Mark Reads ‘The Return of the King’: Chapter 2

In the second chapter of The Return of the King, a grim message reaches Aragorn, and he takes Gimli and Legolas on a dangerous detour. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read The Lord of the Rings.

CHAPTER TWO: THE PASSING OF THE GREY COMPANY

Lords and Stuff
A Play

Act 345
Scene 1

 

[MERRY watches as GANDALF leaves with his best friend, PIPPIN. As they pass out of sight, he returns to ARAGORN.]

ARAGORN: Well, it’s time for us to be off. Who’s coming with me?

[LEGOLAS and GIMLI both affirm excitedly.]

MERRY: Well, don’t forget about me! I would like to come.

ARAGORN: I will never forget about you, Merry! I promise.

MERRY: Really?

ARAGORN: It is physically impossible for me to forget about you, dear hobbit.

[As the group prepares to leave, a RIDER gallops upon them.]

RIDER: Sooooooooo there might be a bunch of horses coming behind us, and there’s no way we can outride them.

THÉODEN: Fucking hell. Can I catch one break?

MERRY: Well, I feel useless right now. I suppose I’ll just stand here with my sword.

LEGOLAS: You’re not useless! You’re just not useful right now.

MERRY: Wow, I feel so much better.

[A group of thirty riders arrive, and HALBARAD is the first to speak up.]

HALBARAD: We are seeking someone who might be in the land of Rohan! Is there an Aragorn with you?

ARAGORN: SWEET BABY GANDALF, HALBARAD. IT’S ME, BRO! HOW ARE YOU, BRO?

HALBARAD: OH, BY ISILDUR’S BANE, IT’S YOU! LET US HUG UNTIL WE FALL TO THE GROUND AND THEN LET’S ROLL AROUND SOME, TOO.

ARAGORN [To THÉODEN]: These are my own kin, king! We aren’t going to be slaughtered where we stand! [To HALBARAD] Wait, why are you here?

HALBARAD: Dude, didn’t you summon us? We all got the message, man!

ARAGORN: Well, I mean I thought lots of manly and totally heterosexual thoughts about y’all, but it’s not like I can make wishes come true. So no, that has nothing to do with me.

THÉODEN: Well, this isn’t suspicious or weird at all, so let’s all just go together to Helm’s Deep instead of figuring out how this is possible! This is a good plan, no?

ARAGORN: I couldn’t agree more!

Scene 2

[They group has arrived at Helm's Deep, and we cut to MERRY, who is waking from a short bout of sleep. LEGOLAS and GIMLI are rousing him.

LEGOLAS: Wake up, Master Sluggard!

MERRY: I hardly think three hours of sleep is deserving of that nickname.

GIMLI: It has a nice ring to it.

MERRY: So what's going on? Where's Aragorn?

LEGOLAS: You know, he's off talking about the fact that his kin were summoned by someone other than him. Which isn't weird at all.

MERRY: Yeah, I thought that seemed odd. Who do you think sent the summons? Gandalf?

LEGOLAS: Probably Galadriel?

GIMLI: I want to marry her.

LEGOLAS: Gimli!

GIMLI: What? She's spectacular.

LEGOLAS: But what about us?

GIMLI: Fine, I'll marry you, too.

MERRY: What.

Scene 3

[MERRY, LEGOLAS, and GIMLI arrive at the hall of the Burg for midday meal.]

THÉODEN: Merry, come sit with me! We have much to discuss.

MERRY: Wow, I’m flattered! Thank you!

THÉODEN: I even got you a pony you can ride on later! No riding alongside someone else. Can we get this goddamn hobbit a weapon?

MERRY: No, it’s okay, I have my own! [MERRY draws his sword and offers it lovingly to THÉODEN.] May I offer this to you to pledge service to you?

THÉODEN: Yes, you may! Rise, good sir!

MERRY: As a father you shall be to me.

THÉODEN: For a little while.

MERRY: What?

THEODEN: I said, “For a little while.”

MERRY: That’s a really awkward thing to say. Like, do you mean you’ll tolerate me for a little while? Or that one of us will die in a little while? Or are you just placating my excitement?

THÉODEN: I have no idea. It really is a weird thing to say.

MERRY: Let’s pretend it never happened.

THÉODEN: Yes, let’s.

Scene 4

[The entire group prepares to depart Helm's Deep.]

THÉODEN: So, uh, where’s Aragorn? Can someone go get him? We have a war to fight.

[ARAGORN arrives minutes later with LEGOLAS and GIMLI. MERRY watches ARAGORN as he gets closer and realizes the man is forlorn, aged, and weary. Something is wrong.

ARAGORN: So. Change of plans, my lord.

THÉODEN: You're kidding me.

ARAGORN: I won't make it to Minas Tirith in time if I follow you. So I'm going to take the Paths of the Dead there.

[Everyone gasps except MERRY.]

MERRY: What.

THÉODEN: How dare you even speak the name, Aragorn! No living man can pass through such a place.

MERRY: What the hell are the Paths of the Dead? Can someone explain this to me?

THÉODEN: Well, I am not following you on such a folly. I guess this is where we part ways.

ARAGORN: I suppose so. Farewell, my lord! Oh, and we’re ditching you, Merry. Have fun!

MERRY: Wait, what? But you said –

[THÉODEN makes a motion and all the horses, including the one MERRY is on, take off.]

MERRY: HEY CAN SOMEONE TELL ME WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON.

[MERRY disappears, and we focus on the remaining characters.]

LEGOLAS: So, why the change in heart?

ARAGORN: I may have used the Stone of Orthanc.

GIMLI: WHAT THE FUCK.

ARAGORN: Maybe.

LEGOLAS: You better have a good reason for this.

ARAGORN: It’s sort of complicated.

HALBARAD: Bro, you better believe we will sit here and listen to the whole thing right this instance.

ARAGORN: Okay, so… [ARAGORN takes a deep breath.] I used the Orthanc to confront Sauron. In the process, I was able to use my own mental strength to wrestle the stone away from Sauron’s power. Did you even know I had this power? No. But Sauron saw me, and despite that I didn’t speak a word to him, he knew I existed and he knew that I was Isildur’s heir to the throne of Gondor. This was all done as a way to hopefully trick Sauron into releasing his soldiers sooner than he planned on it, exposing a possible weakness. Also, it’s really not that clear why me being Isildur’s heir is all that important, but I’m sure it relies on some minuscule detail from 450 pages ago.

LEGOLAS: Wow.

GIMLI: This seems like a bit of a disaster. Like, a huge disaster.

ARAGORN: I haven’t even told you about the Paths of the Dead yet.

HALBARAD: There’s more?

ARAGORN [Taking another deep breath]: So, long ago, Isildur but a great big stone on top of a hill called Erech, and all the Kings of the Mountains swore their allegiance to Isildur there. Years later, when Sauron came back, Isildur called on his allies to assist him; unfortunately, they’d all turned on him and started worshipping Sauron. So Isildur cursed them, making it so they could never rest until they fulfilled their oath. Well, it just so happens that I am Isildur’s heir, and I can activate the Stone, so we are going to pass through the Paths of the Dead and call back the original allies.

LEGOLAS: Wow.

GIMLI: Wait, if only the heir of Isildur can pass through the Paths of the Dead, how are we going to be exempt from that?

ARAGORN: Shhhhh, it’s time to leave.

Scene 5

[ÉOWYN, THÉODEN's daughter, greets the riders in Eldoras. She has been basically running the city since they all left many days before.]

ÉOWYN: It is good to see you, lord Aragorn. I am glad you have returned.

ARAGORN: I trust you have been well.

ÉOWYN: I have. I have heard of the many battles you have survived.

ARAGORN: That’s cool. So tomorrow I’m passing through the Paths of the Dead.

ÉOWYN: What.

ARAGORN: Yeah, it’ll work. I’m positive of it.

ÉOWYN: You know it’s called the Paths of the Dead, right?

ARAGORN: Yeah, I’m sure it’s just an exaggeration.

ÉOWYN: So take me with you.

ARAGORN: What.

ÉOWYN: I’m sick of being worried here in Eldoras. I want to fight. Take me with you.

ARAGORN [who laughs first]: Your duty is heard to take care of Eldoras.

ÉOWYN: I piss on my duty. Well, not literally, but you know what I mean. I’m sick of waiting.

ARAGORN: But you agreed to govern while the men were away.

ÉOWYN: Will I always be stuck here while the men go off and fight? They get the best of both worlds, and I don’t see a reason why I shouldn’t go.

ARAGORN: Look, one day we may need you, but for now, your duty is in –

ÉOWYN: THE KITCHEN.

ARAGORN: No, I was –

ÉOWYN: YOU WERE GOING TO SAY IT. I KNOW YOU WERE. YOU BIGOT.

ARAGORN: No, I swear –

ÉOWYN: I can ride and wield blade, and I do not fear pain or death. I fear living life in a cage and accepting that the world is just passing me by.

ARAGORN: Didn’t you just try to convince me not to do that?

ÉOWYN: Touché. But the point still stands. I want to go.

ARAGORN: No. You have no business going.

ÉOWYN: Oh, like Gimli and Legolas do. They’re only going because they loooovvvvveeee you.

ARAGORN: YOU SHUT YOUR MOUTH ABOUT MY FRIENDS.

ÉOWYN: Aragorn and Legolas and Gimli, in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G…

ARAGORN: BY GANDALF’S BEARD, YOU BETTER SHUT IT.

ÉOWYN [She turns to walk away]: You mad, bro? ÉOWYN OUT.

Scene 6

[It is the following day, and the Riders are preparing to leave.]

ARAGORN: Farewll, Lady of Rohan! May we see you again.

ÉOWYN: Are you going to let me ride with you?

ARAGORN: No.

ÉOWYN: Your face is butts.

ARAGORN: What?

ÉOWYN: Seriously, you’re a butthead. Don’t talk to me.

[The group leaves ÉOWYN behind.]

Scene 7

[Arriving at the Dimholt, the riders disembark their horses at the sight of a stone that none of the animals will pass.]

GIMLI: This idea is a fucking foolish waste of time, by the way.

HALBARAD: I’m inclined to agree with you. Exactly how is it that we’re allowed to pass behind you?

ARAGORN: Just follow me and don’t talk.

[HALBARAD and ARAGORN walk in immediately. After some coaxing, LEGOLAS gets his horse inside, leaving GIMLI alone outside the entrance.]

GIMLI: I hate all of you. You will pay for this one day, I swear.

[GIMLI enters.]

Scene 8

[The passageway is so dark that only the torches can be seen. They slowly trudge along until they come upon a space so wide that it doesn't seem to have an end. There, ARAGORN finds the bones of a huge man.]

GIMLI: Why the hell is he just wandering about? Surely, this place gives him the creeps, too?

[ARAGORN inspects the body before speaking]: I summon you to the Stone of Erech.

LEGOLAS: Wait, is that one of the King of Mountains?

[He receives no answer. They instead continue slowly through the Paths of the Dead; GIMLI constantly fears that someone or something is going to grab him out of the darkness. After some time, though, they finally pass out of the mountain. At one point, as they descend down the chasm, LEGOLAS turns back to see what look like ghosts pouring out.]

LEGOLAS: Should we be concerned that there are a bunch of dead spirits following us?

ELLADAN: No. They were summoned.

GIMLI: Who the hell are you???

ELLADAN: I’m Elrond’s son! Duh. My bother Elrohir is over there.

LEGOLAS: Oh. Right. I should know that.

ELLADAN: Our introduction was kind of rushed.

GIMLI: Dude…, there are ghosts following us.

Scene 9

[Finally, the riders arrive at the Hill of Erech. ELROHIR hands ARAGORN a silver horn once they find the black stone at the top, and ARAGORN blows the horn. Everyone else is shocked to hear unseen horns respond nearly immediately. A great host of spirits surrounds the hill.]

ARAGORN: Oathbreakers, why have ye come?

GIMLI [to LEGOLAS]: WAIT. ARE THESE SPIRITS THE OATHBREAKERS?

LEGOLAS: HOLY SHIT THAT’S SO COOL.

GIMLI: I KNOW.

HALBADAR: Shhhh!

ARAGORN: You will find peace if you serve me and rid this land of the servents of Gondor.

GIMLI [to LEGOLAS]: I mean, it kinda sucks when you think about it. They haven’t been able to rest for a long time. But I suppose I don’t feel bad for them. They did betray Isildur.

LEGOLAS: Are we seriously going to have ghost allies on our team? Oh, we are going to destroy Sauron.

GIMLI: Hey, you realize we just ditched Merry, right?

To be continued….

About Mark Reads

Vegan cyclist, Internet community nerd, atheist bookworm, high-five purveyor.
This entry was posted in The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

313 Responses to Mark Reads ‘The Return of the King’: Chapter 2

  1. Becky_J_ says:

    Bahahaha. Mark. Can we just talk about this for a moment

    "There will be zombies? Look, I don’t know. I’m grasping at straws here."

    Look. The Dead are more like ghosts in my mind than zombies, but they are THE LIVING DEAD. Which pretty much equals zombies, when you think about it. Which means that you truly are a TRUE SEER. Seriously, this was us when we read that prediction…..
    <img src="http://media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lowxc9fv3U1qie3i0.gif"&gt;
    ….and we wondered if you were really just trolling us. Because you may have been grasping at straws, but you must be REALLY GOOD AT GRASPING THEM (look, I don't know what that means, but it was the only thing that made even a little bit of sense here)

    • ZeynepD says:

      Yes, the amount of rot13 explosion at that prediction was epic, and justifiedly so. You are amazing, Mark.

    • PewPewPew says:

      Every time this gif pops up I watch it for approximately three minutes, then question what I am doing with my life.

    • Spinnaker12 says:

      There's also this titbit from Mark's review of Chapter 19 of The Hobbit:

      “Does he come back to haunt people?”

      “There aren’t ghosts in Middle Earth. No spirits of that sort.”

      Although it kinda got lost over everyone freaking out about this line:

      "Would you let me walk into a volcano if you knew a certain path led straight into it?” (I don't think that needs rot13'ing because that's the aim of the quest but Mods, if you feel differently, please cipher it.)

  2. Becky_J_ says:

    This chapter really is kind of consumed by the Paths of the Dead (which. omigod. TERRIFYING), and we kind of lose some of the other moments in this chapter:

    ~One of them is the all-consuming sadness of leaving Merry behind!! He already feels like a burden, his soul-mate-forever Pippin is gone off with Gandalf and he misses him terribly, and now his last three friends are leaving him to go ride off to this place that people seem to think they will never come back from. If I was Merry, I would be so depressed! Think about it…. Frodo has Sam, Pippin has Gandalf, and Aragorn has Legolas and Gimli (lol sorry Boromir, I think the short end of the stick seems to permanently belong to you). MERRY IS ALL ALONE. The only consolation I have is that he's with Theoden, and they seem to have this cool little friendship going on.

    ~Speaking of that…. SADNESS FOREVER when Merry's all "Yeah, you can be my father!" and Theoden's all "Uh, yeah, okay, I guess we could go with that….. FOR A LITTLE WHILE." what do you mean. THAT IS SO UPSETTING TO ME. Either Theoden's not excited about it and thinks it's weird, in which case ALL MY CREYS, or there is something looming on the horizon that will mess everything up, in which case…. well… ALL MY CREYS ANYWAYS. Thanks Tolkien.

    ~I'm not gonna lie, I laughed when Eomer is all "LOL you're going where?? Yeah, I like you and all, buttttttt not enough to even consider following you there. But good luck with that bro!" Every time the Paths of the Dead are mentioned, I picture people repeating it and looking horrified with their hands over their mouths in shock, and it turns into this ridiculous, comical thing to me. I think my brain could not handle all the awfulness and horror and sadness that these books contain, and therefore broke, and is turning this into a comedy as a defense mechanism.

    ~Eowyn. Oh, Eowyn. I feel for her, I really do… but more than anything I pity her. First of all, she is stuck as this housewife-type woman when what she really wants to do is be a warrior with the men; she is stuck in this cage, as she puts it, which is what she fears most. Second of all, I think she wants it for the wrong reasons…. for glory and renown. Which, don't get me wrong, that's always part of the equation, but I think she forgets the real reason these men are riding to war, and the horrors that go along with it. And most of all, I pity her because of Aragorn's pity for her. When it mentions the fact that those close to him see his pain when he's riding away, I don't think that pain is because he loves her or doesn't want to leave her or anything like that…. I think he is upset that he is hurting her by a. leaving her and not taking her with them when she so wants to go and b. not loving her back. It makes me cringe inside just thinking about it. I have been that girl, and I HATE the pity, and it …. IT JUST SUCKS.

    ~I FEEL BAD FOR THE HORSES. And Gimli. Because he has to be the freaking last one in this horrifying, horrifying place. Look, I can't even be the last one in a corn maze, because I have a panic attack and think I'm going to die. If I had to be the last one in this awful land of the Dead….. Well, I would be joining them permanently.

    • Word to everything you said about Eowyn. It's so sad, because I get why Aragorn is sorry for her, but that's pretty much the last thing she wants and that kind of feeling is only going to make her feel more trapped and feel more of a need to prove herself. And the thing is, Aragorn has a point- he doesn't have the authority to release her from leading Edoras, even if he wanted to. But at the same time, I can completely understand why Eowyn wants to leave, even if I don't necessarily agree with her reasons. So sad.

      • Saphling says:

        Also, Aragorn makes a pretty good point about responsibility. If those that go off to war fail, Eowyn and the people left at Edoras may be faced with having to fight for survival without hope of renown, because there may be no one left to sing songs of glorious acts in battle if they fail. No one sings of desperate last stands if no one survives to do so, and that is certainly Sauron's goal.

        • Skyweir says:

          But if a last battle is without hope, why would Eowyn be needed there? And if they win through, she will not be needed either, since the people will not need much beyond daily administrative tasks that anyone could do. As she says, she is not a serving-woman….

    • stormwreath says:

      I think he is upset that he is hurting her by a. leaving her and not taking her with them when she so wants to go and b. not loving her back.

      Qrsvavgryl. V qb guvax gur fgbel fhssref sebz gur snpg gung Nejra'f fgbel vf cerggl zhpu eryrtngrq gb na nccraqvk, fb jr qba'g xabj gung Nentbea vf va snpg ratntrq gb naq va ybir jvgu fbzrbar ryfr nyy guvf gvzr.

    • shadydave says:

      Second of all, I think she wants it for the wrong reasons…. for glory and renown.

      Except for the Anglo-Saxons (one of the major inspirations for the Rohirrim), these were exactly the right reasons. They were all about the badass boasts, but you had to follow through on the badass boasts. Which Eowyn can't do, because she keeps getting left behind.

      One of the very worst things to happen to an Anglo-Saxon warrior was to still be alive after a battle when their liege-lord had died. Not only was there no glory in losing, not only was their whole social set-up shot to hell, but they also had failed in their duty in protecting him. (The only left to do was wander around and write sad poetry.) So Eowyn's only remaining family members, and her crush, are riding off, and she can't even be there to help or protect them. And she'll have to deal with the aftermath alone.

      By continually leaving Eowyn behind, Theoden, Eomer, and Aragorn are implying that her chosen duty as a warrior doesn't matter, that her oaths mean nothing, and that she doesn't deserve the glory she clearly wants. Sure, they're doing it out of necessity, and because they want to protect their niece/sister/friend for as long as possible, but that's not what Eowyn signed up for. She's being thwarted by the people she cares about most, in the guilt-trippiest way possible.

      Aaaaaaand Tolkien would have known all about this, being the Professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxfordl.

  3. Jenny_M says:

    You know, Mark, you predicted zombies. I think we have to give you half a point on that one.

  4. rabidsamfan says:

    Zombies!

    Well, not exactly….
    :D

  5. Alice says:

    * Aragorn really nails it for me when he says that the fellowship is yet again,broken. All the sad…
    *Oh,Merry you give me all the :(…you're not a burden!!Hugs for this hobbit,please!
    * The dunedains have come to be with Aragorn!!!And Arwen's bishie brothers are here too…glee…
    * Dunno why but whenever I read about the gift that Arwen has sent to Aragorn my mind always makes a strange connection:that of Penelope ,the wife of Odysseus.
    *I loooove the way Theoden treats Merry!!Maybe he's from a lesser race of men,not like the noble numenoreans,but in my eyes he's greater than Denethor. And Merry…oh,Merry all the <3,he's like mirroing what Pippin has done to Denethor.
    * Stybba..how cute is that name!!! I imagine him to be a white poney with brown-golden big spots :D
    * The Path of the Dead…yeah.I will not go there,thank you very much!!! Aragorn looked in the palantir!!!!! afxcza54e2347ugnvn,myw %^^# And he WON the duel with Sauron!!!!111!!!!!BAMF!!!
    * huh…Mark's army of zombies
    *oh,Eowyn…my heart breaks. :'( "What do you fear,lady?" "A cage.To stay behind bars, until use and old age accept them, and all chance of doing great deeds is gone beyond recall or desire." My favourite lines ever!!

    <img src="http://www.john-howe.com/portfolio/gallery/data/media/22/FF-Dunlending-port.jpg"&gt;
    John Howe – Dunleding (just a poor excuse for me to post a pic with them :p)

    <img src="http://www.john-howe.com/portfolio/gallery/data/media/22/Aragorn-Ranger-port.jpg&quot; width="600">
    John Howe – Aragorn

    <img src="http://www.dana-mad.ru/gal/images/Alan%20Lee/The%20Lord%20of%20the%20Rings/alan_lee_the%20lord%20of%20the%20rings_iii-5-02_the%20passing%20of%20the%20grey%20company.jpg&quot; width="600">
    Alan Lee – The Passing of the Grey Company

    <img src="http://www.dana-mad.ru/gal/images/Alan%20Lee/Calendar%202007/alan_lee_cal2007_03.jpg&quot; width="600">
    Alan Lee sketch – The Path of Dead

    <img src="http://www.dana-mad.ru/gal/images/Alan%20Lee/The%20Lord%20of%20the%20Rings%20Sketchbook/alan_lee_the%20lord%20of%20the%20rings_sketchbook_14_the%20armies%20gather06.jpg&quot; width="600">
    Alan Lee sketch

    <img src="http://www.john-howe.com/portfolio/gallery/data/media/22/Gimli-port.jpg&quot; width="600">
    John Howe – Gimli

    <img src="http://img-fan.theonering.net/~rolozo/images/sweet/paths.jpg&quot; width="600">
    Darell Sweet – Paths

    <img src="http://www.tednasmith.com/lotr3/TN-The_King_of_the_Oathbreakers.jpg&quot; width="600">
    Ted Nasmith – The King of the Oathbreakers <3 <3 <3

    <img src="http://www.dana-mad.ru/gal/images/Alan%20Lee/The%20Lord%20of%20the%20Rings%20Sketchbook/alan_lee_the%20lord%20of%20the%20rings_sketchbook_14_the%20armies%20gather08.jpg&quot; width="600">
    Alan Lee sketch – Army of the Dead

    <img src="http://img-fan.theonering.net/~rolozo/images/mcbride/ghost_warriors.jpg&quot; width="600">
    Angus McPriders take on the Ghost Warriors (note the highlander look ;) )

    <img src="http://www.john-howe.com/portfolio/gallery/data/media/22/ARMYOFTHEDEAD.jpg"&gt;
    John Howe – Army of the Dead

    <img src="http://www.dana-mad.ru/gal/images/Alan%20Lee/The%20Lord%20of%20the%20Rings%20Sketchbook/alan_lee_the%20lord%20of%20the%20rings_sketchbook_14_the%20armies%20gather07.jpg&quot; width="600">
    Alan Lee sketch

    GREAT REVIEW!!!

    • Diddle de dum says:

      Alan Lee's Aragorn in The Passing of the Grey Company is creeping me out… the eyes… beware the eyes…

      But other than that, great!

      • But look at Gimli chilling on a horse with Legolas!

      • Alice says:

        The creep fact for me is that he looks a little too old :),but besides that…all the <3 for Alan Lee!V xabj,gung nppbeqvatyl gb uvf ntr,ur VF byq,ohg ur vf abg n erthyne zna,va uvf irvaf sybjf nyfb gur oybbq bs gur napvrag ryirf,fb V thrff gung ur unf n lbhatre nccrnenapr,abg fubjvat uvf gehr ntr,va n znaare fvzvyne gb gur Ryirf,ohg abg dhvgr yvxr gurz,bs pbhefr,gur cnffvat bs gvzr vf ivfvoyr ba uvz. Gung'f ng yrnfg ubj V'ir nyjnlf frra vg.

    • Saphling says:

      Every time I see them, I fall in love with Alan Lee's sketches again. They are perfect. Thank you for posting them!

    • monkeybutter says:

      1) I love the trees forming an "X" in the Alan Lee sketch

      2) OMG GHOSTS IN KILTS THIS IS THE BEST THING EVERRRRR

    • nanceoir says:

      The blond dude near the upper left in Darell Sweet's Paths is totally Prince Adam, aka He-Man, right?

      Against the Power of Greyskull, Sauron doesn't stand a chance.

    • atheistsisters says:

      Vg nyjnlf nznmrf zr ubj zhpu gur negjbex naq gur zbivrf erfrzoyr rnpu bgure.

      I always think Tolkien must have gotten the name Stybba by reversing vowels of Stubby. It's such a cute name!

      • stormwreath says:

        Not even that. 'Stybba' IS the Anglo-Saxon word that's the origin of our word 'stubby'.

        • atheistsisters says:

          LOL – of course it would be! Just think what the state of ancient language studies would be if not for Tolkien whetting people's appetites…

    • arctic_hare says:

      - I love Alan Lee's sketches <3 <3 <3

      - That Darell Sweet one – it looks like the blond guy in the back has a horse floating in mid-air

      - GHOSTS IN KILTS AHAHAHAHA

      • Rheinman says:

        Are they really ghosts? Maybe its the aftereffect of some bad haggis.

      • Alice says:

        What about the helmet on Aragorn in Darell Sweet pic?Are those deer horn? All the lulz,srsly xD. Yeah I found it terribly amusing that only McPriders made that connection; I kinda imagine him sitting on his drawing desk and thinking :"So,hmm…So they are dead…they live in the mountains…YES!!!KILTS!!!That's it!!!!" :D
        I especially love that little detail in the second pic of Path of the Dead by Alan Lee,that shows the skeleton found by Aragorn & Co. and the Celtic jewel (necklace I think) that is next to it.Details like these are like precious jewels :)

    • trinityclare says:

      Not really a spoiler, but: rirel gvzr V frr gurfr fxrgpurf, V nz erzvaqrq whfg ubj nofbyhgryl vagrteny Nyna Yrr naq Wbua Ubjr jrer gb gur neg qverpgvba bs gur zbivrf, naq ubj vaperqvoyl tengrshy V nz sbe vg.

    • baruchan says:

      On Alan Lee's "The Passing of the Crey Company":

      Is that — gasp — a hint of Eowyn's bare thigh? So scanadalous!

    • notemily says:

      oh dear god that "john howe – army of the dead" one is seriously freaking me out. the second to last one in your post. for some reason I really, really hate faces without noses. one of my personal squicks.

  6. rabidsamfan says:

    Eowyn always strikes me as being so very young in this chapter. She's been entrusted with the care of a kingdom, but she really doesn't understand how much of an honor that is. No one sings songs about the glory of keeping the babies fed and the old people comfortable, and Eowyn — who has been trained as a shieldmaiden (and she can't be the only one) — wants the kind of glory that will be sung about. Loving Aragorn is almost beside the point.

    • Skyweir says:

      And why shouldn't she want that? I'm not sure it is young to want to change a life that you do not feel suited to. No one tells Eomer to stay at home with the children, even if it is an honor. And, if it is such an honor, why is Eowyn not honored for it in more direct ways? Everyone just expects her to do it, and to step back and let the men take the limelight.
      I think Eowyn is right to call Aragorn on his presumptions here. What ever he says, Eowyn's gender is primarily what is keeping him for letting her go with him.

      • Atrus says:

        While there's certainly a gender disparity in the Rohirrim society that made things as they are, at this point in the story the main reason why she has to stay at home is that she's the one in the house of Theoden with the least experience in leading soldiers (or actual combat) but the most experience in leading people.

        Vg'f nyfb cerggl boivbhf sebz gur sbyybjvat puncgref, naq sebz Snenzve'f fcrrpu n srj puncgref rneyvre, gung Gbyxvra qbrfa'g guvax vg'f n tbbq guvat gb chg tybel naq fbatf naq onggyr bire rirelguvat ryfr, gur jnl gur Ebuveevz qb. Fb lrf, gurl <v>fubhyq</v> unir ubabherq ure ebyr zber.

        • Skyweir says:

          Nah, both Eomer and Theoden dismissed her as a leader in The Two Towers, and had to be reminded that she even existed , Theoden says that Eomer is the last in the House of Eorl, and there is no others to lead the people. Then someone has to remind him that he has a niece, and he is like "yeah, ok, I guess she can manage that".

          So she is basicly given this "honor" as an afterthougt, and then dismissed. Sure, it might be an important role, but her society does not see it as such and neither does she.

          Note that I do not say that Tolkien is sexist (or not much, at least). He is making a point about glory and warrior culture here. Still, Aragorn and the Rohirrim definitivly are quite sexist in many ways, and are written as such.

      • What ever he says, Eowyn's gender is primarily what is keeping him from letting her go with him.

        See, I have to disagree here- for one thing, he doesn't have the authority to let her leave Edoras. And this is spoilery, but nsgre jr ernyvmr gung Rbjla vf Qreauryz- bar jubfr snpr vf gung bs fbzrbar jub tbrf frrxvat qrngu- V guvax gur ernfbaf Nentbea qbrfa'g jnag ure gb tb ner zber fhogyr guna gur snpg gung fur'f n jbzna. Ur rira fnlf nsgre fur xvyyf gur Jvgpu-xvat gung gur bayl jnl ur pna fnir ure vf vs fur unf gur fgeratgu gb yvir, naq fur urefrys fnlf yngre gung fur'f abg fher gung fur'yy rire unir ubcr va yvsr ntnva. Vg'f irel fgebatyl vzcyvrq yngre gung fur qvqa'g whfg qrfver tybel- fur jnagrq gb qvr. Naq V guvax gung'f cneg bs gur ernfba Nentbea qbrfa'g jnag ure gb pbzr- fur'f frrxvat qrngu naq tybel, naq ur qbrfa'g jnag ure gb guebj ure yvsr njnl sbe gung xvaq bs ernfba.

        • stormwreath says:

          V nterr jvgu lbh, nygubhtu V guvax Ébjla bayl orpnzr npgviryl fhvpvqny nsgre Nentbea yrsg. Fur gubhtug ur'q tbar gb uvf bja qrngu, nsgre nyy, naq fb fur qvqa'g jnag gb yvir nal zber rvgure.

          Fur unq n qrngu jvfu. Znlor fur'f n Fynlre. :)

          Gurer'f nyfb gur snpg gung Nentbea vf eryhpgnag gb rapbhentr Ébjla, orpnhfr ur xabjf fur'f va ybir jvgu uvz ohg ur qbrfa'g ybir ure onpx. V qba'g guvax gung'f uvf zbgvir sbe yrnivat ure, ohg vg'f jul ur'f fb pbyq nobhg vg – ur'f cergraqvat abg gb pner orpnhfr ur'f gelvat gb chg ure bss.

          • Skyweir says:

            Bu, V nterr. Rbjla vf pyrneyl fhvpvqny. Ohg abg orpnhfr bs Nentbea.

            Fur vf gelvat gb rfpncr ure yvsr, juvpu fur srryf vf ovaqvat ure gb n zrna naq hfryrff gnfx jvgubhg gunaxf be cebfcrpgf. Guvf vf cnegvnyyl Jbezgbhatrf jbex, ohg ure hapyr naq oebgure ner abg jvgubhg oynzr.

            Nentbea vf n jnl bhg, naq fur frrf uvz nf gung. Ur rkcnaqf ba guvf vqrn va "Gur Ubhfrf bs Urnyvat", gung fur qbrf abg ernyyl ybir uvz ohg jung ur ercerfragf, n yvsr "sne sebz gur svryqf bs Ebuna".

            Jura fur vf qravrq, fur tbrf sbe ure bgure rfpncr ebhgr….
            Ohg vs fur pbhyq abg znxr gung jbex rvgure, V qb abg qbhog gung fur jbhyq unir sbhaq fbzr jnl gb snxr na nppvqrag. Nentbea fnlf nf zhpu yngre ba gbb: "gb jung fur jvyy njnxr, ubcr be qrfcnve, V qb abg xabj. Ohg vs gb qrfcnve, gura fur jvyy qvr…" Gur vzcyvpngvbaf ner pyrne, V guvax.

    • castlewayjay says:

      really good points. the mature thing to do would be to rule her people – the role that's been given her. but she can't see the honor in that. plus she's blinded or distracted by her infatuation wi/Aragorn

      • PewPewPew says:

        Straight up, it isn't an honor if it's not wanted. It's a burden. Eowyn is young, sure, but she's also smart, and strong, and capable of fighting. She can serve more people more usefully at home right now — smart, strong and capable still describe her — but if she doesn't want to do it, she isn't being honored, she's being ordered around.

        The infatuation part is kind of annoying though. It's believable, I guess, but I was frustrated by that playing into her decisions and character. I GET THAT ARAGORN IS HANDSOME AND ALL. But wouldn't it be more awesome if who she liked had less to do with her desire to help on the front lines?

        • Skyweir says:

          Nentbea pbzzragf ba guvf yngre, fnlvat gung jung fur "ybirf" va uvz vf gur cbffvoyvgl bs "n yvsr sne sebz gur svryqf bs Ebuna". Fur jnagf gb yrnir ure yvsr oruvaq, n yvsr fur svaqf fgvssryvat naq qrcerffvat. Nentbea vf n jnl gb qb guvf, naq bs pbhefr ur vf n irel unaqfbzr naq aboyr zna nf jryy. Ohg vg vf ernyyl gur qernz bs rfpncvat ure yvsr gung znxrf ure ranzberq jvgu uvz.

          Jura fur vf qravrq, fur tbrf sbe ure bgure "rfpncr"…

          "…gur snpr bs bar frrxvat qrngu, univat ab ubcr…"

          • PewPewPew says:

            Uz. Vf gurer nalguvat jebat jvgu jnagvat gb or bhgfvqr bs Ebuna naq gurve phygher? Naq V guvax lbh'er fcbg-ba va erpbtavmvat gung fur'f zber va ybir jvgu gur vqrn bs evqvat njnl, evqvat serr, guna fur vf jvgu znpxvat ba Nentbea'f puvfryrq snpr.

            • Rheinman says:

              "znpxvat ba Nentbea'f puvfryrq snpr" lol.

              Yb, vf guvf gur snpr gung ynhapurq n gubhfnaq fuvcf naq gbccyrq gur fnperq fcverf bs Vyyvhz? V guvax abg, nygubhtu gung'f whfg zl bcvavba.

              Abcr, gung jbhyq or Tnynqevry. Nygubhtu, gurer vf cyragl bs fuvccvat gb tb nebhaq sbe rirelobql

          • Wheelrider says:

            There's also the factor that she could be flying off the handle a bit at this point, being suddenly freed from taking care of Theoden. There's a lot of mixed-up emotions that come with being a caregiver for a family member.

            And it's interesting that Aragorn points out that you generally can't just go off and do whatever you want…

            'I have waited on faltering feet long enough. Since they falter no longer, it seems, may I not now spend my life as I will?'
            'Few may do that with honour,’ he answered.

        • jne says:

          I think she's not reacting to his "beauty" but to his nobility. Eowyn also has an inner nobility and a passion for action. She's been dodging Wormtongue for we don't know how long. She'd lived without hope watching Theoden wither away on the throne and then had her hope awakened by Aragorn's arrival. Who else has there been in her life that his her equal or that she could rely on?

        • Tul says:

          I agree with the first part of your post, but about the second part: Aragorn isn't even handsome. Remember Strider had no friends because he looked fool?

          Ure vasnghngvba jvgu uvz unf n ybg zber gb qb jvgu gur snpg gung ur vf urve gb gur guebar bs Tbaqbe naq ercerfragf ubcr gb ure ng guvf cbvag: ubcr bs n ynaq njnl sebz ure cevfba va Ebuna, bs serrqbz, naq ubcr bs erpbtavgvba.
          Ure qrfver gb or ba gur sebag yvar unf irel yvggyr gb qb jvgu Nentbea gbb (vg'f engure gur pbagenel ernyyl). Gbyxvra fnvq fur ebqr njnl sbe ybir bs gur Xvat Guébqra, ure hapyr. Naq bhg bs n qrfver gb cebir urefrys naq *qb* fbzrguvat sbe bapr, vafgrnq bs nyjnlf jnvgvat.

    • fantasy_fan says:

      Eowyn is five years younger than Pippin. Even though she's not a hobbit, she is very young.

      • Wheelrider says:

        But I would imagine she's had to grow up fast, having a lot of responsibility and worry over Theoden (not to mention a creepy stalker) already.

        • ARITHMANCER says:

          Yes, but that means that she has the feeling of having had her life on hold for all those years, she's been looking forward to and hoping for a time when she will no longer have to defer her own dreams. And then Theoden gets better, and she is *still* asked to.

          • Wheelrider says:

            Oh yes, totally agree with that. So that could lead to some temporary immature behavior. (Is that what you're saying as well?)

            • Rheinman says:

              Not sure if immature is the right word. I was going to say self-centered but without the negative connotations. If you have spent several years caring for a loved one or haveing a great burden suddenly lifted from you, that sense of euphoria and the limitless possibility of what to do next can cloud your judgement.

              Heck, I would be ecstatic just to know that Wormtongue was locked in a tower several hundered miles away, but that's just me. Creepy stalker guy is creepy.

              • Wheelrider says:

                That's it exactly… in some other comment I said "fly off the handle."

                I love that Eowyn is complex enough that we're all circling around and offering ideas, and really none are wrong. Different interpretations can exist simultaneously.

          • castlewayjay says:

            you and Whellrider both make some good points.

  7. knut_knut says:

    ALL THE AWESOME THINGS (minus talking ponies) CRAMMED INTO ONE CHAPTER- the remainder of the fellowship , EOWYN BEING A BAMF, AND THEN DEAD PEOPLE. AL;SDFJ;ASLDJKF;S AND a play review! With Gimli shipped with everyone <3

    LET US BASK IN EOWYN’S GLORY
    And she answered: "All your words are but to say: you are a woman, and your part is in the house. But when the men have died in battle and honour, you have leave to be burned in the house, for the men will need it no more. But I am of the House of Eorl and not a serving-woman. I can ride and wield blade, and I do not fear either pain or death."
    "What do you fear, lady?" he asked.
    "A cage," she said. "To stay behind bars, until use and old age accept them, and all chance of doing great deeds is gone beyond recall or desire."

    I LOVE HER SO MUCH

  8. Becky_J_ says:

    ÉOWYN [She turns to walk away]: You mad, bro? ÉOWYN OUT.

    Lost it. I lost it here. It's 7am, I am sitting in my bed in a house with three sleeping roommates, and I'm trying not to wake the whole house up with my laughter.

    THANK YOU MARK.

    • Diddle de dum says:

      ARAGORN: No. You have no business going.

      ÉOWYN: Oh, like Gimli and Legolas do. They’re only going because they loooovvvvveeee you.

      ARAGORN: YOU SHUT YOUR MOUTH ABOUT MY FRIENDS.

      ÉOWYN: Aragorn and Legolas and Gimli, in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G…

      ARAGORN: BY GANDALF’S BEARD, YOU BETTER SHUT IT.

      I have a horrible feeling I'm never going to get this out of my mind whenever I read the book…

    • Becky_J_ says:

      No seriously. The more I think about it, the more it's making me laugh. I am picturing Barney Stinson as Eowyn, suit and all, slapping Aragorn in the face and then saying "EOWYN OUT" and making his classic exit.

      I CANNOT UNSEE THIS

  9. Katie says:

    Zombies! Mark was prepared! World is going to end soon!

  10. cait0716 says:

    That was a delight to read, Mark.

    I realized while reading this chapter that Legolas and Gimli really don't live that far from each other. I mean, if they both survive and make it home, then Logolas will be in Mirkwood and Gimli will be in the Lonely Mountain and they can totally hang out all the time. It made my shipper heart happy.

    • Dreamflower says:

      Don't forget The Hobbit though. Remember that Thranduil threw Gloin in a dungeon.

      • Saphling says:

        Legolas and Gimli would totally ignore their parents' biases and go on a roadtrip together!

        • Dreamflower says:

          Be ng yrnfg n iblntr.

          I agree– just saying that it might not be quite so smooth as they'd like. Of course, there are lots of answers to how it went down in fanfic.

      • cait0716 says:

        That was, like, a generation ago. Legolas and Gimli are building a friendship that will connect their two homes in peace for generations to come. Like those marriage contracts between kingdoms, but based on love and respect instead of property and gold

  11. Ryan Lohner says:

    From your review of the last chapter of The Hobbit:

    “There aren’t ghosts in Middle Earth. No spirits of that sort.”

    Now, don't you feel silly?

  12. Saphling says:

    Awwww yeah, dead person army. *is eloquent today, apparently!*

    Also, I feel bad for Gimli. He's a dwarf, and notes that he should be totally fine going underground, but the Paths of the Dead rightfully give him the creeps.

    I had to recite this to myself as they passed through, gubhtu vg'f sebz gur arkg puncgre, naq V'z fher srj bs lbh jvyy arrq gb qrpvcure vg….

    Gur jnl vf fuhg.
    Vg jnf znqr ol gubfr jub ner Qrnq.
    Naq gur Qrnq xrrc vg.
    Hagvy gur gvzr pbzrf.
    Gur jnl vf fuhg.

  13. Dreamflower says:

    Ah, Mark! I love the "play" format here! And it's brilliant how you catch all the essential points in a totally LOL-some way!

    Poor Merry– he misses Pippin as much as Pippin misses him! But I am always touched by his offering his allegiance to Theoden.

    And think how hard it must have been for him to part from Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli. Even though he loves Theoden, those three are his last ties to the Fellowship.

    'There go three that I love, and the smallest not the least,' he said. 'He knows not to what end he rides; yet if he knew, he still would go on.'

    'A little people, but of great worth are the Shire-folk,' said Halbarad. 'Little o they know of our long laour for the safekeeping of their borders, and yet I grudge it not'.

    It reminds me of what Aragorn said at the Council of Elrond, of guarding "simple folk". I really like the Dunadain that we get to see.

    The Paths of the Dead. Really, the name itself is shuddery!

    Eowyn! Her scenes with Aragorn are eloquent!

    V guvax gung jr frr urer gur ernfba jul Rbjla sryg fhpu n obaq jvgu Zreel naq gbbx uvz jvgu ure. Obgu bs gurz jrer srryvat nonaqbarq naq hfryrff; Rbjla fgvyy gelvat gb pnfg bss gur ynfg bs gur funqbj gung Jbezgbathr unq pnfg ba ure jvgu uvf fyl naq fgnyxvat jnlf, naq Zreel phg bss sebz nyy gur crbcyr ur ybirq orfg– rfcrpvnyyl uvf pbhfvaf jubz ur'q yrsg gur Fuver gb cebgrpg.

    V'ir tbg n ybat gurbel nobhg Zreel naq nonqbazrag vffhrf, OGJ. V guvax gurl fgnegrq ybat ntb jura Sebqb yrsg Oenaql Unyy gb tb yvir va Ont Raq. Vg jbhyq rkcynva uvf ybat jngpu bire uvf pbhfva sebz nsne jura ur gubhtug gung Sebqb *zvtug* yrnir gur Fuver bar qnl.

    Nyfb, V unir n gurbel nobhg jul ur ybbxrq hc gb Gurbqra nf n sngure-svther. V'z thrffvat gung fbzrguvat nobhg gur xvat erzvaqrq uvz bs uvf bja sngure. Naq jura V guvax nobhg jung gung pbhyq or, V ernyvmr ubj zhpu Zreel nccerpvngrf gung Gurbqra frrzf gehyl vagrerfgrq va uvf gubhtugf– creuncf gung'f jung erzvaqf uvz bs Fnenqbp.

    In the actual Paths of the Dead we get Gimli's POV again. Sbe gur zbfg cneg, V jnf bayl zvyqyl naablrq ol Tvzyv orvat pbzvp eryvrs zbfg bs gur gvzr, ohg V ernyyl qvfyvxrq vg va gur Cnguf bs gur Qrnq, rfcrpvnyyl va gur BGG cnegf bs gur RR.

    Gur svefg gvzr zl uhfonaq naq V fnj gur RR, V jnf xvaq bs fghaarq ol gung fxhyy ninynapur. Gura gurl unq gur fprar bhgfvqr jurer CW unq gb zvyx gur natfg ol univat Nentbea jbeevrq gung gur Qrnq unq abg pbzr. Jura gur Qrnq Xvat svanyyl pnzr bhg gb fnl "Jr svtug", zl uhfonaq ghearq gb zr naq fnvq jvgu n cresrpgyl fgenvtug snpr: "Ur unq gb gnxr n urnq pbhag svefg."

    Anyhow, it's great to see the Grey Company, and Halbarad and Elladan and Elrohir.

    • ek_johnston says:

      Zl snibhevgr cneg bs gur RR fhccyrzragnel ivqrbf vf jura gur fgbelobneq naq qrfvta thlf gnyx nobhg Qrnq Xvat Trbss, naq V qba'g erzrzore gur rknpg dhbgr, ohg vg tbrf fbzrguvat yvxr….

      "Lrnu, jr jbexrq sbe jrrxf ba gur qrfvta, naq gura bar jrrxraq V jrag gb frr Cvengrf bs gur Pnevoorna, naq jura V pnzr onpx vagb gur bssvpr ba Zbaqnl, V jnf nyy "onq arjf, thlf!"".

      (Gung'f jul gurl pnyy gur Qrnq Xvat "Trbss"…sbe Trbsserl Ehfu.)

    • Rheinman says:

      "Ur unq gb gnxr n urnq pbhag svefg."

      LOL!

  14. Katarina_H says:

    I laughed so very hard at this review, especially when Eowyn started sassing Aragorn. Because she's awesome in the book, but not quite THAT awesome.

    On this re-read, it really sunk in how little time has passed, and it made me feel even more for Merry. Two weeks ago, the Fellowship was still together, and since then he's been kidnapped by Orcs, left behind by all three of his old-time friends, and now he's being left behind ONCE AGAIN all alone among people he has barely met. No wonder he rushes to offer his service to the first person offering him any kindness.

    • Dreamflower says:

      Guvax nobhg Zreel. Cbbe thl unf TBG gb unir nonaqbazrag vffhrf. Svefg bs nyy, Sebqb yrsg uvz jura Zreel jnf bayl frira gb tb yvir va Ont Raq. Gura Sebqb gevrf gb farnx bhg bs gur Fuver jvgubhg uvz. Gura Ryebaq pbzrf guvvffpybfr gb abg yrggvat uvz naq Cvccva tb jvgu gur Sryybjfuvc. Gura ur naq Cvccva trg xvqanccrq njnl sebz gur erfg bs gur Sryybjfuvc. Gura Tnaqnys gnxrf Cvccva njnl sebz uvz. Abj Nentbea, Yrtbynf naq Tvzyv yrnir uvz oruvaq jvgu Gurbqra.

      Ohg bs pbhefr gung'f abg gur raq bs vg. Gurbqra jvyy yrnir uvz oruvaq– nygubhtu "Qreauryz" jvyy fbyir gung ceboyrz, vg fgvyy unf gb fgvat. Gura nsgre gur onggyr–va juvpu Gurbqra qvrf, ur'f yrsg va gur Ubhfrf bs Urnyvat juvyr nyy uvf erznvavat sevraqf znepu bss ba jung gurl rkcrpg gb or n fhvpvqr zvffvba. SVANYYL, nsgre vg'f nyy bire, ur unf gb fcraq n pbhcyr bs jrrxf jbeelvat vs ur jvyy or gur bayl bar bs gur sbhe uboovgf gb fheivir.

      Fb, lrnu, nonaqbazrag vffhrf…

    • lexypoo says:

      Fur'f cerggl xvpx nff va gur zbivrf gubhtu — V ybir ure fb zhpu!

  15. Lugija says:

    What is it with dark places you have to get through and Tolkien? Mirkwood, Moria, Shelob's Cave and now the Paths. Which one is the best?

    The old heir to the throne whose skeleton will always lie in the Paths still terrifies me. Especially the finger bones between the door and the wall.

    Jung vf oruvaq gung qbbe?! Bar bs gur ovttrfg aba-nafjrerq dhrfgvbaf (nybat jvgu gur qhqrf haqre Zbevn) va gur jubyr abiry (vs lbh qba'g pbhag gubfr jub unir nafjref va gur Fvyznevyyvba).
    Ohg jung vf va gurer? Aneavn? Gur dhrfgvba gb gur Yvsr, Havirefr naq Rirelguvat?

    Movie talk: Gur qrnq ner gur ovttrfg ceboyrz V unir va gur zbivr. Gurl ner irel qrhf rk znpuvan, naq V fgvyy guvax gung gurl jbhyq unir orra orggre va tenl. Naq gung fxhyy guvat? Jung gung rira jnf?

    • blossomingpeach says:

      Ba gur qrnq: Lrnu, V nyjnlf jbaqrerq jul nalbar ryfr rira obgurerq gb svtug, vs gur Qrnq pbhyq pbzr gb Cryraabe naq jvcr bhg nyy bs Fnheba'f nezl va bar zbirzrag.

      • Ryan Lohner says:

        Va gur pbzzragnel, Crgre Wnpxfba gnyxf n ybg nobhg ubj gurl fgehttyrq jvgu gur pbaprcg bs tvivat gur urebrf na vaivapvoyr nezl, fvapr gurl pbhyqa'g rknpgyl gnxr gurz bhg jvgubhg znxvat gur Onggyr bs gur Cryraabe Svryqf ubcryrff. Va gur raq ur yrsg gur dhrfgvba bs jurgure gurl jbhyq npghnyyl nterr gb Nentbea'f qrny hc va gur nve va gur gurngevpny irefvba, naq fnirq gur fprar jvgu gur jubyr perj nf cvengrf sbe gur rkgraqrq bar juvpu bayl gur ovt snaf jub nyernql xarj gur fgbel jbhyq ohl.

    • Dreamflower says:

      Gunax tbbqarff gur fxhyy ninynapur jnf bayl va gur RR!

      Gur guvat gung gvpxf zr bss zbfg nobhg gur hfr bs gur Qrnq Nezl va gur svyzf vf gur gvzvat bs gurve neeviny– vg engure znxrf Gurbqra'f fnpevsvpr naq gung bs nyy gur Ebuveevz va inva. Va gur obbxf, gurl fvzcyl pyrne bhg gur cvengrf, xrrcvat gurz sebz wbvavat gur onggyr ng Z.G., naq znxvat ebbz sbe npghny uhzna jneevbef orvat serrq hc gb pbzr jvgu gurz gb gur onggyr naq oernx gur fvrtr.

      Gurl *jrer* engure qrhf rk znpuvan va gur zbivrf, zhpu zber fb guna gur Rntyrf rire jrer.

  16. Tauriel_ says:

    LEGOLAS: Probably Galadriel?

    GIMLI: I want to marry her.

    LEGOLAS: Gimli!

    GIMLI: What? She's spectacular.

    LEGOLAS: But what about us?

    GIMLI: Fine, I'll marry you, too.

    MERRY: What.

    *snort* BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! :D :D :D

  17. Sinnive says:

    I just read this review for the third time and I am still laughing so hard.

    But … I hope the Zombies won't rid anything of the servants of _Gondor_, right?

  18. Ryan Lohner says:

    Bar punatr va gur zbivrf gung arire frrzf gb trg zragvbarq vf zbivat Nentbea naq Rbjla'f qvnybthr urer gb Gur Gjb Gbjref, nf gurl cercner gb tb gb Uryz'f Qrrc. Naq V guvax vg jbexf cresrpgyl, rfgnoyvfuvat ure nf jnagvat gb or n fbyqvre sbe n tbbq ovg ybatre, fb vg qbrfa'g dhvgr pbzr bss nf ure fhqqrayl rkcerffvat n jvfu, naq gura qbvat vg (frrvat nf gurer jnf ab jnl gb uvqr gung vg jnf Rbjla haqre gur uryzrg).

    • Dreamflower says:

      V yvxrq gur zbivr-gnxr ba Zreel xabjvat vg jnf Rbjla nyy nybat– vg jbhyq unir orra uneq gb xrrc hc gur "Qreauryz" cergrafr va gur svyzf naq vg fbeg bs tvirf uvagf bs Zreel fbeg bs pehfuvat ba ure n yvggyr, rfcrpvnyyl va gur RR.

      Ohg V ybir gur vebal bs uvf ABG xabjvat va gur obbxf naq bayl qvfpbirevat jub fur jnf ng gur ynfg frpbaq, znxvat uvf bja qrpvfvba gung zhpu zber qenzngvp.

      Abg gb zragvba gur lrnef bs grnfvat ur jbhyq unir orra va sbe nsgre vg jnf nyy bire– V pna whfg frr Cvccva fzvexvat ng uvz. "Lbh qvqa'g XABJ 'Qreauryz' jnf n tvey? Lbh ebqr va sebag bs ure sbe qnlf naq arire abgvprq?"

    • Alice says:

      Agree.

  19. Tauriel_ says:

    Be gung bar bs hf jvyy qvr va n yvggyr juvyr?

    Bu, Znex, Znex, lbh unir ab vqrn… :'(

  20. Hailey says:

    Oh MARK! You never cease to amaze!

    Anyway! This just occurred to me, but I think when you finally watch the movies, you should definitely go for the extended editions. I own all of them and without watching the extended editions a lot is really missed out on.

    • Kiryn says:

      V qba'g xabj…V xvaq bs yvxr ubj, va gur phg rqvgvbaf be jungrire, gurl whfg yrsg lbh unatvat ba gur "JUNG FNL LBH?" yvar…vg sryg zhpu zber qenzngvp naq pbby guna gur RR irefvba…ohg znlor gung'f whfg zr. Sbe gur zbfg cneg, V nterr gung gur RR vf orggre….whfg abg sbe guvf bar fprar. *fuehtf*

      • Dreamflower says:

        V nterr. Gur RR irefvba bs gur Cnguf bs gur Qrnq jnf yrff qenzngvp naq zber pbzvp eryvrs.

      • Ryan Lohner says:

        V nyfb guvax gur RR bs EBGX xvaq bs zrffrf hc gur zbivr'f cnpvat va n jnl gung gur bgure gjb qba'g. Vg'f na ubhe orsber nalguvat ernyyl unccraf.

      • AmandaNekesa says:

        Lrnu V nterr, V cersre gur cnpvat bs EbgX zhpu zber va gur gurngevpny irefvba. V guvax gurer ner frireny cbvagf jurer gur rkgen fprarf whfg obt qbja gur fgbel n ovg, be ner ernyyl qvfgenpgvat, yvxr gur Zbhgu bs Fnheba fprar be gur Cnguf bs gur Qrnq.

      • flootzavut says:

        I think in general, gur cnpvat frrzf orggre va gur GR, ohg gur RR unir fb zhpu fghss gung V ybir gung gurl ner zl snibhevgr irefvbaf. V graq gb guvax gung gur GR jbex ernyyl jryy nf guerr zbivrf, ohg V graq gb guvax bs gur RRf nyy gbtrgure nf bar ovt zvavfrevrf! Znxrf zhpu zber frafr bs cnpvat guvatf yvxr Fnehzna qlvat ng gur fgneg bs EbgX.

  21. stormwreath says:

    When Aragorn confronted Sauron in the palantír, he showed him his sword. Elendil's sword reforged. The very same sword that Isildur used to cut the Ring off Sauron's finger all those years ago. Do you wonder Sauron was unhappy at that, knowing the sword is back in the hands of Isildur's long-lost heir?

    (And yes, all that has been explained in earlier books.)

    ***

    Something I want to mention about Éowyn's dialogue here:

    "Yet I do not bid you flee from peril, but to ride out to battle where your sword may win renown and victory. I would not see a thing that is high and excellent cast away needlessly."

    "Nor would I. Therefore I say to you, lady: Stay! For you have no errand in the South."

    "Neither have those others who go with thee. They go only because they would not be parted from thee – because they love thee"

    All along, Éowyn and Aragorn have been addressing each other as 'you', which is the normal, formal polite English pronoun. But suddenly in that last sentence Éowyn starts calling Aragorn 'thou' – which in Early Modern English was the familiar, intimate pronoun you used for family members and lovers.

    Tolkien, of course, was a Professor of the English Language, so he knew exactly what he was doing with that. It's not just random "olde worlde" speech.

    • blossomingpeach says:

      V frrz gb erzrzore fbzrguvat fvzvyne unccravat jvgu Snenzve naq Rbjla yngre ba. Vf gung pbeerpg?

      • stormwreath says:

        V unq gb purpx – naq ab, Snenzve naq Ébjla fgvyy nqqerff rnpu bgure nf 'lbh' va gur pbairefngvbaf jr'er fubja. Ohg vagrerfgvatyl, *Nentbea* pnyyf ure 'gubh' va gurve irel ynfg pbairefngvba, jura ur'f jvfuvat ure wbl sbe ure hcpbzvat zneevntr gb Snenzve.

        One thing that might be relevant is that I think Tolkien uses modern English to represent the language the hobbits and people of Gondor speak, but the Rohirrim are shown speaking a more archaic form of English. Hence why Éowyn uses the old-fashioned you/thou distinction but most other characters don't.

        • blossomingpeach says:

          Then what I must be remembering is na byq qensg Puevfgbcure Gbyxvra chyyrq bhg, jurer uvf sngure unq znqr gur qvfgvapgvba gur svefg gvzr ur jebgr vg. :)

          • blossomingpeach says:

            Found it!

            Gur 'fhqqra punatr' gb juvpu ur ersreerq urer … vf cbffvoyl gb or frra va gurve svefg zrrgvat va gur tneqra bs gur Ubhfrf bs Urnyvat, jurer Snenzve fnlf ([Gur Erghea bs gur Xvat] c. 238): 'Gura, Ébjla bs Ebuna, V fnl gb lbh gung lbh ner ornhgvshy', ohg ng gur raq bs uvf fcrrpu punatrf gb gur 'snzvyvne' sbez, 'Ohg gubh naq V unir obgu cnffrq haqre gur jvatf bs gur Funqbj' (jurernf Ébjla pbagvahrf gb hfr 'lbh'). Va gur sbyybjvat zrrgvatf, va guvf grkg, Snenzve hfrf gur 'snzvyvne' sbezf, ohg Ébjla qbrf abg qb fb hagvy gur ynfg ('Qbfg gubh abg xabj?', EX c. 242); naq fbba nsgre guvf cbvag zl sngure jrag onpx bire jung ur unq jevggra naq punatrq rirel 'gubh' naq 'gurr' gb 'lbh'.

            Ol gur jnl, gung'f n ybiryl bofreingvba nobhg Nentbea svanyyl nqqerffvat ure va gur snzvyvne. V ybir ubj Gbyxvra hfrf uvf xabjyrqtr bs ynathntr gb abg bayl perngr arj barf sbe Zvqqyr Rnegu, ohg gb nqq ynlref gb eryngvbafuvcf orgjrra uvf punenpgref.

        • anobium says:

          One thing that might be relevant is that I think Tolkien uses modern English to represent the language the hobbits and people of Gondor speak, but the Rohirrim are shown speaking a more archaic form of English. Hence why Éowyn uses the old-fashioned you/thou distinction but most other characters don't.

          If I remember correctly, Tolkien says in the relevant appendix that actually the hobbits and the people of Gondor also use (their language's equivalent of) 'thou', but he didn't show it happening except when the distinction was dramatically important, because he knew modern audiences would find it distancing.

          (Fgevpgyl fcrnxvat, ur fnlf gung gur uboovgf' qvnyrpg unf ybfg gur qvfgvapgvba – ohg hayvxr va zbqrea Ratyvfu, jurer jr hfr gur sbezny 'lbh' jvgu rirelobql, uboovgf pnyy rirelobql 'gubh'. Ur nqqf gung rirelbar va Zvanf Gvevgu gubhtug Cvccva jnf uboovg eblnygl, orpnhfr ur hfrq gur vasbezny nqqerff rira jura fcrnxvat gb gur Fgrjneq uvzfrys.)

    • Wheelrider says:

      That switch confused me as a teenager… it's fairly obvious but I had no clue what it meant. (Like a lot of people who assumed, from the King James Bible, that "thee" and "thou" are the more formal forms.)

      • Ryan Lohner says:

        I'm reminded of James Clavell's Shogun (oh my god, everyone read this book), where "thee" and "thou" are used to indicate when the hero and his love interest are speaking Latin.

      • flootzavut says:

        I think even when you're talking KJV, it's actually a misunderstanding to think that "thee/thou" are more formal – I think they're supposed to indicate more intimacy. That's why it's so confusing to bring those pronouns back, and can lead to all sorts of misunderstanding. Bible/Common Prayer using them for intimacy = somehow came to be understood as respect/formality, especially as the familiar forms died out.

        Which means both that some people feel that one "should" use thees and thous to refer to God because it's more respectful (which is actually the opposite of the intention of those originally translating), and our unfamiliarity with those forms (and what they really mean) means that an author who wants to use them (such as Tolkien) has to be careful/sparing with their use, because he's using them to mean "more closeness, more intimacy", but is aware that to modern audiences, it will mean more or less the opposite!

        I should think that if you spirited someone forward in time who used those archaic usages in everyday life, they would think either we were all very formal, or would find it really weird that we used a plural form even when we were only speaking to one person.

        It obviously makes life a little easier for anglophones, but personally I rather mourn the loss of the familiar forms.

        Language is a fascinating thing!

    • DrummerWench says:

      Now looks like a good time to link to my essay "Tolkien's Usage of Thou and Thee": http://www.henneth-annun.net/stories/chapter_view… with discussion of several conversations using "thou/thee". Spoilery, on account of delving into all subsequent chapters as well.

    • ZeynepD says:

      All along, Éowyn and Aragorn have been addressing each other as 'you', which is the normal, formal polite English pronoun. But suddenly in that last sentence Éowyn starts calling Aragorn 'thou' – which in Early Modern English was the familiar, intimate pronoun you used for family members and lovers.

      O.o

      Oh. Wow. You know, this was one of the things I knew all along, and yet just never… put together until your remark? That kind of mental lightning bolt is always awesome. Great moment of Fridge Brilliance, too. Thank you.

    • Alice says:

      In my language there aren't this subtle transitions like "thee" and 'you',so to be more clear to the younger readers I guess,because using a kinda royal way of speaking like addressing oneself in plural which sounds a little weird,but in my opinion would have been closer to the english text,they changed the "thee' with Eowyn addressing Aragorn by his name,which is a very familiar way of speaking.

    • seumasofur says:

      Thank you for pointing this out. :)

      Naq, Cvccva orvat zvfgnxra sbe Uboovg eblnygl vf zl snibhevgr yvggyr snpg sebz gur Nccraqvprf gbb. :Q

  22. castlewayjay says:

    many things I love in this chapter – I love the contrast between Pippin/Denethor and Merry/Theoden, each swearing their loyalty to a very different leader.
    Eowyn literally on her knees begging Aragorn to take her with him. I weep for her every single time I read this.
    and I always wish we knew Elrond's sons better. I bet they are swashbuckling and have left many heartbroken maidens in the wake of their adventures. which we will never know cause Tolkien didn't write them down. bitter.
    Love the reminder that the Rangers have been guarding the Shire. the little guys are worth it.

    and the dead followed…

  23. Time to ramble about… Eowyn! I love her so much, and here in this chapter is definitely a good place to talk about why.
    We see her here, gaurding Meduseld until Theoden can return, and when Aragorn appears, it's rather obvious that she admires him very much- possibly even loves him, if her words about why his friends are going with him are anything to go by. And I understand why she wants to go to war- she feels desperate and trapped by her position in Edoras, especially since she's seen her brother and her uncle go and participate in all the battles and engagements that she's been trained for. It would be horribly confining to have to watch the halls while they're away, but someone needs to do it. And technically Aragorn has a point- she accepted the position of guarding Edoras from Theoden, and Aragorn really doesn't have the authority to release her from that. And I think when he says that she has no errand in the south, he also has a point. Her reasons for going, while well and good up to a point, aren't really the best ones for which to risk her life, because glory is really only a sidenote in what's for the most part, carnage and tragedy. But I like that Tolkien doesn't ever seem to be dismissing or belittling Eowyn for thinking this- it's probably an attitude with which he had some experience and which he probably saw as more sorrowful than anything else.

    But for Eowyn, how can she be expected to see things that way when she's never actually seen a battlefield? I believe her completely when she says she's not afraid of death, but she's never seen people's limbs get hacked off or their guts spilling out- I think she's just not quite seeing the larger picture when it comes to where the glory of war truly lies. It's not necessarily in the song. It's those who struggle on, and fight, and go through hell without any hope of seeing the next hour. But for her to want only the song and the honor is completely understandable, since all she's seen to this point is her relatives going off and winning honor for themselves. And I think for her, she's having a very hard time seeing what the point of her staying at Edoras is when no one else seems to care or even have a hope of coming back. Which is something I can really relate to, having gone through some really similar times where absolutely nothing seems worthwhile. I understand why she wants what she does, and I feel awful for what she's going through. It doesn't make her reasons right, but nor does it make them any easier for her to bear.

    • castlewayjay says:

      Eowyn is just such a fascinating character…

    • Wheelrider says:

      For a book with hardly any women, this character is remarkably subtle and well thought-out. Not your typical trophy chick.

      • castlewayjay says:

        yep – Tolkien could write a great female character when he wanted to. I guess some folks just wish he had wanted to write more of them.

        • I know I do! His women in Silmarillion kick major ass, and I really wish he'd had more time to get some of their tales written in a more in-depth form. If only he'd had oh, a couple hundred years added to his life-span…

          • Cereus says:

            I know! So much amazing in that book! (And so much that's glossed over super-fast.)

            And if the whole Earendil space ship hypothesis is correct then…

            Ryjvat ohvyg gur svefg fcnpr fuhggyr naq onfvpnyyl er-vairagrq gur jubyr svryq bs nrebanhgvpf sebz fghqlvat oveqf. Tbqf, V jnag gb ernq gur jubyr fgbelbs gung fb onq.

            • Wheelrider says:

              Another vote for Mark reading the Silmarillion!

              • Cereus says:

                Probably not for Mark Reads Stuff, though. It's the kind of book where you should be free to skim over parts.

                • Wheelrider says:

                  Yeah, actually, I haven't read it in some years… so it might not work in this format. It's not so much a single narrative thread.

                  But what Mark should do is read the Sil and then re-read LoTR, and then post his reactions when he's like, "OH. Now that part makes so much more sense/is so much sadder/happier/scarier/etc. etc."

                  He can just let us plan his life from now on.

                  • Dreamflower says:

                    He can just let us plan his life from now on.

                    *nods* Oh, yes, I think that's an excellent idea. Let's see, he can also read some of JRRT's non-Middle-earth stuff, like Roverandom and Farmer Giles of Ham as well as the Silm, oh, and Letters, too, so that he will learn a little more about Christopher. And of course, in addition to watching the EEs and all the extras, he could also come and individually visit each and every one of us personally. I'm sure each of us could set up a nice itinerary for him, and feed him up and stuff.

                    That should take care of the next 20 years or so nicely…

    • rabidsamfan says:

      Not really. She's met death before — her cousin Theodred has died, and it's implied (since Theoden is raising her and Eomer) that she's an orphan.

      • I know she's met death before, but there's a difference between that and actually seeing a battlefield and having to kill someone with your hands.

      • Tul says:

        Vg'f abg bayl vzcyvrq gung fur vf na becuna – va gur Nccraqvprf vg vf fnvq fur ybfg ure sngure gb gur bepf nf n puvyq, naq ure zbgure sbyybjrq fbba nsgre.

    • Tul says:

      I think the problem is that Eowyn doesn't want to go solely because she desires glory. It seems to me that's it's more about wanting *recognition*. And about freedom too. As you say, she doesn't see the honor in her task. She's been raised in a culture where battle is glorified and warriors are held in fer higher esteem than anyone else. I think she really feels useless and trapped. She's acutely aware of how her gender condemns to be left alone waiting while the men face danger for their country and do all the work.
      I truly thinks she wants to be active too and fight for what/who she loves. And it seems as good a reason as anything to go to war.

      Also, she had no choice in accepting that task her uncle gave her – he never asked her opinion. He gave it to her because no one else wanted it, after his Doorward suggested her (he had forgotten everything about her). Really I can understand her frustration.
      And I'm not sure she's asking Aragorn to release her from her duty, it's more than she wants him to let her release herself. If she had gone with him now, Théoden would have been back the next day and she would have left the people fairly secure after the victory of Helm's Deep. She had already done the greatest part of her task that was to guard the people while her King was off to war.

      Very good post though!

      • Recognition and glory appeared to be intertwined with her, at least from my reading of the story, but I think you're spot on when you say she's very much aware of how her gender plays against her here, especially in that Theoden never even asked for her permission. I do have a lot of sympathy for her, but it's just a question of whether she should be putting her desires above the fact that her people need some kind of leader at least till Theoden returns. I understand completely where she's coming from; but I do think that the person she needs to talk to in that situation is Theoden. Afterwards, it would be different. I guess I just sort of see her leaving prematurely as an abandoning of the post? Like when I babysit my younger brothers and sisters, heaven knows I don't want to do it sometimes, but if there's no one else- tough for me, I need to suck it up and take care of them, and I think that's sort of the way I read this particular encounter (and I'm not trying to belittle anything she goes through; just trying to draw a sort of parallel). I don't even know if that made sense, I have a million things going on right now…

        And thank you! :)

        • Skyweir says:

          Bs pbhefr, naq fur jvyy….naq gura Gurbqra gryyf ure bs naq yrnirf ure oruvaq ntnva. Ur qvq abg qrfreir ure nf n avrpr, naq V nyjnlf sryg ur tbg bs yvtugyl abg xabjvat gung fur unq tbar gb qvr va uvf nezl naljnl.

        • Tul says:

          I think she is looking for recognition through glory (is that what you mean when you say they are intertwined with her?). Meaning she wants to be recognized as being just as able and worthy as any man, and wining glory in battle is the only way she can see to achieve this goal. She also wants freedom, to get out of her cage, to give meaning to her life.
          The other reason she has for going to war is, of course, love. She is quite desperate at this point, and she would rather die with her uncle and brother on a battlefield, fighting for her land, than alone in her home after having lost both of them.
          I *do* think she has more reasons, better reasons, than most of the men of Théoden's host. They go for glory or out of obligation. Why should she be left behind?

          I don't think her people really needed a leader that much for the less than one day that would pass before Théoden's arrival (and she knows he is too arrive soon when she asks to depart). They won at Helm's Deep so there is about 0 chances of them getting attacked. Also, she's not forced to leave them completely leaderless: she would surely have named someone else competent enough to take her place for that short while, had she left.
          Also, for her, leaving now is perhaps her last chance to free herself. Once Théoden is back he is likely to put her back in her place quickly, and she could end up caged definitively. I do agree that she really needed to have that small talk about her situation with her uncle though, but I'm not sure she would have trusted him enough, as the one essentially responsible of her imprisonment, to confide so much in him. Which is rather sad.

          • That's how I've always read it (rfcrpvnyyl jura jr gnxr vagb nppbhag ure pbairefngvbaf jvgu Snenzve yngre, jurer fur irel fgebatyl vzcyvrf gung fur jnagf fbzrbar gb ybir naq erfcrpg ure sbe jub fur urefrys vf naq jung fur'f qbar. Fur arrqf gung xvaq bs haqrefgnaqvat, naq hc gb guvf cbvag fvzcyl unfa'g tbggra vg sebz rvgure ure oebgure be ure hapyr.)
            I hesitate to say her reasons for going to war are necessarily better than those of the others; I don't want to belittle those who subject themselves to war out of a sense of duty (though I do think in some ways the desire for glory in war is a very flawed ideal). But they're certainly much more layered and easier to relate to than the most common ones we see in this tale. As for why she should be left behind, at this point the only reason would have been that Theoden is the person she needs to talk to about this and not Aragorn. After she did that, there's no reason for her not to go as things stand (gnxra jvgu jung jr frr va gur arkg puncgre, gung fur qrfverf qrngu, vf gur bayl guvat gung znxrf zr urfvgngr gb jubyrurnegrqyl raqbefr gung. V'q srry hapbzsbegnoyr xabjvat gung fbzrbar jnf qbvat fbzrguvat qnatrebhf bayl orpnhfr gurl qrfver gb qvr. Vs vg jrera'g sbe gung engure qnatrebhf zbgvingvba, V'q or jubyr-urnegrqyl ba gur fvqr bs ure tbvat.)

            I've always seen the main worry there is if Minas Tirith was lost- they can't just leave all the people and cities of Rohan to be attacked in that event, so there would need to be some kind of leader. But you're right that it wouldn't have to be Eowyn. She could definitely have found someone else to keep things in order.
            I do agree that Theoden would have put her back, but I don't think he would see it as imprisonment. I do think he would genuinely want to keep her safe. That said, I don't think he understands Eowyn very well, or knows what she's like very clearly. Throughout his despairing stupor, he's seen Eomer fight and generally make his presence felt, even if at the time he couldn't really process it. But Eowyn has always been in the background, always the silent caregiver, and I think for that reason he never really knew her as he should have, or understood the kind of turmoil she was going through. It makes sense that she would talk about it with Aragorn, who for all his cluelessness in dealing with the problem does seem to have an inkling of what her troubles might be. I just find it so tragic that she feels this alienated from her family; it's a sad situation all around.

            • Tul says:

              "After she did that, there's no reason for her not to go as things stand (gnxra jvgu jung jr frr va gur arkg puncgre, gung fur qrfverf qrngu, vf gur bayl guvat gung znxrf zr urfvgngr gb jubyrurnegrqyl raqbefr gung. V'q srry hapbzsbegnoyr xabjvat gung fbzrbar jnf qbvat fbzrguvat qnatrebhf bayl orpnhfr gurl qrfver gb qvr. Vs vg jrera'g sbe gung engure qnatrebhf zbgvingvba, V'q or jubyr-urnegrqyl ba gur fvqr bs ure tbvat.)"
              Ohg ure qrfver gb qvr vf n qverpg erfhyg bs ure qrfcnve, gung vf qhr gb gur fvghngvba fur'f va. Vs fur unq orra serr sebz gur fgneg, vs fur pbhyq vzntvar n orggre shgher sbe urefrys jurer fur jbhyqa'g or pntrq, gura gurer vf ab ernfba sbe ure gb qrfver qrngu. Naq npghnyyl nf fbba nf Snenzve tvirf ure gung, fur'f nyy sbe yvivat ntnva naq znxvat cerggl tneqraf.

              "I've always seen the main worry there is if Minas Tirith was lost- they can't just leave all the people and cities of Rohan to be attacked in that event, so there would need to be some kind of leader. But you're right that it wouldn't have to be Eowyn. She could definitely have found someone else to keep things in order"
              If she had left with Aragorn, Théoden was to come the day after and MT still had some time before being attacked. So it wouldn't have been a problem.
              Nf guvatf tb, yngre, jura Guébqra yrnirf sbe Tbaqbe, ur yrnirf Rbjla naq Rexraoenaq (gur ybeq bs gur Jrfgsbyq bs Ebuna – na vzcbegnag thl) oruvaq. V'z abg fher jr xabj jubz rknpgyl bs gur gjb gur Xvat vavgvnyyl chg va punetr, ohg jura Rbjla yrsg jr pna nffhzr Rexraoenaq gbbx bire naljnl. Fb fur qvqa'g yrnir Ebuna yrnqreyrff jura fur pubfr gb tb.

              I agree with the rest of your post – particularly the bit about Théoden and Eowyn. I think that was spot on :)

    • hazelwillow says:

      I see Eowyn as entirely in the right to want to go to war, even if she hasn't experienced it yet and doesn't know how horrible it is, and even if it is just as useful for her to stay home and protect her people, and even if that role is indeed the more honourable of the two, as you suggest. In fact I agree that staying to lead the people is very honourable, all the more so because it could be seen as more difficult. I see it that way too. However, I still think her reasons are right and valid.

      That is because, for me, Eowyn's story in this chapter is more about her trying to be free from the trap that her society places around her, rather than about whether it is (or should be) a desirable thing to go to war. The fact is that she does desire it, and her reasons for desiring it are no less valid than the reasons that other characters go to war: to protect her people, to do her bit, and to have honour. But Eowyn wanting the warrior's honour means more, and is a different business than, say, if Eomer wanted to go to war simply because he wanted to have his name in songs. Many men like Eomer are already in songs, but women like Eowyn? I doubt it. Her desire for honour means more and is more valid and wise to me as a motivation because she doesn't already have access to it. It doesn't just mean ego and a naive view of war, it means personhood and participation and making a last stand with her whole person, not just a role she's been given.

      In other stories, or with a different, male character, I often do find that "honour" is a bad motivation for wanting to go to a hellish place and do hellish things. Sometimes I definitely see the desire for honour as a bad motivation to go to war. But in this case, I don't see it that way. I think that is because honour is bound up in a male warrior identity, and the male warriors already get to wear it. They don't have to push that point. They go because they must, but they do in fact already wear the honour of a warrior naturally, already. Eowyn doesn't because she hasn't been allowed to. She's been excluded from that. So her desire for honour also means desire for freedom, and to be who she is and who she wants to be, and to be allowed to participate in something that is so important in her culture. It may be horrible, but that is no reason that she shouldn't have access to it if that is what she knows she needs to do. Her desire for personhood and freedom trump the flaws in her view of honour, in my mind.

      In short, I think your comment is excellent, and those things all enter my mind when I'm reading about honour and war. :) But in Eowyn's case, I see an exception, and that's why.

      • Tul says:

        Yes, interesting ideas here.

        On that point:
        "In fact I agree that staying to lead the people is very honourable, all the more so because it could be seen as more difficult."
        The problem here is that it isn't presented to her as a honor. The ones who are honored are the ones who fight, those that stay behind are the forgotten ones, nobody praise them because they didn't had a chance to do something and prove their value. She didn't wanted that duty and she was given it only because no one else wanted it. It wasn't even her uncle that chose her. So I understand why she couldn't see it that way.

      • I don't mind Eowyn's desire for honor, though as I said up above, I do think that looking for that in war is a flawed way to seek glory. The desire for honor and glory isn't something unique to men, as we see here, and while I regard Eowyn's desire for it with the same wariness that I would if it was a man expressing that desire, I feel that what what's Eowyn's looking for is something more than just honor- she's seeking some kind of meaning in life and isn't seeing it, between the fact that she's been surrounded by despair for a long time, sees her relatives at least getting the chance to die a meaningful death, and wants to have that same kind of greater purpose. She has this really deep need to know that there is more to life than the entrapment she's known, and while the fact that she's a woman plays a large part in her words and action here, I think the problem is much deeper than just the fact that her society is rather misogynist. Because in the end that's an outside force, and it's much easier to fight an outside influence than those of despair and loss of meaning that come from within a person's heart.

        So I guess what I'm trying to say is that while I agree she's trying to fulfill herself in a society that doesn't make it easy, I think there's multiple facets to what she's going through that aren't necessarily related to society- that are internal. But I think you're absolutely right when you say that her desires have a different meaning and significance than they would if she was Eomer. With Eowyn, I guess I don't see an exception as much as a much deeper suffering and trouble than that of thwarted desired for glory. But that's just my reading, and there are many other possibilities at work here :)

  24. settledforhistory says:

    Oh god, this review. I'm giggling like an idiot and I'm still at work, fortunately my colleagues aren't here at the moment.
    This is so beautiful, this honestly made my day.
    Can you do this for all the chapters, for all the books, Mark? I want to see this in theaters!

    Anyway, I liked that Merry and Eowyn's situations are so similar, both feel that they can't really help fighting this war. Merry really misses Pippin and he has no idea how to help out.
    Eowyn though knows exactly how to help, but Aragorn won't let her leave because of her duty to Rohan. She is a great character and she wants in on the action and heroics, so let her Aragorn!
    What good is she in Rohan if all the men die in the war? And how hard is it to be left behind when your whole family leaves and may never come back?
    I want her to fight, that would be so awesome!

    It's funny that now both Merry and Pippin are real warriors, though in different parts of Middle-earth and in the service of really different lords. Merry and Theoden are so adorable, a complete contrast to Pippin's situation. I'm worried for both hobbits, their lives are getting much more serious now.

    The Path of the Dead, nice. We already have the Dead Marshes and now we get a Path of ghosts.
    Middle-earth sure has it's share of unbelievably creepy places. I mean even Gimli gets scared.
    I love that Legolas is completely at ease "I'm not scared of the dead". Is there anything that elves fear?
    How can the dead help in the war? What is that standard Arwen sent Aragorn?
    This is so exciting, I already love this book.

    • castlewayjay says:

      repeating myself, but I'm so enjoying your comments since you are a new reader! I think there are others besides you and Mark, but I'm not sure who they are.

      oh – and I'm happy for Aragorn that he received Arwen's gift. The standard is like a banner or war flag to carry in battle. His has the symbols marking him as Isildur's heir.

      • castlewayjay says:

        forgot to say – I like how you pointed out the similarities between Merry and Eowyn's situations. interesting comparison

      • settlingforhistory says:

        Oh I know what a standard is, the whole thing was just so anti-climatic "and behold! It was black."
        That's all? No symbols, no elaborate Elven design? Isn't black the color of the Enemy? Is He going to be angry that Aragorn copied His color scheme? : )
        So confused, but I guess that's what Tolkien intended.

    • Dreamflower says:

      Yes, Merry and Eowyn are very much alike– both of them are being left behind by everyone they love.

      But Aragorn can't let her, as he very reasonably says, without the permission of her uncle and her brother which they are not there to provide. And it's not merely a chauvinistic thing. Theoden's king, and he's given her a responsibility, just not the one she wants. Aragorn can't override that.

      Still, she's miserable and he feels bad for her, which of course makes it worse.

    • sudden_eyes says:

      "Is there anything that elves fear?"

      Balrogs, if Legolas's reaction in Moria is any guide. Other than that, apparently not much, at this point.

  25. Mandy says:

    Mark you are so PRECIOUS!
    i love so much to read your reviews! I'm laughing so hard, I think I'm gonna read this review again. :D

  26. Icarus says:

    "Also, it’s really not that clear why me being Isildur’s heir is all that important, but I’m sure it relies on some minuscule detail from 450 pages ago."

    Sauron lives in the past? He's old so….

    It's probably in The Shadow of the Past, when Gandalf tells Frodo about the ring. Everything else is. Gandalf seems to have a done a "just in case I die" data dump.

    • atheistsisters says:

      Heh heh, I loved that sentence in the review!

    • sixth_queen says:

      Actually it was a pretty obvious detail from 10 pages later. Since it was Isildur who cursed the dead, only the Heir of Isildur could summon them. Also, the Heir of Isildur needs Isildur's Sword to show to Sauron, or else Sauron would be like, "who's this random guy," and wouldn't bother to send out his army.

  27. rubyjoo says:

    Let's hear it for the Dunadain! Two of them appeared when Frodo and Sam met Faramir and they were set to guard them – but I don't remember anyone mentioning them. Mark hasn't mentioned them properly either (except for naming Halbarad) and yet here are 30 of them, the Grey Company, willing to follow Aragorn on the Paths of the Dead. "Stout men and lordly they are, and the Riders of Rohan look almost as boys beside them."

    We see the PotD through Gimli's eyes and it's all the scarier because of it. If the way underground almost defeats Gimli, then you can imagine just how really, REALLY scary it must be. I've almost been left behind in a cave system when the people with the torches went on ahead and I lost them. Panic mode!!! I empathise, Gimli!

    We see Aragorn at his finest here, a real leader of men: "Then Aragorn led the way, and such was the strength of his will in that hour that all the Dunadain and their horses followed him." And, again: "…and only his will held them to go on."

  28. lexypoo says:

    "HALBARAD: OH, BY ISILDUR’S BANE, IT’S YOU! LET US HUG UNTIL WE FALL TO THE GROUND AND THEN LET’S ROLL AROUND SOME, TOO."

    LOL hot.

  29. msw188 says:

    Hahaha, I'm just glad Mark stuck with the line "Wake up, Master Sluggard." I'm also glad he considers this Act 345. Like, there's been a LOT of acts so far. Does anyone even remember how fun it was to say BARLIMAN BUTTERBUR anymore?

  30. msw188 says:

    Oh, and although I can certainly see Eowyn as being immature here, I still think she is fully justified at being pissed at being left out of all the fun stuff, regardless of how she feels about Aragorn. And then that last scene before they leave for the Paths, and she literally begs Aragorn to take her, well, it pretty much breaks my heart, and I can't read it any other way.

    • jne says:

      I think she does understand how dark and desperate everything is. She wants to live a full life, and if she can't do that she'll die for her kingdom and with her Theoden, her father figure.

  31. Kiryn says:

    And Theoden, be still my heart, you just jumped onto my favorites list…fulfilling your promise to sit next to Merry and talk to him…and everything…. <3

    Naq ntnva, njrfbzr pbagenfg jvgu Qrargube gung jr whfg fnj va gur ynfg puncgre…

  32. fantasy_fan says:

    ZREEL: Jryy, V srry hfryrff evtug abj. V fhccbfr V’yy whfg fgnaq urer jvgu zl fjbeq.
    YRTBYNF: Lbh’er abg hfryrff! Lbh’er whfg abg hfrshy evtug abj.

    BX, fb Yrtbynf qbrfa'g npghnyyl fnl nalguvat yvxr gung va gur obbx. Fb gung zrnaf, Znex vf orvat ntnva fgenatryl cerfpvrag. Zreel jvyy or irel, irel hfrshy va n yvggyr juvyr.

    • lexypoo says:

      Lbh pbzcyrgryl ernq zl zvaq — Znex vf ~*~*nyy frrvat*~*~

      • Rheinman says:

        ~*~*nyy frrvat*~*~ and yet still unprepared. V unir n srryvat Znex'f cerqvpgvat nyy bs gur punenpgre qrnguf ur qvq jnf uvf jnl bs gelvat gb cercner sbe fbzr rcvp fbeebj gb pbzr, ohg ur zvffrq gur znex. :)

  33. monkeybutter says:

    YESSSSS MORE LORDS AND STUFF

    My heart is warmed by the knowledge that you were as delighted by Master Sluggard and the appearance of thirty scruffy, stout Rangers as I was.

    ‘What do you fear, lady?’ he asked.
    ‘A cage,’ she said. ‘To stay behind bars, until use and old age accept them, and all chance of doing great deeds is gone beyond recall or desire.’

    The best. I love Éowyn, and her part of the chapter was the most touching. There's so much passion in her exchanges with Aragorn. Still, ÉOWYN OUT and Your face is butts are beautiful additions to the text.

  34. SteelMagnolia80 says:

    "Your face is butts."

    … SERIOUSLY??? I died. Mark, I'm adding this to my Funniest Lines to Use When I Have Nothing Else. It joins Scrubs' "So's your face." Apparently I like face comments. They amuse me.

  35. James says:

    I don't find Theoden's comment weird or ominous or anything. I mean, it has the potential to be, but I always read it as eventually we'll part ways, whether it's by death or Merry going back to the Shire, because assuming he survives, that's what he'd want to do. Theoden's happy to have a close relationship with Merry, he's just smart enough to know that, however things turn out, it's not going to be for a long time.

    Also, Halbarad is my bro and all of the love for Eowyn because she is the best forever.

    • stormwreath says:

      Théoden is 71 years old at this point, and he's a normal Man with a typical human lifespan.

      Nyfb, gubhtu, V guvax ur'f nyernql ernyvfrq gung ur jba'g or noyr gb gnxr Zreel jvgu uvz jura gur Ebuveevz evqr gb Tbaqbe, nf jr yrnea fubegyl nsgre guvf.

      • Dreamflower says:

        Your rot.13: V nterr. Naq V guvax gung ur'f xrrcvat Zreel gb xrrc uvz fnsr, tbbq vagragvbaf naq nyy gung, ohg ur qbrfa'g jnag gb frr gur lbhat uboovg unir gb tb gb onggyr jungrire Zreel'f jvfurf. Orvat n xvat naq nyy, ur'f hfrq gb znxvat qrpvfvbaf yvxr gung. Gur jnl ur qvq jvgu uvf avrpr.

    • castlewayjay says:

      agree with your reading of Theoden's comment – He will be like a father to Merry while Merry is in Rohan with him, which he's thinking probably won't be that long. simple as that.

      who did send that message to Halbarad and the gang anyway? was it Galadriel?

  36. lexypoo says:

    HALBARAD: You want to go WHERE? You're shitting me…

    ARAGORN: I shit you not.

  37. Wheelrider says:

    Another one for the list of memorable lines.

  38. They should film this story and show it every Christmas.

  39. BetB says:

    My favorite parts were Mark's misspelling of Edoras (Eldoras!?!?). I kept thinking of a Eowyn riding in a pink Cadillac Eldorado instead of on a horse.

    [youtube aeGUE8dS5LY http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aeGUE8dS5LY youtube]

    Also, Halbadar? chuckle…

    "ARAGORN: Well, I mean I thought lots of manly and totally heterosexual thoughts about y’all, but it’s not like I can make wishes come true. So no, that has nothing to do with me."

    Yes, he does come across as a manly heterosexual guy, doesn't he?

    "Also, it’s really not that clear why me being Isildur’s heir is all that important, but I’m sure it relies on some minuscule detail from 450 pages ago."

    You can be that detail was in one of the big info dumps! 450 pages may be about right. Qvqa'g jr whfg ebg13 nyy bire gur cynpr nobhg Tnaqnys gryyvat Cvccra gur Xvat vf ergheavat gb fhccynag Qrargube? Fbzrqnl fbba vg jvyy pyvpx sbe uvz, be vf ur gebyyvat hf?

    "ARAGORN: Look, one day we may need you, but for now, your duty is in –

    ÉOWYN: THE KITCHEN.

    ARAGORN: No, I was –

    ÉOWYN: YOU WERE GOING TO SAY IT. I KNOW YOU WERE. YOU BIGOT.

    ARAGORN: No, I swear –"

    Thank you for a satisfying reaction to this scene! I LOVE it! <3

    I could go on and on! I'm still chuckling…

    • Wheelrider says:

      But of course, "Eldorado" means "the golden one," and later came to mean the Lost City of Gold… somewhat similar to the Golden Hall. Funny how that works out. ;)

  40. floppus says:

    The Spoiler-Free Map of Middle-Earth

    Normal / blurred

    We jump back in time again, to see what the remainder of the Company has been doing since the end of “The Palantír”. They meet Aragorn’s Ranger buddies from the North, and Aragorn decides to take the Paths of the Dead to Gondor, and see if he can recruit an army of ghosts along the way. (It’s interesting that Aragorn apparently knows the way, even though there have been no living travelers on that road for thousands of years.) Gimli and Legolas go with them; Merry stays with Théoden and his men.

    As this chapter is taking place, Gandalf and Pippin ride to Minas Tirith; Frodo and Sam come to Ithilien, meet Faramir, visit Henneth Annûn, and begin their journey to the Cross‐Roads.

    • rabidsamfan says:

      You need so many colors! (And one for Merry and the Rohirrim too!)

    • sudden_eyes says:

      "It’s interesting that Aragorn apparently knows the way."

      Good point. Maybe it's just a single path? That's what I've always assumed.

      • rabidsamfan says:

        Ur wbhearlrq gb Ebuna lrnef rneyvre haqre n qvssrerag anzr. Zvanf Gvevgu, gbb.

        • sudden_eyes says:

          That I know! Gubebatvy! Lrg nabgure anzr.

          V gubhtug sybcchf jnf ersreevat fcrpvsvpnyyl gb gur Cnguf bs gur Qrnq.

          • rabidsamfan says:

            They're very close! Just a hop, skip, and jump away, really. A nice way to spend a lazy afternoon exploring… take along a picnic… y'know?

    • Diddle de dum says:

      I can't decide whether I'm more terrified or relieved at Aragorn's timing with looking in the Palantír and provoking Sauron to release the army earlier. On the one hand, phew, at least we know that although it was incredibly close Frodo and Sam got safety before the army was unleashed… sort of… well, you know what I mean. On the other hand, poor Faramir! Run, Snenzve, run!

    • t09yavosaur says:

      I was looking for your post to be sure before I posted this:

      The day Aragorn looks into the palantir is around the time that Frodo and Sam are at the Black Gate, right? Well, at this time, Frodo goes to sleep and wakes up feeling safer, as if the "eye" is not focused towards him anymore, because Sauron is in fact now fretting about Aragorn. (guvf vf nyfb gur svefg ernq-guebhtu gung V ernyvmrq gung gur rlr vf whfg Fnheba hfvat uvf cnynagve. Is this spoilery?)

  41. Kudz says:

    Well, if no one else is going to be nitpicky, I'm on it:

    Éowyn is actually Théoden's niece (his sister-daughter), not his daughter.

    • Ryan Lohner says:

      And now whenever I see that term, I'll probably think of last week's Modern Family and its concept of "Aunt Mommy."

      "No, not adorable. Appalachian."

      • Rheinman says:

        Off topic, but I loved how both Mitchell and Claire changed their stated position just so they could disagree with their father.

  42. edinburghlook says:

    ARMY OF ZOMBIES, MARK. You were SO PREPARED!

  43. BornIn1142 says:

    Theoden is fairly old at this point, isn't he? I assume he had his age in mind with that "for a little while."

    • ZeynepD says:

      That's how I read it the first time through, too. That, and Theoden is riding to battle, which has already been set as a fairly hopeless battle, and he doesn't expect Merry to stay indefinitely, and and and…

  44. LarrikJ says:

    So many errors! :)

    Isildur is responsible for ending Sauron's reign initially (along with his father). Clearly Sauron should be concerned about another.

    I also believe you used Isildur's name in a few more places than he belongs (I don't recall him having a ton to do with the initial treaty with the Dead, for instance).

    Also, Eowyn is not Theoden's daughter, but I believe his niece (he calls her his sister-daughter, and Eomer his sister-son, I'm assuming that means "of my sister" and not something else).

    This review was super epic, though.

    • settlingforhistory says:

      Also shouldn't it be "rid this land of the servents of Mordor" and not "Gondor"?

    • "I don't recall him having a ton to do with the initial treaty of the dead, for instance"

      Ah- not to be a pedantic bastard or anything, but:

      For at Erech there stands yet a black stone that was brought… from Numenor by Isildur… and upon it the King of the Mountains swore allegiance to him in the beginning of the realm of Gondor. But when Sauron returned and grew in might again, Isildir summoned the Men of the Mountains to fulfill their oath, and they would not: for they had worshipped Sauron in the dark years.
      And Isildur said to their king: "Thou shalt be the last king. And if the West prove mightier than thy Black Master, this curse I lay upon thee and thy folk: to rest never until your oath is fulfilled. For this war shall last through years uncounted, and you shall be summoned once again ere the end."

      • LarrikJ says:

        I stand corrected. That really messes with my (seemingly limited) understanding of the history of Gondor.

  45. clodia_risa says:

    You have captured the pure essence of Eowyn and why she is one of the greatest characters ever created. And this was written how long ago? I cannot explain how much she spoke to me as a teenager.

  46. JustMalyn says:

    PLEASE DO THESE REVIEWS MORE OFTEN. "I piss on my duty!"
    And the bromance between Aragorn and Halbarad, and just everything.

    EVERYTHING IS BEAUTIFUL AND NOTHING HURTS.

  47. ZeynepD says:

    Vg jnf.

  48. etherealclarity says:

    I have not been commenting on MarkReads because, well, I wasn't that big of a Lord of the Rings fan. I got 42 pages into the Hobbit before giving up. Later I attempted to read these three after I watched the movies, but I still never finished… gave up mid way through the last book.

    But Mark… if you wrote a version of Lord of the Rings that was exactly like today's review, I would read the whole thing cover to cover because that shit was HILARIOUS and AWESOME.

  49. Mark, if you could rewrite EVERYTHING I HAVE EVER READ OR WILL READ in this format, I would pay you big money. Brilliant!

    NICOLE OUT.

  50. stefb4 says:

    One correction Mark: Eowyn is Theoden's NIECE, NOT his daughter. She and Eomer are brother and sister, and they were raised by their uncle.

    I see that mistake alot and why it's easy to make, but for some reason it bothers me more than other things lol

  51. jne says:

    Brilliant Mark! ÉOWYN OUT.

  52. Delta1212 says:

    In Mordor, you kill men dead.

    In Soviet Gondor, dead men kill you!

  53. mangoface says:

    I WANT TO MARRY GALADRIEL TOO.

  54. Tul says:

    The dialogue between Éowyn and Aragorn is the best part of this chapter, as far as I am concerned. So well done! But, really, I feel like Aragorn greatly mishandled this. He just sounds SO patronizing with her, treating her like a capricious child.

    1) She expressed great worry about him going through the Paths of the Dead, convinced he’s going to his death. Why doesn’t he take 3 seconds to explain to her the reason he thinks he might be able to do it? It might have made her feel just a little better. More hopeful.
    2) Jul qvq ur abg zragvba Nejra? Fur’f orra tvivat uvagf fur jnf vagrerfgrq va uvz, ur pbhyq unir znqr vg pyrne ur jnf gnxra, whfg va pnfr, vafgrnq bs gryyvat ure guvatf yvxr “ab zna jbhyq pbhag fhpu n wbhearl [=gb fcrnx jvgu ure] jnfgrq”. Vg jbhyq unir nibvqrq ure gb srry crefbanyyl erwrpgrq.
    3) He compares himself to her, saying that they must all do their duty and he doesn’t like it any more than her. Except *he* got to decide what his duty is. He chose to fight this war and attempt to claim the kingship. No one orders him around.
    In Éowyn’s case, her whole life has been dictated to her by men, who gave her the tasks they deemed appropriate for her. She tells him she felt reduced to a dry-nurse, while she could be much more. Because of her gender, she never had a choice, but she obeyed without protest nonetheless for years. Now, it has just become too much for her, she’s tired.
    Their situation are *not* the same.
    4) When she asks if she may not decide herself for once what she should be doing, he answers that ‘few may do that with honor’. Worded like that, it sort of implies he doubts she would make the honorable choice if left on her own, which seems rather unfair, since she is only asking for the right to do her part in this war as Aragorn is doing his: by fighting instead of waiting behind.
    5) He says that if she wants to fight, she can wait: if all is lost she will be allowed to do a last stand in defense of their home, even if no one will know of it. Really the greatest consolation prize ever!
    He doesn’t even try to convince her that her task is worthy one. Éowyn just wants to be active.
    6) ‘All your words are but to say: you are a woman, and your part is in the house. But when the men have died in battle and honor, you have leave to be burned in the house, for the men will need it no more.’ He doesn’t deny this, nor does he give it any heed. He changes the subject, asking her irrelevant questions instead.
    7) During all the discussion, she opens her heart to him, tells him about how she is living (and has been living for a long time) her greatest nightmare: being a prisoner. He doesn’t once acknowledge this. He doesn’t recognize her situation is in the least unfair. He keeps changing the subject and he chides her for not being dutiful enough. I think that even if he doesn’t agree with her he could have shown a little more sympathy before her desperation.
    8) ‘I would not see a thing that is high and excellent cast away needlessly’
    ‘Nor would I,’ he said. ‘Therefore I say to you, lady: Stay! For you have no errand to the South.’
    ‘Neither have those others who go with thee.

    I rather agree with Éowyn. Why would her going to war be a waste if it isn’t for her brother or Aragorn’s friends? Because she is a woman and her part is in the house? ^^
    9) What Éowyn wanted most was recognition and freedom. He essentially tells her she belongs to her uncle and brother.

    I really feel he just contributed to make things worse for her with this attitude. I understand the points he was trying to make, but mostly I believe he botched it. Well, I know that I, at least, would have felt even more frustrated with my life after this. Really, she answers all his arguments, trying hard to make him understand her viewpoint before giving up.

    Oh and, remember the scene where she was given that very honorable and important duty? It went a little like this:
    - Théoden: Oh I forgot! Someone should stay behind to take care of the people.
    - Nobody answers.
    - Théoden: Come on, I need someone. Name anybody.
    - Háma: We trust in the House of Eorl.
    - Théoden: But I can’t go without Éomer!
    - Háma: You forget the very existence of Éowyn. (It’s not like if she spent the five past years or so taking care of your old decaying self!)
    - Théoden: Well, if that’s what you want, why not? Let it be Éowyn!
    So it really seems like she’s being gifted the tasks no one else wants. Actually her uncle initially doesn’t even include her in his plan at all, until Hama points out that she can do something. I really feel sorry for her.

    Edit: Sorry if this feels a little muddled. Wrote it quickly.

    • Lugija says:

      I wouldn't vote Aragorn as my king, his people skills aren't that great. Remember his reaction when he was denied entrance to Theoden's hall with his sword? "But I'm royal, and so is this sword. Actually this sword is more old than your family, so away with you."

      • Tul says:

        Yes! That part always astounds me. He really has that sense of entitlement that can be so undiplomatic! He wasn’t even King *yet*! His claim could still have been refused by Gondor’s Council!
        ‘It is the will of Théoden,’ said Háma.
        ‘It is not clear to me that the will of Théoden son of Thengel, even though he be lord of the Mark, should prevail over the will of Aragorn son of Arathorn, Elendil’s heir of Gondor.’
        ‘This is the house of Théoden, not of Aragorn, even were he King in the seat of Denethor.’

        Háma’s answer is spot on really.

        In this chapter, he also goes angry with Gimli because the later expressed concern about him looking in the Palantir (concern that was very justified since that stone already drove Saruman evil, could have been disastrous for Pippin, and even Gandalf feared to do this). No one doubts Isildur’s heir!
        Earlier he was angry with Gandalf for giving him good counsel about the use of that same stone. Because, you know, he is Isildur’s heir!
        He also had great difficulties convincing the Hobbits of his friendliness back in Book 1, because he kept acting creepy and not at all trust inspiring. It was said he couldn’t make friends as Strider too.

        Naljnl, ur’yy unir Snenzve nf Fgrjneq, naq *ur* vf irel tbbq jvgu crbcyr, whqtvat ol uvf vagrenpgvbaf jvgu bgure punenpgref. Fb gurl pna znxr vg.

        • Katherine says:

          On the point of the Palantir, I don't think it's getting offended or angry so much as just reminding people that he's basically the only person in the world who COULD get away with using it unscathed – the Palantiri belong to the house of Elendil, and rightful ownership seems to have a lot of meaning – to a quasi-magical extent – in Middle-earth.

          • Tul says:

            Qrargube znantrq gb hfr vg jvgubhg vg nssrpgvat uvf crefbanyvgl va nal jnl, ohg gura ur jnf n evtugshy hfre gbb.

            I think the fact that he had such a hard time (he comes back looking aged by many years) shows it was still a very dangerous thing to do, rightful ownership or not, and Gimli's concerns were justified. So I don't think it was fair of him to be so harsh. And Gandalf was just giving a bit of advises, it wasn't necessary in any way to remind him of his very high lineage and birthright.
            To be fair, in Gimli's situation, he was probably on edge after his confrontation with Sauron.

            • Wheelrider says:

              Bu ab, vg qrsvavgryl nssrpgrq Qrargube'f crefbanyvgl… pna'g ybbx vg hc evtug abj, ohg vg'f vzcyvrq gung ur vf ntrq orsber uvf gvzr, naq gung ur vf bayl nyybjrq gb frr jung Fnheba pubbfrf gb fubj uvz, vapernfvat uvf qrfcnve. Ur qvqa'g jerfg pbageby bs vg njnl sebz Fnheba, nygubhtu ur zvtug unir gubhtug ur unq.

              • Tul says:

                Qrargube vf ntrq orsber uvf gvzr orpnhfr bs uvf cebybatrq hfr bs gur cnynagve, gur fnzr jnl Nentbea pnzr onpx ybbxvat ntrq nsgre uvf svefg gel – ohg gung ur vf nssrpgrq culfvpnyyl qbrfa'g zrna vg unq na rssrpg ba uvf crefbanyvgl.
                Npghnyyl, V'z cerggl fher Gbyxvra fnvq vg uvzfrys va HG (ohg V jba'g unir gur obbx hagvy Fhaqnl fb V pna'g cebivqr rknpg dhbgrf evtug abj). Vg jnf n qvfgvapgvba orgjrra Qrargube naq Fnebhznar – gur sbezre znantrq gb ergnva gur jubyr bs uvf crefbanyvgl vagnpg hagvy uvf svany oernxqbja. Naq ur znantrq gb qb fb svefg orpnhfr bs uvf terng fgeratgu bs jvyy naq frpbaqyl orpnhfr ur jnf n evtugshy hfre.

                Nyfb, sebz HG, V qba'g guvax Qrargube'f cnynagve jnf haqre Fnheba'f pbageby ng nyy, ohg jryy haqre gur fgrjneq'f (naljnl Qrargube jbhyq unir abgvprq vs ur pbhyqa'g zbir uvf ivfvba nf ur jvfurq nalzber).

                Uvf znqarff jnf qhr gb znal guvatf, svefg nzbat gurz orvat thvyg naq tevrs ng uvf fba'f jbhaq, naq nyfb qrfcnve oebhtug ba ol gur ivfvbaf ur fnj va gur fgbar, ohg gura gubfr jrer gehr (cnynagvev pna'g yvr) fb vg vfa'g qhr gb uvf zvfhfvat vg.

                Fb ab, Nentbea jnfa'g gur bayl bar noyr gb znantr n cnynagve, rira vs ur unq n pyrne nqinagntr. Qrargube qvq vg sbe lrnef.

                • Wheelrider says:

                  Uz, V pbhyq unir fjbea gurer jnf n cnffntr fnlvat gung jung Qrargube fnj va gur cnynagve jnf fjnlrq ol Fnheba… ohg znlor V'z trggvat uvz pbashfrq jvgu Fnehzna. V unqa'g cerivbhfyl chg zhpu jrvtug ba "evtugshy hfref."

                  Jvyy or cnlvat nggragvba zber pybfryl va gur hcpbzvat puncgref!

                  • Tul says:

                    V guvax Tnaqnys qbrf fnl fbzrguvat nybat gubfr yvarf. Gung Qrargube fnj bayl jung Fnheba crezvggrq uvz gb frr…
                    V gubhtu creuncf gung pbhyq zrna Fnheba sbhaq n jnl gb cebgrpg fbzr nernf bs uvf ynaq sebz gur rlrf bs n cnynagve hfre. HG zragvbaf fbzr fbeg bs sbttvat grpuavdhr. Be creuncf Tnaqnys vf jebat – ur jnf bayl fcrphyngvat, gelvat gb haqrefgnaq Qrargube'f orunivbhe, naq ur qvqa'g unir nyy gur rivqraprf lrg. Vg jbhyqa'g or gur svefg gvzr nsgre nyy: ntnva sebz HG, ur nyfb gubhtug gung creuncf Qrargube jnf jbexvat haqre Fnheba'f vasyhrapr jura svefg neevivat va Zvanf Gvevgu (naq Gbyxvra qbrf fnl gung ur jnf zvfgnxra va guvf).

                    Ohg lrf, yrg'f jnvg hagvy gur evtug puncgre!

                  • Tilly says:

                    Gur ynfg fgenj sbe Qrargube frrzf gb or gur 'syrrg bs oynpx fnvyf' ba Naqhva – jurer, nf jr xabj, nyy vf abg nf vg frrzf. Ohg V thrff vg'f nethnoyr jurgure gung'f Fnheba yvzvgvat uvf ivfvba, be jurgure Qrargube uvzfrys vf znxvat gur sngny snpr-inyhr nffhzcgvba. Funqrf bs gur Gurfrhf zlgu gurer, gbb.

                    Ba gur dhrfgvba bs evtugshy hfref, VZB vg'f abg ng enaqbz gung (nyy bgure snpgbef nfvqr) Gbyxvra pubbfrf Cvccva naq abg Zreel gb ybbx vagb gur cnynagve. Vs gur Gunva vf uvfgbevpnyyl gur Xvat'f ercerfragngvir va gur Fuver, gura nf gur Gunva'f urve Cvccva znl npghnyyl unir gur orggre punapr gb pbzr guebhtu eryngviryl hafpngurq.

                    • Wheelrider says:

                      That's an interesting point. Goes along with something that — I think it was Dreamflower? — said earlier, about the parallels between Pippin and Merry's respective families and the cultures of Gondor and Rohan.

        • Jackie says:

          Naljnl, ur'yy unir Snenzve nf Fgrjneq,

          Psst! Isn't that a spoiler??

      • Wheelrider says:

        Ah, but that might well have been a ruse to let Gandalf get away with his staff… good cop/bad cop and all.
        And also, he's been very humble the rest of the time in Rohan, deferring to Theoden on most things and acting as just a soldier in his army. (Which he was before.)

      • Max (guest) says:

        "I wouldn't vote Aragorn as my king" NOOOO now I cannot stop thinking about this scene! WHAT HAVE YOU DONE http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rAaWvVFERVA

    • msw188 says:

      I agree with some of this, but not all of it. I think that the problem stems from a couple of things. Mainly, I think Aragorn is unwilling to speak to Eowyn about Arwen. I think he has the right to make this choice, regardless of what he might suspect of Eowyn's feelings. In my opinion, it is not the duty of the desiree to accommodate the feelings of the desirer, so to speak.

      With this in mind, I think a lot of your other points come from Aragorn trying to distance himself. You're right: she pours his heart out to him, and he tries to avoid it. Because he does not want the two of them to become emotionally closer. To allow that, while not returning the feelings he believes she has for him, would simply hurt her more. At least, I can understand that Aragorn would feel this way.

      And so Aragorn clings to the one aspect of the argument that he can use to stop her: her duty. This is where he can demand that logic and honor trump emotion, passion, and freedom. I don't think that he doesn't recognize the differences in their situations. I think he is purposely avoiding that recognition and sympathy because he does not want her to feel emotionally closer to him, and he wants to accomplish this without mentioning Arwen.

      However, I agree that it was silly to bring up the idea that she might have a chance to be valiant if the battle is lost. Luckily, she calls him out on this right away and he does not bring it up again. In my view, he recognizes that that was a stupid thing to say and does not return to it.

      PS: This was a quick reply over lunch and may also be a bit muddled. Let it also be known that Eowyn's desperation here breaks my heart, and I sympathize with her far more than the pain she is causing Aragorn. But that doesn't mean I think Aragorn botched their conversation. I think the situation in and of itself is simply heartbreaking, and that this is not really anybody's fault.

      • Tul says:

        I agree the situation is heartbreaking, and it *is* unfair to blame it entirely on Aragorn. That's not what I'm doing. Éowyn really had come at her breaking point here and it all came out on poor unprepared Aragorn.
        But I still think he could have done much, much better. Really, everything he says here makes me frustrated with him.

        I understand the "he doesn't want to them to get closer idea", and it sort of explain his behavior, but doesn't excuse it, IMHO. It seems to me he could still have handled her better, found a way to word it so that it doesn’t seem that he’s dismissing her frustration and feelings. As it goes, I'm not sure he doesn't agree when she says that a woman's place is in the home. He doesn't try to deny it and he does say she has no part to play on a battlefield.
        And I think his question about what she fears most, and his calling her 'a thing high and excellent' (that shouldn't go to war), did more to bring them *closer* than showing more respect toward her view and acknowledging her situation would have.

        "V guvax Nentbea vf hajvyyvat gb fcrnx gb Rbjla nobhg Nejra. V guvax ur unf gur evtug gb znxr guvf pubvpr, ertneqyrff bs jung ur zvtug fhfcrpg bs Rbjla'f srryvatf. Va zl bcvavba, vg vf abg gur qhgl bs gur qrfverr gb nppbzzbqngr gur srryvatf bs gur qrfvere, fb gb fcrnx."
        Whfg n yvggyr cbvag, ohg V guvax vg'f engure hasnve bs fbzrbar gb yrg nabgure snyy va ybir jvgu uvz/ure naq pbheg uvz/ure jvgubhg gryyvat uvz/ure gung (f)ur'f jvgu fbzrbar nyernql naq fb uvf/ure rssbegf ner shgvyr. (F)ur qbrfa'g unir gb tvir nal anzr gubhtu. Ohg nf V fnvq gung'f abg n znwbe pbzcynvag jvgu Nentbea urer.

        Sorry, I can’t word it better right now. My brain doesn’t want to work.

        • Wheelrider says:

          "And I think his question about what she fears most, and his calling her 'a thing high and excellent' (that shouldn't go to war), did more to bring them *closer* than showing more respect toward her view and acknowledging her situation would have."
          Good point there… he seems to do some subtle… well not exactly flirting, but paying compliments, etc. — increasing the awkwardness, not helping his case.

          • msw188 says:

            First real quick, I do not believe it is a spoiler to discuss the fact that Aragorn has some kind of romantic attachment to Arwen. It's pretty clearly implied in the first book, and more importantly, Mark has brought it up AND posted a prediction about it. Regardless of what happens to the two of them, it is not a spoiler to conjecture that Aragorn would probably rather be with Arwen than with Eowyn.

            I agree that Aragorn may be hurting her by seeming to dismiss her feelings on a woman's role. In fact, he might indeed believe that a woman belongs away from battle (nygubhtu onfrq ba uvf pbzzragf va gur Ubhfrf bs Urnyvat, V qb abg guvax guvf vf gur pnfr; engure ur frrzf gb srry gung fur jnf gurer sbe gur jebat ernfbaf, gubfr ernfbaf orvat qrfcnve naq ur uvzfrys), in which case he's not 'botching' his conversation, but rather he's actually just a jerk. Regardless, this is not a strong moment for him, but I think it comes back to his wishes to keep an emotional distance. This may not have been the best way to do this, but as you're saying, she catches him largely unprepared to have such a conversation.

            On the other hand, I have to disagree with both of you on this:
            "And I think his question about what she fears most, and his calling her 'a thing high and excellent' (that shouldn't go to war), did more to bring them *closer* than showing more respect toward her view and acknowledging her situation would have."

            Now, I am not Eowyn, or even a woman, and I can't know this for certain. But as a man, I'm quite certain that I would feel closer to someone who sympathizes with me and seems to care about my feelings and frustrations, rather than to someone who treats me coldly and yet pays me compliments. If the person in question was someone I loved, and the feelings and frustrations INVOLVED GOING SOMEWHERE WITH THAT PERSON, I'm pretty sure the feeling of closeness would be magnified all the more.

            All that said, perhaps my capslock bit doesn't need to be an issue. Perhaps Aragorn could say something like, "I understand that you want to go and fight, and I think you should be allowed, but we would have to wait for your uncle to give permission, and I can't wait." But I will claim that in the moment of their discussion, Aragorn reads her pleas as showing a desire to come with him, more than a desire to leave. After all, if she simply desired to leave and go to the fight, she would not be asking to go to the Paths of the Dead. Nor would she need to include Aragorn in the conversation; this is an argument she ought to be having with her uncle, who Aragorn points out will be there soon.

            All this means that when she speaks of her frustrations with her life, Aragorn hears her begging him to take her with him. And this is something he will not do, because he will not allow them to be closer to each other. It may be wrong for him to view her comments in this way, but with that view in mind I think it is easier to sympathize with his attempts to deflect them, and ultimately refuse her.

            • Tul says:

              I'm not sure it would really be "jerky" of Aragorn if he thinks women don't belong in battle. It seems most men thought that way – the Rohirrim (Théoden and Eomer) naq gur Tbaqbevnaf (Vzenuvy) in general. And *his* lady does defer to her father's authority. Rather, he'd be a product of his society? Well I don't know…

              "On the other hand, I have to disagree with both of you on this:
              "And I think his question about what she fears most, and his calling her 'a thing high and excellent' (that shouldn't go to war), did more to bring them *closer* than showing more respect toward her view and acknowledging her situation would have."
              Now, I am not Eowyn, or even a woman, and I can't know this for certain. But as a man, I'm quite certain that I would feel closer to someone who sympathizes with me and seems to care about my feelings and frustrations, rather than to someone who treats me coldly and yet pays me compliments."

              I think we're not exactly speaking of the same thing. A man can sympathize with me, or at least show a little understanding of my situation and not patronize me, and it won't mean anything more than he is a good nice guy willing to see my side of things. But I might think a man that keeps paying me pretty compliments ("a journey to talk with you wouldn't be considered wasted by any man", "you're too high and precious to waste in battle") and asks me personal questions (apparently only out of curiosity), is showing some interest in me and might consider a relationship.
              Which I think was the point of not getting *closer* to her.

              "But I will claim that in the moment of their discussion, Aragorn reads her pleas as showing a desire to come with him, more than a desire to leave. After all, if she simply desired to leave and go to the fight, she would not be asking to go to the Paths of the Dead."
              He's wrong though, isn't he? She doesn't simply desire to fight, she longs for freedom and recognition, and wishes to make herself useful. The Paths of the Dead are more or less her last hope of escaping her cage. And she does explain all this to him, so I think he could have been more attentive?

              I don't think we disagree that much, all that said. I think your interpretation of what he is thinking is valid enough, and perhaps I am too harsh with him here.
              My problem isn't his refusing her though, to make matters clear. I understand that. It is really the way he goes about it that I don't like and think he can do better. (We do agree this isn't a strong moment for him?)

              I'm not sure that I have explained myself well, so don't hesitate to ask, if I don't make sense.

              • msw188 says:

                Yeah, I think we agree that this is not a 'strong' moment for him. I'm just saying that I think his line of reasoning is, well, reasonable, for his choices of what NOT to say. So I do have to return to the point about
                "He's wrong though, isn't he? She doesn't simply desire to fight, she longs for freedom and recognition, and wishes to make herself useful. The Paths of the Dead are more or less her last hope of escaping her cage. And she does explain all this to him, so I think he could have been more attentive?"

                Whether or not he is wrong, I think it is reasonable for him to believe that this is secondary to Eowyn's real goal. Again, if all she cared about was escaping her cage, then there is no reason to have this argument with Aragorn specifically. At least, I can see this line of reasoning in Aragorn's mind. And Aragorn does not openly address this, because I think he does not want to force her to admit what HE THINKS is the 'real' reason she wants to come with him specifically.

                It's all speculation, of course.

                • Wheelrider says:

                  She might have already been trying to gain permission to go to battle from Theoden and getting nowhere… so she sees Aragorn as her last, best chance. One doesn't become a Shieldmaiden overnight — there had to have been a lot of training, and probably a lot of arguments about when and where she'd actually get to use it.

                  But anyway — it's great that we can debate these finer points and circle around different conclusions but all be more or less right. It's an ambiguous situation, with multiple motivations on both characters' parts, that might even change from moment to moment. Very realistic.

      • ARITHMANCER says:

        V guvax uvf snvyher gb zragvba rvgure Nejra be na hafcrpvsvrq ebznagvp nggnpuzrag zvtug or cnegyl nggevohgnoyr gb fbpvny/frkhny zberf gung ner qvssrerag sebz bhef. Gur thl vf fhccbfrq gb chefhr. Gung ur sbhaq vg arprffnel gb gryy ure fbzrguvat yvxr guvf, jbhyq vzcyl gung ure orunivbe znqr vg arprffnel sbe uvz gb qb fb gb sraq ure bss. V'z thrffvat guvf jbhyq ersyrpg cbbeyl ba Rbjla va guvf fbpvrgl, naq guhf zvtug nyfb hcfrg ure.

        • Tul says:

          Vg fher jbhyq unir orra vanccebcevngr vs ur unq fnvq "Ybbx V'z nyernql ratntrq gb nabgure fb qba'g gel gb frqhpr zr", ohg ur pbhyq unir orra *fhogyr* nobhg vg. Ur pna zragvba uvf ratntrzrag gb Nejra jvgubhg znxvat vg boivbhf ur vf fnlvat gung gb sraq ure bss. Vg jbhyqa'g or gung uneq gb cnff vg bss nf whfg n cebbs gung ur srryf pbzsbegnoyr rabhtu jvgu ure gb gnyx nobhg uvf ynqlybir. :)

          • Wheelrider says:

            Of course he did try to mention it, but was perhaps too subtle…

            • Tul says:

              Well, I can't see how you can make the assumption that he is already in love with someone else from "I'd rather be in Rivendell"! :) He could just be in love with the place, no need of a lady.

              • Wheelrider says:

                Ah, but wasn't there also something along the lines of "my heart dwells in Rivendell"? (Can't look it up right now…) But in any case, if that was supposed to be a hint, it was way too weak!

    • Dreamflower says:

      2) Jul qvq ur abg zragvba Nejra? Fur’f orra tvivat uvagf fur jnf vagrerfgrq va uvz, ur pbhyq unir znqr vg pyrne ur jnf gnxra, whfg va pnfr, vafgrnq bs gryyvat ure guvatf yvxr “ab zna jbhyq pbhag fhpu n wbhearl [=gb fcrnx jvgu ure] jnfgrq”. Vg jbhyq unir nibvqrq ure gb srry crefbanyyl erwrpgrq.

      Whfg gb qrny jvgu guvf cbvag nybar, nf zbfg bs lbhe bguref V fbzrjung nterr jvgu be unir frra bguref nqqerff.
      Vs lbh guvax nobhg vg, ur unf abg zragvbarq Nejra gb *nalbar*. V guvax gurer ner n ahzore bs ernfbaf sbe guvf. Svefg bs nyy, ur jnf envfrq nzbat Ryirf. Sbe fbzr ernfba gurer vf n phfgbz gung Ryirf qb abg fcrnx bs gubfr jub ner abg cerfrag– gung'f jul ur qvqa'g rira xabj jub Nejra jnf jura fur fubjrq hc nsgre ure ybat fbwbhea va Ybguybevra. Ur unq ab vqrn gung Ryebaq rira unq n qnhtugre orpnhfr ab bar unq gnyxrq bs ure gb uvz. Frpbaq bs nyy, gurve orgebguny jnf cerggl zhpu n frperg– V nz fher gung bayl gubfr jub *unq* gb xabj xarj bs vg– cebonoyl bayl Ryebaq, ure oebguref, ure tenaqcneragf naq creuncf jubzrire Nentbea ragehfgrq jvgu ehyvat gur Qharqnva va uvf nofrapr, naq cbffvoyl Tnaqnys. Guveq, naq cebonoyl zbfg vzcbegnagyl, V nz fher gung sbe uvz gur jubyr guvat vf va qbhog ng guvf cbvag. Ur xabjf ur ybirf Nejra naq jvyy unir ab bgure; ohg gur sngr bs gur jbeyq vf va qbhog naq uvf bja yvsr vf irel zhpu va qbhog ng guvf cbvag– V pna frr uvz srryvat gung gb fcrnx bs vg jbhyq or gb wrbcneqvmr vg.

      V zrna rira gur bgure zrzoref bs gur Sryybjfuvc unq ab pyhr gung Nentbea unq n jrqqvat cynaarq sbe zvq-fhzzre'f qnl!

      *whew* Just as an aside– I composed the whole thing in rot.13, and then forgot to hit the cypher button! I was just about to hit the submit button here before I noticed just in time!

      • Wheelrider says:

        " Sbe fbzr ernfba gurer vf n phfgbz gung Ryirf qb abg fcrnx bs gubfr jub ner abg cerfrag– "

        Huh, wow, I never caught on to that. But I agree with your other points. Vg'f yvxr abg gnyxvat gb gur cvgpure nobhg ubj ur unf n ab-uvggre tbvat — qba'g jnag gb wvak vg!

      • Tul says:

        'Svefg bs nyy, ur jnf envfrq nzbat Ryirf. Sbe fbzr ernfba gurer vf n phfgbz gung Ryirf qb abg fcrnx bs gubfr jub ner abg cerfrag– gung'f jul ur qvqa'g rira xabj jub Nejra jnf jura fur fubjrq hc nsgre ure ybat fbwbhea va Ybguybevra.'
        Jbj V qvqa'g xabj nobhg gung! Vf vg n qrqhpgvba be vf vg jevggra fbzrjurer?

        'Frpbaq bs nyy, gurve orgebguny jnf cerggl zhpu n frperg– V nz fher gung bayl gubfr jub *unq* gb xabj xarj bs vg– cebonoyl bayl Ryebaq, ure oebguref, ure tenaqcneragf naq creuncf jubzrire Nentbea ragehfgrq jvgu ehyvat gur Qharqnva va uvf nofrapr, naq cbffvoyl Tnaqnys.'
        Vg jbhyq unir znqr Rbjla srry gehfgrq naq erfcrpgrq vs fur unq orra yrg va ba gung frperg, jvgubhg evfxvat zhpu, naq vg jbhyq unir nibvqrq ure naq uvz gur njxjneq fvghngvba.

        'Guveq, naq cebonoyl zbfg vzcbegnagyl, V nz fher gung sbe uvz gur jubyr guvat vf va qbhog ng guvf cbvag. Ur xabjf ur ybirf Nejra naq jvyy unir ab bgure; ohg gur sngr bs gur jbeyq vf va qbhog naq uvf bja yvsr vf irel zhpu va qbhog ng guvf cbvag– V pna frr uvz srryvat gung gb fcrnx bs vg jbhyq or gb wrbcneqvmr vg.'
        Gung vf jung V gubhtug gbb…ohg V qba'g xabj, V guvax vg jbhyq creuncf unir orra whqvpvbhf naq avpr gb chg uvf qbhogf nfvqr va guvf pnfr, orpnhfr Rbjla vf boivbhfyl uheg ol guvf?

        Ohg lrf, guvf cbvag vfa'g zl znwbe pbzcynvag jvgu uvf orunivbe urer. vg'f ernyyl zber nobhg ubj cngebavmvat V svaq uvz urer.

        • Dreamflower says:

          "Jbj V qvqa'g xabj nobhg gung! Vf vg n qrqhpgvba be vf vg jevggra fbzrjurer?"

          Vg'f jevggra qbja *fbzrjurer*! V'ir fcrag gur ynfg qnl be gjb gelvat gb genpx qbja jurer V fnj (cebonoyl va bar bs gur UbZr ibyhzrf, ohg abg va "Ynjf naq Phfgbzf bs gur Ryqne" juvpu jnf zl svefg gubhtug). V'z fbeel V pna'g tvir lbh gur rknpg ersrerapr, ohg vs V svaq vg ntnva, V jvyy.

          "Ohg lrf, guvf cbvag vfa'g zl znwbe pbzcynvag jvgu uvf orunivbe urer. vg'f ernyyl zber nobhg ubj cngebavmvat V svaq uvz urer."

          Ur qbrf frrz cngebavmvat, ohg gura gung'f gur fbeg bs fbpvrgl ur yvirq va. V nyfb guvax ur znl abg unir orra rknpgyl pregnva ubj gb qrny jvgu orvat gur erpvcvrag bs na vasnghngvba. V qba'g fhccbfr vg unccrarq gb uvz zhpu. Ur pbhyq unir orra n YBG zber gnpgshy naq frafvgvir.

          • Tul says:

            I don't have the HoME volumes yet…the list of books I need to buy is amazing…and I want the Letters first…
            Anyway, many thanks for trying to find it! :)

            "I also think he may not have been exactly certain how to deal with being the recipient of an infatuation. I don't suppose it happened to him much. He could have been a LOT more tactful and sensitive."
            I actually find this funny – in an endearing way! Strider can't manage fangirls.

    • Wheelrider says:

      "4) When she asks if she may not decide herself for once what she should be doing, he answers that ‘few may do that with honor’. Worded like that, it sort of implies he doubts she would make the honorable choice if left on her own, which seems rather unfair, since she is only asking for the right to do her part in this war as Aragorn is doing his: by fighting instead of waiting behind. "

      I took this bit to mean that few people can just do what they want, when they want. So not so much "should" be doing, but "want."

      But regardless, I agree, Aragorn kinda botched this. Greatest consolation prize indeed!

      • Tul says:

        Hmm, yes, true, I don't know why I said "should". But in that situation, she wants to do what he is doing and what every able man of Rohan is doing. What is considered the "honorable thing" in her country. So why does he bring up the point?

        • Wheelrider says:

          it's kind of redirecting back to the concept of duty, I think. Also hinting that if he was doing just what he wanted to, he'd be back in Rivendell! But I do agree, it could be construed as somewhat insulting, or at least condescending.

    • stormwreath says:

      I think part of the problem is that Aragorn is being very reserved and proper and stiff-upper-lippy and, basically, British. Or at least the way British men were taught to behave back in the early 1900s when Tolkien was growing up. We have different standard and expectations nowadays.

      I never did really get why he can't just tell everyone about Arwen – but I have my suspicion:

      Ryebaq unf frg gur pbaqvgvba gung ur pna'g zneel Nejra hayrff ur orpbzrf Xvat. Vg'f abg dhvgr nf qvssvphyg nf erpbirevat n Fvyznevy sebz Zbetbgu'f Veba Pebja, creuncf, ohg fgvyy cerggl uneq. V pna vzntvar gung'f fbzrguvat Nentbea jbhyqa'g ernyyl jnag gb gnyx nobhg zhpu – rfcrpvnyyl fvapr hagvy n srj qnlf ntb ur jnf uvqvat uvf vqragvgl orpnhfr Fnheba jbhyq ybir gb svaq naq xvyy Vfvyqhe'f Urve.

      Gung nyfb nssrpgf cbvag 3. Nentbea vfa'g svtugvat guvf jne orpnhfr ur pubfr gb, ohg orpnhfr gur sngure bs gur jbzna ur ybirf znqr vg n pbaqvgvba bs gurve trggvat zneevrq.

      Not to mention that Aragorn was born into his role as Isildur's Heir; he didn't choose it. It's his destiny from birth.

      • msw188 says:

        Your rot13 is a great point that I didn't really consider. I actually tend to forget about that whole subplot to it all, actually. Hm, that actually really sucks!

      • Tul says:

        He still has a lot more freedom than Eowyn ever had. *He* isn't caged. Ng yrnfg Ryebaq yrgf uvz svtug sbe gur bar ur ybirf, ur qbrfa'g nfx uvz gb fgnaq nfvqr juvyr qbvat abguvat juvyr fur vf va qnatre be bguref jva uvf guebar sbe uvz. Naq ur nyfb pubfr gur jbzna.

        I get him not wanting to talk about Arwen much, but in that special case, a small exception would have been nice? He doesn't have to give details, just make it clear he already has someone. This isn't my major complaint though.

        Aragorn's ancestors were born as Isildur's heirs too. Nobody can *force* him to claim the kingship against his will. Va snpg Tbaqbe'f Pbhapvy haqre Cryraqhe npghnyyl qrpvqrq uvf pynvz jnfa'g rira inyvq.

    • HieronymusGrbrd says:

      4) ‘few may do that with honor’
      The question here is not if Éowyn “would make the honorable choice if left on her own”, rather it is ‘would deciding on her own be honorable?’. In a society like Rohan, the "honorable thing" to do would generally be to follow the king’s orders. There may be situations when it might be honorable to disobey (Háma letting Gandalf have his stuff or Éomer letting Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas ride free when he should have taken them to Edoras come into mind), but these occasions are seldom and far between.

      Nyfb, gurer znl or fbzr sberfvtug va Nentbeaf jvfu gb yrnir Rbjla oruvaq (gur xvatf sebz Ahzrabe ner fcrpvny va guvf jnl). Rbjla ernyyl unf ‘ab reenaq gb gur fbhgu’. Guvf qbrfa’g zrna fur unf ab cynpr ba n onggyrsvryq be fur fubhyq fgnl va Qhaunet. Gurer znl or fbzrguvat ryfr gb qb sbe ure, naq vs fur sbyybjf Nentbea fur znl abg or noyr gb or va gur evtug cynpr ng gur evtug gvzr.

      • Wheelrider says:

        Very good points… I hadn't considered #2, interesting!

      • Tilly says:

        Thank you for your rot13 point! V nyjnlf ernq gur 'fbhgu' nf 'Tbaqbe, trarenyyl' naq jbaqrerq ubj Nentbea'f sberfvtug pbhyq snvy uvz fb – ohg vs Nentbea whfg zrnaf 'Tbaqbe, fbhgu bs gur zbhagnvaf' vg znxrf n ybg zber frafr. Fur qbrf unir n irel vzcbegnag reenaq va gur fbhgu! Whfg, abg gung sne fbhgu!

  55. arctic_hare says:

    "ARAGORN: You will find peace if you serve me and rid this land of the servents of Gondor. "

    ARAGORN YOU DAMN TRAITOR GTFO

    xD

    Er, just had to. LOL. I LOVE THE PLAY FORMAT! <3 I was super-excited to see it return and you did NOT disappoint!

    Srs stuff:

    - Oh, Merry. :( He's missing Pippin so much, just as Pippin is missing him, and now he's entered into the service of a lord too. Personally, I think Merry got the better one, but that's just me – Denethor is not coming off as being terribly nice right now, while Theoden is kindly and awesome. I <3 Theoden. I don't think his "for a short while" statement is that odd, actually; he's an old man who en't getting any younger, and they're about to ride off into a battle from which they may never return, plus Merry will probably want to go back to the Shire afterwards if they do survive. I think it's not dislike on Theoden's part for Merry, but grim, resigned knowledge of the terrible battles ahead. It all looks pretty hopeless from his POV, so I can't fault him for being a bit pessimistic, morbid even. That's how the line reads to me, anyway.

    - Speaking of battles, Merry also feels like baggage, much as Pippin did earlier, which breaks my heart. The image he gets in his head as the strangers ride up to meet them, of himself being lost in the wilderness all alone, the only survivor of an attack he thinks might be imminent, is so chillingly sad and awful. Poor Merry! He's so brave and so sad here, with everyone leaving him like this. First he almost got left behind in the Shire, then almost left behind in Rivendell, then Frodo and Sam left, and Boromir died and he got kidnapped, then Pippin and Gandalf took off, and now Aragorn, Gimli, and Legolas are leaving him behind too.

    - The trip through the Paths of the Dead is the kind of creepy I really dig. I know what it's like to have that sense that someone – or something – is behind you, and to be followed by it through such dark tunnels? SUPER CREEPY. LOVE IT. <3

    - Saving the best for last: EOWYN. Oh, how I adore her. <3 I feel so bad for her – she hates being left behind all the time (just like Merry) to do a duty she doesn't want to do. There's value, of course, in what she's been assigned to do, and a great need for it, but it's not something she desires to do. Moreover, I think that the task she's supposed to be doing, while greatly important, is undervalued by the people of Rohan. They seem to place higher value on glory in battle and having songs sung of you. Eowyn values that too, and wants it for herself. I think she definitely has a point when she says that her gender is why she's getting this treatment. Aragorn is right about not having the authority to release her from her duties, on the other hand. It's a tricky situation. Plus the books have never put forth the idea that battle is this glorious wonderful thing to be prized: it's a terrible thing, full of horrors, so there's a feeling to me of Eowyn and the rest of the Rohirrim having misplaced priorities.

    That doesn't stop me from feeling deeply for her, or wanting her to be able to go off into battle as she desires. She may wish it for the wrong reasons – compare it with Faramir's statements about valuing not the sword, but the people it protects – but it doesn't make her wishes any less valid or undermine the good she could do. It's her life, she should be able to do with it as she pleases. I don't think she should go with Aragorn, as that would be severely irresponsible, but when Theoden returns she should speak with him and make her case for being released from this duty, and be allowed to go with them if she wishes. BASICALLY I LOVE HER AND I WANT TO SEE HER GET A CHANCE TO BE BADASS BECAUSE I LOVE BADASS FEMALE CHARACTERS MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE IN FICTION. <3

    • Alice says:

      Yes.THIS!!All of your opinions are made of pure win!.In Theoden's "for a little while" line I also sense a lot of sadness.I mean not long ago,he just lost his only heir,so my guess is that as a king who has no heirs,whose line will end with him,he has no bright future to expect,so that's why he sees things in a grim manner.I mean,he's still mourning. That's my guess.I mean,when my father died due to cancer,for a while all seemed grim and hopeless to me too..

  56. Flowerry Pott says:

    LET US HUG UNTIL WE FALL TO THE GROUND AND THEN LET’S ROLL AROUND SOME, TOO.

    Oh, thank you so much Mark! That made me spit out my corn flakes! :D

  57. Noybusiness says:

    I really like this script!

  58. @RadagastWiz says:

    The biggest point I always take from this chapter and the one previous, is that Pippin and Merry, independent of each other, each swear their sword and service to a head of state of a power foreign to them. I guess they really are two peas in a pod.

  59. blossomingpeach says:

    I don't think I've seen this mentioned before, and forgive me if it's redundant. It's off-topic, but only a little?

    I noticed at theonering.net they're having a Middle-Earth March Madness Competition, and want help narrowing down their original list to a list of 32 for a bracket.

    Go vote for your favorite Tolkien characters!!
    http://www.theonering.net/torwp/2012/02/22/53759-

    It's not overly spoilery (just a list of names, most of whom have been mentioned already), but I wouldn't go over there unless I'd already finished LOTR and The Hobbit at least.

  60. GamgeeFest says:

    I'm at work… and people are staring at me… because I'm laughing so hard! Excellent review, bro! LOVE TO ALL OF IT!

    And all the hugs for Merry.

  61. thimbledore says:

    ÉOWYN: Your face is butts.

    Between that and all the flat "what"s , I laughed the top button of my pants open. WELL DONE, MARK. I am glad it didn't pop off. XDDDD That's what I get for eating a big ol' bagel sandwich for lunch!

  62. bugeye says:

    I loved the “mind fight” comment last chapter between Denethor and Gandalf. We have also witnessed another mind fight between Saruman and Gandalf. In both cases Gandalf won but it was a struggle, and the antagonists were on a pretty level playing field. So a Steward of the race of Numenor can go mano-a-mano with a wizard. In this chapter we have Aragorn in a mind fight with fucking freaking Sauron and who blinks first.

    The race of the Lords of the West, the men of Numenor are different. Aragorn is the heir of this race and Tolkien spends a lot of time in LotR and his other works on this back story. Bloodlines, DNA if you will, are important in this world. Aragorn has the DNA to use the Stone, wield the Sword, and call the dead. We only see him as a friend of Gandalf, of elves, kind/unkind to hobbits and Eowyn. We do not value his lineage or position, or even care what this means until we, like Sauron, are hit in the face with it. He has is a responsibility, a duty and he will either die or have his life irrevocably changed.

    He too carries a burden.

  63. Rassilauren says:

    So, I have a confession to make. I had read The Lord of the Rings before I saw the movies. So had my dad. But when it got to the part about the ghosts, neither of us could remember it.

  64. Tiffany says:

    I have only one thing to say about the awesome that is this review:

    Just you wait, Mark, you are SO UNPREPARED.

    “V nz ab zna!”

  65. eyelessgame says:

    I always figured Eowyn had a good point, when Aragorn told her she might see battle after all, as the home guard. "All your words are but to say: you are a woman, and your place is in the home. But when men have died in honor and glory, you have leave to be burned in the home, for the men will need it no more." Buuuuurn.

    • rubyjoo says:

      I think that people are being a bit unfair to Aragorn. IMO, his opinions about "the home guard" ring absolutely true. My father always said that my mother went through a lot more, suffering bombing night after night in WWII England than he ever did fighting his way through France, North Africa and Italy. She also worked in an aircraft factory, building essential planes for the Air Force. We all respected my father-in-law who was part of the Home Guard, digging bodies out of destroyed buildings, watching for enemy bombers and helping to put out the constant fires. Eowyn wants to go to war for the wrong reasons – to win glory and renown and to be with Aragorn. It's a team effort and, although I sympathise and think it's really great that Tolkien raises this issue, her unwillingness to be a part of the team irritates me a bit.

  66. xpanasonicyouthx says:

    ZOMBIES

    FUCK, Y'ALL. I TOTALLY KNEW IT.

    i mean half zombies but whatever.

    • fantasy_fan says:

      The most amazing prediction ever. And you've might have even pulled another one you don't even know about. You might have to change your slogan to "Mark – not prepared but right anyway."

    • Tul says:

      We were all amazed by your genius here Mark! :)

  67. Aris Katsaris says:

    Tolkien had originally drafted an even nastier (but quite amusing) response by Aragorn to Gimli: "What did you fear the I should say to him? That I have here a rascal of a rebel dwarf, that I would gladly exchange for a serviceable orc?" before deleting the second sentence when he revised the text.

    • Tul says:

      I actually prefer that version! :D

    • rubyjoo says:

      That's interesting, AK. I reckon that he deleted it because, although I see this as Aragorn being very tongue-in-cheek and making a joke with a friend – "You're just so AWFUL Gimli! You fully realise, don't you, that given half a chance, I'd swap you in for an orc any day? Well, if you'd believe that, you'd believe anything" – but I can imagine that many readers would take his remark too seriously. Sensible decision, Tolkien!

  68. rubyjoo says:

    I'm sorry if I've missed this is any one else's post but Aragorn's decision to look into the Palantir is right for a number of reasons. Although it means that Sauron might take action a bit more quickly (bad news), the good news is that he has drawn the Eye away from Frodo. Sauron now thinks that Aragorn has the Ring and is really concerned because he knows that Aragorn might have the strength to wield it. Aragorn has made the decision on behalf of the Men of the West, rightly or wrongly, (and I think rightly), that they must take the flak of an early attack in order to give the Ring-bearer a chance.

    The other thing is, he has seen a danger from the South in the stone and this is what prompts him to take the Paths of the Dead as the only way to counter this: "A grave peril I saw coming unlooked-for upon Gondor from the South that will draw off great strength from the defence of Minas Tirith." The only way to save MT from destruction is to get to the coastlands through the PotD and thereby try to put an end to this threat. Well done, Aragorn, and well done all those who believe in him enough to go with him!

  69. notemily says:

    This chapter is when we see that, despite there being approximately three named women in Middle-earth (that was hyperbole please don't correct me), one of them is actually consciously trying to break out of her gendered role, and I have to give Tolkien props for that. Eowyn is awesomesauce. Aragorn is trying to get her to stay by telling her she has an important job she has to do protecting her people, and she's like "funny how I'm always the one stuck with that job while the MEN go off and fight." She seems fully capable of fighting alongside the other Riders but because she's a woman, she's supposed to stay behind and take care of the house. And she's fully aware of this and pissed off about it. I love her.

    [Lbh xabj ubj Gbyxvra onfvpnyyl vairagrq gur zbqrea snagnfl traer? V'ir orra ernqvat gur Nynaan obbxf yngryl naq V pna qrsvavgryl frr gur frrqf sbe Nynaan va Rbjla. V xabj vg'f orra qbar fb znal gvzrf ohg "tvey qerffrf hc nf obl va beqre gb qb guvatf jbzra nera'g nyybjrq gb qb" vf bar bs zl nyy-gvzr snibevgr gebcrf.]

    I love how they make this huge deal out of Aragorn's banner, and then when it's unfurled you… can't see what's on it. "behold! it was black, and if there was any device upon it, it was hidden in the darkness." Hee. Behold! Nothing!

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  71. PewPewPew says:

    Well, I mean, it might be an honor for someone else. And certainly others perceive it as an honor, and I'm sure everyone will be nice to her and if she dies they'll be even nicer, etc. But she doesn't see it as an honor, so it's not? Intentions aren't the important part, it's about impact.

    (hollllla, reader response criticism is leaking into my liiiiiiife)

    Also, you're right that it's maybe not a mature reaction, and she's young, but I don't like discrediting her feelings because of her youth. She's not less of a person, you know? Her youth doesn't obstruct her from seeing the sexist nature of her responsibilities.

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