Archive for May, 2013

LOTR Chapter by Chapter: Houses of Healing

Tuesday, May 28, 2013 9:25

There was a time when “housesofhealing@hotmail.com” was my e-mail address.

The Return of the King, Book 5, Chapter 8: The Houses of Healing

Chapter synopsis: Merry wanders into Minas Tirith and faints. He is found by Pippin and taken to the Houses of Healing. Aragorn decides not to claim his kingship until the war with Mordor is over, but he does come to help the wounded. First he tends Faramir, Éowyn and Merry. Faramir was struck by a poisoned arrow, but most of all he was affected by the “black breath” of the Nazgul; and Éowyn and Merry were falling into darkness after confronting the Ringwraith. Aragorn heals them with a herb called athelas, and they wake up, though they will still have to rest for several days.

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LOTR Chapter by Chapter: Pyre of Denethor

Wednesday, May 22, 2013 9:15
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Pippin has his heroic moment. (He tells Gandalf to save the day.)

The Return of the King, Book 5, Chapter 7: The Pyre of Denethor

Chapter synopsis: Pippin finds Gandalf and brings him to the Houses of the Dead to prevent Denethor from burning himself and Faramir alive. There they find Beregond (whom Pippin had warned of Denethor’s madness) fighting Denethor’s servants. Gandalf tries to convince Denethor to lead the defence of the City; but Denethor firmly believes that the might of Mordor is too great now and everything is hopeless. Beregond prevents him from slaying Faramir; then Denethor grabs a torch and throws it into the pile of wood prepared there, and throws himself upon it, and burns. It is discovered that a palantír, kept secretly in the White Tower, was the origin of his dismay, for he had looked in it often and seen nothing but the gathering of the great armies of Mordor. Gandalf takes Faramir to the Houses of Healing.

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LOTR Chapter by Chapter: Battle of the Pelennor Fields

Wednesday, May 15, 2013 11:48
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The Return of the King, Book 5, Chapter 6: The Battle of the Pelennor Fields

Chapter synopsis: Théoden slays the chieftain of the Southrons. Then the Captain of the Ringwraiths, riding upon his terrible winged creature, descends near Théoden; his horse, driven mad with fear, falls on his side and buries the king underneath him. Only Éowyn, who was disguised as Dernhelm, stands beside him in this moment; Merry’s courage finally awakens and he attacks the Ringwraith from behind, and Éowyn with her last strength slays the Wraith-king. Before dying Théoden says farewell to Merry, and greets Éomer as the new king. The remaining defenders of Minas Tirith issue from the City to help the Rohirrim; the Prince Imrahil meets the men carrying Théoden and Éowyn, and notices that she is still alive, and sends for the healers. The forces of Rohan and Gondor are slowly losing the battle with the huge armies of the Enemy. But then a fleet of ships of Umbar sails up the Anduin, at to the surprise of both the attackers and the defenders it is not bearing the Corsairs, enemies of Gondor, but Aragorn and his company, as well as the hosts of southern Gondor. Now the battle turns to the favour of the West, and by the end of the day no enemies remain alive on the field.

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New Lord of the Films Review

Sunday, May 12, 2013 19:05
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It’s great to see Lucinda’s review of The Lord of the Films at goodreads. She writes:

“I absolutely love the cover of this lush book, which stands-out on the bookshelf. Exploring Hobbiton, Rivendell, Lothlórien and the end of all things was simply magical, highlighting how magnificent a story it is and the scope of Frodo’s journey from Bag-End to Mordor. Creatures such as the creation of Gollum/ Sméagol are studied and how an actor (Andy Serkis) made a digitally animated character become so ‘real’. So many questions are answered in this book ~ from shooting in New Zealand, horse riding and Andalucian stallions to the building of Rohan and the Golden hall of Edoras, situated at the top of a mountain. The shimmering, authentic costumes, the different races of Elves, Ents and Wizards to the magic that is Middle-Earth and the languages of old this is a remarkable look at an epic creation. Tolkien’s works have been brought to life so that the people, places and adventures of the Fellowship of Friends (on the quest of a lifetime to destroy the One Ring), will always live in our hearts forever. Thank you JW Braun for re-living this memorable experience!”

LOTR Chapter by Chapter: Ride of the Rohirrim

Wednesday, May 8, 2013 13:33
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This chapter title would make a good name for a record album. (Well, if we still had record albums.)

The Return of the King, Book 5, Chapter 5: The Ride of the Rohirrim

Chapter synopsis: The host of Rohan rides quickly towards Gondor for four days. One night Merry listens to Théoden and Éomer talking to Ghân-buri-Ghân, a chieftain of the Wild Men of the nearby woods. Orcs seem to have waylaid the road towards Minas Tirith, and Ghân offers to show them a long-abandoned and unknown path through the forest. Thus they come unchallenged to the field of Gondor, for all the enemies are busy assailing the city walls. Just when the armies of Mordor are attacking the gates with their great ram, Théoden blows a signal with his horn and the Rohirrim charge into attack

Tolkien’s Take:

This is an odd (and short) chapter. We start off not knowing of any complications in Rohan’s ride to Minas Tirith; then we realize that it’s not going to be so easy. Wild Men surround them. An army from Mordor is setting up an ambush. Before we get very far with either of these complications, the men of Rohan are quickly given a solution: the wild men want to be friends, and they can take a shortcut. Meanwhile, before we find out about any of this, we have already established with the last sentence of the last chapter that Rohan makes it to Minas Tirith safely.

Weird.

Personally I think it would have been better if the last Merry chapter would have been extended to include the beginning of this one: end it with the Riders of Rohan in peril, thinking the woses are going to get them, and setting up exposition about the ambush. Not only would their arrival at Minas Tirith become more dramatic, this chapter would answer the riddle of how they got through… sort of like reading about the riddles Merry and Pippin set up for Aragorn, Gimli, and Legolas, and then learning the answers.

Anyway, it’s still a good chapter (even if it’s only nine pages or so). It’s nice to see what the Riders have been up to, and it’s fun to learn about what’s going on in Minas Tirith from another perspective: from afar. Tolkien’s also very clever with the shifting of the wind, which would come into play in future chapters.

Jackson’s Take:

This chapter is largely cut from the movie, the decision made to jump from the Muster to the Rohirrim’s arrival at Minis Tirith without anything in-between. The speech made by Théoden is well done, however, and might be Bernard Hill’s finest moment in the films. The charge is an amazing piece of real-life/CGI melding, a perfect beginning to the following battle sequence.

Rankin/Bass’s Take: (Drew’s Take)

The Rankin/Bass movie completely omits this chapter.

LOTR Chapter by Chapter: Siege of Gondor

Thursday, May 2, 2013 9:22

“Son, we live in a city with walls. You want answers? You want the truth? You can’t handle the truth!” – Denethor to Pippin in A Few Good Guards of the Citadel.

The Return of the King, Book 5, Chapter 4: The Siege of Gondor

Chapter synopsis: Gandalf takes Pippin to Denethor, and Pippin receives a uniform of the Tower. Later he meets Beregond and talks to him for a while on the city walls. That very evening Faramir returns into Minas Tirith, barely escaping the winged Nazgul who were chasing him and his few companions. Pippin accompanies Gandalf and Faramir to a meeting with Denethor; Faramir reports about the events on the border, and about his meeting with Frodo. Denethor is displeased with his actions, and would prefer to have the Ring brought to his keeping. The next day Faramir leaves the City again to help in the defence of the passages across the Anduin. The defenders cannot withstand the well-prepared attack, however, and a day later survivors retreat back into the city, chased by the enemies; Faramir is brought in last, wounded by a poisoned dart. Huge numbers of enemies, led by the Captain of the Ringwraiths himself, encircle Minas Tirith and start a siege, digging trenches of fire and preparing great engines of war. Denethor is broken to see Faramir mortally wounded, and he gives up all hope and the defense of the city and retreats into the houses of the dead, intending to burn himself and Faramir. He releases Pippin of his service, and Pippin runs looking for Gandalf who might still prevent Denethor from committing some madness. Meanwhile the enemies attack the city gate with a huge ram, and break it open after several attempts. The Lord of the Nazgul rides in and is confronted by Gandalf alone; in that very moment, though, the horns of Rohan ring in the distance.

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