Caught Between a Rock and a Hard Place

Being held captive by the most menacing and ugliest race ever to walk Middle-Earth is certainly fear-inducing. The only good thing about the situation is they are alive. The Uruk-hai don’t know they don`t possess the Ring that Saruman contracted them to bring to Isengard. They are certainly not going to blow their cover if they want to stay alive. But escaping this foul company is a goal they want to achieve. 

Trapped

As soon as they start to crawl away, an orc maggot blocks their path. He threatens them, saying if they screamed for help none would hear, and their imminent fate is inescapable. I do believe there is no worse feeling than helplessness. Trapped in a situation you want to escape from.

The terror that sweeps so suddenly over you is paralyzing. Your body and your mind become disconnected in an instant. Your brain may be telling you to run and save yourself, but your body goes limp, not being able to process what the mind is telling it to do. For an instant, you are stuck within yourself, unable to even draw breath. This short instance is like the calm before the storm.

As soon as your circulation is back on track and your nerves restart your body providing information from your brain, you are able to do whatever it is your mind is telling you to do. The adrenaline starts to pump its way through your veins, giving you lift and supporting your flight mode. Thankfully Merry and Pippin escape.

My name – my self

Give me your name horse-master and I shall give you mine.

Giml

Knowing what we know of Dwarves, they are a very secretive race. Their names are as important to them as they themselves are. They identify with is strong. Giving their name to someone would feel like giving their power, so the opposition can use it any way it wants.

It is then no surprise that Gimli acted in this self-defensive manner. His culture prevents him from revealing his name. It can be taken as a personal offense by anyone who would want to introduce themselves to him, but pride and a stubborn streak are what makes Dwarves a very special race. I this instance, however, it might be a death sentence.

Éomer and his banished riders are in no mood to welcome anyone to their lands, given the grief and pain they have suffered of late. There is no patience, there is no kindness. 

Defending a friend

As Éomer threatens to harm Gimli “if only his head stood but a little higher from the ground” Legolas points his bow and arrow at him exclaiming “you would die before your stroke fell”. Legolas` behavior has changed greatly since they left Rivendell.

There is no more mocking of the Dwarf, there is defending a friend. For Legolas to react this vehemently against a much larger company in order to defend his companion, is a completely different take on the Elf as we had until now.

Given their mutual grievances and discordance between the two races, this point of defense is an eye-opener. It proves that all races have the capacity of building friendships with one another. And theirs is only beginning. 

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Aragorn, the diplomat

Aragorn tries diffusing Gimli, which of course doesn`t work, and then moves on to Legolas. As a mature individual, he is trying to get some useful information from the Riders getting hindered left and right by his own companions.

He is a born leader and his true role is unfolding every step of the way. He is neither impulsive nor stubborn, he sees the reality as it is and manages to ride within it. This reality is, however, something new for him, something taking shape as he goes along.

This situation is the perfect catalyst for his democratic side. As they are informed of the slaughter of the Uruks and by extension the Hobbits, a solemn emotion sweeps this Company of three. Gimli is grief-stricken over the Hobbits and Legolas puts his hand on his shoulder to comfort him.

Defense and comfort – beautifully unfolding unlikely friendship.

The power of pain

Aragorn`s cool and collected mask slips and he loses hope of finding Merry and Pippin alive. he bursts into anger and kicks an Uruk helmet into the distance screaming in agony. This is not just his expression of anger and grief but also of pain.

The actor Viggo Mortensen broke his toe kicking that helmet. It, however, worked perfectly for the emotion needed in that scene. He is dedicated to playing the role as convincingly as possible. Viggo immerses himself into the emotions of the character and gives his all, and even a broken toe helps him enhance the pain the character feels in that moment of grief.

The days they have spent gaining on the Uruk-hai only to learn that Merry and Pippin are no longer alive, brings grief and agony to their dwindling hope.

We failed them.

Gimli

A sad acknowledgment. Their mission has come to a very sad ending, the realization they have failed their friends is unbearable. 

A hint of hope?

Legolas true to form starts chanting in Elvish, probably a lament, as the Elves in Lothlórien sang for Gandalf. Gimli accepts that all is lost and that their mission failed. But Aragorn quickly snaps out of his grief noticing dented ground and deducing Merry and Pippin lied there. Their marks, which he is able to interpret accurately, lead him to believe they escaped into Fangorn Forest, which rekindles their losing hope.

Fangorn. What madness drove them in there?

Gimli

Featured photo by Ana Segota.

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