Within the walls of Minas Tirith, there lie the Houses of Healing. In those houses, women, and men who have knowledge of healing herbs, rudimentary medical practices use their knowledge to help the inhabitants of the Citadel. As the battle of the Pelennor fields has taken its toll on the men, and woman, there is a dire need for their healing knowledge. Since there are only a limited number of healers, everyone who is able to help is welcome.
Healing hands of Aragorn
The darkness is taking Éowyn. She lies on the brink between death and life with the evil that has touched her flowing through her body like venom. As she lies with her wounded hand across her chest, in peace, almost as if she were merely sleeping, her brother kneels at her feet in despair, worry and fear for her life. For all that she had done to serve her country, her own life almost forfeit because of it, her brother’s initial surprise at seeing her lying on the field is now overthrown by the sadness that has enveloped him. He cannot help his sister, but there is someone who can.
Aragorn sees Éomer crouching beside Éowyn. He may not be a healer in the traditional sense of the word, he is much more. It is said that “the hands of the King are the hands of the healer, and so shall the rightful king be known”. This is a well-known fact among the people of Gondor who have been yearning for their rightful king. Therefore it is of no surprise Aragorn was declared their King as soon as his hands awoke Éowyn. It was plain to see, he was a healer in his own right.
The melody that plays as Éowyn is being treated by Aragorn, is a song sung by Arwen herself. As Liv Tyler herself once said in an interview, her dream was to become a singer. So, naturally, in their already well-known good-naturedness, the creative team behind the films, gave Liv a chance to live out her dream, even if it is for one single time. However, this one time has been recorded on celluloid for all eternity.
With a sigh you turn away
With a deepening heart no more words to say
You will find that the world has changed forever
And the trees are now turning from green to gold
And the sun is now fading
I wish I could hold you closer
Text by Fran Walsh
The lyrics of the song coupled with the soft melody it accompanies, explore the feelings that are weighing on Éowyn’s heart. Unconsciously, and with an inability to share her grief with words, she floats in the darkness. Even as Aragorn pulls her from drowning too deep, the darkness had touched her, leaving her weak. As she awakes, her first sight is that of Aragorn, of the love unattainable, of love unrequited.
However, her expression when awoken does not emanate any ill will towards him. On the contrary, she is joyous to see him, as joyous as she can be in her state of mind and body. His image still brings positivity and light to her life, as broken as it may be at the moment.
After the initial sight of her love, her heart may sink even lower as she remembers their last conversation. Her love, as well as her life, are seemingly slipping away from her, and although she may be healing, it will take some time to restore her to her former glory.
A new lease on life…and love
As the melody of the song flows, Éowyn rises from her bed. From a distance, Faramir gazes upon her with a smile that has not passed his lips for a long time now. He is wounded, but healing as well. As new hope rises for him, now that the chains of his father are no longer holding him against his wishes, his own needs and wants come to the foreground. And in Éowyn he may recognize that which has eluded him all his life. Love.
There is a certainty with which he looks at her. There is something about her grace and strength that simply emanates from her, the same qualities that he himself possesses. The injuries they both have sustained, and the events that took place just outside the walls where now silence reigns, will not define them. They have both felt the darkness descend upon them, each in their own way, and they have both survived its venomous bite.
To have been almost burned alive by his own father, later realizing his own success at suicide would be traumatizing for anyone. It would lead one to question everything one has ever known about oneself or about another. The life that Faramir has led up until now, has changed in the most radical way in just a few days. He no longer has the shadow of his father reigning over him. He is free, for the first time in his life. Free to lead his life according to his inner values and not decisions of a madman.
A shadow overcast
The reality does not elude Éowyn, as she is injured differently, her worldview is tainted. She suspected what would await her on the fields of Pelennor. And all that came her way she conquered with as much strength and valor she could muster. The darkness that had penetrated her heart, has its own way of distorting her view of the world.
The fading sun and the leaves turning to gold, as the song says, describe her views almost perfectly. There is a shade of grey that veils her eyes as she reminisces on what had passed on the battlefield. With the venom of darkness still prevailing inside her, the warmth of the sun, as well as the leaves of the trees, may appear lifeless.
She cannot observe objectively that which all others can. They may not be celebrating given the number of soldiers that have lost their lives on the fields, nevertheless, the shining sun brings another day of hope, one which may last them a long time. Now, that the darkness has left their doorstep, they may breathe easily. Enjoying that which they failed to notice as evil threatened them. She cannot rejoice.
The influence of evil she still carries with her denies her the joy of feeling the warmth of the sun or basking in the beautiful golden colors of the leaves, for they both represent fading into darkness, something that she herself is experiencing. Naturally, this feeling is being projected onto everything around her.
Caring for Merry
While all others were healing their wounded, Pippin was still looking for his friend out in the fields. At long last, he found him at the side of a dead Mûmakil. Merry is injured, in the same way as Éowyn. Darkness has weakened his body and prevented him from moving and finding help. He may have been left there for dead. Fortunately, his best friend would never leave him alone in the field. Pippin would have searched high and low until he found him.
Pippin: “Merry! Merry, it’s me. It’s Pippin.”
Merry: “I knew you’d find me.”
Merry: “Are you going to leave me?”
Pippin: “No, Merry. I’m going to look after you.”
There is an instant connection between the two as if no time had passed since they last saw each other. They both have changed in that short length of time, become more than they ever thought they could be and survived it all. For as long as we have known the two Hobbits, Merry had taken care of Pippin, getting him in and out of trouble on numerous occasions. Now, the tables have turned, and Pippin is there to care for his friend in his time of need.
The two other Hobbits, central to this common quest, now find themselves in another dangerous situation within the confines of Cirith Ungol. Read on in my next post.