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The Two Towers

Two TowersThe Two Towers 
by J. R. R. Tolkien

Time to launch the discussion of the second book in the Lord of the Rings. My apologies for the two lengthy interruptions in my comments on the first book. I’ll try to keep the second book moving along at a steadier pace.

This book is full of detours and multiple simultaneous plot threads, as we follow the separated members of the company in every scattered direction. As Frodo and Sam head for Mordor, Aragorn, Gimli, and Legolas detour through Rohan and Helm’s Deep, while Merry and Pippin have their own adventures at Fangorn and Isengard. New places, new characters, new developments, come at us thick and fast in this volume.

We begin right where we left off at the end of the Fellowship — in the woods where we left Aragorn and comapany. Here we go!

38 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Maria
    Aug 15, 2015 @ 00:29:10

    The first chapter of this volume is a very short one — but there are plenty of interesting points to talk about.

    (1) Why did Aragorn see nothing much from the same high seat where Frodo saw visions and heard a voice? Was it because of Aragorn’s distracted state of mind at that time? Or does this tell us something about Frodo’s greater sensitivity to such things? (He has had several significant dreams, too.) Or is it mainly just because Frodo was wearing the ring at the time? Would it have been the same, even if he hadn’t put on the ring, because he was the ring-bearer?

    Reply

  2. Maria
    Aug 15, 2015 @ 00:29:31

    (2) Aragorn said nothing to directly acknowledge Boromir’s confession — (“I tried to take the ring from Frodo.”) — but replied with an oblique remark which deflected focus to a different angle — (“You have conquered. Few have gained such a victory.”) Later, when Legolas and Gimli speculated on the reason for Frodo’s sudden departure, Aragorn kept Boromir’s confession silently to himself. (“The last words of Boromir he long kept secret.”) Two different reasons occur to me. His gentle tact with Boromir may have been meant to keep blame or bitterness out of Boromir’s thoughts at the end. His silence with the others may have been meant to guard Boromir’s reputation, out of respect. Aragorn’s restrained handling of this situation reveals something of his own character.

    Reply

  3. Maria
    Aug 15, 2015 @ 00:35:42

    (3) Aragorn begins this chapter torn by uncertainties. He can’t even decide something as simple as which way to run — up hill or down. Yet by the end of the chapter, he has become decisive and steady. If I had to put a finger on the transformative moment when everything changed, I’d say it was right here — “Let me think,” said Aragorn, “And now may I make a right choice, and change the evil fate of this unhappy day!” He stood silent a moment. … “My heart speaks clearly at last. … The Company has played its part.” It seems as though all his thinking through the problem of pro-vs-con has only led him in circles. He stops, and does something almost as close to praying as any character in the book — “May I make a right choice” — and then waits in stillness for the answer to that prayer. He has his answer, and he goes where it takes him without further hesitation.

    Reply

  4. Maria
    Aug 15, 2015 @ 00:45:29

    (4) Aragorn uses words in a way that will help bind together his two comrades and himself, creating a new team, a new company, in this moment when there is such a disorienting sense of the old company of nine being broken and scattered every which-way. He deliberately reaches out to remind Gimli and Legolas that they have already buried the hatchet of their old feud, and appeals to them to see all three peoples as more than just equal companions, but as kindred — “We will make such a chase as shall be accounted a marvel among the Three Kindreds: Elves, Dwarves, and Men. Forth the Three Hunters!” If this is the equivalent of a locker-room pep-talk, it’s a particularly astute one!

    Reply

  5. Maria
    Aug 15, 2015 @ 00:49:08

    Final thought on Chapter 1 —
    (5) “Leave all that can be spared behind” — Yes, they are being practical. The will be running light afoot — can’t carry an ounce of extra weight. But I also got the impression that they were leaving a lot of other things behind — doubt, fear, past struggles, — a lot of “baggage” was left behind on the shore at Parth Galen.

    Reply

  6. Maria
    Aug 27, 2015 @ 20:45:30

    Chapter 2 — The Riders of Rohan — We follow the Three Hunters on the trail of the orcs, hoping to rescue Merry and Pippin.

    (1) Tolkien is again very careful to set the scene by describing the landscape, vegetation, and weather in detail. In a typical modern novel, the action of the chase would be constantly before us, with a very hasty and rudimentary description of the setting. In some ways, this chapter does seem to be frustratingly slowed by the descriptive passages. There’s a temptation to skim over them, the eye looking for the next bit of conversation or plot activity. But when I take the time to read the whole chapter, description and all, and then pause at the end to consider the effect, I realize that I do really feel that this chase lasted for several dragged-out days. If my own tired feet had passed through this landscape, every alteration between rock and soft turf, uphill and down, clouds and sun, would have been prominently in my attention. If the action of the chapter had skipped from one development to the next, omitting all the time when nothing much happened, my mind would likely have telescoped the events into a few brief hours.

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  7. Maria
    Aug 27, 2015 @ 20:53:51

    (2) We know that the orcs are killers — they don’t usually bother with hauling live prisoners over great distances. We must assume that all hobbits are wanted alive because there is no easy way to be sure which is “the Baggins” — the one with the Ring. We realize that the only reason these two are still alive is because their captors hope one of them is the Ringbearer. If it were clear that neither of them is that coveted hobbit, they would both be killed and cast aside. When Aragorn discovers evidence that one hobbit — probably Pippin — has deliberately arranged to leave tracks and clues to aid rescuers, we are cheered by this reminder of the homely practical ingenuity of hobbits. If Pippin is clever enough to leave clues, we can hope he is also clever enough to keep himself and Merry alive.

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  8. Maria
    Aug 27, 2015 @ 22:15:22

    (3) The conversations between the Three Hunters as they debate their course of action in this chapter are interesting. It’s plainly a debate among equals, as Legolas and Gimli each feel completely free to say what they’re thinking. Gimli points out that they must rest sometime, and it makes sense to do so at the time least useful for following a trail, as in the dark it would be impossible to see such clues as Pippin had left earlier. Legolas points out that the orcs surely won’t rest by night, and if the trio of pursuers pause to rest, they might lose them. Yet when everyone has been heard, the final responsibility of making a choice of action for the trio is given to Aragorn. The other two specifically defer to him. He is obviously accepted as the “leader” — and yet it’s a leadership among equal comrades, not a leadership over submissive followers. We can see here a hint of the sort of king that Aragorn will become — one who leads those who are willing to give him their trust, not one who conquers others against their will.

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  9. Maria
    Aug 27, 2015 @ 22:24:26

    (4) The men of Rohan are suspicious and mistrustful of these strangers in their land. Just from one brief encounter with Eomer and his troop, we learn to understand something about the attitudes of the Rohirrim. They have an insular culture, distinct from their surrounding neighbors, and they want only to be let alone to continue living as they have always done. They will not abandon their old friendship with the men of Gondor or be seduced into alliance with Sauron. But neither will they actively enter the war against him, if they can help it. Aragorn warns them that this isolationism is doomed — that they will not be able to avoid choosing and committing themselves, that the war is already on their borders. Reading this part of the chapter, I am struck by the recollection that Tolkien was writing these books during the years just before WWII — that the longing to be let alone in peace, to look away from the growing threat, was in the real world as well as in the book.

    Reply

  10. Maria
    Aug 27, 2015 @ 22:33:29

    (5) Eomer is not a high noble like Aragorn. He is a leader of men in his own routine way — Third Marshall (not First or Second!) — in charge of one small section of territory. But it is evident that he takes his responsibility seriously, that he is intelligent enough to take the precaution of moving civilian herdsmen to safety, to speak cautiously in public but frankly in private, to strike a good balance between following his orders and using his own judgment. He is in a difficult position, holding views that go against the isolationist tendency of his king and people, wanting to assist Aragorn without violating the security rules that were made for good reason. His compromise solution reveals him as a good match for Aragorn, someone else who can wisely thread his way through a problem with good sense and diplomacy. He strikes the reader as someone with the ability to serve as more than Third Marshall.

    Reply

  11. Maria
    Aug 27, 2015 @ 22:40:22

    (6) We end the chapter with unsolved mysteries left hanging. What has become of Merry and Pippin? Their bodies are not accounted for among the slaughtered orcs, and yet there is no obvious sign that they escaped or were carried off as hostages. What was it that frightened off the horses? And most troubling of all — the silent old man in the darkness near the campfire, who vanished so suddenly without a trace. The first time we read these books, we had no clue that Gandalf would be back. Our gut told us that it was Saruman — but why was he there? And where did he go? Even now, when I know about Gandalf’s return later on, I still have doubts here, not remembering for sure whether this was Gandalf or Saruman. That silence is unnerving. If it was Gandalf, he ought to have spoken in his familiar voice. If it was Saruman, he ought to have either seduced or threatened. But just silence — That’s unsettling from either friend or foe. We end this chapter on edge.

    Reply

  12. Maria
    Sep 09, 2015 @ 13:31:21

    The third chapter is Merry and Pippin’s chapter, taking us suddenly away from the Three Hunters, back several days in time and miles in space, to catch up with the two young hobbits.

    (1) Up until now, all through Volume I and the first two chapters of Volume II, the narrative has mostly been chronological. When a re-cap of past material was needed, it was given in the present by conversation with someone who told the story. I think this is the first time Tolkien as author has “jumped” us this way. It’s going to happen very frequently in this volume, as we try to keep up with all the scattered members of the old company at once. Modern novels jump back and forth as a routine and common way of structuring the book, but I usually find this tactic a bit disconcerting. It works best for me when there is a particular narrative reason for the device, as here for instance, when there are multiple plot threads that we need to keep track of in “real time”. What do you think? Does this make it easier or harder for you to follow the story?

    Reply

  13. Maria
    Sep 09, 2015 @ 13:38:42

    (2) Though this chapter focuses on the adventures of both Merry and Pippin, it is told from Pippin’s point of view. Up until now, we have had to judge Pippin by his actions and remarks, and by other character’s reactions to him. What difference does it make, to hear Pippin’s thoughts and feelings? Does it change how we evaluate him? He begins to strike me as less frivolous after this chapter. He is still young and hasty, but what had seemed like mere childish heedlessness before now seems more like willingness to take a chance on an idea and hope for the best. That is, we now see that there is a purpose and intention behind Pippin’s improvisational style. It isn’t that Tolkien is asking us to throw out what we’ve learned about Pippin up until now — but we are going to see what lies behind the surface, what’s making this reckless young hobbit tick.

    Reply

  14. Maria
    Sep 09, 2015 @ 13:42:54

    (3) I’m struck by Pippin’s thoughts here: “What good have I been? Just a nuisance, a passenger, a piece of luggage. And now I have been stolen and I am just a piece of luggage for the Orcs. I hope Strider or someone will come and claim us! But ought I to hope for it? Won’t that throw out all the plans? I wish I could get free!” And he decides to stop being carried along by other people and events, and take an active part in his own story. He has always been active in the sense of physical activity and chattering conversation, even to the point of annoying some of those around him. For him to realize that, “Hey, actually I feel like I haven’t done anything, I feel like an inert piece of luggage” — this is as surprising to the reader as it is to Pippin himself. Pippin’s determination to become an active agent is really a determination to use his naturally active nature in a more focused, deliberate way.

    Reply

  15. Maria
    Sep 09, 2015 @ 13:53:57

    (4) Pippin’s method is revealed as the chapter goes along as an improvised ad-lib method. He has always come across as very curious, and we realize now that curiosity means alert awareness of passing details. Pippin notices things — and in this chapter he jumps quickly to take advantage of whatever presents itself. A dead orc lands near him with a sharp blade in hand — and Pippin quickly uses it to cut the ropes on his wrists. The ground underfoot is soft and wet for awhile — and Pippin scurries briefly off the line of march to leave identifiable footprints for rescuers. These are not anything he could have planned ahead for, nothing he had time to weigh and consider. Pippin’s hasty ad-lib style, a danger in some situations, seems to work beautifully at times like these, when fast opportunistic action is called for.

    Reply

  16. Maria
    Sep 09, 2015 @ 20:00:40

    (5) The simmering feud between the different bands of orcs is the saving of the hobbits. We may say it’s just orc nature to be selfish, violent, and disunited — but there is obviously a streak of the same tendency in human nature, too. We watch the orcs fight and fall apart with a knowing sense of familiarity. We know this means a fatal weakness because we’ve seen it too often in our own history.
    Pippin cunningly uses this divisiveness among their captors to engineer escape for himself and Merry. He has not had a chance to consult or plan with Merry, and yet Merry quickly picks up on what Pippin’s doing and joins the dangerous game. Example of hobbit unity played against orc double-cross — and the united hobbits win — partly by luck, partly by cleverness, and partly by risk. The faithful loyalty among hobbits is their strength, making up many times over for their other weaknesses.

    Reply

  17. Nancy
    Sep 14, 2015 @ 07:34:29

    You are whizzing right along! It’s great to read your equally great insights and comments. Please keep it up.

    Reply

    • Maria
      Sep 14, 2015 @ 15:36:26

      I will try to do that! Feel free to join in whenever you like!

      Reply

  18. Maria
    Sep 22, 2015 @ 12:57:40

    As my sister Laurie has reminded me, today is Bilbo’s and Frodo’s birthday — (Happy Birthday, hobbits!)

    On to Chapter 4 — “Treebeard” — one of my favorite chapters.

    (1) We meet a whole new kind of creature in this chapter. We never suspected Ents existed until we met Treebeard. But then, Treebeard never suspected that Hobbits existed until he met Merry and Pippin. How many things might there be in existence which we simply have no way of imagining until we encounter them? When we do meet something entirely new to us, how do we react? Treebeard, Merry, and Pippin met each other with openness and curiosity, not with suspicion or rejection.

    Reply

  19. Maria
    Sep 22, 2015 @ 13:03:38

    (2) The Ents, like the Rohirrim, just want to stay out of the world’s wars and upheavals, to be left alone to carry on in their own way. But just as the coming of orcs and Aragorn shook Eomer into realizing that Rohan couldn’t remain an island, so in the same way the coming of Merry and Pippin shook Treebeard and the Ents into the same realization. The splitting-up of the Fellowship and the scattering of its members has sent them in all directions as ambassadors or missionaries, shaking things loose wherever they go, in a way that might never have happened if the company had stayed together.

    Reply

  20. Maria
    Sep 22, 2015 @ 13:12:19

    (3) “Ents are more like Elves: less interested in themselves than Men are, and better at getting inside other things. And yet again Ents are more like Men, more changeable than Elves are, and quicker at taking the colour of the outside, you might say. Or better than both: for they are steadier and keep their minds on things longer.”
    This is how Treebeard places his own people in comparison to the two peoples he is most familiar with. Do I agree with his self-assessment? He seems to have summed up both the strengths and the weaknesses of Elves and Men. But what are the weaknesses of the Ents? They are steady, yes, but also seem to have a temptation towards disengagement. It takes a lot to bestir an Ent.

    Reply

  21. Maria
    Sep 23, 2015 @ 11:00:12

    (4) Until now, our focus has been on Sauron as the antagonist. While we have been made aware of Saruman’s treachery as far back as the Council of Elrond, he has not seemed to require any action except that of avoidance. We no longer trust him, we give him a wide berth, but our efforts are all focused on the threat of Sauron. Nobody at the Council of Elrond seemed to think attacking Isengard was worth discussing. And judging from Boromir’s concerns, Saruman seems to have been quite off-radar for Gondor, fixed intently as they are on the threat from Mordor. But here in these past two chapters, we have finally encountered the folk who are Saruman’s nearest next-door neighbors, so to speak. To the Rohirrim, he is cause for much anxiety — and to the Ents, cause for rousing anger. The notion of actually Doing Something about Saruman had to come from those who couldn’t simply avoid him, those who were no longer able to just go on living quietly right next-door to him. But isn’t it ironic that the neighbor who decided to take on the bully on their own block wasn’t the one we might have expected — not the military Rohirrim, but the unhasty Ents?

    Reply

  22. Maria
    Sep 23, 2015 @ 11:09:18

    (5) The Ent-moot takes place off-stage, while Merry and Pippin are away with Quickbeam, so we don’t find out exactly what happened there. But I’ve somehow got the impression that it operates more by consensus than by majority vote. The Ents would continue talking and talking for however long it took, until everybody came to agreement about the course of action. If there was one holdout, the others wouldn’t proceed without him. Rather like our requirement that a jury be unanimous — except that we humans don’t have the endless patience of Ents. When we decide ‘this has gone on too long’, we declare a hung jury and move on. But a hung Ent-moot? Nope — the Ents have all the time in the world, and they would just go on meeting and talking. So this situation must have been one of unusual distress and urgency to the Ents, that they arrived at such resounding consensus in only three days — remarkably fast for an Ent-moot, as Treebeard remarks!

    Reply

  23. Maria
    Sep 23, 2015 @ 11:12:32

    (6) Just gotta say — the March of the Ents is one of the most stand-up moments of the entire trilogy for me! Rousing stuff! And to think, two innocent little hobbits unleashed all this! Without really even intending it! Small hands touched a forgotten power and — WOW!

    Reply

  24. Nancy
    Oct 05, 2015 @ 21:38:55

    Ah, the Ents! One of my favorite parts, too. They are so unusual, so big, so protective and nurturing. A different kind of giant.

    Reply

    • Maria
      Oct 06, 2015 @ 13:49:54

      Protective, yes, and nurturing to their own — but also dangerous when roused — as Saruman is going to find out shortly!

      Reply

  25. Maria
    Oct 06, 2015 @ 19:17:07

    Onwards to the next chapter — “The White Rider”

    (1) Like “Shadow of the Past” and “Council of Elrond”, this chapter puts the action on pause long enough to get through a bunch of background information. When I consider Tolkien’s use of this technique as a way to throw “stuff you’ll need to know” at us in the most efficient way, I guess it works pretty well. By embedding the information in a dramatic scene of conversation between characters, he gives us a sense that the action hasn’t ground to a complete halt — which is what it would feel like if he threw in a chapter of “Meanwhile, here’s where things stand…” in the author’s narrative voice.

    Reply

  26. Maria
    Oct 06, 2015 @ 19:54:55

    (2) The Three Hunters pause outside Fangorn to size up the forest before venturing into it. All three are wary, but Legolas approaches with the senses of a woodland elf from Mirkwood. He comes from a forest with its own dark corners.

    “I do not think the wood feels evil, whatever tales may say, …No, it is not evil; or what evil is in it is far away. I catch only the faintest echoes of dark places where the hearts of the trees are black. There is no malice near us; but there is watchfulness and anger.”
    “Well, it has no cause to be angry with me,” said Gimli. “I have done it no harm.”
    “That is just as well,” said Legolas. “But nonetheless it has suffered harm.

    The others are still less trusting than Legolas, but it does seem as though his assessment has reassured them and made it easier to go forward. They can understand that the woods are dark and angry because they have been harmed, and hope that the anger will not be directed towards them, as long as they continue to do no harm themselves.

    Reply

  27. Maria
    Oct 06, 2015 @ 20:15:11

    (3) I can’t help reading Gandalf’s appearance in this chapter with a memory of the resurrection appearances of Jesus. Mary Magdalen initially mistook Jesus for the gardener, the disciples on the road to Emmaus didn’t recognize the man they met on the way. And here, Aragorn and his companions mistook Gandalf for Saruman. In each case, they finally recognized their friend, not by mere physical appearance, but by something deeper than the surface — by heart speaking to heart. In Gandalf’s case, there was a moment of strangeness, when the weapons they had raised suddenly fell from their hands or caught fire. But the power behind that action wasn’t proof that it was Gandalf — it might have just as well been a frightening sign of threatening power from Saruman. Why was it, instead, a sudden assurance to them that this was Gandalf — someone they believed to be dead? To know with such certainty that it was him, they had to have a conviction in their hearts, a surrender to trust. I love this scene and the way it was written, with such understanding about how we come to believe, by something beyond proof and logic, by a sudden realization of the heart.

    Reply

  28. Maria
    Oct 06, 2015 @ 20:30:07

    (4) Aragorn has spoken of the long and fruitless chase that brought them to Fangorn too late to catch up with Merry and Pippin. Gandalf is looking at the bigger picture, and seeing it as a sequence of events that brought them all to where they needed to be in the very nick of time. Speaking of Merry and Pippin, Gandalf says, “It was not in vain that the young hobbits came with us, if only for Boromir’s sake. But that is not the only part they have to play. They were brought to Fangorn, and their coming was like the falling of small stones that starts an avalanche in the mountains.” Really, none of us ever understand all that we’ve done in our lives, because most of it happens out of our sight. We are all just small stones in the big scheme of things. But every avalanche starts with a few small stones.

    Reply

  29. Maria
    Oct 06, 2015 @ 20:35:58

    (5) One more thought-provoking quote from this chapter —

    Gimli said, “I thought Fangorn was dangerous.”
    “Dangerous!” cried Gandalf. “And so am I, very dangerous: more dangerous than anything you will ever meet, unless you are brought alive before the seat of the Dark Lord. And Aragorn is dangerous, and Legolas is dangerous. You are beset with dangers, Gimli son of Glóin; for you are dangerous yourself, in your own fashion.”

    This is a reminder that there is darkness in the best of us. None of us is entirely to be trusted, because none of us can perfectly trust ourselves. Yet — as this whole chapter teaches us — faith in each other and ability to trust and believe in each other is our best hope. It’s a tension we all know in daily life — to go on trusting even with awareness of our human unreliability.

    Reply

  30. Maria
    Nov 07, 2015 @ 15:30:50

    Chapter 6 – The King of the Golden Hall

    (1) The description of Theoden’s realm keeps us constantly aware of the open space, the sky, the treeless grasslands. I am reminded of some of the things that the western pioneers wrote about our prairies, how struck they all were by the sense of space, sky, openness. Nowhere to hide. Open to the sun and wind. Sometimes almost swallowed up by the grass. The people of Rohan have a quality of rough prairie-dried toughness to them. Their speech is terse and to the point. Their manners seem brusque to those accustomed to the formalities of Gondor or the courtesies of Rivendell. We all grow to fit our landscape, if we live close enough to the land for long enough.

    Reply

  31. Maria
    Nov 07, 2015 @ 15:45:17

    (2) Theoden strikes us at his first appearance as a querelous old man, suspicious and petty. His manner is just skirting outright insulting to Gandalf. But then Grima/Wormtongue begins speaking for him, and Grima’s manner is so insulting that it can’t even be said to pretend courtesy. Grima is truculent, behaving as though he has every right to speak for Theoden, without even waiting for Theoden to designate him. If we hadn’t read this before, we would wonder what was going on here. Why is a mere counsellor, seated not in a chair but on the steps, as if an underling, speaking as the king’s mouthpiece, while the king defers to him and echoes his cues. Because this whole setup looks “off”, we already mistrust Grima right from the first page. Also adding to that vibe which suggests something “off” is the complete silence of Eowyn. She stands beside King Theoden, signalling that she is someone closer to him than the man sitting on the step. She looks like someone with more right than Grima to speak for the king. Yet she doesn’t speak — doesn’t even make a routine gesture of hospitality such as might seem a woman’s part. She stands there silent, and that also suggests something is wrong and strange about the setup in Theoden’s court.

    Reply

  32. Maria
    Nov 07, 2015 @ 15:55:57

    (3) Gandalf’s “cure” of Theoden involves getting him outdoors. Why not say what needed saying inside the hall? Why did he have to get him outside to talk to him? In a way, it goes back to the first thing I noticed about the people of Rohan, their connection with their great prairies. As soon as Theoden stands out in the open, the wind blows on him, the sun beats down on him, the open grasslands and huge open sky remind him where he comes from, who his people are, what sort of king they look to. When Gandalf and Hama and Eomer all start to “talk turkey”, Theoden is hearing it in the right setting. In a dark hall, it might be incorrect to tell your king what’s what. But out on the prairies, things feel different. Straight talk is the only kind of talk that makes sense out here. In this setting, Theoden can take it in the right spirit — suddenly Grima’s suggestions seem like convoluted nonsense, and this plain talk makes total sense.

    Reply

  33. Maria
    Nov 07, 2015 @ 16:05:28

    (4) The revelation that Grima was a sort of fifth column, working for Saruman, finishes the cleanup at Theoden’s court. Now it makes sense — all his attempts to undermine and weaken Theoden’s morale had a specific practical goal. Theoden’s reaction to this betrayal tells us a lot about Theoden. He doesn’t order Grima imprisoned or killed. He offers him a choice — prove your worth by doing your bit in the coming battle — or get out of Rohan and go away to Saruman. Theoden challenges Grima to show who he really is. Actions speak louder than words. Grima has done his work of betrayal with words, then has tried to salvage his position with more words. But his true self will be shown not in words but in deeds. Theoden and his true folk, Eomer and all the rest, are more convinced by actions than by words.

    Reply

  34. Maria
    Nov 07, 2015 @ 16:12:12

    (5) The silent woman Eowyn is brought forward near the end of this chapter. We begin to see who she is, and why she has been so silent. She has been trapped in a position where chances to act have been limited, and words have been useless. She seems like a creature who belongs out here on the prairie with her brother, caged up all this time in the dark hall. But her value has been recognized, even in this setting. When Theoden prepares to ride to war, he must consider who he can trust to keep his people safe in his absence. Eomer goes with him, and that rules him out — but who else of equal value can he spare? Hama speaks for all the folk when he says, “Eowyn — we trust Eowyn.” She is presented with a sword and armor, invested with authority by the king, and trusted with responsibility for the people under her protection. She still seems unhappy, wishing to ride with the warriors. But she does the job she has been given. And we readers realize that it’s a necessary and important job, even if Eowyn doesn’t.

    Reply

  35. Nancy
    Nov 23, 2015 @ 12:08:49

    I want you to know that I so enjoy reading you comments and observations. They form an excellent study guide for these books. And your dedication is something I envy and makes me ashamed that I just can’t find the time to do likewise. Good job!

    Reply

    • Maria
      Nov 23, 2015 @ 16:39:49

      Honestly and obviously, my so-called “dedication” to this blog has eroded in the past couple of months. I really ought to get it back on track soon. You are busy with so many things! Why be ashamed of not doing one thing, when you are doing a dozen others — all of them interesting!

      Reply

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