Monday, March 01, 2004

Wow...if The Two Towers is slow in parts, The Return of the King is action-packed in every page! (By the way, it won eleven Oscars last night...we diehard Ring fans stayed up until 5:15 AM our time to watch it win Best Picture! YEAH for Peter Jackson and his crew!!) Anyway, since I have written, Gondor has been put under siege, Rohan has ridden to battle, Theoden is dead, Eowyn has slain the Witch-King of Angmar, Aragorn has come out of the South with his Dead company on the Corsair ships, and Denethor has attempted to burn himself and his son alive. All that in the space of a day's reading and about sixty pages...this is powerful stuff.

"We come to it at last - the great battle of our time," says Gandalf to Pippin in the movie (I think Denethor actually has the quote in the book. The Return of the King is the triumphant conclusion, the time where everything must come together or the battle will fall to the Enemy. Now is the time where the fight truly hangs by a thread. Rohan comes just in the nick of time, for example, and if Eowyn had been less bold or less willing to defy her king's orders, the Witch-King would have slain Theoden and wreaked more havoc than he did. If Aragorn had been unwilling to take the Paths of the Dead; if Beregond, captain of the guard, had not dared to leave his post to save his lord's life; if Prince Imrahil of Dol Amroth in the south had not ridden to Gondor's aid...none of the free peoples of the West would have survived the war. Sauron's shadow would have blanketed the land, never to lift, and the brave standards of swan and horse and White Tree would have gone down into darkness.

All that to say...sometimes doing the right thing truly does require going against the grain. Every one of those I mentioned above acted against their self-preservation instincts, often against their better judgment or in defiance of orders from above. I would guess that no woman in Middle-earth would have done what Eowyn did (see why I want to be like her?!). And listen to the song of Eomer, calling his men to battle though their king is dead and it looks hopeless:

Out of doubt, out of dark to the day's rising
I came singing in the sun, sword unsheathing.
To hope's end I rode and to heart's breaking:
Now for wrath, now for ruin and a red nightfall!

Reminds me of the rallying cry of Aragorn, coming up in a few chapters...Stay tuned!


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