we jump ahead so suddenly by the end of the page. Almost a month, I would think.

No one dies today.

“So the glad days passed; and on the eighth day of May the Riders of Rohan made ready, and rode off by the North-way, and with them…”

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You know what’s awful? I bonked my finger somehow today at work, and now typing hurts. Couple that with that I have some sort of recurring cramp in my right calf, and I think I’m falling apart.

I'm too young!

I’m too young!

Anyway, today is pretty simple. Aragorn requests that Frodo retrieve the crown and Gandalf give it to him, in respect for their actions in the total victory. Thus the ceremony concludes when Aragorn enters Minas Tirith and walks through the streets up to the citadel. He is now king of Gondor.

Jumping ahead, Aragorn’s reign begins with making judgements on those who have been captured. He makes peace with the wild men of the east and south, and frees the slaves of Mordor. Finally, Beregond is brought to him.

Remember, Beregond apparently did a horrific thing when he killed some guards who were trying to heed Denethor’s wishes and light him on fire. While this was in good faith, disobeying the steward’s orders and shedding blood within the tombs is a worthy crime. Aragorn, however, looks to be a benevolent king. It shouldn’t be too bad.

That's right, Beregond. You sit and think about what you did.

That’s right, Beregond. You sit and think about what you did.

Anywho, we get to know that, in the future, Aragorn is a wonderful king. He brings Minas Tirith to great glory. That isn’t surprising at all.

No one dies today.

“And there were brought before him many to receive his praise and reward for their valour; and last the captain of the Guard brought to him Beregond to be judged.”

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Big flashy ceremony? Check.

Faramir asks Aragorn, as the incoming king, for relief of his stewardship. Aragorn actually declines, saying that the office of the steward will be continued. Faramir asks the people of Gondor if they want Aragorn to become their king. They say yes.

No one wants to be the awkward one who disagrees with the crowd.

No one wants to be the awkward one who disagrees with the crowd.

Faramir then presents Aragorn with his crown, though he does not take it immediately.

Through some of this Ioreth talks again, but she’s cut off a second time. I’m still okay with this. THIS IS IMPORTANT, IORETH. SIT DOWN AND SHUT UP.

There is some custom presented here which is interesting. A long time ago, the prince was given the crown by his father ere he passed, or else the prince ventured into the tombs to take the crown from his father’s hands. Since it’s not like Aragorn’s dad is around, and the crown hasn’t been used in eons anyway, Faramir went and turned up the body of the man to most recently have held the crown. In fact, he was buried with it as was the tradition. So, basically, Aragorn and Faramir and high-class grave robbers. It’s a good thing that this works out well for the kingdom of Gondor, because some guards are literally carrying a casket out on the fields, and it’s very likely that this old king’s bones are sitting in it. Great.

Hey, man. Here's your crown. I kept it nice and warm.

Hey, man. Here’s your crown. I kept it nice and warm.

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Ugh, elvish speeches. They just wreck me, you know?

No one dies today.

“‘In token of this I…'”

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I’m going to admit: this seems a little too easy. All of a sudden, Éowyn realizes her love for Faramir. She agrees to marry him, and live together in a garden in Ithilien on the east side of Anduin.

And just like that, her life becomes incredibly boring.

And just like that, her life becomes incredibly boring.

They kiss on the high walls, and everybody sees.

Meanwhile, the city of Minas Tirith prepares for Aragorn’s arrival. People journey to the city from all corners of Gondor, bringing musicians with them. The city actually becomes a happy place before the evening where the army’s pavilions start popping up on the fields outside. People wait anxiously for the king’s dawn.

As I said, it’s too easy. Remember, Faramir and Éowyn only met each other like about a week ago. They’re now deciding that a life together as east-side gardeners sounds well and good. My girlfriend and I have been dating for 6 years, and we still don’t have any ideas of what to do together, even just for dinner some nights. Too easy, I say!

I guess he's just so stunning.

I guess he’s just so stunning.

It’s not so bad, though. I’ve been wanting this section to get a move on, so I don’t mind Faramir and Éowyn’s bit getting resolved quickly. We’re jumping ahead now to the time that Aragorn is arriving.

That said, it’s not a new chapter yet. Stay tuned for where we’re going and what we’re seeing when we hit this next bit. I honestly have no clue who we’re going to be seeing all this with.

No one dies today.

“And when the sun rose in the clear morning above the mountains in the East, upon which shadows lay no more, then all the bells rang, and all the banners broke and flowed in the wind; and upon the White Tower of the citadel the standard of the…”

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