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Posts Tagged ‘Minas Tirith’

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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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.

Words My Computer Didn’t Like:

-Holdwine

-engraven

-Scatha

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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So, then Arwen gives Frodo this jewel that’s hanging around her neck on a chain. WAIT, IS THAT THE SAME THING THAT THE MOVIE MAKES SUCH A FUSS OVER?

Yeah, it probably is.

Yeah, it probably is.

Anyway, Éomer does indeed come in a few days time, and the ride is set out to Rohan. Before that, though, Éomer and Gimli argue over whether Galadriel or Arwen is prettier.

Worthwhile argument…I guess?

First Mentions:

-Merethrond: Minas Tirith’s Great Hall of Feasts. Because every castle/city/stronghold/school for wizards needs one.

Now, there is no true mention of this necklace that Arwen gives to Frodo. She hasn’t been noted to have any special jewelry earlier (I mean, she’s hardly been brought up earlier), and certainly hasn’t had some sort of quasi life-force connection to Aragorn through some loaned necklace. Instead, she gifts this item to Frodo to give him strength when his old wounds give him pain. Seems like a nice thing to do.

Suffice it to say that Frodo is starting quite the collection of elven jewels. Kind of makes up for that horrid other piece of jewelry that he carried around for so long. Remember that?

Poop diamond ring!

Poop diamond ring!

Words My Computer Didn’t Like:

-Merethrond

And we soldier on. Every few pages feels like a landmark now. With today being page 975, you think about only 25 more pages to 1000, and then, of course, 10 more after that. We ride.

No one dies today.

“For the other Companions steeds were furnished according to their stature; and Frodo and Samwise rode at Aragorn’s side, and Gandalf rode upon Shadowfax, and Pippin rode with the knights of…”

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I think this tree is just a big metaphor for Aragorn’s family line.

Well, yeah, it definitely is.

Linus is clearly Gandalf.

Linus is clearly Gandalf.

That is, Gandalf explains something along those lines. Aragorn takes the tree gently and has it replanted in Minas Tirith. The old dead one is actually interred in the same houses as the kings of old.

While this isn’t what Aragorn was waiting for exactly, he sees it as a sign. Apparently, the day he was waiting for arrives along with a slew of elves. Every important elf you can think of (Elrond, Galadriel, et al) shows up. They come to marry Arwen off to Aragorn.

You see, there was a minor detail that mentioned that Elrond’s sons, Elladan and Elrohir, who had originally come down with the Dúnedain to join Aragorn, had left Minas Tirith at the same time that Éomer led the Rohirrim off. There’s no doubt that they rode up to Rivendell to tell Elrond of the victory. Time has now passed for them to return.

Yes, it’s early June now – late June, in fact. It’s been nearly three months already since the destruction of the ring, and we’ve gone through that span of time in about 20 pages. I may grumble about some of the things we’ve been dwelling on, but time has flown by. Too bad nothing special is happening.

Just that wedding or something.

Just that wedding or something.

Tomorrow’s page is literally the shortest thing.

Words My Computer Didn’t Like:

-sceptre

The specter of the sceptre seemed special since seven specks of spent scent swept skyward.

I like those.

No one dies today.

“And Aragorn the King Elessar wedded…”

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And so it is that the men of Rohan return to their homes. This pushes others to leave Minas Tirith, until the city is left with mostly just its normal inhabitants, rebuilding from the destruction of war.

The Fellowship Company also remains, though it’s getting past time for them to part as well. Though Frodo wants to head back to the Shire, Aragorn is keeping them all there for some day in the future that he’s looking forward to. He won’t say more, and neither will Gandalf, who clearly knows something about it.

Why they gotta keep secrets?

Why they gotta keep secrets?

A day comes when Gandalf leaves the city with Aragorn before dawn. They climb an ancient road up the face of the mountain just behind Minas Tirith, then look back into the dawn to see the lands before them. I don’t know why yet, but it sounds like a nice hike.

Really, though, it seems like a strange reason to be holding everyone hostage. Neither Aragorn nor Gandalf will say anything, but this seems to be the day that was in waiting. And it’s just a nice hike for the two of them? Something must come of this, or else it’s pointless.

Ah, but that’s just me getting ahead of myself again. An entire page of “you can’t leave yet” doesn’t strike me as a very good use of our remaining time. Am I becoming overly cynical here at the end? Well, it’s been a long time.

No one dies today.

“And standing there they surveyed the lands, for the morning was come; and they saw the towers of the City far below them like white pencils touched by the sunlight, and all the Vale of Anduin was like a garden, and 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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Argent is a color, because I guess maybe that’s a thing people know. I didn’t know that.

And this is pretty.

And this is pretty.

Today’s action is mostly the pageantry of Aragorn meeting Faramir at the gates of Minas Tirith. That, and commentary from Ioreth, our possibly not-so-favorite healer. She’s standing with a cousin, and pretending to know everything about hobbits.

She doesn’t know everything about hobbits.

The ceremony so far is pretty much what you would expect from a transfer of power. Aragorn rides forward with his “people” (Imrahil, Éomer, Gandalf, and the four hobbits), while Faramir rides out with his (Húrin, the Warden of the Keys, Éowyn, Elfhelm, and some other captains). They meet upon the field while all the city watches in silence.

Ioreth is one of those watching, and tries to tell her cousin that the hobbits are princes of some sort. She’s even heard that one of them went with his “esquire” to fight the dark lord all by himself. He set Barad-dûr on fire!

That’s not true. Not even really that close.

Ioreth's new motto.

Ioreth’s new motto.

I’m thankful that a trumpet cuts Ioreth off, because there’s something that just really annoys me about hearing a character go on and on about something that they’re just wrong about. In some ways, it’s disrespectful, and we already jumped on Ioreth and the other healers from the Houses of Healing for being kind of ignorant about certain things. This isn’t helping their case.

Words My Computer Didn’t Like:

Periain

I checked back to make sure that I wasn’t misspelling things earlier with “perian“. I wasn’t. This is the plural form.

No one dies today.

“Then forth from the Gate went Faramir with Húrin of the Keys, and no others, save that behind them walked four men in the high helms and armour of the Citadel, and they bore a great casket of black lebethron bound with silver.”

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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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