Elephant

Charge of the Mûmakil

On Pelennor Fields, unaware of the tragic suicide that has taken place on the highest level of the Citadel, the battle between the Rohirrim and Mordor Orcs continues. With all their will and strength they smite at the enemy. Their charge might have been seen as a suicide mission, however, as they broke the Orc ranks, the wave of energy and determination has not only had the effect of driving the Orcs back but also given them the initial success of their mission they craved for.

Confidence from success

They were aware their numbers were few and they would not be enough to defeat the enemy single-handedly. That, however, did not stop them from giving their all to cause as much damage to the enemy as possible. And as the first success rolled in, their confidence soared. There might still be a way of getting out of this alive. 

The Orcs, utterly shocked and confused by the apparent unyielding of the Rohirrim, run for their lives. They have lost their strategic position and advantage they had. All they can do now is flee and regroup. 

Éomer: “Drive them back to the river!”

Théoden: “Make safe the city!”

With the Orcs underway towards the river, Théoden orders his riders to secure the walls of the city, so that none of the Orcs from the field would be able to penetrate any further into the Citadel. Their plan was to enter Minas Tirith and rid it of the enemy’s soldiers that have already breached the gate. It would not have been a difficult task, seeing as their numbers were greater than that of the Orcs inside the city walls. Their only concern now would be to ensure the safety of the women, the children and the guard of the Citadel. 

Chant of the Haradrim

At the precise moment, Théoden gives the order, the roar of a Mûmakil reaches the King’s ear. His eyes follow the sound only to be left frightened by the scene unfolding before his eyes. Éomer too shares the same feeling of dread as the Mûmakils come into view. 

Since the Orcs were unsuccessful in their attempt to kill all Mankind, the support of the Haradrim has to step in. The shot filmed behind the Rohirrim’s back shows us a front line of at least a dozen Mûmakils moving towards them. There are wooden structures perched on their backs. The size of the creatures is considerable enough from this distance, the closer they come the bigger they become. 

A Harad blows the horn announcing their arrival and as with the Trolls with their drums, so do the Haradrim chant to intimidate their opponents. Although all, including the King, are in fear of these giant creatures carrying an army on their backs, the determination and spite of King Théoden rises to the occasion once again. He does not hesitate. 

A different result

Reform the line! Reform the line! Sound the charge! Take them head-on! Charge!

Théoden

As Gamling blows his horn to commence the charge with as much speed and as before, the Rohirrim charge towards the Haradrim. However, this time with completely different results. 

They cannot use their horses to flatten the army as they did with the Orcs. Now, they are Dwarf -like creatures within the crushing reach of the Mumakils. The great beasts need only swing their tusks from side to side for an entire row of the Rohirrim army to be annihilated. 

And so it happens. The Rohirrim charge into the line of the Mûmakils and find instant death. The encouraging music of the charge that accompanied the scene until now has stopped as the first Rohirrim are swept away, thereby giving an indirect path in which this particular charge is going to lead. 

The Haradrim upon their beasts use their bows and arrows to inflict even more deaths than the creatures themselves already have. Since they are in a higher position, their viewpoint is much clearer than that of the Rohirrim. Therefore, their aim is as lethal as it can be. 

Bringing down the beast

The Rohirrim notice that wounding or killing the beasts themselves is an almost impossible endeavor. Their thick skins allow them to carry the arrows the Rohirrim shot with them and charge onwards. This gives way to another tactic the Rohirrim can employ – bringing down the Harad that steers them. Which is exactly what Éomer does.  

Éomer twirls his spear towards the Harad on the Mûmakil killing him instantly. The reigns that the Harads use to steer the beast are located on the Mûmakil’s ears, so as the Harad in question falls from the head of the beast, the reign pulls on the Mûmakil’s ear steering him onto one side and into a collision with another Mûmakil. They both lose their balance and fall to the ground. 

Éowyn, without the benefit of a bow and arrow, makes use of her sword. She and Merry ride between the legs of the Mûmakil. 

Take the reins. Pull him left! Left!

Éowyn

Éowyn, taking a sword from an enemy, order Merry to steer their horse. She uses the two swords in her hands to slash the legs of the Mumakil, causing him to fall. 

Éomer: “Aim for the head!”

Théoden: “Bring it down! Bring it down! Bring it down!”

With all their bows and spears the Rohirrim’s only mission now is to bring the beasts down. As Éowyn wounds a beast, it falls and knocks her and Merry off their horse. She scrambles out of the way to avoid being crushed. As she somewhat safely avoids any attacks, for now, she looks around for Merry. She frantically calls out his name in the hopes that he is near and can hear her voice, but nothing is heard except the clamor and clangor of the battle.

Facing battle

Seeing her uncle on his horse surrounded by Orcs, Éowyn in fear of losing him and needing to protect him moves to strike the Orcs down before they can reach Théoden. As she brings them down one by one, Théoden looks around him, hearing and seeing a familiar shape. His eyes linger on Éowyn in possible recognition. 

Merry emerges from behind a fallen Mûmakil only to be attacked by a Harad. He quickly defends himself, fatally wounding the Harad. He slashes his way through a number of enemies with success. With all of his self-doubt and that of Éomer, he has managed to focus on the task at hand. He has not given in to fear and terror of the scene in front of him. His will does not falter. The reach of his arm seems to be enough. 

Gothmog finds his way to Éowyn and with only one good arm and leg he smites at her. She defends herself bravely but is unable to cast a fatal blow and end his miserable existence. 

Courage of Éowyn

It is interesting to note that when Éowyn saw Théoden surrounded by the Orcs, her courage spiked as the feelings of fear and need to protect him took over her actions. Without a second thought or breath, she threw herself into the midst of battle, slashing left and right as if war were her home turf. 

In contrast, as Gothmog approaches and engages her in a battle, the fear that Éomer had spoken about before, boils to the surface. She is there defending only herself and it would seem as if the courage that kicked her into gear in the protection of the king was lacking here. Now, why would that be? Has she already made peace with the fact that she would die in these fields? Is her courage present only when protecting a loved one? Has fear taken over?

Read on in my next post. 

Photo by Zoë Reeve on Unsplash

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