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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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Take a quick look now to notice that this chapter’s title is a direct response to Book Two, Chapter 1 of Fellowship of the Ring, “Many Meetings”. That was back towards the beginning, and this is where we’re starting (if we haven’t already) to tie up loose ends towards the conclusion.

In short, today Frodo goes to Aragorn to request that he be given leave to return home. Aragorn and Arwen sit and talk with Frodo. Aragorn says that they will leave in one week, as Éomer will be returning shortly to retrieve Théoden’s remains. Aragorn intends to ride back to Rohan with Éomer, and since that will be the direction that Frodo will take, it only makes sense for him to leave along with them.

Logic!

Because I guess the only people who care about logic puzzles also are the only people who care about horse racing.

Because I guess the only people who care about logic puzzles also are the only people who care about horse racing.

Arwen remarks that she actually has a gift to give to Frodo. Since she won’t be traveling across the sea with Elrond and all the rest of the elves, she allows Frodo to take her place. It’s a small note here, and totally skipped over in the movie, but WAIT. Is that something that actually makes the character of Arwen important? Oh, it is!

You see, Frodo’s ultimate decision (um, spoilers, I guess?) to leave Middle-earth is only made possible because Arwen gives him this chance. Seeing as Frodo never truly heals from his hurts suffered at the behest of carrying the ring, traveling to Valinor is one of the few things that can give him rest. And it wouldn’t be possible but for this small moment.

Aragorn has nothing to give Frodo, so I guess he’s a terrible friend.

And so this note sits on Aragorn's desk for the rest of forever.

And so this note sits on Aragorn’s desk for the rest of forever.

To be fair, Frodo admits that his chief desire is not to return immediately to the Shire. He wants to head to Rivendell to see Bilbo. For some reason, he expected Bilbo to arrive with the rest of the elves from Rivendell, but he did not make the journey. Bilbo’s health is deteriorating with the destruction of the ring that gave him long life. Sad to say, but the silly hobbit who started most of this doesn’t have much time left.

In slightly unrelated news, I was given a link tonight to a survey that might be of interest to some of you. Some universities are doing a study on the reception of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. So, if you’ve seen it, you might want to help out. It’s not the shortest survey (maybe took 20 minutes), but if you’re interested, the link is here:

http://flashq.rcc.ryerson.ca/Hobbit2/

I don’t care if you feel one way or the other. This is just something that I feel is worth putting opinions forward for. Say all that you like. I probably said too much.

No one dies today.

“‘If your hurts grieve you still and the memory of your burden is heavy, then…'”

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And without much persuasion needed, Éowyn convinces the warden to let her see Faramir. Things heat up here.

I mean, kind of, you know?

I mean, kind of, you know?

Éowyn sees Faramir. Faramir sees Éowyn. Sparks fly. So much so that Faramir sends the warden away, preferring to talk to Éowyn *alone*.

To be fair, not much gets said. He’s just as much a prisoner of the Houses of Healing as she is, but they regard each other with…fervor.

Feminists probably jump all over the fact that Éowyn falters when she sees Faramir. Heck, the text mentions that she actually doubts herself. Is this what we want from her? Well, she does play the strongest female role in the entire story, so I don’t think it’s fair to destroy her character just because of this scene. Again, she kills the Witch-king. No man can claim that.

And here I’m getting all worked up. That’s not really necessary. Yeah, this turns into a bit of a romance. And you know what? It’s a better romance than Aragorn and Arwen, which the films focus on, and totally a better love story than Twilight.

But what isn’t?

This Superb Owl commercial had a better love story than Twilight.

This Superb Owl commercial had a better love story than Twilight.

And is Faramir’s complete lack of power (even though he’s the Steward) a political commentary on executive power?

No, because it’s not, probably. I don’t know. Run with that if you want.

No one dies today.

“She guessed that this tall man, both stern and gentle, might think her merely wayward, like a…”

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Jump on forward. Go on, jump!

The following days are spent wandering and recovering around the woods of Ithilien. Sam wants to see another oliphaunt. It ain’t happening.

Gondor found out they were evil douchebags and killed them all.

Gondor found out they were evil douchebags and killed them all.

Meanwhile, the army is made ready to travel back to Minas Tirith. They head down Anduin in boats near the end of May, and set up camp again outside the city, preparing for Aragorn’s entry and coronation to coincide with the turning of the month.

We hear also that some forces drove into Mordor to attack strongholds that were still held by the enemy. Not sure why these didn’t collapse along with all things built with the power of the ring, but whatever. At least this way it makes it a little bit more sense for the army to have lingered in that part of the world for so long.

Nevertheless, another chapter finds its end. Aragorn’s planned entry into Minas Tirith is important because he declined to do so officially when he first came to the city. Remember, his trip to heal Faramir, Éowyn, and Merry was done in secret.

Wait now, I just remembered that Merry was left alone in Minas Tirith when Aragorn rode away to combat at the Black Gate. He must have recovered and come to the Field of Cormallen sometime recently! I get used to thinking in the movie’s terms, where Merry is present at the Black Gate, but that isn’t what happens in the text.

No one dies today.

“And there in the midst of the fields they set up their pavilions and awaited the morning; for it was the Eve of May, and the King would enter his gates with the rising of the Sun.”

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I actually had a pretty solid plan of getting this post out at a reasonable time tonight, then literally EVERYTHING took way longer than planned, and here I am at good ol’ stupid o’clock pounding this out. I admit, this page deserves better.

Are these stickers?

Are these stickers?

The ring is gone. It fell into Mount Doom with Gollum, and Sauron’s power is destroyed. Everything in Mordor goes wild: towers falling, fires blazing, armies running in disarray; the Nazgûl are burnt out of the skies. Sam runs to Frodo and drags him outside before they’re engulfed in the churning magma, and the two lie in each other’s arms, just happy to have made it to the end of all things. Frodo wakens, and looks to be coming around to his former self. He thanks Sam for all he’s done.

Yep, that’s the end of all things. End of the book, right?

Today’s Gollum Meter: 92 – “I think you’re going to get a raise every time you come up again.”

NOPE. We’ve still got like 60 pages, you guys! Of course, this is the first point in the movie where the screen fades out, somewhat signaling an ending. There’s a lot of those.

Direct line quote, that.

Direct line quote, that.

Anyway, the main quest is over! The big bad is defeated! Much rejoicing! We’ll get to that, but now my narrative changes a little bit. I’ve been saying that I’ve committed to “taking the ring to Mordor” with this blog. Well, the text has done it, but I’m not done yet. However, saying something like “sailing on the last ship from the Grey Havens” just doesn’t have the same, um…ring to it. I’ll stick with my previous goal, even though it’s technically obsolete.

“‘Here at the end of all things, Sam.'”

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It’s crawling time. When Frodo and Sam get up to get going once more, Frodo suggests crawling. Okay. Let’s do that.

Move, move, move!

Move, move, move!

The road cuts across Mount Doom before them, a pathway built and maintained that stretches from Barad-dûr to the mountain. Frodo suddenly stops and looks east, seeing Sauron’s fortress before him. Sauron’s attention is turned elsewhere, however, towards the battle brewing with Aragorn’s forces at the Black Gate. Frodo collapses at the sight.

First Mentions:

-Sauron’s Road: Aw, it’s his personal road! I mean, I guess what else are you going to call it?

-the Window of the Eye: This appears to be a window to Sauron’s own chamber in Barad-dûr. This begs the question…

So, what about that Eye of Sauron? Book purists say that Peter Jackson’s depiction of Barad-dûr with a big old flaming eye on top was ridiculous. Sure, it really doesn’t seem to fit with the way magic and structures worked together in Tolkien’s Middle-earth, but hear me out a second…I think Jackson’s version was fairly darn faithful to the text. Observe: “One moment only it stared out, but as from some great window immeasurably high there stabbed northward a flame of red, the flicker of a piercing Eye.”

Does that not sound somewhat like what the film visualized? Now, much is made of similes when comparing the text to the films, such as the balrog’s shadow stretching out “like two vast wings.” Does that mean the balrog has wings, or that its shadow merely acts like wings? Much debate. In the Eye of Sauron’s case, we have another simile: “But as from some great window immeasurably high there stabbed northward a flame of red.” However, this simile doesn’t appear to be talking about some sort of flaming eye. In fact, it mentions the possible existence of a window, but the flame and eye are not included in its comparison. In essence, it says that a flaming eye spouts from something like a window, but does not imply the true existence of a window.

So, yes?

So evil.

So evil.

There isn’t a pure and simple answer here. I didn’t think that there would be anything this notable to debate, though. I had assumed that we never got a clear description of Barad-dûr, and most people simply didn’t envision it having a flaming eye atop it. Not to say that it couldn’t, but no one specifically said that it did. Instead, we do have a description, and it actually seems to indicate this appearance.

And what does it matter? Envision it how you like. I’m reading too much into things, like I do.

Words My Computer Didn’t Like:

-Sammath

No, that is not an alternate nickname for Samwise, but maybe it should be.

No one dies today.

“Faint, almost inaudibly, he heard Frodo whis-…”

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Okay, so today isn’t about walking, which is amazingly different. Sam and Frodo are once again resting after a long day’s march, though Sam can’t sleep much. He sits awake for most of the night, which seems to go on endlessly. When Sam rises, he rouses Frodo, who begins to helplessly crawl up the side of Mount Doom, now looming before them. That won’t do, so Sam plans on carrying Frodo.

*Music swells*

Yeah, the line itself is a little different from the “I can’t carry it for you, but I can carry you!” that the movie touts. It’s really “I can’t carry it for you, but I can carry you and it as well!” It just doesn’t have the same, uh…ring to it when you include the ring.

Nevertheless, we’ve noted one more time that this appears to be the end of the journey. Frodo and Sam are now literally at the feet of Mount Doom, though it certainly looks like it will take some time to climb, as well as to find the entrance that they need to use. Sam still has no idea what they really have to do at that point.

Meanwhile, anyone who ever questions who the real main character of this book is needs to take a second read. I’ve been smoldering on this for a while now, but Sam is clearly the one who we’ve truly taken this journey with. We’ve watched him grow, even as Frodo deteriorated. Instead of getting inside Frodo’s mind all this time, we’ve been traveling with Sam. He’s only the gardner, but he’s our hero now. Carry Frodo to victory!

No one dies today.

“‘Just tell him where to go, and he’ll go.'”

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