Lord of the Rings read along – Return of the King
And so we move on to Book No.3, The Return of the King, where we read through to the end of The Battle of the Pelennor Fields. We’re almost at the end of the journey now. Questions this week were provided by Clint at Geeky Dad as follows:
- With the company that went with Aragorn through the Paths of Death. Would you have volunteered knowing it may be curse and ghosts haunting the paths? I think if I had the opportunity I would have preferred to go with Aragorn. He always seems to feel so ‘right’ with his choices that he inspires confidence plus he seems to have been growing in confidence himself, at the beginning he almost shied away from his own legacy but as the books progresses he seems to be taking ownership. Also to be honest, it’s not really like there’s any really easy choices – death by orc (or other beast/person/thing) or death by ghost – think I’ll take death by ghost – it doesn’t feel as ‘real’ somehow. I’m not saying that I wouldn’t be frightened by ghosts but it seems less tangible somehow so I’ll take my chances. (Anyway, who am I trying to kid – obviously I would go with Aragorn – it’s Aragorn! Doh
- What were your thoughts of Merry and Pippin in the preparation to the Battle of Gondor. It seemed that each ruler just thought that each hobbit could not be a contribution to the battle. I felt sorry for both Merry and Pippin to be honest. They both seemed to suffer the loss of each other when they were split up – and frankly the split almost seemed on a bit of a whim now when you reread the book . It felt very much like both had become an encumberance – they were treated a bit like a child who you humour with your patience when you have the time but then want to shoo them away to one side when things become more serious. But, at the end of the day, and though they might be small in stature, they are both adults – and they both wanted to contribute. I really liked that they eventually both proved their worth in more ways than one. Without Pippin looking in the palantir the battle would probably not have been as accelerated as it was – which was a good thing in a way because it meant the battle wasn’t as well planned as it would otherwise have been and without Merry’s intervention on the battlefield things could have gone horribly wrong. I like the way that Tolkien manages to give them, and the Lady Eowyn, a valuable contribution.
- Did you think that the preparations to the Battle sparked your interest and all or did you find that the flow was bogged down a bit? I suppose I did find the preparations a little more ‘sluggish’ than the rest of the book – which is to be expected in this type of novel, you have these chapters that totally raise you up and throw you into battle and then you have the lulls in between. But, I am a stickler for detail and if it wasn’t in the book I would probably find it very irritating. I did find it really interesting to read about the Wild Men who assisted the Rohirrim in finding a forgotten road to get more quickly to Gondor – Ghan-buri-Ghan was a funny character – didn’t like the orcs, and probably had no real love for men either but chose the lesser of the two evils in his eyes and struck a bargain so that his people could retreat to the quiet of the forest again.
- I thought that it was great that both Eowyn and Merry made it to the Battlefield. Yet against orders of the King and made a huge contributions. What did you think both of them doing this and would you have done this if it was you? I loved Eowyn and Merry’s contribution – and in fact it proved pivotal – things could have been so very different (and bad) without their rebelliousness! Not sure if I would have been so brave – in fact I know I wouldn’t. Although I suppose you’re carried away on the moment really and probably not thinking you’re brave at all.
- What do you think of Denethor’s rash decision to send Faramir to hold Western Osgiliath against the hosts of the Enemy that outnumbered their own greatly? Denethor is one of the few people that I have very little sympathy with in the book. I really don’t like him and it makes me feel bad, even though he is a work of fiction, to say that, but I think he is so mean! Imagine saying to one of your children that you would prefer their death to their brother’s – OMG! I know he was grieving for Boromir but frankly he always had a preference by the sound of it. I thought he was wrong to send out Faramir to hold Western Osgiliath because frankly it was an impossible task and a tremendous loss of life.
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