Mark Reads ‘The Two Towers’: Chapter 6

In the sixth chapter of The Two Towers, Gandalf and his companions go to confront Théoden and it’s not what I expected. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read The Lord of the Rings.


I’m starting to see how Tolkien is going to give me a lot more story than I thought there was going to be, though I admit that I feel like I’m in the dark here. This is a good thing! It’s terribly exciting not just to go into a series so unprepared, but I’m still surprised that I somehow did not pick up any significant details about this book over the years. This is all a genuine surprise to me.

I admit that this might be one of the reasons I’m enjoying myself, but I’d also like to think that I truly do admire and appreciate this novel. The story is fantastic, yes, but most days, I find myself in awe of the scope of Middle-earth. As a writer, and one who is working on my first novel NOW THAT I HAVE ACTUAL TIME, The Lord of the Rings is making me re-think the concept of a setting in a book. The fictional world of Middle-earth is so immense and so complete. And I haven’t even read the appendices or the Silmarillion! I don’t even know THE HALF OF IT. I suppose I was worried that all the information Tolkien provides would bore me. It’s one of the only things I really knew about The Lord of the Rings that applied to the entire novel: J.R.R. Tolkien created a total world.

It’s impressive to me that even as we move into the second “book” and inch ever closer to Mordor, there’s still stuff for me to learn. There are still entire towns and cities for Tolkien to create for me, and it’s here in chapter six that a part of Rohan is given more detail.

I’d forgotten that Legolas can see farther than most creatures ever, and I instantly wanted that power. I’m nearsighted, so this would be a blessing. I was also just completely exhausted reading the first couple pages of this chapter. It’s one of the things I’m happy that Tolkien constantly acknowledges. This journey is not easy on the bodies of the travelers, and that’s not even taking into account the idea of mental exhaustion. But whatever Gandalf has planned for Théoden must be important since he has them press on overnight just to reach the King of the Mark of Rohan in time.  At the same time, Tolkien also makes a point to focus on the idea that war is beginning to fray the nerves of people in this part of Middle-earth. Gandalf warns that they all must be careful as they come upon the Rohirrim.

Actually, that’s a great thing I’d like to discuss. More than ever before, the threat of war looms. It affects the characters in this novel in ways we’ve not seen, and the cold treatment they all receive by the guard of Edoras is a sign of how things are changing in Middle-earth. I admit that I am starting to get a bit antsy about the idea of a gigantic battle in this book, and I have a feeling I might actually get one.

Well, I’m skipping ahead. Let’s discuss Edoras and the DISASTER that happens once they’re allowed inside. I do love how formal everyone speaks in Middle-earth, how important family names and histories are for even the most basic of requests. I mean, the fact that Aragorn can namecheck a king or two and it’s like owning a skeleton key is just a beautiful thing to me. But, as I’ve said before, it’s the small details that make this book so entertaining to me, and Tolkien is the master of providing them to us. Eldoras is no exception, and it’s one of those settings in The Lord of the Rings where I just love it so much that I want to go live there. I love the stony path that cuts through town, the wood houses, the stone channel, and the SPRING BURSTING FROM BENEATH THE STONE SHAPED LIKE A HORSE’S HEAD. Sweet summer child, I am SO PREPARED TO LIVE OUT MY DAYS HERE.

Upon arriving at the Golden Hall, we’re treated to a scene that I can’t help but interpret as being one of the funniest things in the entire book. I do think it’s purposely played to be a bit silly, even if it does have serious implications for the story later in this chapter. Háma (BLESS HIS SOUL) is required to ask that everyone coming any further must leave all weapons before entering. I was not surprised at all that Aragorn refused to do so. I think he’s possibly the most reasonable member of the Company, but he’s got an ego that clashes with that reason from time to time. This is a perfect example of that. Yes, Andúril is an ~*important sword*~ and I get Aragorn’s hesitance to give it up, but he’s perhaps a bit too stubborn about it. Gandalf had just warned them not to be abrasive with the people of Edoras, and Aragorn is already ignoring that. It is beautiful to me that after Aragorn makes this huge scene about no one touching his precious mansword (THAT SOUNDS DIRTY I’M SORRY) and such, Gimli is like MEH WHATEVER and puts his axe down. Even better? After all this talk of sacrificing weapons for the sake of satisfying Théoden and the customs of Edoras, Gandalf refuses to give up his staff. YOU SASSY WIZARD. I LOVE YOU. I am so glad he is back. THE SASSINESS QUOTIENT HAD DROPPED FAR TOO LOW FOR ME TO HANDLE.

Aaaaannndddd then it’s all just fucked up. I didn’t expect that the meeting with Théoden would go particularly well, as Gandalf had already warned the group that things weren’t well here, but I certainly did not anticipate downright rejection on the part of Théoden. It was interesting to me that Théoden harked on a single point: that Gandalf always brought about bad news, bad tidings, or bad luck. Wormtongue, who appears to be some sort of assistant or official counsel to the King of the Mark, makes the same point, though he adds that Gandalf meddles. Even if this is ultimately shown to be an attempt by Wormtongue to thwart Rohan, I still think there’s some truth here. Gandalf really does meddle! He is a brilliant wizard and he’s rarely shown to be wrong, but he appears in people’s lives, changes them, and then leaves. I would actually be happy to see Tolkien address this further myself.

For now, though, Gandalf proves to be more useful and sneaky than ever, and I sat with my mouth agape as he threw off his cloak, revealing that his little hobble was a ruse to get past Háma with his staff. We really haven’t seen Gandalf at full power much in this book and in The Hobbit, and I think it’s one of the best choices that Tolkien made for this character. When he does show off how powerful he is, it’s much more shocking to me. I mean, come on:

He raised his staff. There was a roll of thunder. The sunlight was blotted out from the eastern windows; the whole hall became suddenly dark as night. The fire faded to sullen embers. Only Gandalf could be see, standing white and tall before the blackened hearth.

In the gloom they heard the hiss of Wormtongue’s voice: ‘Did I not counsel you, lord, to forbid his staff? That fool, Háma, has betrayed us!’ There was a flash as if lightening had cloven the roof. Then all was silent. Wormtongue sprawled on his face.

HOW BADASS IS THIS? I adore that Tolkien does not even bother to describe the mechanics of the magic that Gandalf uses. Because of this, it’s much easier to believe that he has this unending capacity to do weird and powerful shit that we can’t even begin to imagine. His display, his spectacle of light and dark, is what convinces Théoden to cast off the darkness of his own doubt and fear, the very thing that had been keeping him reticent towards joining any sort of fight against the Dark Lord. I JUST LOVE THIS, OKAY?

Also, what is with Aragorn and pretty ladies? I cannot pretend to understand the moment between Éowyn and him at all, except that apparently Aragorn constantly has these earth-stopping moments of attraction to every woman he comes across.

I suppose I don’t technically understand what happened with Théoden either. Gandalf shows him the beauty of his land, and he’s suddenly “freed” from something? Did Wormtongue cast a spell on him, or was this meant as a way to highlight how much he’d been taken in by another person? I do think it’s the latter, especially since Gandalf makes reference to Wormtongue’s “wit” more than once. I think this is a case of simply having a bad advisor, one who emotionally and politically manipulated the situation so that the King of the Mark would be extremely reluctant to do anything, going so far as to turn on his own people (like Éomer). Yet it’s Gandalf who is able to break this attitude out of Théoden, and it’s neat to me that it just took him showing him another perspective.

And so it comes about that Théoden will lead his people to war, first against Isengard and the evil will of Saruman. First, though, Háma brings Wormtongue before Théoden and SHIT GETS REAL. I simply believed that Wormtongue was just an ambitious person, one who wanted his own things for Rohan, but Gandalf surprised me when he accused Wormtongue as being paid by Saruman. WHAT? WHAT? OMG HE IS LIKE A SPY. holy shit THIS IS SHIT GETTING REAL. I was impressed with Gandalf’s decision to allow Wormtongue to live and choose his fate, and it’s something that relates to what I brought up earlier. Gandalf meddles, yes, but he leaves people with a choice. He did this with Bilbo in The Hobbit, and he did it with Frodo at the beginning of the book, and now he gives Wormtongue a choice: stay with his people and fight against Saruman, or return to the master who paid him to betray the people of Rohan. He chooses to flee, and I honestly wasn’t surprised about that. How could anyone trust him if he stayed? I think it is important, though, that Tolkien doesn’t choose to portray Wormtongue as a man who existed to be evil. There’s an entire section where Gandalf discusses the fact that at one time, he really was a “friend of Rohan.” NOW IF ONLY THIS COULD BE APPLIED TO SOME OF OUR ANTAGONISTS. You know, the Orcs perhaps? I’M JUST SAYING.

As the town prepares for war, with all the non-warriors leaving to some protected place in the mountains, I was both disappointed and impressed with the treatment of women. Are there no women Rohirrim? Like, seriously, not one warrior or rider who is a woman? But then both Háma and Théoden name Éowyn as the heir in case the King does not return, and there is literally NO ARGUMENT ABOUT IT AT ALL. No shitty moments of people going, “Well, gosh, can we really leave a lady in charge?” Nope, everyone is like WELL, THAT IS RATHER SENSIBLE AND PERFECT. I am so conflicted!

‘I will forget my wrath for a while, Éomer son of Éomund,’ said Gimli; ‘but if ever you chance to see the Lady Galadriel with your eyes, then you shall acknowledge her the fairest of ladies, or our friendship will end.’

GIMLI YOU COULD NOT BE ANY MORE PERFECT. I think this is the best sentence in the entire goddamn book. Oh my god, Gimli loves Galadriel so much.

Did anyone else think this chapter ended on a rather somber note? I was excited that the Riders were off to fight Saruman, especially as a unified group, but the last image we get is of Éowyn, alone at the doors of the Golden Hall, a silent town before her. Ugh, is that foreshadowing? WHAT IS HAPPENING?

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
This entry was posted in The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

474 Responses to Mark Reads ‘The Two Towers’: Chapter 6

  1. Becky_J_ says:

    Oh, Rohan. How great you are. First things first, eh?

    1. I will NEVER see "The Mark of Rohan" or a phrase close to it and not think that it is talking about you, Mark. You are THE Mark, and you are from Rohan. LOOK THIS IS NOW FACT OKAY
    2. LOL FOREVER at Gimli leaving his axe at the gate after Aragorn's lengthy description of his sword…."Well, I GUESS it will be okay here with this sword STRAIGHT OUT OF LEGEND. I mean, my axe doesn't quite have the same history…. BUT YOU BETTER NOT FUCKING TOUCH IT OKAY."
    3. Theoden's welcome to Gandalf…. okay, look, in one comment I once mentioned that Gandalf always brought bad news and trouble. BUT THIS IS JUST OVERSTEPPING IT. Theoden pretty much says that he would be super happy if he never had to see Gandalf again! HELLO. YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO GIVE YOUR GUESTS TEA AND A SNACK BEFORE TELLING THEM THAT YOU WISH THEY DIDN'T EXIST. common courtesy, Theoden, come on
    4.WORMTONGUE. Gross. Instead of lining out my feelings about Wormtongue, which would probably take WAY too long and would have lots of swear words, I will let Cory speak for me….
    <img src=""&gt;
    5.Theoden gives Gandalf Shadowfax, but I don't think that's EXACTLY what he had in mind….with the others, he's all, "Okay, well…. I'm going to be more careful in my words, why don't you guys have some pretty armour!"
    6. Oh, Eowyn. Poor girl, who WOULDN'T be taken with Aragorn?! Honestly, if it were me, I would be proud if all I did was tremble when he smiled at me…. in fact, I would be proud if I simply refrained from fainting on the spot, or squealing like the fangirl I am! I'll let Boy Meets World speak again for me, and show what I would probably say to Aragorn if I ever met him……I WOULD BE SO SUBTLE
    <img src=""&gt;
    7. Gimli CRACKS ME UP with his defense of Galadriel to Eomer. "FINE, I guess we can be friends for now, but if you don't recognize that she is THE BEST LADY EVER, I swear on my axe that you will no longer be able to make friends. GOT IT?!"
    8. Gimli ALSO CRACKS ME UP with his and Legolas' bromance. "Oh, yes, I would just LOVE to ride with you….. but my bff Legi has to be within ten feet of me, k?"
    9. And my final thought…. again, it is 'poor Eowyn.' She has to stay behind, while not only her Uncle, but also the newfound love of her life go riding off into the distance. This is how I picture her face in that last moment….
    <img src=""&gt;

    In closing….. All hail THE Mark of Rohan, and may his days be long and full of unpreparedness! *kneels*

  2. flootzavut says:

    Yet another chapter for which you were NOT PREPARED!

    I'm stoked you finally met Theoden 😀

  3. Ryan Lohner says:

    "V nqzvg gung V nz fgnegvat gb trg n ovg nagfl nobhg gur vqrn bs n tvtnagvp onggyr va guvf obbx, naq V unir n srryvat V zvtug npghnyyl trg bar.

    Jung vf guvf, gur guveq gvzr ur'f cerqvpgrq fbzrguvat whfg bar puncgre orsber vg unccraf?

    • @miranda486 says:

      LOL lrf V pna'g rira oynzr vg ba gur puncgre anzrf KQ

    • flootzavut says:

      Vg zvtug rira orzber guna guerr. Naq vs jr unq va gur guvatf ur'f cerqvpgrq YBAT va nqinapr… be HAcerqvpgrq, va grezf bs fnlvat "Guvf jvyy *arire* unccra…"

      V'z tbvat gb znxr n yvfg, Vwhfg unir gb unir gur oenva gb qb vg 🙂

    • BetB says:

      V guvax Znex'f cerqvpgvbaf ner urycrq nybat ol Gbyxvra'f fglyr. Rirelguvat vf sberfunqbjrq zhygvcyr gvzrf, rfcrpvnyyl ol gur jvfre punenpgref: Tnaqnys, Tnynqevry naq Ryebaq. Znex vf cvpxvat hc ba gurfr guvatf orpnhfr ur vf trarenyyl n irel nggragvir ernqre. V guvax jr pna rkcrpg nobhg bar bs gurfr cerqvpgvbaf cre puncgre. Gurl ner gur orfg cneg bs uvf erivrjf!

    • SGC51 says:

      Juvyr V nterr, guvf cerqvpgvba/pbzzrag vfa'g ba gur fnzr yriry nf gur Tnaqnys pbzzrag sebz n srj puncgref ntb. Gung bar pnzr bhg bs abjurer naq va guvf pnfr gurl ner evqvat gb jne fb n onggyr frrzf vzzvarag. Gubhtu V fgvyy rawbl gurfr "cerqvpgvbaf" 🙂

    • AmandaNekesa says:

      V XABJ, UBJ VF UR QBVAT GUVF?? Ur unf fbzr frevbhf Gerynjarl frre fxvyyf unccravat, nccneragyl.

  4. plaidpants says:

    Theoden! Eowyn! Rohan! (That's really all I have to say on this chapter just because my squeals of happiness are drowning out all other rational thought.)

  5. LarrikJ says:

    If this helps:

    The Lord of the Rings is one *novel*, published as six *books*" across three *"volumes*.

    I believe that's the official distinction, anyway.

  6. @MeagenImage says:

    V nqzvg gung V nz fgnegvat gb trg n ovg nagfl nobhg gur vqrn bs n tvtnagvp onggyr va guvf obbx, naq V unir n srryvat V zvtug npghnyyl trg bar.


    Also, what is with Aragorn and pretty ladies? I cannot pretend to understand the moment between Éowyn and him at all, except that apparently Aragorn constantly has these earth-stopping moments of attraction to every woman he comes across.

    He really needs to remember to turn his swag off.

    • Dreamflower says:

      Jryy, naq nyfb, cbbe tvey– erzrzore gung hc gb abj gur bayl thl jub'f orra cnlvat nal nggragvba gb ure vf gur fyrnml genvgbe Jbezgbathr. Naq gehgushyyl ur jnf cebonoyl gur bayl bar jub'q qner gb pbzr ba gb gur Xvat'f avrpr.

      • flootzavut says:

        Ohhh, true. V zrna, Nentbea = frevbhfyl nggenpgvir. Nentbea nsgre lbh'ir unq Tevzn fyrnmvat gb lbh = yvxr, Terrx Tbq, ureb, veerfvfgvoyr va gur rkgerzr!

    • Dru says:

      Aragorn constantly has these earth-stopping moments of attraction to every woman he comes across.

      Well, there are precious few ladies in Middle Earth by the looks of it anyway – everyone is either his sweetheart/wannabe sweetheart, or his sweetheart's grandmother.

    • Hailey says:

      So true! Aragorn was my first love~

  7. Opal says:

    Ner gurer ab jbzra Ebuveevz? Yvxr, frevbhfyl, abg bar jneevbe be evqre jub vf n jbzna?

    Ab ernyyl, gurer jba'g or nal srznyr Ebuveevz jneevbef va gur jubyr obbx. Naq vs, crepunapr, gurer fubhyq unccra gb or bar, fur jba'g gb nalguvat vzcbegnag va gur onggyr. Ng nyy. Whfg fnlvat. 😉

  8. platoapproved says:

    "Ner gurer ab jbzra Ebuveevz? Yvxr, frevbhfyl, abg bar jneevbe be evqre jub vf n jbzna?"

    Pna V whfg…

    Pna V whfg ynhtu N YBG evtug abj?

    Bxnl, qbar.

    • JustMalyn says:

      Jryy, ab YRTNY jbzra va gur Ebuveevz 😉

      • Dreamflower says:

        Fgvyy, gurer ner fuvryqznvqraf. Whfg orpnhfr Rbjla vf gur bayl bar jr frr qbrfa'g zrna gurer nera'g bguref, orpnhfr gur pbaprcg vf gerngrq nf n fvzcyr snpg naq abg na nabznyl. Ohg V trg gur srryvat gung gurve genvavat vf abg zrnag sbe gurz gb evqr bhg jvgu gur nezvrf gb onggyr, ohg gb jnvg sbe gur onggyr gb pbzr gb gurz.

        "Gur jbzra bs guvf pbhagel yrnearq ybat ntb, gubfr jvgubhg fjbeqf pna fgvyy qvr hcba gurz.

        "Jbzra". Cyheny. Whfg fnlvat.

        • Quietone says:

          "Gur jbzra bs guvf pbhagel yrnearq ybat ntb, gubfr jvgubhg fjbeqf pna fgvyy qvr hcba gurz. "

          My favorite line ever….

          • JustMalyn says:

            Fb gehr. Vg erzvaqf zr bs jbzra va nal jne-gbea pbhagel – rira vs gurl'er abg crezvggrq gb/qba'g svtug, gurl ner nssrpgrq. Jne unf gur cbjre gb uheg nalbar.

        • rabidsamfan says:

          Lrnu, V fhfcrpg gung Rbjla unq nezbe orpnhfr fur'q genvarq va vg (vg'f urnil!) naq gung fur bayl qnerq yrnir gur crbcyr fur'q orra ragehfgrq jvgu oruvaq gb tb gb Zvanf Gvevgu jvgu gur erfg orpnhfr gurer jnf n onzs byqre jbzna jub unq qbar gur genvavat naq pbhyq or gehfgrq.

          Orpnhfr, ubarfgyl, gur bayl guvat gung ernyyl obguref zr nobhg Rbjla vf gung fur nonaqbarq ure qhgl.

          • Dreamflower says:

            Bs pbhefr V guvax fur fnj ure qhgl zber nf gb gubfr fur ybirq– zhpu yvxr Zreel naq Cvccva jub vafvfgrq ba tbvat jvgu Sebqb naq Fnz, nygubhtu gurl unq gurve bja erfcbafvovyvgvrf nf urvef gb gurve snguref. Bs pbhefr, arvgure bs gurz unq orra punetrq jvgu shysvyyvat gurve snguref' qhgvrf– znxrf zr jbaqre, vs Cnynqva be Fnenqbp unq orra vyy be unq gb eryl ba gurve fba zber, jbhyq gurer unir orra n qvssrerapr va gurve ernpgvbaf?

            Nyfb, Rbjla vf gur frpbaq lbhatrfg "enpr bs Zra" punenpgre va gur fgbel. Bayl Oretvy vf lbhatre guna fur vf.

            • rabidsamfan says:

              Gehr, gehr. Zhpu pna or sbetvira bs gur lbhat! V qb yvxr gb guvax gung fur unaqrq ba gur erfcbafvovyvgl gb fbzrbar fur gehfgrq vzcyvpvgyl. Gur yrnqre bs gur rberq fur ebqr jvgu pregnvayl xarj fur jnf gurer, vs V erzrzore nevtug.

              • Dreamflower says:

                Lrf, pyrneyl Rysuryz xarj Zreel "Znfgre Ont" Oenaqlohpx jnf gurer, naq vs ur qvq gura ur jbhyq unir xabja jub oebhtug uvz. Va zl zvaq, cebonoyl rirelbar va gur rberq xarj naq jnf va ba vg gb xrrc gur arjf sebz gur bayl gjb jub jbhyq unir orra natel: Gurbqra naq Rbzre. Ohg gurl cebonoyl arire fcbxr gb ure be bar nabgure nobhg vg rkprcg boyvdhryl– nf Rysuryz qvq jvgu Zreel.

    • Pna V wbva lbh va gur ynhtugre? Naq V znl nqq whzcvat nebhaq va vzcngvrapr gb trg gb GUNG FPRAR orpnhfr V ybir vg fb irel irel qrneyl- vg vf rnfvyl bar bs zl snibevgr gjvfg/eriryngvba fprarf va nyy yvgrengher.

  9. JustMalyn says:

    EDORAS. Basically, I love this place. V pna'g jnvg hagvy Znex frrf Rbjla'f onqnff fxvyyf. Qhevat gur Onggyr bs gur Cryraabe Svryqf, jura V jnf ernqvat, V yvgrenyyl fubhgrq va unccvarff.

  10. plaidpants says:

    ununu V ybir lbhe ynfg cbvag. Bar bs zl snibevgr fprarf, naq V xabj Znex vf tbvat gb nofbyhgryl YBIR vg jura jr trg gurer. Vg'f whfg fb sne njnl!

  11. flootzavut says:

    Rohan is one of my favourite places in the book naq va gur svyzf – Rqbenf! JBJ! – I remember reading somewhere that Tolkien envisaged it as ancient British civilisations but with horses. The descriptions of Edoras are just breathtaking. V fb pna'g jnvg sbe Znex gb frr guvf va gur svyzf naq urer gur nznmvat Uneqnatre svqqyr gurzr… <3

    I wondered if how this scene played out – with Aragorn bristling over his sword and that it is IMPORTANT – was so that when Gandalf says, "Oh, let me have my walking stick, please!" it makes Hama think, I'm not going to get into this. I don't know, I don't think it's suggested in the books, it's just one of those things that occurs to me when I read it. Film spoilers: V yvxr ubj ybat vg gnxrf Yrttl naq Nentbea gb chg qbja nyy gurve jrncbaf. 😀

    "ur unf guvf haraqvat pncnpvgl gb qb jrveq naq cbjreshy fuvg gung jr pna’g rira ortva gb vzntvar"

    V'z cerggl fher guvf vf, va snpg, gur pnfr!

    Also you get to meet Éowyn and Éomer! Gosh, such a lot in this chapter, I had forgotten. And bless my beard, but that line from Gimli is so adorable 🙂

    • tzikeh says:

      and urer gur nznmvat Uneqnatre svqqyr gurzr…

      Oh, GOD – *ehaf gb bcra vGharf naq cynl gung EVTUG GUR SHPX ABJ fb tbetrbhf*

    • rubyjoo says:

      "Ancient British civilisations" are defined as pre-Roman, at least. For instance, Stone Henge goes back thousands of years BC to the time of Neolithic/Bronze Age Brits. In Rohan, we have a reflection of more recent English history – the Anglo-Saxon culture of the 8th and 9th centuries AD – but, yes, without horses because they tended to fight on foot in the famous shield walls. It's interesting that the Rohirrim have only been in Rohan for about 500 years – about the same length of time that the Anglo-Saxons were in England after they invaded before the final Norman conquest in 1066. The Saxons displaced Romano-British tribes and I've always wondered if these are portrayed in the Wildmen of Dunland who were dispossessed by the men of Rohan and driven into the mountains, just as it is believed that many of the native tribal groups were driven into the mountains of Wales in British history when the Anglo-Saxons arrived.

  12. Ryan Lohner says:

    It's awesome how Peter Jackson basically told his production guys "Somewhere in New Zealand, there's got to be a place like Edoras is described, so go find it." And they did, very shortly. In a place that was so windy that he lost a pair of glasses, and had to spend the rest of that day directing half-blind.

    • Cassie5squared says:

      I remember hearing about that. 😀 I giggled so hard. Poor ol' PJ, but the effort put in to find the location was so definitely worth it.

    • roguebelle says:

      Didn't they also, like, have to take weeks to build a road to get to there so that the filming equipment and stuff could make the trek? Or was that another location? I seem to recall it being Edoras.

  13. Alice says:

    Today we get to learn more about the rohirrims and meet 2 of my fav charas :Theoden and Eowyn.<3 them!! I really like the poem that Aragorn recites about them. Also is it weird if I like that slimy Wormtongue,too?He has kindda grow on me since I saw the EE dvd's specials with the actor who played him and the make-up artist and saw all that work that has gone into making him come alive (I found it extremly funny the fact that the others never knew how that guy's voice sounded in real life,because while he still played Wormtongue he stayed in his role 🙂 )

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    (In this order: Alan Lee-Edoras, Alan Lee-The Golden Hall of Meduseld, The Hildebrandt Bros-The Golden Hall, Alan Lee-Theoden and Grima, Hildebrandt Bros-Grima and King Theoden, Angelo Montanini-Theoden and Eowyn, Michael Kaluta-Eowyn at Meduseld, John Howe-Leaving Edoras)

    • Ryan Lohner says:

      And he had to shave off his eyebrows each of the five times he went to New Zealand, much to his wife's displeasure.

    • Saphling says:

      Loving the depiction of Eowyn in front of the doors of Meduseld.

    • plaidpants says:

      Gubfr gjb Nyna Yrr fubgf ybbx rknpgyl ubj Rqbenf vf cvpgherq va gur zbivr – lbh pna gbgnyyl gryy Nyna unq n uhtr vasyhrapr ba gur qrfvta!

    • Ka_tet says:

      Nothing weird with liking Brad Dourif as Grima! He is the one who made me like the character too, actually. 😀

      • Alice says:

        I really love these movie-Grima lines:"Bu, ohg lbh ner nybar! Jub xabjf jung lbh unir fcbxra gb gur qnexarff. Va ovggre jngpurf bs gur avtug, jura nyy lbhe yvsr frrzf gb fuevax, gur jnyyf bs lbhe objre pybfvat va nobhg lbh, yvxr n uhgpu gb genzzry fbzr jvyq guvat va. Fb snve, fb pbyq, yvxr n zbeavat bs cnyr fcevat fgvyy pyvatvat gb jvagre'f puvyy." He delivers them beautifully!

    • flootzavut says:

      Those pictures of Edoras/The Golden Hall are ravishingly gorgeous <3

    • Dreamflower says:

      Oh dear to Hildebrandt Eowyn and her big hair! Though I quite like their version of Wormtongue.

      I love that second to last one!!

    • Alice says:

      Sorry for that double posting pic of Lee's Theoden and Grima,dunno how that happened :p.The Rohan culture is one of my top 3 favorites in Tolkien's world,and I loved how it was made into the movies…all that small details that weren't even seen,like those wonderful tapestries depicting their cultural history and myths.It really showed the love and dedication of all those artists involved in the movies,and that is one of the main reasons why the LOTR movies will NEVER be equaled for a long time.

      • PArcadia says:

        That first Alan Lee painting… is that a piece of his work prior to movie productions and location scouting? Because if it is…DAMN. That place EXISTS.

    • threerings13 says:

      That would be Brad Dourif. He's an amazing actor and he really portrays Grima as a person rather than a bad guy. ( I also really love his work in Deadwood.)

      • Majc says:

        V fgvyy fgehttyr gb trg Oenq Qbhevs bhg bs zl urnq nf Yhgure Yrr Obtf sebz "Orlbaq gur Frn" rcvfbqr bs K Svyrf. Nznmvat naq perrcl gb ab raq.

    • Dru says:

      My fav is the third-to-last pic, Eowyn looks like such a badass there.

      I love the expression on her face, like she will END YOU with no trouble if you piss her off.

    • Alice says:

      LOOOL!!I didn't even notice until now that in Montanini's pic of Theoden and Eowyn,behind the throne is Grima…jeez,now I feel sheepish :p

  14. stingingpetals says:

    I love Theoden and his horsie-vikings!

    • Dru says:

      LOL FOREVER @ "horsie-vikings"!

      **dying of laughter imagining big, tough, antler-helmeted men on rocking-horses now**

      • stingingpetals says:

        *tips hat*

        (It is an affectionate little pet name, but the more I learn about Medieval Saxon culture the more I realize how much of the Rohirrim culture is based on them.)


  15. hick says:

    The book takes place in a world somewhat ressembling the Middle Ages. And Tolkien wrote it in the 1950s. Women didn't go to war back then, except possibly as nurses. So I don't think it's anything sexist, that no woman of Rohan went fighting. Éowyn seems to be a pretty strong character, who can hold her own without doing anything heroic on the battlefield.

    • stormwreath says:

      Well, he wrote it in the 1940s but couldn't agree on a publisher until the 50s. 🙂 But tyhat just makes what you say even more true.

      Tolkien fought in the First World War, and there were no women soldiers in that war at all. Women played a major role in the war effort, of course – as nurses and drivers and factory workers – but they didn't fight. The idea would have been all but inconceivable to a person of his generation.

      (Unless you're talking about legendary figures like Joan of Arc.)

      • rubyjoo says:

        Well, Tolkien wasn't writing about the Middle Ages but was trying to give a flavour of 8/9th century England during the Anglo-Saxon period, also known as the Dark Ages. Historically, there were famous women who lead their troops into battle like Aethelflaed, King Alfred the Great's daughter. Some hundreds of years earlier, pre-Saxon, there were plenty of warrior women like Boudicca amongst the British tribal groups. I believe they were given the choice of being housewives and mothers or shield maidens, LOL! Tolkien would have known this and recreated his world accordingly.

      • Skyweir says:

        It isn't any less sexist just because the attitude of the time was sexist. It is understandable, sure, but still sexist. Sexism is more binary than that, either you treat the sexes like equals or you do not.

        Now, I am not claiming that Tolkien is sexist, just that the Rohirrim are in this chapter.

        Zber frevbhf punetrf bs frkvfz ba gur cneg bs Gbyxvra vf cbffvoyr orpnhfr fb srj jbzra unir ntrapl va uvf obbxf. Ohg gung vf nabgure znggre.

        • flootzavut says:

          V yvxr gung npghnyyl Tnaqnys pnyyf bhg Rbzre ba uvf nggvghqr va gur Ubhfrf bs Urnyvat… V guvax Znex jvyy nccerpvngr gung.

          • blossomingpeach says:

            Un un, V jnf whfg er-ernqvat gung bire gur jrrxraq naq ynhtuvat ng gur yvggyr fanex rkpunatr orgjrra Nentbea naq Rbzre naq Tnaqnys gelvat gb cynl crnprznxre. V unys rkcrpgrq Rbjla gb fvg hc sebz ure fvpx-orq naq fnl, "Url thlf, qlvat urer?"

        • rubyjoo says:

          Well, Eowyn DOES get left in charge to be Theoden's heir if they get killed and all the men are keen on having her in authority. Plus, she gets given fighting gear and the last image of her in this chapter is of her standing in her silver mail. I'm not quite sure what you want. It's only in the last year or so that western countries have agreed to women fighting in the front line.

          • Delta1212 says:

            It's like racism. Saying "Black people are good at basketball." is racist. Calling it racist isn't an attempt to put it on the same level as something done by a Klansman, but the existence of something more awful doesn't make the statement not racist.

            Similarly, the fact that the people of Middle-Earth, as a general rule, don't seem to revel in the oppression of women doesn't eliminate the sexist elements from existence. The fact that it's significantly better than the worst it could be doesn't make it the best it could be, and commenting on the imperfections is both a valid and useful way to discuss a work.

            When I'm looking at problematic aspects of a work, the context in which it was written makes a big difference for me, as I find it easier to tolerate these problems from someone who didn't have access to the education and thinking that is available in our society today than I do from someone who should know better based on where and when they live. That doesn't mean I think those aspects of the work should be ignored, though.

            For me personally, I think it's a good thing to acknowledge that they are there so that I can then move on to discussing any and all positive aspects of the work without having to focus on the bad parts. Others prefer to have an in-depth discussion about those very issues. I believe that as long as the people involved are taking something away from the conversation that neither of these can be considered a bad way of looking at the work.

        • PArcadia says:

          Having just thumbed through his Letters, I was reminded Tolkien's views on women weren't particularly evolved. Helpmeets, nurses, instinctive, living to be stimulated by men, they can be taught but only if they're intested in the guy teaching them, etc. In a benign way those views are quite sexist, though not uncommon.

          Ébjla vf na noorengvba gb uvz, V guvax. Gur 'angheny beqre' bs guvatf vf erfbyirq va gur raq jura fur chgf qbja gur jrncbaf.

        • t09yavosaur says:

          Serious Question: Is it less sexist if it is done for a practical reason? The logic to leaving women behind is that it ensures the survival of the tribe. If they said the women couldn't come because they can't fight it is a more obvious distinction but Eowyn was given a sword and given command so that isn't the case here.

          • msw188 says:

            I'd say anything divisive between men and women is sexist if one of the two groups is not involved in the decision-making process to create the divide. The only counter-example would be if there were some scientific criteria for the division. This is basically impossible with the current state of mathematics in both Biology and Psychology.

            Anyway, in this case, if the women and men agreed TOGETHER that leaving women behind while fighting a battle is best (whether practical or not), then the decision should not be called sexist, and the action can be called sexist but only questionably, in my opinion.

            I'll admit right away that I haven't thought long and hard about this.

            • msw188 says:

              Oops, didn't mean to submit just then. I wanted to clear up, if we're discussing the Rohirrim specifically and their march to war without the women, it seems pretty clear that this decision is made entirely by the men, and so the decision is sexist, whether or not the action is practical. Is the action sexist? I'd say so.

          • Katarina_H says:

            I've been thinking some about this since yesterday. Fvapr NYY gur zra ner bss svtugvat – hayvxr n sbezny nezl – nyy be zbfg bs gur zbguref jbhyq unir gb fgnl oruvaq, gb pner sbe gur puvyqera. Fb gung yrnirf fbzr znvqraf, fcvafgref, naq lbhatvfu tenaqzbguref jub zvtug or hc sbe onggyr. V guvax vg'f n ovg fvyyl, cenpgvpnyyl fcrnxvat, abg gb vapyhqr n srj fgebat, puvyqyrff jbzra, ohg vg jbhyq fgvyy whfg or n srj. (Znlor gurl'er va gurer, fbzrjurer.)

            Now, modern newspapers going women-and-children, that's another matter entirely.

            (rot-ing the bulk of this comment, to be sure)

  16. Saphling says:

    Love this chapter. It really does seem like a turning point in the book. Rohan is beset, and though no open war has been declared, the mentality of suspicion, dread and hostility has crept into its peoples' mentality. But Gandalf and Co. come to show their King Theoden, who has been weighed down (literally and metaphorically, thanks to Wormtongue) by the despair of what he sees as the end of his people (through the coming war), that the world is not yet as dark as he thinks it to be.

    That there is hope still, if he chooses to embrace it and work for a victory against the seemingly overwhelming odds.

    ….Also, this chapter gives me one of my favorite lines. "Keep your forked tongue behind your teeth!" GO GANDALF! YOU TELL HIM.

    • castlewayjay says:

      I love it when Gandalf tells Grima that he (Gandalf) didn't go through fire and death just to waste time with the likes of him!!

      but Gandalf and Theoden give Grima a second chance, and he blows it. even spitting at the king! doesn't Aragorn clean up after that major disrespect?
      great characters Tolkien created.

      • Tilly says:

        It's one of the random guards with a helmet full of water that cleans it up, but I like that someone thought to do it!

  17. CoyoteSister says:

    Oh, Eowyn… rereading this chapter, I forgot how awkward it was between Aragorn and her. But the scenes between them just make me wince in sympathy/memory. (C'mon, who among us has not accidentally smiled at a person and then been sadface-forever'd when they immediately look away?)

  18. Dreamflower says:

    Re-reading this in preparation for today, I too was far more impressed with Gandalf than I have been in several years– familiarity tends to rub the awe off a little with fictional characters as well as RL friends, and so trying to see Gandalf here as though it's new to me, I see his power revealed here as far more awesome than I have in a long time.

    I think you nailed it on the humor bit. JRRT's humor tends to be very dry and subtle– and I am not sure but what the whole attitude to the "leave your weapons" was not some unspoken and spontaneous "buddy plan" ruse, like you see in action movies. Aragorn distracts Hama with all his macho posturing over the sword while Gandalf seems all reasonable, and then when Gandalf gets huffy over his staff, Hama just gives in. (And yeah– I love the bit about Gimli's axe keeping Anduril company.)

    As for Gandalf's revealing his raw power once they are inside Meduseld, remember your statement yesterday, that Gandalf has "leveled up" since his defeat of the Balrog? This is the first time we see just what that means– he's not hiding his power anymore.

    V guvax evtug urer jr ner frrvat Tnaqnys hfvat gur cbjre bs Aneln, juvpu vf gur cbjre gb "xvaqyr zra'f urnegf". Ur jnxrf Gurbqra hc sebz uvf ncngul naq eryvnapr ba Tevzn– naq juvyr V qba'g guvax Gurbqra jnf cbffrffrq yvxr va gur zbivrf, vg frrzf pyrne gb zr gung Jbezgbathr znl unir orra hfvat fbzr fbeg bs zvabe fcryy be creuncf fbzr fbeg bs qeht gb raunapr uvf vasyhrapr bire gur Xvat. Tnaqnys vf noyr gb njnxra Gurbqra'f yngrag fgeratgu juvpu jr frr urer.

    And yeah, it's getting real some more!!!

    • flootzavut says:

      Gung gbgnyyl znxrf frafr nobhg Aneln – arire bppheerq gb zr.

      V guvax gur jnl gurl gerngrq vg va gur zbivrf vf n ybg nobhg ubj svyz vf n zhpu zber ivfhny zrqvhz, vg jnf rnfvre gb fubj vg engure guna gel naq rkcynva.

      Nyfb, Oreaneq Uvyy nf Gurbqra = <3

      I thought the same about Aragorn being unwilling to give Anduril up. It seemed like a distraction, and by the time Gandalf is supposed to be handing over his staff, Hama is like "Oh can we just get this OVER with."

      Also, it seems like Hama might be more than a little concerned about his master, and about Grima's influence, so giving him an excuse to let someone take a weapon in, well, it's not a big stretch to think that he might almost have been glad to think that this old guy with his walking stick might belt Grima around the head with it or something!

      • Dreamflower says:

        Rire fvapr V yrnearq nobhg gur Evat bs Sver naq vg'f checbfr, V'ir ybbxrq sbe fvtaf gung Tnaqnys vf hfvat vg va qvssrerag cynprf. Vg'f nyjnlf fhogyr– nsgre nyy, vg'f abg zrnag gb pbageby crbcyr, ohg whfg gb oevat bhg gurve yngrag pbhentr naq qrgrezvangvba, gur yvggyr fcnex gung frgf gurz tbvat.

        Bapr lbh unir gung va zvaq, vg'f rnfl gb frr Aneln'f vasyhrapr va qvssrerag cynprf.

        Nyfb, Oreaneq Uvyy nf Gurbqra = &lt;3 &lt;/i&gt;

        It was a fine performance!

        • flootzavut says:

          I'm so going to be looking for that now, it's a really cool thing to bear in mind. Gotta love a book that rewards re-reading 😀

          "It was a fine performance!"

          Yes… V gubhtug gurl qvq ernyyl jryy jvgu gur pnfgvat bs gubfr gjb nf Xvatf 🙂

        • Fiona says:

          Uvf naq Ivttb’f eryngvbafuvc bire gur svyzvat znxrf zr unccl gbb, nygubhtu vg frrzf yvxr ab bar rkvfgf jub qvqa’g trg ba jvgu Ivttb :). V thrff orpnhfr gurl obgu cynlrq xvatf gurl tbg gb trg n ovg pybfre guna gur bguref.

      • Mart says:

        I think Aragorn just has quite a short fuse when his pride is at stake.

        Remember his sarcasm against Butterbur, recalled later by himself at the Council of Elrond?

        Here we see Aragorn being petty because he feels hurt in his pride. He is Elendil's heir, bearing Elendil's sword, the legendary Sword-that-was-broken, and now a lowly doorwarden is asking him to leave it?

        Some critics complained that Aragorn was too perfect. Obviously they weren't paying attention. He's a good and principled man, but he has his flaws, and a mercurial temper is one of them.

        • stormwreath says:

          What's ironic here is that Gandalf's sword is actually even older and more famous and legendary than Aragorn's; but Gandalf just casually leaves it behind without a word…

          (That's from The Hobbit, where we learn that Gandalf's sword Glamdring was made for the Elven-king of Gondolin in the First Age – which makes it probably twice as old as Andúril.)

          • threerings13 says:

            Gandalf's sword Glamdring was made for the Elven-king of Gondolin in the First Age

            Wow, that IS pretty impressive. Cool.

          • Erik says:

            Older and more legendary indeed… but it’s not their legends.

            Glamdring is legendary to the Elves, but the Rohirrim don’t really tell those stories. The stories of the founding of Gondor aren’t theirs either, but at least they’ve dealt with the Gondorians enough to know the basics of the Founding, and the name of Elendil is familiar.

            Glamdring? Meh. Just some Elvish thing. 🙂

      • Tilly says:

        Naq gur zbivr gnxrf guvf ernqvat gbb, cerggl zhpu. Gur ybbx ba Unzn'f snpr nsgre "Lbh jbhyqa'g cneg na byq zna sebz uvf jnyxvat fgvpx?" (be jungrire vg vf) jurer lbh pna frr uvz cenpgvpnyyl rlr-ebyyvat ng gur snxrarff bs gur rkphfr ohg fgvyy qrpvqvat vg'f jbegu gur evfx – fb shaal! Naq fb gur evtug qrpvfvba.

    • Wheelrider says:

      Yes, very dry and subtle humor… and a lot of it comes from Aragorn! I notice it more and more. When he spends some quality time bitching about having to deal with Gollum at the Council of Elrond, for example. Even the dammit-I-can't-get-anything-right-today bit as he's trying to figure out what to do after Frodo and Sam leave. He's been told he has this rich history, and the possibility of an exciting future, but he's spent most of his days thus far "lying in hedges and ditches," and has to put up with quite a bit more b-s yet.. the dude has earned the right to get a little salty. He still manages to do it good-naturedly, though.

      • Dreamflower says:

        Zl snibevgr ovgf bs Nentbea uhzbe jvyy or pbzvat hc va gur Ubhfrf bs Urnyvat. Ur jnf fb jbaqreshyyl fanexl jvgu gur Ureo-znfgre; naq fb tragyl naq sbaqyl fanexl jvgu Zreel. (Naq guvaxvat bs fbzr bs gur guvatf Tnaqnys fnlf– rfcrpvnyyl jvgu Vbergu, V jbaqre vs znlor gung'f jub ur yrnearq uvf fanex sebz.)

    • sporkaganza93 says:

      Pna V whfg fnl gung V ybir gur jrncba-purpx fprar va gur zbivr? V guvax vg'f fhogyl shaal va gung irefvba, gbb.

      Tnaqnys'f yvar: "Lbh jbhyqa'g cneg na byq zna jvgu uvf fgnss, jbhyq lbh?" Naq whfg… gur SNPR gung ur znxrf gurer whfg xvyyf zr rirel gvzr.

    -Aragorn being stubborn
    -Gandalf being wonderful.
    -Theoden finally coming out of his stupor-ish state.
    -Hama being awesome. He's one of my favorites of the Rohirrim.
    -Eomer being a smartass.
    -Theoden showing Grima mercy in the end. I love that that's a theme of these books in a way that most fantasy novels never seem to have anymore- the concept that even your enemies were once decent human beings and weren't always on the road that lead them to betray you. I love Theoden for recognizing that.
    -Eowyn. I've always liked her a lot. Poor girl, with the way she immediately falls for Aragorn- I know your pain, really Eowyn. And at least she keeps herself together throughout it- I think I probably would have been a tongue-tied mess. I love that she's named the heir.
    -All the history and description and lore that Rohan seems saturated in. If there was any place on Middle-Earth, I'd visit this one so I could study up on its history and myths.

  20. tzikeh says:

    Since you said we could post pics of the characters, so long as there is no indication of any plot — here are:

    <img src=""&gt;
    (Note the eerie resemblance to a certain Doctor Leonard "Bones" McCoy–if Bones' hair were under a blond wig, that is–as Spock might say, "Fascinating!")

    <img src=""&gt;

    <img src=""&gt;

    • Ryan Lohner says:

      Dr. McCoy, the captain of the Titanic, and…the cuckold housewife from Cashmere Mafia.

      • tzikeh says:

        Yes – and Cupid on Xena, and the guy who has the big car chase after Bourne, and a whole bunch of other things. I was just calling on the most recognizable (and recent) big role.

      • notemily says:

        I remember a lot of LiveJournal icons with jokes about Théoden being the captain of the Titanic, but now I can't remember what the jokes were, dammit.

    • flootzavut says:

      <3 I love 'em all 😀

    • Fiona says:

      Karl Urban *sigh*. I think his portrayal has made me love Eomer more when I read the books again, although really they all nailed it.

    • Dru says:

      it's funny, I was a bit underwhelmed by Movie!Eowyn. I prefer the version in my head based on the book tbh, it always seems cooler.

      Liked Movie!Eomer though.

      • castlewayjay says:

        though I love Dom Monaghan, I like the picture I have in my head of Merry better. That's probably true of some other characters too. but some of the actors fit what I always saw in my mind's eye.

    • Katarina_H says:

      Oh, look, some of my favourite people of Middle Earth! (Apart from the hobbits, of course. The hobbits win everything, ever.)

  21. stormwreath says:

    Okay. If you were the king of Rohan, would you really choose as your closest advisor and confidant a guy named WORMTONGUE? Isn't his name a bit of a give away?

    (Though I suppose it's a nickname, not his real name – which is Gríma – so maybe it was first given by his enemies such as Éomer, then gradually everyone started using it.

    Plus it's probably meant to imply 'worm' in the sense of 'serpent' – subtle and cunning – rather than wriggly earthworms.)

    • Saphling says:

      Gandalf does mention in this chapter that everyone in Edoras except Theoden called him Wormtongue, because they could see through him better than the king could. The King was far too deep in Grima's influence to see how he was being manipulated, until Gandalf showed up and kicked butt.

    • alfgifu says:

      The Old English word 'wyrm' had a whole range of meanings, quite a lot of them sinister. You could use it to describe a dragon, or anything serpentine, but it also covered anything small and creepy (think of the old Biblical phrase about 'all the creeping things that creep upon the surface of the earth').

      It also used to get a lot of use when talking about disease, because the Anglo-Saxon world had this funny idea that diseases were caused by tiny wriggly creatures mostly too small to be seen – so, for example, toothache is caused by the tooth-wyrm, earache by the ear-wyrm, and so on. Fortunately the introduction of Classical ideas about medicine via the monasteries soon put the record straight in favour of the Four Humours.

      Note that the Beowulf dragon is a wyrm, and so are the maggots that thrive on decay, and there may be a metaphysical meaning that ties together with Hell and despair (the wyrm as fatal pride, or corruption that leads to the death of the King, as well as sickness).

      • rubyjoo says:

        I like the way that Wormtongue finishes up flat on his belly like the serpent in the Garden of Eden, LOL!

      • atheistsisters says:

        I never knew that about the Anglo-Saxon ideas about disease! I wonder how they came to that conclusion?

        • alfgifu says:

          I've just been trying to find some online references as an example, but unfortunately they're a bit sparse. Basically, a lot of our knowledge of Anglo-Saxon medicine comes from a single text (Bald's Leechbook – link to the Wikipedia article which seems to be fairly accurate as far as it goes), and there are quite a lot of recipes in there to cure an infestation of worms in different parts of the body. The idea of the Tooth Worm was apparently fairly widespread even quite late on – I came across an account of it from rural Victorian England where the cure finished by swilling the mouth out with cold water into a glass. Then you could see tiny flecks floating around in the glass (probably bits of dust or dirt) and these would be triumphantly pointed out as the evil worms that had been flushed out of the teeth.

          I don't know if anyone knows where it came from originally, but I suppose it could have been a natural conjecture after observing parasites such as tapeworms – sometimes you can see the worms causing the trouble, but if you can't see them perhaps they're just too small.

          Edit: attempt to fix the formatting.

  22. knut_knut says:

    MY GOD, THIS CHAPTER IS SOOOOO LOOOOOOOOOONG. I don’t mean it in a bad way, I just kept thinking “ok, now it’s going to end” and then it kept going. We start the chapter on our way to have a chat with Theoden, and by the end we’re going to war O_O

    EOWYN!! Finally, another female character! V ybir ubj jr’er vagebqhprq gb ure va gur zbivr <3 Vg jnf xvaq bs n abq gb gur raqvat bs guvf puncgre, ohg vafgrnq bs whfg yrnivat ure ng oruvaq, jr tbg ZBER RBJLA!

  23. tzikeh says:

    Oh, yes – Gríma:

    <img src=""&gt;

    Why, hello there, Brad Dourif! Imagine you playing someone kind of nasty dude!

  24. Ryan Lohner says:

    Was anyone else thrown a bit, the first time they read this, when Theoden calls Eowyn his "sister-daughter?" Luckily, he soon calls Eomer his "sister-son" and it's clear they're his niece and nephew, but the way the more easily mistaken one comes first really made me do a double take.

    • flootzavut says:


      I actually wasn't thrown by that, maybe because I've done languages and so I'm used to different languages/cultures referring to people (or indeed things) in ways that might otherwise seem odd. (I mean, heck, in French for example, ninety is "four twenties and ten" – by comparison, sister-daughter makes a lot of sense!)

      But I can see how that might make you double take!

    • JustMalyn says:

      That definitely freaked me out the first time. WHAT relation did you say you were?

    • Dreamflower says:

      That was also something common in Anglo-Saxon cultures (and some others as well). The son or daughter of your sister was considered your closest relative after your own children, closer than the son or daughter of a brother, for example, and a distinction was made between the two types of nephew and niece.

      Appendix A spoiler: Bs pbhefr, Gurbqra unq ab oebguref, bayl fvfgref, fb va uvf pnfr gur qvfgvapgvba jnf zbbg.

      • alfgifu says:

        Which in turn is interesting because it fits with a certain type of social/evolutionary thinking: if you want to be absolutely sure that you are genetically related to somebody in the next generation, and you are male (and don't trust anybody), then your sister's children are your closest relations – above even your own children.

        The logic runs: it is not possible for me to be unrelated to my birth mother, but I might be mistaken about my relationship to my father. I might also be mistaken about my paternity of my children. However, I must be related to anyone who shares the same birth mother, and therefore to the children of any sister who shares my birth mother. Therefore, I can be absolutely certain that my sister-son and sister-daughter are genetically close – more certain than I can be about my own children.

        This doesn't seem to have been the explicit reason for the value placed on those relationships in the Anglo-Saxon world but (assuming a certain lack of faith in humanity) it does make sense in a culture that values kinship. Old English literature tends to point out sister-sons whenever they appear.

        • Erik says:

          If I recall correctly, for that reason it’s the most common inheritance pattern for male roles in matrilineal societies.

        • JustMalyn says:

          That's really interesting. Thanks for explaining it out in that level of detail 🙂 Kinda fascinating.

        • Tilly says:

          And to bring up a (descendent of a) related language/culture, that's still how such kinship terms are encoded in Swedish, for example – sister-daughter/brother-daughter for niece, sister-son/brother-son for nephew, mother-sister/father-sister for aunt, mother-brother/father-brother for uncle, etcetera.

        • msw188 says:

          Wow, I never would have thought of this. Like some others, I just wanted to thank you for pointing this out.

        • Steve Morrison says:

          Which seems to be the reason Fili and Kili in particular died defending Thorin! The text states:

          Of the twelve companions of Thorin, ten remained. Fili and Kili had fallen defending him with shield and body, for he was their mother’s elder brother.

    • sporkaganza93 says:

      Forget it, man, it's Chinatown!

  25. Kibblie says:

    While rereading this chapter, by brain kept connecting Gandalf to the Doctor.

    Gandalf = Middle Earth Doctor? Oh my brain 🙁

  26. @miranda486 says:

    V ernyyl ubcr gung ol gur raq bs gurfr obbxf, Znex ernyvmrf jung V guvax gur zbivr crbcyr snvyrq gb pbairl: Rbjla nqzverq Nentbea orpnhfr fur jnagrq gb or yvxr uvz, n jneevbe, n yrnqre, fbzrbar abg yvzvgrq ol gurve pbaqvgvba naq noyr gb cnegvpvcngr. ABG orpnhfr fur jnagrq ure bja E-irefvba bs ubefvat nebhaq jvgu gur zna.

    V whfg ybir Rbjla fbbb zhpu lbh thlf! httuu ZL RZBGVBAF.

    Nyfb, V nyjnlf gubhtug Nentbea pbhyq frr guebhtu ure, ure lrneavat bs orvat fbzrguvat zber guna whfg n snve ynql. Ur unq nyfb orra sbeprq gb or yrff guna ur ernyyl jnf naq lrnearq gb orpbzr gung juvpu ur sryg jnf uvf qrfgval naq hygvzngryl jnf: N yrnqre, n xvat bs xvatf.

    NYY gur jbzna entr ng gur haarprffnel ybir/frkhny pbaabgngvbaf gb gurfr gjb va gur zbivrf. Ng yrnfg V qva'g trg gurz sebz gur obbxf, V gubhtug gur nggenpgvba jnf abg culfvpny, vg jnf n zrrgvat bs xvaqerq fcvevgf-znlor V whfg ernq gbb zhpu vagb guvatf.

    Nyfb gurfr obbxf jrer jevggra sberire ntb naq jbzra onpx gura jrer abg rknpgyl jung gur zrqvn be cevag jbeyq jbhyq/pbhyq nqiregvfr gb or rdhny be nf fgebat be vzcbegnag nf zra, yrnfg bs nyy ol n znyr jevgre. V npghnyyl guvax gung rira gubhtu srznyr cnegvpvcngvba vf zvavzny pbzcnerq gb gung bs znyr va gurfr obbxf, gurer vf npghnyyl n cebterffvir haqregbar va gur jnl srznyr punenpgref ner cbegenlrq birenyy.

    Fbeel sbe gur enag..

    • blossomingpeach says:

      Lrnu, va gur obbxf Snenzve cerggl zhpu fcryyf vg bhg sbe ure, gryyvat ure fur jnagrq Nentbea orpnhfr bs gur ernfbaf lbh fgngrq. Fb vg znxrf frafr gung bapr fur unf guvf oernxguebhtu va Ubhfrf bs Urnyvat Gurencl, fur'f noyr gb cerggl rnfvyl snyy va ybir jvgu fbzrbar ryfr, fvapr jung fur srryf sbe Snenzve naq jung fur sryg sbe Nentbea ner gjb qvssrerag guvatf.

      You guys, I love these characters so much. All of them. All my creys.

    • Dreamflower says:

      V guvax lbh ner onfvpnyyl evtug, nygubhtu V nyfb guvax gurer JNF fbzrjung bs na ryrzrag bs n ebznagvp pehfu ba ure cneg nf jryy orpnhfr fur zvfhaqrefgbbq ure bja srryvatf– naq ab jbaqre, nsgre nyy fur'q orra guebhtu, jngpuvat ure hapyr'f qrpyvar, naq qrnyvat jvgu gur ybngufbzr Tevzn fgnyxvat ure– ohg lrf, V oryvrir gung orarngu nyy gung, fur fnj Nentbea zber nf n ebyr zbqry guna n ebznagvp vagrerfg.

      Ur nf zhpu nf fnlf fb va gur Ubhfrf bs Urnyvat.

      • @miranda486 says:

        V thrff vs Ivtb jnf zl ebyr zbqry V jbhyq nyfb pehfu nyy bire uvf fba bs Nengubea phgr oruvaq…

        Lbh ner obgu evtug va gung fur qvq unir gung pehfu, juvpu vf haqrefgnaqnoyr jvgu gung Tevzn nebhaq, ohg V thrff V arire sryg vg zhghny, naq V guvax gung'f jung V tbg sebz gur zbivrf jvgu gur yvggyr jnyx naq nyy…

        • divAndRule says:

          V gbgnyyl nterr jvgu lbh. Guvf jnf bar bs zl yrnfg snibevgr punatrf va gur zbivr. V haqrefgnaq gung vgf zhpu rnfvre sbe gur obbx gb pbairl guvatf jvgu n gbhpu be n tynapr juvyr vg jbhyq or uneqre va gur zbivrf gb fubj Rbjla'f tebjvat pehfu, ubjrire V nz ernyyl naablrq jvgu gur jnl gurl pubfr gb qb guvatf. Va gur obbxf vgf pyrne gung Nentbea vf hapbzsbegnoyr jvgu Rbjlaf pehfu juvyr va gur zbivr ur npgviryl syvegf jvgu ure. Ernyyl CW .. qvq lbh unir gb tb gb nyy gung gebhoyr gb frg hc n aba-rkvfgrag ybir gevnatyr.

          • Tauriel_ says:

            Hz, V arire tbg gur vzcerffvba gung ur jnf syvegvat jvgu ure be gung ur jnf "yrnqvat ure ba" va gur svyzf… Ur'f pyrneyl erfcrpgvat naq nqzvevat ure, ohg gung qbrfa'g arprffnevyl zrna gung ur'f univat ebznagvp srryvatf gbjneqf ure be gung ur'f syvegvat jvgu ure.

            Ébjla zvtug'ir zvfhaqrefgbbq uvf erfcrpg naq nqzvengvba sbe fbzrguvat zber, ohg vg nyjnlf frrzrq gb zr gung Nentbea nyjnlf xrcg n pregnva qvfgnapr jvgu ure.

            Lrf, gur "ebznagvp pehfu" fur jnf univat jnf n ovg birecynlrq va gur svyzf, ohg V gnxr vg nf negvfgvp yvprafr, fvapr gur svyz vf n ivfhny zrqvhz naq guvatf jbex qvssreragyl. Ohg V arire unq gur srryvat gung fur jnf qbjacynlrq nf na "Nentbea snatvey jvgu n qrfcrengr bar-jnl pehfu".

            • divAndRule says:

              V nterr gung Rbjla’f srryvatf sbe Nentbea jrer gerngrq jryy. Gur zbivr tnir hf n srj zber fprarf gb uryc hf haqrefgnaq jul fur jbhyq or vzcerffrq ol guvf zna, ubjrire V fgvyy guvax gung Zbivr Nentbea’f vagrenpgvba jvgu ure obeqrerq ba syvegvat. Gur fprar jvgu Oertb sryg angheny ohg abg gur fcneevat fprar. Znlor V nz whfg n ovg ovnfrq orpnhfr gur negvsvpvny Nejra oernxhc fprar sbyybjrq ol guvf qvq frrz yvxr CW naq pb jrer gelvat gb fubrubea va n ybir gevnatyr jurer abar rkvfgrq. V nz gunaxshy gb gurz sbe vapyhqvat gung tyvzcfr vagb Nejraf shgher sebz gur nccraqvprf gubhtu. Vg jnf n ybiryl fprar.

    • bugeye says:

      Big Yes to all the comments. V trg fb naablrq ng purnc zbivr gebcrf rfcrpvnyyl jura gur fbhepr zngrevny vf fb ubarfg naq fcrpvsvp. Va guvf irva, gur jubyr Oernxhc fprar jvgu Nejra vf nabgure purnc, gevgr naq birehfrq gebcr. Ynml naq ab rkphfr.

      • Wheelrider says:

        Reason # 4857 that I refuse to watch the movies…

        It seems to me that there's a fine line, especially for young women, between wanting to get with a person and wanting to be like that person. To do or to be. (heh heh.)

  27. Leah-san says:

    Poor Eowyn. Having to stay behind when her uncle, her brother, the guy she has a crush on and everyone else is fighting and having the chance of dying is pretty harsh.

    On a lighter note, LEGOLAS AND GIMLIS BROMANCE NEVER STOPS. I always smile at the part where he says to Eomer like: "Yeah, I'll ride with you, but only if Legolas rides next to me.". I DUNNO I JUST FIND THAT CUTE OKAY.

  28. msw188 says:

    "I adore that Tolkien does not even bother to describe the mechanics of the magic that Gandalf uses. Because of this, it’s much easier to believe that he has this unending capacity to do weird and powerful shit that we can’t even begin to imagine."

    Yes yes YES. I think we've commented on similar ideas before – Tolkien truly understands that many things are more magical if they are left to our imaginations. I know I'm gonna get some angry faces and stuff for this, but it's one of the (FEW) things about the Potter books that bothers me a bit. I mean, it makes perfect sense. In Potter's world, wizards are ORDINARY, and so magic is in some sense ORDINARY as well. Kids go to school to be taught it. It's fun and (usually) self-consistent, but not really as magical, or perhaps 'mystical', as the magic of the world of Middle-Earth.

    I guess what I'm saying is that in Middle-Earth, when something is 'magic', there's an awe about it, or fear. There are some sorts of magic like this in Potter too, but no one sits back and goes "Holy shit this is awesome!!!/Holy shit what is going on???" when they see someone use Tarantellegra.

    • castlewayjay says:

      I like that there is not very much wand-waving or spell-casting magic in Middle Earth

      • notemily says:

        Yeah, it's more like the power of one mind against another, and whose will is stronger. Gandalf has a really powerful mind, and after he comes back the only one who could possibly stand against him is Sauron, I think.

  29. ADB says:

    When I was in my youth theatre troupe, and we did a straight (non-musical) adaptation of "Les Miserables", I played Thenardier and used Dourif's Wormtongue as inspiration.

  30. Alexander_G says:

    I mean, the fact that Aragorn can namecheck a king or two and it’s like owning a skeleton key is just a beautiful thing to me.
    I wonder if Aragorn does this all the time…

    Gandalf, Gimli, Legolas and Aragorn enter Edoras
    Gimli: Oh! Get me something as well!
    waffle vendor: G’day sir welcome to the Edoras waffle stand, best waffles in Rohan, how can I help ye?
    waffle vendor: We have a special on the chocolate chips today would ye like some?
    Aragorn: YES I WOULD
    waffle vendor: here ye go, that’ll be two copper pieces

    Later, approaching Meduseld Hall
    Gandalf: Now, we’re going to meet the King of these lands. He can be a bit stubborn but we NEED. HIS. HELP. So for the love of my beard, behave while we are in his home, deal?
    Aragorn: DEAL!
    Hama: I can’t allow you to meet with the King carrying weapons.
    Gandalf: *facepalm*

  31. stellaaaaakris says:

    I had pretty much two reactions for this chapter: So many mentions of the Mark makes me think of Mark (Who Does Stuff) and HAMA FTW!!!

    A Reinterpretation of this Scene as a Short Play in Which Only Hama Speaks, Except for a Couple of Lines from Theoden
    [ARAGORN, LEGOLAS, GIMLI, and GANDALF all walk up to HAMA, who is busy guarding a door]
    HAMA: Hey, guys, I'm glad to see you but you need to drop your weapons off over there. [points to a barrel]
    [ARAGORN cries some jears but leaves his sword, LEGOLAS puts down his bow and arrows happily, and GIMLI grumbles incoherently while surrendering his ax. GANDALF smiles while leaning on his staff and makes comments about the weather.]
    HAMA: Oh, you're supposed to leave your staff too, Gandalf… [GANDALF flashes the Puss in Boots eyes] But I am going to go with my gut on this one and trust you. Go ahead and enter.
    [THE FOUR enter. GANDALF kicks ass while using the staff.]
    HAMA, peeking through crack in door: Oh, crap. I'm in trouble.
    [THEODEN, listening to GANDALF, tells HAMA to go get EOMER. HAMA goes down to the prison and releases EOMER.]
    HAMA: Hey, Eomer, you're free! [hands him a sword] Here's a sword. Why don't you go up and see King Theoden? He's the one who imprisoned you for being a traitor.
    [Back in the Great Hall, EOMER throws the sword at THEODEN's feet. THEODEN starts complaining about why EOMER has a sword.]
    HAMA: Oh, oops. My bad.
    [THEODEN decides he wants to die in battle, much like Lieutenant Dan in Forrest Gump, and will take every man and boy who can hold a sword with him. But then, a dilemma: who can he trust to lead all the rest of his people to safety?]
    HAMA: I don't know about you, but I'd pretty much only listen to someone who's kinda, sorta related to you.
    THEODEN: What?! But I can't spare Eomer – he needs to fight and prove to me he's not a traitor before I die in battle. And my son is dead. There is nobody else.
    HAMA: Um, I didn't mention Eomer. I was actually hinting at Eowyn. [EOWYN looks up in amazement.] Yes, I actually believe you, a woman, would be the best choice. [looks around the room, notices no disbelieving expressions but still goes on explaining anyway] Look, I think she's pretty badass. And Eomer seems cool with it. [EOMER nods] She's his sister, they share some awesome genes. Plus I would trust her any day over Wormtail – I mean, Wormtongue.
    THEODEN, scratching his head: All right, most awesome Hama, I will take your advice.
    [HAMA smiles as EOWYN is given powers]

  32. castlewayjay says:

    I love that poem in this chapter – "Where is the horse and the the rain on the mountain…" lovely.
    I see that last sentence of the chapter as so sad – Poor Eowyn, lonely & alone.

    yeah, Aragorn did seem a little silly about the sword. maybe it was just a distraction so Gandalf could slip his staff by Hama. No?

    Theoden was misled by Wormtongue and brought back to his senses by Gandalf. No spells or magic involved.

    Vf guvf gur puncgre jurer Rbzre fnlf gung Jbezgbathr unf orra jngpuvat naq jnagvat uvf fvfgre sbe gbb ybat? Perrcvrfg cneg va gur jubyr gevybtl.

    • Dreamflower says:

      yeah, Aragorn did seem a little silly about the sword. maybe it was just a distraction so Gandalf could slip his staff by Hama. No?

      Yes. At least that's how it's always read to me.

      Vf guvf gur puncgre jurer Rbzre fnlf gung Jbezgbathr unf orra jngpuvat naq jnagvat uvf fvfgre sbe gbb ybat? Perrcvrfg cneg va gur jubyr gevybtl.

      Lrf ntnva. Jbezgbathr gur fgnyxre.

      • castlewayjay says:

        I guess I didn't need to ROT13 – thanks Dreamflower.
        To restate – Grima stalking, lusting after Eowyn is just about the creepiest thing in all of LOTR

      • threerings13 says:

        Actually, it's Gandalf who says that line. Eomer comments that he's already aware of THAT. It's an interesting moment of Gandalf's intuition/mystical powers of observation.

        Va gur zbivr gurl tvir Tnaqnys'f yvar gb Rbzre.

    • rubyjoo says:

      Yes, I love this verse too. It's a reflection of the sadness at the passing of all things that you see in Anglo-Saxon poetry and which Tolkien would have known so well. Lots of typical alliteration too. "The Ruin" is an elegy by someone gazing on the ruins of Roman Bath and wondering what happened to the people who lived there. By the time the Saxons arrived in England, the Romans and their works were long forgotten. Here's a YT link, which may or may not work, LOL!

      Interestingly, this elegiac sadness remains in English songs and poetry even today. Just think of Bob Dylan's "Where have all the flowers gone?" It seems to be part of our Anglo-Saxon inheritance.

      • castlewayjay says:

        Thanks for your interesting response!
        V'z fb tynq guvf irefr znqr vg vagb gur svyz.

      • alfgifu says:

        There is also the 'Ubi Sunt' passage in The Wanderer:

        Se þonne þisne wealsteal wise geþohte
        ond þis deorce lif deope geondþenceð,
        frod in ferðe, feor oft gemon
        wælsleahta worn, ond þas word acwið:
        "Hwær cwom mearg? Hwær cwom mago? Hwær cwom maþþumgyfa?
        Hwær cwom symbla gesetu? Hwær sindon seledreamas?
        Eala beorht bune! Eala byrnwiga!
        Eala þeodnes þrym! Hu seo þrag gewat,
        genap under nihthelm, swa heo no wære.

        That one who on this basis thought wisdom
        On this dark life, deeply considered
        Wise in spirit brought to mind from afar
        Many slaughters and spoke this word:
        Where has the horse gone? Where has the rider gone? Where has the treasure-giver gone?
        Where have the places at the feasting gone? Where have the hall-celebrations gone?
        Alas for the bright goblet! Alas for the armoured warrior!
        Alas for the ruler's glory! How that has all passed away
        Dark under the cover of night, as if it never was.

        (That's a rubbishy bit of translation on the spot, I'm afraid, so please excuse it.)

        My favourite Anglo-Saxon echo of this motif comes in O Mea Cella, a Latin poem written by Alcuin of York, who was a scholar at the court of Charlemagne – the whole thing's too long to quote, but it's a beautiful bit of heartfelt mourning for a place loved and lost. O mea cella, mihi habitatio dulcis, amata; semper in aeternum, mea cella, vale. (O my home, to me a sweet habitation, beloved; forever in eternity, my home, farewell.)

        • alfgifu says:

          Ooh, and just from that Old English passage there's some other things:

          – "Frod" means wisdom, so "Frodo" is a good name for a wise hobbit.

          – "maþþumgyfa" or "treasure-giver" is a compound including "maþþum", "treasure", which is pronounced basically "mathom". I see what you did there, Tolkien!

          – þeodnes þrym, Theoden, ruler's glory, I'm just saying…

          • Tilly says:

            It cracks me up (appendices spoilers) ubj znal bs gur xvatf bs Ebuna unir unq anzrf gung onfvpnyyl genafyngr gb 'ybeq', 'yrnqre' be 'cevapr'.

    • Aris Katsaris says:

      > yeah, Aragorn did seem a little silly about the sword

      It's a really important sword. Glamdring may be an even older sword, but it's not personally important to Gandalf — Gandalf's authority doesn't derive from any sort of connection to the king of Gondolin.

      If by some mishap, Anduril got stolen though, Aragorn would be in a much harder position to make his claim convincing. Which in the long term would mean some civil conflict and lives lost.

  33. Mandy says:

    i just can't stop saying that.

  34. Hyaroo says:

    It's kinda weird, but for all the awesomeness of Gandalf in this chapter, as well as the introduction of Théoden and Éowyn (and Grima Wormtongue), for me it's still Gimli who completely steals the show here. "Legolas, my comrade" — bet he never thought he'd willingly say that about an Elf when they started this journey.

    About women in the book — yeah, they're scarce, but I always got the feeling, even when I read the book the first time, that they're there, especially in the many kingdoms and communities, it's just that for the most part they're just not mentioned by the narrative.

    In fact, what I notice upon tis re.reading is that any woman who actually shows up in the story proper seems to be important, extraordinary or at least notable in some way — Goldberry, Arwen, Galadriel, Éowyn and even Lobelia Sackville-Baggins, in her way (she's not likeable, but she's certainly notable). There are tons of incidental male characters here, but for some reason almost no incidental female ones.

    Va snpg, gur bayl erny vapvqragny naq abg-irel-vzcbegnag srznyr punenpgre V pna guvax bs gung'f zragvbarq ol anzr naq npghnyyl nccrnef va gur fgbel vf Vbergu, gur srznyr Urnyre bs Tbaqbe. V pbhyq, V thrff, pbhag Ebfr Pbggba naq Rynabe, ohg gurl'er vzcbegnag gb Fnz.

    • blossomingpeach says:

      Vbergu vfa'g jubyyl ha-abgnoyr: fur'f gur bar gung erzvaqf Tnaqnys gung gur xvat pna urny gur jbhaqrq. Fur'f n ovg ybat-jvaqrq, ohg snveyl abgnoyr. 🙂

      • Hyaroo says:

        Nyy evtug, V urerol gnxr onpx zl pbzzrag nobhg Vbegrgu naq pbaprqr gung nyy va nyy, gurer ner ab vapvqragny be havzcbegnag srznyr punenpgref va gur fgbel. 😀

    • rubyjoo says:

      Yes, I think that the women in LotR play strong, significant roles, even the minor ones – I’ve applied rot13 to a couple of words: woman as healer (jneevbe), woman as wise counsellor (Galadriel), jbzna nf zbgure (Ebfvr), jbzna nf ybire (Rbjla), jbzna nf jneevbe (Rbjla), woman as mystic (Goldberry). Not all of these roles are sexist in aspect because they are not the sort of roles that Tolkien’s peers would necessarily have associated with women. For me, there have always been an appropriate number of women in what is, after all, a boy’s own adventure. The women that Tolkien cleverly introduces give the story substance and depth naq Tnynqevry naq Rbjla ner gjb bs gur zbfg zrzbenoyr va gur obbx.

      • monkeybutter says:

        V pvcurerq cneg bs guvf orpnhfr Ebfvr unfa'g fubja hc lrg, naq gur bguref ner rkcrpgngvba fcbvyref sbe Rbjla. Vg'f abg pyrne jung ebyr fur'f tbvat gb cynl nsgre whfg guvf puncgre. Nyfb, sbe urnyre, lbh whfg unir "jneevbe" va cnenagurfrf. Jnf gung zrnag gb or Rbjla? V pna punatr vg vs lbh yvxr.

    • stormwreath says:

      About women in the book — yeah, they're scarce, but I always got the feeling, even when I read the book the first time, that they're there,

      There's a line very near the end of the book which I think is important to understand Tolkien's attitude here:

      Vg'f gnyxvat nobhg Zvanf Gvevgu nsgre gur qbjasnyy bs Fnheba naq gur raq bs gur Jne:

      "Naq gur pvgl jnf svyyrq ntnva jvgu jbzna naq snve puvyqera gung erghearq gb gurve ubzrf ynqra jvgu sybjref."

      Gung ersyrpgf Gbyxvra'f bja rkcrevrapr bs jung jne vf yvxr, obgu nf n fbyqvre va JJ1 naq nf n uhfonaq naq sngure va JJ2. Jura jne fgnegf, jbzra naq puvyqera ner rinphngrq gb fnsrgl, naq gur zra tb bss gb svtug nybar jvgu bayl gurve zrzbevrf bs gurve snzvyvrf gb fhfgnva gurz. Jura crnpr pbzrf, gur jbzra erghea vagb gurve yvirf naq gurer vf zhpu zhghny erwbvpvat.

      Vg'f n snveyl byq-snfuvbarq vqrn, bs pbhefr, naq qrcraqf ba bhgqngrq Ivpgbevna ivrjf bs jbzra nf arrqvat gb or cebgrpgrq. Gubhtu abgr gung Gbyxvra uvzfrys haqrephgf vg jvgu Ébjla'f fgbel!

      • Rheinman says:

        Va zl bcvavba, Rbjla'f fgbel bayl ervasbeprf gur Ivpgbevna gebcr nfpevorq gb Gbyxvra gung jbzra arrq gb or cebgrpgrq naq rinphngrq sebz gur jne mbar. Rbjla qvfthvfrf ure frys gb pbzr nybat naq fur qbrfa'g tb gb or bs uryc, fur tbrf frrxvat ure bja qrngu jvgu ure snzvyl naq sevraqf engure guna or yrsg nybar nsgre nyy bs ure ybirq barf unir orra xvyyrq va onggyr.

        • rabidsamfan says:

          V qvqa'g trg gung vzcerffvba ng nyy. V gubhtug fur jnf lbhat rabhtu (urapr fghcvq rabhtu) gb guvax gung nyy gur tybel orybatf gb gur onggyrsvryq. Fur jnagrq gb qb fbzrguvat jbegu n fbat, rira vs ab bar rire unq n punapr gb fvat vg. Tvira ure cbfvgvba, fur cebonoyl jnf noyr gb qb n ybg bs evqvat naq rkcybevat jura fur jnf lbhatre, naq orvat pbasvarq gb gur Tbyqra Unyy, rira vs vg jnf gb gnxr pner bs gur hapyr fur ybirq, jnf n greevoyr pbafgevpgvba. "N uhgpu gb genzzry n jvyq guvat va" jnf ubj Gbyxvra chg vg, lrf?

          Gung'f uneqyl gur fnzr guvat nf n srne bs qlvat nybar.

    • Erik says:

      In fact, what I notice upon tis re.reading is that any woman who actually shows up in the story proper seems to be important, extraordinary or at least notable in some way …. There are tons of incidental male characters here, but for some reason almost no incidental female ones.

      Actually, I think you’re hitting the nail very close to the head here, with the exception that there aren’t that many incidental male characters either, especially if “character” is someone who has a name. Since the Shire, there are Butterbur & Ferny in Bree, a couple of advisors (and Arwen) in Rivendell, the borderguard in Lothlorien, the doorward in Edoras… I think that’s almost all so far, at least off the top of my head (at work with no book). Perhaps Ugluk & Grishnazh if you count them. 🙂 The rest are all extras, mostly not described at all.

      The key to all this is that they’ve been actively avoiding all people. After Bree, they didn’t even use the road to Rivendell, and cut cross country to Moria. In Lothorien, there’s a city full of elves of both genders… none of which appear in this story. We weren’t introduced to anyone except Haldor, Galadriel, and Celeborn. Then more vacant lands until Edoras, where we meet the guards first, and… that’s where we are so far. Men and women are in the city, but the men are about to ride to war and the women, children, and elders to retreat to the hill keeps because that’s what Anglo-Saxons did, and that was Tolkien’s model for the Rohirrim.

      Tbvat shegure, gurer ner cyragl bs haanzrq vapvqragny jbzra nf gbjafsbyx va Qhauneebj naq Zvanf Gvevgu, ohg gur fgbel yvar fgnlf jvgu gur zvyvgnel, sbe orggre be jbefr, sebz urer ba bhg, naq gurer’f ab rkcyvpvg jbzra va Zvqqyr Rnegu nezvrf. V fhccbfr bar znl hfr bar’f bja urnq-pnaba gb ghea fbzr crepragntr bs Tbaqbevna naq Zbeqbevna nezvrf vagb jbzra. Jura vg pbzrf gb nezberq Bepf, V’z abg fher jr pna gryy va gur svefg cynpr. 🙂 Gbyxvra’f hcpbzvat vapvqragny punenpgref ner zbfgyl yvzvgrq gb ynaq ehyref (Rexraoenaq bs gur Jrfgznex (naq Rbzre bs gur Rnfgznex), Tuna-ohev-tuna, junffvfanzr bs Qby Nzebgu, rgp) naq zvyvgnel bssvpref (Rysuryz, Snenzve, rgp), nyy sbeprq gb or znyr tvira gur pbafgenvagf bs uvf jbeyq.

      At the end of the day, there aren’t really very many incidental characters at all, and most of the cast-of-thousands extras are military. Tolkien was deeply grounded in Middle Ages and Classical history, so the societies he created reflect our past biases rather than our current aspirations, and the military is male, and that skews the statistics. Given those constraints, he didn’t do that bad a job – he inserted few women, because there were few opportunities, but I think his female characters may be better on average than his males – better characterized, with more interesting depths and motivations.

      • Hyaroo says:

        Well, let's see… off the top of my head in incidental characters (counting characters that have had actual dialogue), so far….

        We've had quite a few Hobbits — though apart from Lobelia, only male hobbits have had speaking roles (You may not count Gaffer Gamgee or Fatty Bolger as incidental characters, but there's also Hobbits like Daddy Twofoot, Sandeman the Miller, and of course Mr.Proudfoot). After leaving the Shire, I can think of these incidental characters, of the top of my head:

        – The fox who was surprised to see Hobbits on the road (hey, he got a whole line of internal dialogue and was definitely a "he.")
        – Gildor and his companions (none of them identified as female)
        – Farmer Maggot (actually, his wife appears in a brief speaking role, so that's one incidental female character I'd forgotten)
        – Old Harry at the gate (he even introduces himself as he lets the Hobbits into Bree).
        – Nob (BARLIMAN BUTTERBUR's Hobbit assistant; there's another Hobbit called Bob there too, but he barely appears and never has a spoken line.)
        – Mr. Mugwort (talks to BARLIMAN BUTTERBUR about Frodo's accidental disappearance).
        – Bill Ferny.
        – Bill the Pony. (Come on, he counts.)
        – (I would have included Glorfindel and Gloin on this list, but decided against it; they are important enough to avoid being incidental)
        – Lindir (one of the Elves who talk to Bilbo about his poem).
        – Erestor and Galdor (from Elrond's coincil meeting)
        – Haldir, Rumil and Orophin (though only Haldir has a notable speaking role, as the others don't speak the Common tongue very well).
        – The "leader" of the Elves that bring clothes and provisions for the Fellowship (not named ot even identified as male or female, but clearly singled out as a character), plus some unidentified other Elves who banter with Gimli and Sam.
        – Eothain (one of Eomer's fellow Riders; the only one other than Eomer who has a speaking role).
        – Ugluk and Grishnakh (Just because they're Orcs doesn't mean they're not characters).

        ….aaaaand a few more that I don't want to mention for fear of spoilers, and of course the incidental characters that are yet to come. So there are a few incidental characters, but not as many as I thought — at least not if you discount all the characters who are just spoken of and never seen. Still, the only incidental female character I was able to find, who had an actual speaking role, was Mrs. Maggot. The others were either clearly male, or, as with the Elves of Lothlorien, their gender was not mentioned.

        So, uh… yeah. The incidental characters are definitely mostly male. :$

        • Erik says:

          It’s true, they are mostly male. I even said as much. My point was that there just aren’t as many as people imagine, so the imbalance isn’t as great as it seems at first glance. (1 out of 17 you name above is not great, but it isn’t 1 out of 50.)

          Though I cry foul on counting the unnamed, ungendered elves bringing clothes against him just because they aren’t specifically female, and same with the unnamed, ungendered companions of Gildor. (Frankly, I didn’t count them as characters at all – the admittedly arbitrary criteria I used was “had a name”.)

          • Hyaroo says:

            I'm sorry, I should have been more specific here; the list was written a little hastily (Treebeard would be ashamed of me, he really would), but it was really supposed to be of incidental characters, period — not of incidental male characters. Which was why I counted the ones whose genders weren't mentioned — and of course Mrs. Maggot, but I have no idea why I only mentioned her together with Farmer Maggot.

            My criteria for "character" here was that they had to have at least one spoken line (or in the case of the fox, at least one dicectly-quoted thought), and there are several nameless Elves who get spoken lines and that I find get at least some characterization… so I counted them. Not as examples of incidental male characters, because we don't know, but as examples of, well, incidental characters.

            Sorry about my rather clumsy way of putting it. :$

    • Harper E. says:

      I know I'm commenting kind of late so nobody's likely to see this – but the fact that there are no "incidental" women is sexist in its own right. Think about it – Goldberry, Galadriel, Eowyn, Ebfvr, etc, (and even Arwen and Furybo to some extent) are all super remarkable, whether it's their beauty, power, strength of character, or whatever. This doesn't seem like something to complain about, but setting women up on pedestals like this just reinforces the idea that male is the default category and female is something special.

      THAT SAID, I LOVE ALL OF THESE CHARACTERS AND TOLKIEN'S WORK ITSELF DEARLY. And Lobelia doesn't really fit the bill for being set up on a pedestal, ohg fur pbhyq or yhzcrq gbtrgure jvgu Furybo – n srznyr jub cerggl zhpu rkvfgf gb or rivy. Ohg gura ntnva, Fnheba vf znyr, naq ur'f gur zbfg rivy bs gurz nyy. Fb.

      BUT EVEN IGNORING EVERYTHING I'VE JUST SAID, there are hordes of incidental, unnamed women, such as gur barf gung ner frag njnl sebz Rqbenf naq yngre ba sebz Zvanf Gvevgu, sbe vafgnapr. The treatment of them is pretty sexist, even if the named females are all awesome.

      I stand by my argument that making a point of how AWESOME each woman is is inherently sexist. But as indoctrinated as I am with the idea that male = normal, it doesn't bother me enough to ruin the book.

      • Hyaroo says:

        No, I quite agree with you there. The fact that women don't get speaking parts in the book unless they are important/remarkable is problematic in and of itself — but it's not the same as there being no women there at all. My original point was that there clearly are women present, it's just that most of the time they're not really mentioned.

        The book is a product of its time, and while it has many merits… gender equality isn't one of them, despite some really good female characters such as Galadriel and Eowyn (and, I can't help it, but I like Lobelia). xD

    • Katarina_H says:

      I think there's a serious short-shifting even of the women who are important, though. Like Arwen – I think the comment The Nostalgia Critic made about Bakshi-Eowyn is even more appropriate for her: "It's a pity she's a mute." Ebfr uneqyl unf nal yvarf rvgure. Nobhg gur bayl jbzna jub unf zber yvarf guna ure cynpr va gur aneengvir jneenagf vf Vbergu. Znlor gung'f jul V yvxr ure; fur gnxrf hc fcnpr nf vs fur'f ragvgyrq gb vg. 🙂

  35. Alice says:

    Bu,lrnu!Nentbea naq Rbjla…V'ir ernq fbzrjurer gung gurl jrer urnivyl fuvccrq rira ol Gbyxvra uvzfrys :).Nccneragyl Gbyxvra jnagrq Nentbea gb raq hc gbtrgure jvgu Rbjla,naq bayl ng gur raq ur perngrq gur ybir fgbel bs Nentbea naq Nejra.Va zl bcvavba,guvf bar gvrf gur ybat uvfgbel bs ryirf naq zra zhpu orggre(jvgu obgu bs gurz orvat qvfgnag qrfpraqnagf bs Yhguvra'f,jub jnf n jbaqreshy zvkgher bs na rys sebz byq naq n znvne 😀 ). Ohg V ybir Rbjla gbb,naq fur qvq trg n terng zngpu riraghnyyl ^_^

    • Dreamflower says:

      Lrf, lbh ner evtug nobhg gung– vg pbzrf hc va gur Uvfgbel bs Zvqqyr-rnegu. Ohg bapr Snenzve ragrerq gur cvpgher (naq Snenzve jnf Gbyxvra'f bja snibevgr punenpgre) guvatf punatrq.

      • divAndRule says:

        Bu V nz fher Gbyxvra whfg jnagrq gb xrrc gur njrfbzr Rbjla sbe uvzfrys :), nsgre nyy Snenzve jnf gur pybfrfg guvat gb na nhgube vafreg va YBGE. Hygvzngryl V guvax Nentbea naq Nejra jbex orggre. Ur vf fb byq jvgu fb znal lrnef bs rkcrevrapr oruvaq uvz, vg jbhyq qrsvavgryl gnxr na rys gb gehyl trg uvz nf na rdhny.

        • Dreamflower says:

          Lbh xabj jung znxrf zr fher Snenzve vf na nhgube-vafreg? Snenzve naq Rbjla trg gur BAYL EBZNAGVP XVFF VA GUR RAGVER SERNXVAT OBBX!!! Nyy bgure xvffrf ner srnygl-glcr xvffrf ba gur sberurnq naq fhpu. Gubfr gjb ner gur bayl barf jub npghnyyl trg n erny xvff.

          • Alice says:

            Wow,I never thought about that…but now that I think about it,you are right.

            • divAndRule says:

              Gbgnyyl nterr naq Vfa’g vg terng. 🙂 . Gung puncgre vf frg va gur zvqqyr fbzr bs gur zbfg hapregnva naq qnex puncgref va EBGX. Jura V svefg ernq gur obbx V jnf pbzcyrgryl fhecevfrq gung Gbyxvra npghnyyl gbbx gur gvzr va gur zvqqyr bs nyy gur fhfcrafr naq qenzn gb tvir hf guvf ornhgvshy yvggyr erfbyhgvba gb gjb terng punenpgref. Arrqyrff gb fnl V ybirq gung puncgre naq fberyl zvffrq vg va gur zbivrf (Gur fubeg tyvzcfr va gur RR jnfa’g rabhtu), gubhtu V haqrefgnaq jul gurl yrsg vg bhg.

              • Alice says:

                Lrnu,V jnf fb raentrq ng gung gvzr jvgu CW sbe phggvat gung fprar bhg,naq fvapr guvf jnf n yvggyr haqrefgnaqnoyr,V pbhyq ABG (naq fgvyy qba'g :c :Q) haqrefgnaq jul ur unq gb phg Fnehzna'f qrngu…V zrna V pbhyq haqrefgnaq jul gur pvephzfgnaprf bs uvf qrngu unq gb or punatrq,V npghnyyl nterr jvgu CW ba gur znggre gung gur Fpbhetvat bs gur Fuver puncgre vf fb nagv-pyvzngvp,naq crefbanyyl V ungr gung puncgre…ohg bu obl, yrg'f abg qjryy gbb zhpu vagb gung,vg'f fgvyy gb rneyl YBY.Naq lrnu,vg jnf n yvggyr fubeg va gur RR irefvba,ohg fgvyy…vg jnf gurer!! :Q

                • msw188 says:

                  Jryy, V qvfnterr jvgu n ybg bs jung lbh'er fnlvat urer, nf V guvax gur Fpbhevat bs gur Fuver vf 153% pehpvny gb raqvat gur obbx (NYGUBHTU ABG GUR ZBIVR). Ohg fvapr lbh fcrpvsvpnyyl nfxrq gb nibvq qvfphffvat gung lrg, V'yy gel gb fnl n pbhcyr jbeqf nobhg Fnehzna'f qrngu.

                  Va gur obbxf, Jbezgbathr xvyyvat Fnehzna znxrf frafr sbe n ahzore bs ernfbaf, ohg V'yy whfg cbvag bhg bar boivbhf bar urer: va gur obbx, jr trg gb frr Fnehzna nohfvat Jbezgbathr. Jr qb abg trg guvf va gur zbivrf; va snpg, jr arire trg nal uvagf gung Tevzn vf (be jvyy or) haunccl jvgu uvf fgngvba ng nyy (pbagenfg jvgu gur inevbhf pbzzragf znqr va gur obbxf ol bgure punenpgref, rfcrpvnyyl ertneqvat Gerrorneq'f yrggvat uvz tb ba vagb Begunap, nf Tnaqnys vafgehpgrq).

                  Shegurezber, Fnehzna'f qrngu vf na haarprffnel qvfgenpgvba sebz gur erny guerng bs gur guveq svyz, gung vf, Fnheba naq Zbeqbe. Fnehzna jnf gur ivyynva bs gur svefg gjb svyzf, ohg ur jnf nyernql fubja nf qrsrngrq ng gur raq bs gur Gjb Gbjref. Sebz gur fgnaqcbvag bs n svyz, vg znxrf zbfg frafr gb trg bhg bs Vfratneq nf fbba nf cbffvoyr, orpnhfr vg unf ab ornevat ba rvgure gur pbasyvpg be gur punenpgref va gur Erghea bs gur Xvat.

                  (Guvf vf abg gehr va gur obbx. Va gur obbx, gur cneyrl jvgu Fnehzna unf n cerggl erny zrnavat sbe Tnaqnys ng gur irel yrnfg, naq bs pbhefr frgf gur fgntr sbe gur Fpbhevat gb unccra yngre. Naq sebz n cnpvat crefcrpgvir, vg vf znqr nf cneg bs gur pbapyhfvba gb Obbx VVV, abg gur ortvaavat bs Obbx I sbe n ernfba.)

                  • Tilly says:

                    "va snpg, jr arire trg nal uvagf gung Tevzn vf (be jvyy or) haunccl jvgu uvf fgngvba ng nyy"

                    VZB jvgu zbivr!Tevzn jr qb trg bar vzcbegnag uvag: uvf ubeebe ba gur onypbal ng Vfratneq jura ur svefg ynlf rlrf ba Fnehzna'f nezl. V tbg gur vzcerffvba gung Tevzn'f vyyhfvbaf, jurgure nobhg uvf pheerag be shgher fgngvba be rira gur gehr rkgrag bs uvf bja gernpurel, jrer rkcybqrq fhqqrayl naq hatragyl evtug gurer. Jurgure vg'f perqvoyr sbe uvz gb tb fb dhvpxyl sebz gurer gb n zheqrebhf erfragzrag sbe Fnehzna, boivbhfyl LZZI!

                    "Sebz gur fgnaqcbvag bs n svyz, vg znxrf zbfg frafr gb trg bhg bs Vfratneq nf fbba nf cbffvoyr, orpnhfr vg unf ab ornevat ba rvgure gur pbasyvpg be gur punenpgref va gur Erghea bs gur Xvat."

                    Nterrq, nygubhtu V guvax gur gurngevpny irefvba unq gur jbefg bs obgu jbeyqf, urer. Gur punenpgref evqr nyy gur jnl gb Vfratneq naq gura whfg ghea nebhaq naq evqr onpx ntnva! Lrf, uboovgf, cnynagve, V xabj, ohg vs lbh'er znxvat gur gevc gb Vfratneq *naljnl* lbh zvtug nf jryy qrny jvgu Fnehzna juvyr lbh'er ng vg – be ryfr svaq fbzr bgure jnl gb vagrtengr gur arrqrq ryrzragf onpx vagb gur fgbel.

                    Nu, ynlcrefba'f uvaqfvtug. V pevgvpvfr orpnhfr V ybir. 🙂

                    • Alice says:

                      Agree with you both 🙂 naq jvyy gnyx nobhg gung guvat,yngre,jura Znex nyfb trgf gb vg.Naq gura V'yy fnl zber jul V xvaaqn ungr vg. 🙂 Fb gehr… "V pevgvpvfr orpnhfr V ybir."

  36. castlewayjay says:

    oh and I must say how wonderful it is how unaware Mark is of the plot twists and turns!
    and I love the world of Middle Earth and how Tolkien shows it to us.

  37. floppus says:

    The Spoiler-Free Map of Middle-Earth

    Normal / blurred

    After riding for most of the night, the group arrives at Edoras at sunrise. It looks like they've travelled about 130 miles from Fangorn, over wet and rough terrain. The horses are the real heroes here.

  38. PrefectSarah says:

    "…except that apparently Aragorn constantly has these earth-stopping moments of attraction to every woman he comes across."

    Um… CHA!! Where's my real-life Aragorn? 🙁

    Also, I'm surprised you weren't all "King of the MARK!? Hells yeah!" lol

  39. Patrick721 says:

    Mark, I just feel like you should know that someone I know on Tumblr came up with the best rapper name ever.

    Frodo Swaggins.

    That is all.

  40. alfgifu says:


    Edoras! Rohan! Tolkien the Anglo-Saxonist comes out to play!

    Edoras, the Golden Hall, bears a sneaking resemblance to Heorot, the great hall of Hrothgar from the Old English poem Beowulf:

    The men did not dally; they strode inland in a group
    Until they were able to discern the timbered hall,
    Splendid and ornamented with gold.
    The building in which that powerful man held court
    Was the foremost of halls under heaven;
    Its radiance shone over many lands.

    The approach to Edoras includes a series of meetings with guardians and door-wards, and a message being sent along ahead to Theoden. This mirrors pretty much exactly the encounters that Beowulf and his party of Geatish warriors have on their journey to Heorot, although as they arrive by boat rather than on horseback the positions and roles are slightly adjusted. Tolkien must have done this deliberately, perhaps partly to emphasise that despite being largely illiterate the people of Rohan have a complex and graceful culture. There is already serious trouble both Heorot and Edoras, so the kingdoms surrounding both halls are full of frightened and wary people.

    Aragorn is drawn into the pattern as well, making some fairly formal boasts here as befits a strange warrior claiming his place in an Anglo-Saxonesque hall. He's considerably more restrained than Beowulf, but then again he hasn't turned up to wrestle single-handed with Saruman in aid of Theoden so I suppose the position isn't quite the same.

    Eowyn has far more of a voice and personality here than Freawaru who served the wine in Hrothgar's hall, and seems to have a role as an advisor in the court. Rohan does mirror the Anglo-Saxon world in gender roles for the most part. A great queen or noblewoman might command (consider Athelflaed, grand-daughter of Alfred the Great, or Alfgifu the wife of Athelraed Unraed who held London during a siege), but it is not expected that women would commonly have much to do with politics or war.

    Anglo-Saxon geekery, I has it.

  41. Hyaroo says:

    Nyy evtug, V nterr gung pbafvqrevat Vbergu na vapvqragny punenpgre jnf n ovg bs n fgergpu, ohg fur jnf ernyyl gur bayl srznyr punenpgre V pbhyq guvax bs gung pbhyq, znlor, svg gur ovyy.

    Naq Ebfvr naq Rynabe ner vzcbegnag gb Fnz, nf V fnvq, urapr gurl qba'g ernyyl pbhag rvgure.

  42. Anzel89 says:

    "Ner gurer ab jbzra Ebuveevz? Yvxr, frevbhfyl, abg bar jneevbe be evqre jub vf n jbzna?"

    *Snyyf bire naq ynhtuf hapbagebyynoyl*

    V PNA'G!!!!

    V ernyyl pna'g jnvg hagvy ur trgf gb Rbjla xvyyvat GUR JVGPU XVAT!!!!

    "Nyfb, jung vf jvgu Nentbea naq cerggl ynqvrf? V pnaabg cergraq gb haqrefgnaq gur zbzrag orgjrra Ébjla naq uvz ng nyy, rkprcg gung nccneragyl Nentbea pbafgnagyl unf gurfr rnegu-fgbccvat zbzragf bs nggenpgvba gb rirel jbzna ur pbzrf npebff."

    Npghnyyl V ernq fbzrjurer gung ng svefg Gbyxvra jnf tbvat gb unir Nentbea zneel Rbjla va gur raq. Fb guvf xvaqn fghss znxrf zber frafr gb zr abj, jura orsber V jnf yvxr "Jnvg…ohg…Nejra?!?" V'z fbbbbbbb unccl jr tbg vg gur jnl jr qvq orpnhfr Rbjla/Snenzve <3

    • Fiona says:

      Exactly, I don't know what I would have done if he'd kept it that way. I probably would have shipped the hell out of them anyway :).

    • Dreamflower says:

      Npghnyyl V ernq fbzrjurer gung ng svefg Gbyxvra jnf tbvat gb unir Nentbea zneel Rbjla va gur raq. Fb guvf xvaqn fghss znxrf zber frafr gb zr abj, jura orsber V jnf yvxr “Jnvg…ohg…Nejra?!?” V’z fbbbbbbb unccl jr tbg vg gur jnl jr qvq orpnhfr Rbjla/Snenzve <3

      Lrnu, gung jnf gur bevtvany vqrn, hagvy Snenzve ragrerq gur cvpgher. Snenzve, OGJ, jnf gur punenpgre Gbyxvra pbafvqrerq zbfg yvxr uvzfrys naq jnf nyfb uvf snibevgr– va bgure jbeqf–Snenzve jnf n Znegl Fgh! YBY! Ohg frevbhfyl, V qb guvax gung’f jul Snenzve trgf gur bayl erny xvff va gur fgbel!

  43. Fiona says:

    Soo, my comments will have to remain vague as it turns out my local library only has one copy of The Two Towers and it's on loan :(. I already have two copies, one battered paperback and one fancy hardback of all of the books which I've barely read because it's too pretty so it seems excessive to buy another one. Anyway, I'll have to catch up when I can get to my copies.

    Right, now I can express my love for Edoras without the rot13ing it. I think out of everywhere in Middle Earth it's the place I'd love to live in most of all. Rivendell and Lothlorien seem too stately to me, like they'd be nice to visit but not much fun to actually live in. Edoras seems more like the kind of place where you can drink loads of mead and have fun, outside of war time of course. Gur qevaxvat pbagrfg fprar va Erghea bs gur Xvat cnegvphyneyl pbzrf gb zvaq. Vs gung'f ubj gurl pryroengr ivpgbel gura V jnag va :D.

    Oh yes, Aragorn and Eowyn's relationship. It's kind of a complex one to me, possibly more so than Aragorn and Eowyn, because it seems to be tied up so much in how much she wants to be able to fight for her people as much as anything else. V'ir nyjnlf orra n ovt sna bs Rbjla naq Snenzve crefbanyyl nf gurl frrzrq orggre fhvgrq sbe rnpu bgure. Gur jubyr Ubhfrf bs Urnyvat frpgvba unf fbzr bs Gbyxvra'f orfg jevgvat V guvax. Vg qvfnccbvagrq zr ubj yvggyr bs vg jnf yrsg va gur svyz nygubhtu ng yrnfg vg jnf ervafgngrq n ovg sbe gur rkgraqrq rqvgvba. Cyhf jr tbg gur jbaqreshy nqqvgvba bs Yvi'f fvatvat fb jung jr qvq trg jnf terng.

  44. Smurphy says:

    Hrm… first off SARAH CAUGHT UP TO MARK! YES! Second… this book is moving so quickly. For some reason I remember NOTHING HAPPENING in the second book but that is just lies. I read this book WAY too young. Oh Rohan…. Mark is not prepared for you and your magnificent people.


  45. tzikeh says:

    The question marks made it seem like you were saying "Don't you remember Luther Boggs?" — but I gotcha now. 🙂

  46. DrummerWench says:

    Back in chapter 2, The Riders of Rohan, Éomer says, "Then there is a Lady in the Golden Wood, as old tales tell! Few escape her nets, they say." Now we have Wormtongue saying, "Then it is true, as Éomer reported, that you are in league with the Sorceress of the Golden Wood? It is not to be wondered at: webs of deceit were ever woven in Dwimordene." I was going to post this link to my Middle-earth Fairy Tale inspired by these exchanges earlier, never got around to it, and now is even better, on account of not being spoilery any more: The Sorceress. My other Fairy Tales of Middle-earth are more spoilery for the Silmarillion and History of Middle-earth than for LOTR, uh, except my Prologue, which really is.

  47. DrummerWench says:

    I do love how formal everyone speaks in Middle-earth, how important family names and histories are for even the most basic of requests.

    In reading through these chapters, I'm struck once again by Tolkien's ease in switching between the "high" language he uses in this chapter, with Aragorn and all the nobility, and the more "colloquial" language of the Hobbit chapters. It was particularly noticeable between "The Riders of Rohan" and "The Uruk-Hai"; jr'yy nyfb frr vg va "Gur Ebnq gb Vfratneq" if. "Sybgfnz naq Wrgfnz". <—gung bar nyjnlf znxrf zr ynhtu!.

    • Dreamflower says:

      "Sybgfnz naq Wrgfnz" vf zl snibevgr puncgre va GG! V whfg ybir gur erhavba orgjrra gur Guerr Uhagref naq gurve uboovgf!!!! *teva* V pna'g jnvg gvyy Znex trgf gurer!

    • castlewayjay says:

      the importance of family names and histories, the high v. colloquial languages – pretty common in pre-industrial societies. thus important and right for Tolkien to recognize.

  48. rissreader says:

    Can anyone tell me what the Mark refers to in the phrase King of the Mark?

    • MasterGhandalf says:

      "The Mark" is short for "The Riddermark" or "The Mark of the Riders", a name of Rohan normally used by the Rohirrim themselves. Therefore in Rohirric parlance, Theoden is "King of the Mark" or "Lord of the Mark", and his lieutenants (like Eomer) are "Marshals of the Mark".

    • rubyjoo says:

      It refers to the Riddermark. In both Anglo-Saxon and modern English "the Marches" are border areas that need patrolling. Between England and Wales, we have the Welsh Marches.

    • stormwreath says:

      'Mark' is still a word in German, meaning borderland. In Old English it was 'mearc', which gives us the place name Mercia as well as the modern English term 'march'. So Théoden is the King of the Borderland, or the Borderland of the Riders ('Riddermark').

      Vg'f pnyyrq gung orpnhfr uvfgbevpnyyl, gur ehyref bs Tbaqbe tnir gur ynaq gb Rbey naq uvf sbyybjref va erghea sbe na nyyvnapr naq cebzvfr gb qrsraq gur obeqre.

    • @RadagastWiz says:

      There is still a modern country with this in its name: Denmark. Literally, the Mark (or March) of the Danes; the land that the Danish people patrol, their homeland.

  49. Suzannezibar says:

    I. Love. This. Chapter. So. Frakking. Much.

    Mostly because, as I established in The Riders of Rohan, Rohan is without a doubt my FAVORITE place in Middle-Earth. Horse-Lords!! Edoras!! Even their language is just so beautiful. Their culture is just so fascinating to me and I love it deeply.

    And Sassy Wizard Gandalf is back. Life is good 😀

  50. Geolojazz says:

    I shall have the Rohan theme stuck in my head all day.

    Doo doo doo dee doo do deeeee dooooo….

  51. blossomingpeach says:


  52. rubyjoo says:

    "He was not always evil."

    Read it again, Mark. I think you'll find that Gandalf and Theoden are discussing Saruman not Wormtongue, although I was a bit confused at first too. But, I like the way that Gandalf always tries to understand people, even Gollum, and gives them the benefit of the doubt.

    • MasterGhandalf says:

      I think it can apply to either of them- and a lot of Tolkien's named villains, honestly. Though he has many characters who *are* unambiuously evil, very few of them *started* that way. "Nothing was evil in the beginning- even Sauron was not so" as somebody (Gandalf or Elrond, I believe) says at the Council of Elrond. Wormtongue, Gollum, Saruman, Sauron, Zbetbgu, gur Ahzrabernaf nf n phygher, bepf nf n enpr, weren't bad from day one. Gur bayl znwbe ivyynvaf gung trarenyyl ner jbhyq or gur ernyyl vauhzna zbafgref- guvatf yvxr gur tvnag fcvqref be qentbaf. Evil in Middle-earth is normally not so much an inherent quality as a fall from grace.

  53. Sadie_TARDIS says:

    …he appears in people's lives, changes them, and then leaves.


    • Sadie_TARDIS says:

      …And now I see that others pointed this out too. LotR and DW fans, unite!

      • Seumas the Red says:

        We'll never stop pointing it out! 😀 All Gandalf is missing is a blue box, and all the Doctor is missing is pointy blue hat. It is described as blue, is it not? I always think of it as Grey though. Makes more immediate sense.)

  54. VoldieBeth says:

    Oh man, Mark! If you think Rohan is beautiful in the books just wait until the movies. I can't stop singing the praises of these movies because they are my favorite movies ever!! I'm trying my hardest to not watch them until the live blogs (which you HAVE to watch the extended editions as I'm sure you're tired of hearing)

    And again with the music!! The Riders of Rohan! The King of the Golden Hall! So good!!

    • Ryan Lohner says:

      He's said that he's watching the EEs for the liveblogs. Not sure how that's going to work with the disc switch, though.

      • notemily says:

        I imagine the first and second discs will both have assigned start times, with a break in between. That's how he's done two-part liveblogs in the past.

  55. redheadedgirl says:

    ….rkprcg gung nccneragyl Nentbea pbafgnagyl unf gurfr rnegu-fgbccvat zbzragf bs nggenpgvba gb rirel jbzna ur pbzrf npebff.

    Lhc. Nyy gjb bs gurz.

    (Juvyr gur srznyr punenpgref va YBGE ner nyy njrfbzr va gurve jnlf, V nz qvfcvevgrq ng ubj SRJ bs gurz gurer ner.)

  56. xpanasonicyouthx says:

    Is there more rot13 than lately today? I AM BEING TEASED BY MY OWN WEBSITE.

  57. Saphling says:

    Doo doo doo dee doo do deeeee dooooo….

    Dammit, apparently that's all that's needed to get it stuck in my head, too!

  58. ThreeBooks says:

    "I admit that I am starting to get a bit antsy about the idea of a gigantic battle in this book."

    No, actually, there was going to be a huge battle and they spend days preparing for it, but then Legolas and Aragorn go and meet with Sauron and Saruman and explain that Frodo isn't actually a vampire child but a half-vampire and everyone goes home.

    What? When people say this is the Ur Example for every fantasy story ever, they meant every fantasy story ever.

  59. threerings13 says:

    This chapter! Eowyn! Theoden! Gandalf being badass!

    I really like that Theoden's ailment is so ambiguous. It's partly or even mostly psychological, partly mystical. It really reads as metaphorical to depression to me: the way he can't see any hope, rejects people who care about him and want to help, how it affects him physically essentially through inaction. It's interesting to think that Tolkien was probably very familiar with the effects of mental illness, having been through WWI and probably knowing quite a few people with PTSD and depression.

    Vg'f abg arneyl nf vagrerfgvat va gur zbivr, jura vg'f cheryl n zntvpny guvat. Ohg V pna npprcg gung vg jbhyq or qvssvphyg gb cbegenl ba svyz.

    • Dreamflower says:

      JRRT himself was also probably subject to it. The Somme was a horrible experience for him, and he lost all but one of his best friends to the war. Have you ever read Tolkien and the Great War by John Garth? An absolutely riveting biography showing the influence WWI had on him.

      I also like the ambiguity of it. We are left to wonder to what extent Wormtongue (and Saruman through him) had used means (either some sort of drug or magic) on Theoden, and how much of it was simply sorrow and loss of hope. But Gandalf brings hope with him. (Yvgrenyyl, fvapr Nentbea'f Ryira anzr vf "Rfgry", Ubcr)

      V nterr, gur zbivrf engure bireqvq vg. Ohg gur zbivrf jrera'g fhogyr, naq unq gb zrrg abg bayl gur rkcrpgngvbaf bs gubfr jub ernq gur obbxf, ohg gb znxr guvatf cynva gb gubfr jub arire unq.

      • castlewayjay says:

        "Hope" is almost as big a theme in LOTR as "Pity"

      • threerings13 says:

        V xabj rirelgvzr V ernq "Ubcr" va YBGE, V guvax bs Nentbea naq "Rfgry." Rfcrpvnyyl va gur zbivr. Vg trgf gb gur cbvag jurer V'z yvxr, "Bx, WEEG, V TRG VG NYERNQL." Ohg, lbh xabj, sbaqyl.

      • threerings13 says:

        Also, that sounds like an interesting book. I'll have to look for it.

    • castlewayjay says:

      Big yes to your comment, and Dreamflower's response.

  60. Sakura says:

    EOWYN!! <3 I love this character – she's probably my favorite heroine of this trilogy. Plus, I find her easy to relate to. I also love the way her initial desciptions give insight into her character.

    • sudden_eyes says:


      V pna'g jnvg sbe Znex'f ernpgvba gb gur ovt erirny ng gur Onggyr bs Cryraabe Svryqf, jura fur fubhgf (va gur obbx, abg gur zbivr, nynf): "Ortbar, sbhy qjvzzreynvx, ybeq bs pneevba!" Gb gur shpxvat Jvgpu Xvat bs Natzne.

      Frevbhfyl, juvpu bs gur uhzna punenpgref vf ZBER onqnff guna Rbjla? Rira Nentbea qbrfa'g tb hc ntnvafg bar bs gur Anmthy.

      • MasterGhandalf says:

        Jryy, grpuavpnyyl ur qbrf ng Jrnguregbc, ohg n. ur unf sver, juvpu gurl ungr naq srne, naq o. gurl'q nyernql qbar jung gurl pnzr gb qb naq cebonoyl bayl chg hc n gbxra erfvfgnapr orsber yrnivat. Rbjla vf abg bayl gur bayl uhzna ohg gur bayl ''crefba'' crevbq va nyy bs Zvqqyr-rnegu gb snpr n Anmthy- naq abg whfg nal Anmthy, ohg gur zbfg greevoyr bs gurz nyy- naq abg bayl qrsrng ohg *xvyy* uvz.

        Lrnu, fur'f njrfbzr.

        • sudden_eyes says:

          Jubbcf, evtug lbh ner! Naq V'z zbfg qrsvavgryl abg pynvzvat gung Nentbea vfa'g n fpnel fpnel jneevbe. Ohg lrnu, ur jneqf gur Oynpx Evqref bss ng Jrnguregbc jurernf fur npghnyyl fynlf gur avtugzner perngher sebz uryy, NAQ gur "ubefr" ur ebqr va ba.

          V'yy whfg or bire urer whzcvat hc naq qbja naq jrnevat zl GRNZ RBJLA g-fuveg.

    • JustMalyn says:

      She's the character I relate to most, I think. EOWYN FOR PRESIDENT! 🙂

  61. rabidsamfan says:

    When I first read this chapter I was all impatient with it because there were no hobbits, but that only shows that I was young and foolish.

    • Dreamflower says:

      Well, so was I. I REALLY wanted to get back to the hobbits!

      • rabidsamfan says:

        Jura V erernq V fgvyy fbzrgvzrf fxvc bire nyy gur Ryirf naq Zra naq whfg tb sbe gur uboovgf. Naq gur rcvp onggyrf. (Jryy, rkprcg sbe gur ovgf jvgu Zreel naq Cvccva.

        Abg funzrsnprq ng nyy, ernyyl.

  62. Smurphy says:

    Oh and also on the list of Harry Potter/Lord of the Ring similarities. Wormtongue/Wormtail… um… yep.

    I must post the full list once its no longer spoilery.

    • Curt says:

      Please! I'm really interested, for what it's worth.

      • Smurphy says:

        lol. well now I need to go track down the link… I know it was originally on mugglenet…

        *goes and searches* *becomes very annoyed because mugglenet is being extremely buggy* *goes to google and searches Harry Potter Lord of the Rings similarities* *mugglenet is the first search result* 🙂

        MARK AND ANYONE ELSE WHO DOESN'T WANT TO BE SPOILED DON'T LOOK. Also I'm not supporting this list in any way and I don't mean anything by it but to say the similarities are there and I know a whole lot of it is just circumstantial.

        Actually on that note. This was a bit interesting especially the last line.

        From that article: "Tolkienian scholar Tom Shippey has maintained that "no modern writer of epic fantasy has managed to escape the mark of Tolkien, no matter how hard many of them have tried""

        • msw188 says:

          Haha, I remember when a friend of mine started watching the Potter movies for the first time, and we were joking about similarities, Dumbles and Gandalf naturally, and I mention Dumbledore being so awesome up on the tower in 6, and my friend replies with nothing but:
          Wait, did you say TOWER??? As in TWO TOWERS???

          or something like that. It was pretty funny.

          But yeah, we can talk about other similarities all day, both in terms of specifics and themes.

  63. notemily says:

    [V oryvrir V yvxr guvf puncgre orggre va gur zbivr. Nf n svefg-gvzr ernqre V zvtug or pbashfrq: Vf guvf Guébqra thl tbbq be onq? Jul vf ur na byq fgbbcrq zna naq gura fhqqrayl qbrfa'g frrz fb byq nalzber? Jung rknpgyl vf tbvat ba urer? Naq gur zbivr vf whfg yvxr YBY jr jvyy hfr gur orfg fcrpvny rssrpg rire gb lbhatvsl Guébqra naq nyfb jr jvyy znxr vg cresrpgyl pyrne gung ur jnf haqre Fnehzna'f fcryy nyy nybat.

    Nyfb, va gur obbx Nentbea cynlf n zhpu yrff cebzvarag ebyr va Guébqra'f… erpbirel, be jungrire vg vf. V qba'g xabj jul gurl tnir fb zhpu bs Tnaqnys'f cneg gb uvz va gur zbivr. Vg whfg znqr vg frrz xvaq bs jrveq gung fbzr qhqr (naq gur hapebjarq xvat bs n arvtuobevat fgngr, ab yrff) jnf tvivat gur xvat nqivpr, juvyr n jvmneq tvivat nqivpr znxrf zber frafr.

    Nalbar ryfr cvpghevat n gjryir-lrne-byq jura Uázn jnf gnyxvat? Whfg zr?]

    Also: ÉOWYN! I love the first description of her, "strong she seemed and stern as steel, a daughter of kings." <3333 And the people pick HER to rule over them while their king (and the king's new heir) are away! Because she's just that awesome.

    Shadowfax is still the most badass horse. The Rohirrim try to go get him and he's like "Screw you guys, I'm Gandalf's fucking horse now. Are you Gandalf? Fuck no you're not. Did you come back from the fucking dead? Fuck no you didn't. And therefore you are not worthy to ride me. Pathetic mortals."

    Gingerhaze time! Here's Gríma Wormtongue:

    <img src=""&gt;

    Look at him, creepily creeping on Éowyn. I LOVE THAT SHE DREW HIM WITH SOCKS AND SANDALS. Obviously pure evil amirite

    And here's Éomer:

    <img src=""&gt;

    The Rohirrim are a biker gang. I assume "The Horse and Rider" is the biker bar where they hang out.

  64. Alice says:

    Love those melancholic verses <3 <3 <3

    "Where now the horse and the rider? Where is the horn that was blowing?
    Where is the helm and the hauberk, and the bright hair flowing?
    Where is the hand on the harpstring, and the red fire glowing?
    Where is the spring and the harvest and the tall corn growing?
    They have passed like rain on the mountain, like a wind in the meadow;
    The days have gone down in the West behind the hills into shadow…"

    <img src="; width="600">

    Wow… 😀 so many posts from me today,that I feel like a little stalker myself XD

  65. Katie says:

    Bx, yrg'f trg n yvggyr org tbvat: ba jung cntr bs gur obbx jvyy Znex ernyvmr gung Qreauryz vf va snpg Rbjla evqvat vagb onggyr? V'ir abgvprq n phevbhf geraq jurer zbfg tveyf thrff vg vzzrqvngryl (gur bayl cybg cbvag V rire thrffrq va YBGE jnf gur "jvyy abg or fynva ol n zna", fb V rkcrpgrq vg gb or Rbjla sebz gur zbzrag jr zrg ure), naq thlf qba'g. Fb zl thrff vf: abg hagvy gur npghny onggyr bs Cryraabe Svryqf.

  66. Stephen_M says:

    There's two bits from this chapter that always get me, albeit for very different reasons.

    First Theoden when he recovers:

    Arise now, arise, Riders of Theoden!
    Dire Deeds awake, dark it is eastward.
    Let horse be bridled, horn be sounded!
    Forth Eorlingas!

    It's just such a wonderful call to arms and you immediately know why every guard in earshot reacts the way they do. Also a lovely little touch, Riders of Theoden, not Riders of Rohan…

    Second though is this after Gimli agrees to ride with Eomer:

    "It shall be so," said Eomer. "Legolas upon my left and Aragorn upon my right, and none will dare to stand before us!"

    I mean, can you just imagine the discussion between a load of genre-savy orcs?

    "Uh, boss, there's four guys riding right at us."
    "So, in case you haven't noticed Bob there's roughly 5,000 of us and four of them. This is going to be over faster than you can blink".
    "Yeah, umm, about that…"
    "Well… it's just… they all have names in this story"
    "… Okay, you may have a point, a few of our lads may have to just stand in front of us but still, a minute tops until we're eating their flesh."
    "Yeah, yeah a minute, sure to be… except, uh…"
    "You've got that look again Bob"
    "Well it's not just them that have names boss. One of them has a sword with a name"
    "… Granted, that's not good, but call it five minutes and maybe a hundred of our guys and.. and you've still got that look on your face."
    "Their horses also have names. And they've been in an AWFUL lot of the book thus far…"
    "Right… how much is a lot out of curiosity?"
    "At least two thirds."
    "Hmm, okay. Tell you what Bob, let's wander casually to the back of this formation and, what's that? No no, everything's fine, me and Bob are just going to check out the rear ranks, make sure they're not slacking off. Right now if we just duck behind this rock and… run for it Bob!"

  67. Katie says:

    Guvf vf gur svefg gvzr jr ernyyl frr Tnaqnys'f evat va npgvba. (Jryy, ol "frr" V zrna jr qba'g npghnyyl frr vg…)

    Naq vf vg guvf puncgre be gur arkg jurer Tnaqnys bhgevtug fnlf "Abobql jbhyq or noyr gb jvgufgnaq Fnehzna, rkprcg creuncf zlfrys, Tnynqevry naq Ryebaq" – guhf onfvpnyyl rkcyvpvgyl fnlvat jub ubyq gur Guerr Evatf. Naq vg gbbx zr hagvy guvf er-ernq (zl tnmvyyvbagu) gb ernyvmr vg. Guvf ernqvat ng Znex'f cnpr ernyyl unf n ybg bs zrevg.

    • msw188 says:

      Gur pbzzrag nobhg bayl gur Rys-Evat-Orneref (juvpu V erzrzore guvaxvat bs nsgre n srj gvzrf guebhtu gur obbx) vf npghnyyl znqr ol Nentbea V'z cerggl fher, naq vg vfa'g znqr hagvy nsgre gurl nyy ernpu Vfratneq. Vg'f jura Nentbea, Yrtbynf, naq Tvzyv svanyyl zrrg onpx hc jvgu Zreel naq Cvccva naq gurl'er qvfphffvat fuvg.

      • Katie says:

        lrf, lbh'er evtug – V jrag onpx naq er-ernq naq vg vf vaqrrq Nentbea va Vfratneq, va n srj puncref' gvzr.

  68. elisi says:

    Re. Space Gandalf…

    <img src=""&gt;

    Also, 'tis canon! Meanwhile In The TARDIS : (Spoilers for 5.05 of DW)

    (Many apologies if this has already been posted. Am in a rush.)

  69. arctic_hare says:

    Rohan! <3 Yay, you've met Theoden! And Grima, that creeper. AND EOWYN. <3 <3 <3 Finally, another woman with a name!

    Look, I love a lot of Tolkien's female characters, and Middle Earth, and these stories in general, but this is definitely an issue. I get that this was based off similar societies in Earth's history, where they wouldn't have female warriors, but I'm not willing to accept that entirely as an excuse for gender inequality in fantasy novels. Because at the end of the day, this is FANTASY, this is not the real world, you have the freedom to make it the way you want. Why, then, do so many others opt to go with this "medieval" type setting and preserve all the sexism of that era, and then get to claim realism when they've got shit like dragons and wizards and whatever other stock fantasy elements they want to use running around? To me, that doesn't fly, it doesn't work that way. I can understand to some degree why it was written like this by Tolkien, as this was an earlier era; it doesn't make it less sexist, but it makes sense given the time. But when more modern authors copy this and go with Yet Another Medieval Fantasy Setting and keep these sexist aspects intact, I'm not willing to cut them any slack. Again, this is fantasy, you've got elves and dwarves and orcs and dragons and magic and talking trees, but you can't have some female warriors? I basically side-eye Tolkien on this, and side-eye later authors even more, because they don't even have the "excuse" of writing during a previous era.

    • I think a lot of times with more modern stories, they just don't think it through- the sheer awful quality of some of the writing is enough to convince me that that's a factor. Another one is that a lot of fantasies are written by people copying off the standard template of fantasy who think that this male heavy culture is the only way to go. It's idiotic, but I think that might be some of the reason. When you're surrounded by every other work in the genre having the male-heavy stories, those writers in it for the market don't bother to do anything different.
      And a lot of female authors don't help their case by having all their fantasies with female protagonists have a romantic subplot. I want to see some fantasy single ladies, damn it. Who are quite happy that way. (actually am writing a couple… if ever I get the time to finish them between college and job-hunting)

      • notemily says:

        Now I have "Single Ladies" stuck in my head with a bunch of Éowyn-type girls dancing to it.

      • Mysoulisbrown says:

        I never post on this site, because I'm afraid once I start I will fall into the habit of always posting and I can't afford the time-suck, but I have to recommend The Deed of Paksenarrion by Elizabeth Moon (actually a trilogy that is frequently sold as once volume). Female protagonist. She's a warrior. No romance. (And, for those who are thrown out of the story because often women aren't of the size to wear full armor, etc., Paks is 6 feet tall. She can handle it.)

        My professor at University of Leeds in a class called "Romance, Ballad, and Fairy Tale" suggested that the lack of female characters isn't so much about sexism (conscious or unconscious) as it is about the focus of the book. Meaning, the book/trilogy is not about women or romantic love, really. The book is about many things (good v evil, the power of friendship, redemption, loyalty, the definition of heroism, the power of story…), none of which REQUIRE a female perspective. I've never been entirely convinced by that argument, but I thought I'd throw a scholarly opinion out there for everybody. The prof was Andrew Wawn, if anyone cares. He's pretty awesome.

        • Mauve_Avenger says:

          "The book is about many things (good v evil, the power of friendship, redemption, loyalty, the definition of heroism, the power of story…), none of which REQUIRE a female perspective."

          And none of which require a male perspective, either. But sexism dictates that women's presence needs to be justified whereas men's presence simply is, and so we're trained to think that men's stories are better and that men's involvement in stories makes more sense.

          • True, and I really wish we could have more female perspective. But I still love the story for all the things that it's about. Even though it's flawed in that regard, I still love it for everything it tells. And this trilogy is the foundation for a lot of fantasy epics- and foundations can always be improved upon. Since Tolkien isn't around to do that anymore, this is where I look to other authors (and usually have been disappointed, but that's beside the point).

          • CoyoteSister says:

            In other words, it only needs a 'normal/default' perspective. And the Normal is male.

            Personally, I think Tolkien was pretty progressive, as concerns sexism. Not by today's standards, perhaps, but without entirely breaking out of the mold… he made steps. I dunno, I don't want to sound like I'm making excuses for him or justifying the lack of female characters. But the ones he does have are so badass– I mean, compare him with C. S. Lewis, for example. They were friends, wrote together, and critiqued each other's stories– but their treatment of women is so vastly different. Lewis has a fifty-fifty female-male perspective in Narnia, but ye gods is that book sexist. Tolkien's protagonists are mostly male, but his female characters are… well, Galadriel, and Arwen, and Eowyn.

            Gb fhzznevmr– Yrjvf tbrf: "Onggyrf ner htyl jura jbzra svtug." Gbyxvra tvirf hf Qreauryz, naq gur Fynlvat bs gur Jvgpu-Xvat bs Natzne.

    • Dreamflower says:

      Well, it's not hard to cut Tolkien some slack– as you said, he's from an earlier time; plus his own upbringing was even more conservative than his contemporaries (he and his brother were orphaned when he was 12, and their legal guardian was a Catholic priest), plus he lived mostly in "all guy" situations, in school, in the Army, and as an Oxford don. So not only was he behind the times for us, he was behind the times in his own times.

      In fact, considering all that, it's amazing how well done his few female characters are (even more so in the Silmarillion than in LotR).

      But those following in his wake? I agree, most of them should have more and stronger female characters– which we begin to finally see in the 70s when we also begin to see more female fantasy authors.

    • Tauriel_ says:

      Why, then, do so many others opt to go with this "medieval" type setting and preserve all the sexism of that era, and then get to claim realism when they've got shit like dragons and wizards and whatever other stock fantasy elements they want to use running around? To me, that doesn't fly, it doesn't work that way.

      I would totally recommend the "Witcher" books by a brilliant Polish fantasy author Andrzej Sapkowski. They're a bit like ASOIAF in the sense that no character is morally black and white, there's no clearly defined "good guys" and "bad guys", there's plenty of moral ambiguity and stuff like that. The world is very well built (Sapkowski is hailed as the next best thing to Tolkien in that aspect), it's based on the gritty medieval realism, but with certain modern touches and quite a bit of magic. And there are plenty of interesting female characters – women of power and influence, warriors, queens, sorceresses, or just "normal" women who nevertheless have well-developed characters.

      The only pity is that only two of the books have been translated into English – the first of the two books of short stories, called "The Last Wish"; and the first novel in a pentalogy, called "Blood of Elves". And even though the translation isn't the best thing ever (with enough free time I daresay I could do better), but I still recommend them for a reading. 🙂 They're available for Kindle, too.

      • rubyjoo says:

        When I was young, girls weren't encouraged to study science or maths subjects because it was thought they didn't have the "right sort of brains", nor were they offered training in plumbing or carpentry because these were considered "men's jobs". Now women are outperforming men in maths and sciences and train quite happily in jobs formerly considered the preserve of men. That's what I call progress. But, to put a woman in heavy armour up against far stronger men at a time when battles sometimes went on for days and needed considerable muscle power is just not realistic and spoils the fantasy for me (although female archers I can accept). V ybir Rbjla naq nz cebhq bs jung fur npuvrirf ohg jr'yy qbhogyrff unir n qvfphffvba nobhg ure va gur nccebcevngr puncgre. Sometimes, a search for equality and a refusal to believe that an ability that one sex has is not necessarily found in another (it works both ways) becomes, IMO, a bit silly. An uptight lady on a Hobbit site wanted a couple of the dwarves to be female in the upcoming film, for instance – for me, that would have spoiled the dynamic of the story. I'm not saying that the fight shouldn't continue, but sometimes ideas just don't seem feasible. However, just to cheer up the women on this forum: a detailed study has just shown that women park and back their cars far more effectively than men. Another myth busted, LOL!

        I shall now hide behind the sofa.

        • Tauriel_ says:

          Well said. 🙂 "Equal" doesn't mean "same".

        • Mauve_Avenger says:

          " But, to put a woman in heavy armour up against far stronger men at a time when battles sometimes went on for days and needed considerable muscle power is just not realistic and spoils the fantasy for me (although female archers I can accept)."

          So you don't think that any woman whatsoever could possibly be stronger than a male soldier? It's possible to suspend disbelief for Dwarves and Elves and Orcs and Wizards who come back from the dead, but a single human woman who's physically stronger than some of the dudes on the battlefield is somehow out of the question? I don't get this at all.

          "Sometimes, a search for equality and a refusal to believe that an ability that one sex has is not necessarily found in another (it works both ways) becomes, IMO, a bit silly."

          It's true that an ability that one sex is stereotyped as having isn't necessarily present in the opposite sex, but it's also true that that stereotyped ability isn't necessarilypresent in all members of that same sex, and furthermore that that stereotyped ability isn't necessarily lacking in the opposite sex. It's also true that there are people who don't fit into the binary sex/gender schema or whatever you want to call it, who seem to fit into both or neither or anything in between, and whose existence neccesarily throws a wrench into all those considerations. As such, the stereotypes and essentialism need to die in all fires.

          "An uptight lady on a Hobbit site wanted a couple of the dwarves to be female in the upcoming film, for instance – for me, that would have spoiled the dynamic of the story. I'm not saying that the fight shouldn't continue, but sometimes ideas just don't seem feasible."

          I'm not seeing how having some female Dwaves would make any difference to the dynamic. Also, LOL at dismissing people who're concerned with lack of female representation in popular media as "uptight."

          • notemily says:

            Agreed with all of this. Saying "women are weaker than men" is like saying "men are taller than women." The AVERAGE man is taller than the AVERAGE woman, but there is A LOT of overlap if you look at the distribution of tallness as a whole, and there's no guarantee that any random man will be taller than any random woman. Plus, the women of Rohan grew up riding horses and doing basically everything by hand; I can easily believe they would have a considerable amount of strength.

          • HPB says:

            YES, THIS. Thank you! We're fine with previously-dead wizards who can talk to horses who can run across half the world in a few hours, among many other impossibilities, but a lady in armor is just too much, even though female soldiers (and physically strong women of all kinds) exist in the real world. SURE, OKAY.

          • rubyjoo says:

            I still stand by what I've said, Mauve Avenger. The occasional – very unusual – woman might be able to carry heavy armour and swing a sword all day like the one in GoT. But Martin's heroine is presented as being a bit abnormal – huge, muscular, different, ugly and exceptional, whereas the Riders of Rohan etc are full of NORMAL/AVERAGE men capable of being soldiers. You cannot have your regular tall, slender, beautiful heroine being a full-on warrior at the same time. (Well, at least I can't. I just can't believe the image.) V'yy qvfphff Rbjla jura jr trg gurer.

            Now your modern army with its modern weapons is totally different and I see no reason why women shouldn't fight, particularly since there's no real "front line" any more. I think that women are as capable of killing and enduring all sorts of things as men – its just the depiction of unlikely muscle power that I object to. And BTW, notemily, muscles are dependent on testosterone in a way that height isn't which is why you can't compare height with strength.

            I did say that the existence of female dwarves amongst Thorin & Co in The Hobbit would change the dynamic for ME – not to mention the original story line.

            But just to be perverse, LOL – there WERE female warriors in British history if you go back to the tribes that the Romans found when they invaded Britain. The most famous were Boudicca and her daughters and they scared the s**t out of the Romans. But this was before the days of heavy armour etc and it's difficult to know whether these women were just leaders or actual fighters. "Shieldmaidens" were definitely a part of Germanic mythology and thus that of the Anglo-Saxons – you've only got to think of the Valkyrie. But whether these were based on actuality or were just male fantasies (even then, LOL) is anyone's guess.

            I'm a woman. Am I to assume that all the thumbs up on my original post were put there by men who were relieved that I had seen the light, LOL?!

            • Tauriel_ says:

              You are not alone – I'm a woman, too, and I agree with everything you posted. 🙂

            • Mauve_Avenger says:

              ". The occasional – very unusual – woman might be able to carry heavy armour and swing a sword all day like the one in GoT. But Martin's heroine is presented as being a bit abnormal – huge, muscular, different, ugly and exceptional, whereas the Riders of Rohan etc are full of NORMAL/AVERAGE men capable of being soldiers. You cannot have your regular tall, slender, beautiful heroine being a full-on warrior at the same time."

              I think you'll find that you just moved the goalposts.

              "But this was before the days of heavy armour etc and it's difficult to know whether these women were just leaders or actual fighters. "

              And this has absolutely nothing to do with women in battle in a completely fictional universe that also contains magic.

              "I'm a woman. Am I to assume that all the thumbs up on my original post were put there by men who were relieved that I had seen the light, LOL?!"

              I'm aware. Could you kindly point me to any quote of mine indicating that I think women are incapable of having sexist thoughts or expressing sexist opinions?

    • stellaaaaakris says:

      I was able to upvote this twice! I tried for a third, but I was denied…

      So, basically, yesyesyesyesyes. I love the story Tolkien creates; I think they're beautiful and full of meaning and have definitely changed lives for the better. BUT they're not perfect. I refuse to believe that the inclusion of "token" female characters must be "shoehorned" into the plot. Yes, they are inspired by real world history, but unless every history class I've ever taken is wrong, women existed during WWI (The Hobbit) and Medieval Europe (LotR). They played huge roles in the shaping of history, in fighting, in commanding, in being fully developed humans. When I bring this up, I've been told that Tolkien (or whatever writer I'm commenting on) should be able to tell the story he wants without having to add "token" women. Yes, I agree, he should be able to write his story. But why shouldn't I be side-eying a story where the inclusion of women would ruin the integrity or whatever of the tale? Women kicked ass at all periods in time; they provided aid, even if not military; they existed. Why should I not ask my literature to reflect this?

      Yes, I can let Tolkien slide for being a product of his time (and for including characters like Galadriel and Eowyn), but more recent books, not so much. If you're going to tell me that having women in your story is going to ruin it, you better have a damn good reason for why this would be. "They just don't fit" is not a legitimate reason; it's a sexist excuse.

    • floppus says:

      I agree, in general. In Tolkien's case, though, I would point out that he wasn't simply writing fantasy; he was writing a fictional mythology. He was trying to write something that, while it may not be believable as history, is believable as a story that might have been written thousands of years ago, and might have been loosely based on historical events. In that context, yes, a certain degree of historical "accuracy" is important, and that means some amount of sexism (and racism) are to be expected, both on the part of the characters and on the part of the fictional author/narrator.

      (Of couse, this is not to say that it excuses those elements, or makes them any less problematic.)

      And even given those constraints, Tolkien could have done a better job – while the societies of the Edain need to feel historically believable, the same isn't true of elves or hobbits.

  70. Elisa says:

    I too am conflicted because there are so few women in this book. I think Tolkien dropped the ball a little, he could have had way more prominent female characters but this book is mostly a man-fest.

    Can anyone explain to me how the spoiler font works? I have checked the FAQ and all I know is that there is a something everyone uses for spoilers but I don't know how or where or how to read or write them myself. Hmm.

    • blossomingpeach says:

      It's a cipher. Use to cipher text in and out. 🙂

    • JustMalyn says:

      When I first joined the site I thought everyone rot13'd in their heads. And so for days I wondered why EVERYONE ON MARK READS/WATCHES was a superhero and I wasn't 😛 haha 🙂 And yes, works magical wonders.

    • AmandaNekesa says:

      Also, there are add-ons for some browsers that makes decoding rot13 super easy. I'm using Leetkey for Firefox, and It makes cyphering and decoding rot13 much simpler than going in-between windows, using

      You just have to download the add-on, then to set it up, highlight some text, right-click, go to Leetkey, then Leetkey settings. Then, under Function Name, go to ROT13 and then type whatever shortcut you'd like to use for decoding rot-13. Save your settings, then go to any coded text, type your shortcut (mine's shift + Z) and it decodes it right on the page. If you need to cypher your comment into rot-13, highlight your text, right-click, go to Leetkey, Text Transformers, then ROT13, and it cyphers it for you. You can also set it up to type straight into rot-13 but I've found it way too confusing and I prefer to see my comment before coding it.

      Hope this helps!

  71. Hotaru_hime says:

    As far as the women of Rohan not riding to war, I don't mind it. If they know how to fight, I'd rather they stay behind and guard the elderly and children and the homestead. There are worse fates than death for women in war.

    • JustMalyn says:

      I suppose men don't have to worry about being raped as much. But still, the idea that it's completely based on gender just irks my inner feminist too much to ignore. And I get that it's part of their culture and that it was ahead of its time to have a kickass woman, but still…When in the movie gurl gnyx nobhg trggvat gur jbzra naq puvyqera vagb gur vafvqr bs gur Ubeaohet – naq gura lbh frr gung gurl'er rira univat 12 lrne byq oblf svtug, ohg abg shyyl dhnyvsvrq jbzra. V qba'g erpnyy vs vg jnf gung rkgerzr va gur obbxf, gubhtu. Naq Rbjla'f punenpgre nyzbfg znxrf hc sbe gur ceboyrzngvp fghss 🙂

    • icy says:

      Indeed, sexual assault of male prisoners of war as a tool of degradation has been far more common throughout history than your standard high school textbook would have you believe.

  72. SecretGirl127 says:

    Rohirrim. I just really like that word. Rohirrim.

    • babsspam says:

      V nyfb ybir "Rbeyvatnf"

    • Curt says:

      Fun linguistic aside: Though the language of Rohan is represented by Old English, Rohirrim is apparently invented by Tolkien, because that is not in fact what they call themselves. The people of Rohan call themselves Eorlingas, which is OE for "people of Eorl", Eorl being their first king and also deriving from a word for "nobleman" (hence "earl"). A quick Google search for Rohan Old English turns up a number of interesting resources.

  73. Cakemage says:

    HOLY YES, ROHAN. Promised land of the horse-lovers! I've wanted to live there since I was fourteen. Imagine the trail rides you could take there! As much as I love the idea of living in Rohan, I think that ultimately, I'd be more suited to a life in the Shire, though, 'cause I'm very short, kind of a home-body and very food-motivated.

    Also, while Galadriel may have been the one who initially made me aware of my sexuality, Eowyn sort of…double-confirmed it, so to speak.

    • JustMalyn says:

      Horses are so wonderful <3 I used to ride when I was little and then it all got too expensive….THEY ARE THE MOST MAGICAL CREATURES ON EARTH 🙂

  74. Roxanne says:

    Hello Mark, I know this isn't really relevant to this chapter, but I need to share this! (And yes, it really works, I just tested it!)

    <img src="; alt="walk into mordor" />

  75. kartikeya200 says:

    It was interesting to me that Théoden harked on a single point: that Gandalf always brought about bad news, bad tidings, or bad luck. Wormtongue, who appears to be some sort of assistant or official counsel to the King of the Mark, makes the same point, though he adds that Gandalf meddles. Even if this is ultimately shown to be an attempt by Wormtongue to thwart Rohan, I still think there’s some truth here. Gandalf really does meddle! He is a brilliant wizard and he’s rarely shown to be wrong, but he appears in people’s lives, changes them, and then leaves.

    The Doctor really IS Space Gandalf, isn't he?

  76. Curt says:

    Okay, so even though I was floored when you said this, multiple people have already pointed this out, so I guess I'm not breaking new ground when I say that "he appears in people’s lives, changes them, and then leaves" made me realize Gandalf is the 10th Doctor. Not so much in personality, granted, but I love the echoes of the end of Series 4 (and for that matter, all the way back to Rose's "a better way of living your life" speech).

    I think I'm the first to mention this, though: "Gandalf meddles, yes, but he leaves people with a choice." HMM WE SEE THAT A LOT IN DOCTOR WHO. The first episode (9th Doctor), for example: "I'm not here to kill it. I've got to give it a chance."

    Basically, I just love the realization that having the Doctor refer to himself as Space Gandalf wasn't just a fun, nerdy reference. IT TOTALLY MAKES SENSE.

  77. tigerpetals says:

    "Are there no women Rohirrim? Like, seriously, not one warrior or rider who is a woman? But then both Háma and Théoden name Éowyn as the heir in case the King does not return, and there is literally NO ARGUMENT ABOUT IT AT ALL."

    Well, if your theory about Aragorn and ladies is true, that may be one reason.

    Also, I'm no expert on the exact differences between roles for women and men, but in the US for example, many of the beliefs about what women were good at were set aside for war as they had to take the places of soldiers at home. This all rolled back after WWII.

  78. tigerpetals says:

    " He is a brilliant wizard and he’s rarely shown to be wrong, but he appears in people’s lives, changes them, and then leaves."

    Sometimes this is my dream life.

  79. asdfkljsdf says:

    I love Eowyn <3 She's a total BAMF

  80. rissreader says:

    In my previous post I asked what I thought was a simple question; what does the Mark mean. I got five different replies, each one adding new information to the definition. You folks were better than Google. I am continuously impressed by the wealth of knowledge we collectively share.

    We (the MarkReads community) are so awesome.

  81. mirl says:

    I am so happy that finally Eowyn has become part of the story <3 I do find this chapter more creepy now that I have a stalker; can anyone put me in contact with Gandalf?

  82. Becky_J_ says:


    I didn't know death would be so sweet!!

  83. I knew going back to this thread was a mistake. I am so glad I made it.

  84. AmandaNekesa says:


    <img src="; border="0" alt="Photobucket">

    What are you trying to do to us, flootzavut? :p

  85. teaspooncapacity says:

    EOWYN. <3

    Nyfb, Znex vf trggvat ernyyl tbbq ng cerqvpgvat guvatf. Vg qbrfa'g frrz gb yrffra nal bs gur srryf, gubhtu, juvpu vf RKPRYYRAG.

  86. ladysugarquill says:


    Whfg jnvg 'gvyy jr trg onpx gb Fnz XD

    We really haven’t seen Gandalf at full power much in this book and in The Hobbit, and I think it’s one of the best choices that Tolkien made for this character.

    I personally don't like it. Gandalf's power is too much of an Informed Ability to me at this point. I'd like to see him doing inequivocally flashy stuff.

    ETA: WTF am I the only one who can't login? :/

  87. vapulus says:

    Hardly adequate to carry his twinkle

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