When there is no way of coming to any sort of agreement with two rivaling sides, the only possible positive outcome is the one we come up with ourselves. There is no point in continuing a losing battle with two stubborn and unrelenting keepers of thrones, for they only see their own pride and face hurt in providing any help to the other. Therefore, a deceitful plan to bypass them both might be in order.
To be subversive and deceitful in itself is not a characteristic one should strive to possess. However, it seems to be situation dependent. Gandalf, in the hierarchy of all Middle-Earth dwellers, ranks higher than anyone. Moreover, his mission is to help Middle-Earth against their enemy. So, to accomplish his task, or merely start its progress, he has to resort to cunningness. Thankfully, he has Pippin to be the tool of his plan’s execution.
Peregrin Took, my lad, there is a task now to be done. Another opportunity for one of the Shire-folk to prove their great worth. You must not fail me.Gandalf
Both Pippin and Gandalf hurry through the streets of the Citadel of Minas Tirith. There is not much time left to provide the army of Minas Tirith with support and help from their neighbors in Rohan.
Long night’s wait
It’s been very quiet across the river. The Orcs are lying low. The garrison may have moved out. We’ve sent scouts to Cair Andros. If the Orcs attack from the north, we’ll have some warning.Madril
The fog that has built over the river, is the perfect cover for the Orcs to slip past their defenses unseen. They use stealth in their efforts to cross the river as smoothly as possible.
If it weren’t for the one lonely soul glancing through a window, seeing the Orcs’ boats and consequently being shot by an arrow, thereby giving the other guards cause for concern, the Orcs would have passed without anyone noticing.
They’re not coming from the north. To the river. Quick! Quick! Come on!Faramir
As they noticed the boats coming in, the Men arrange an ambush. The first few boats of Orcs are conquered by the Men, but as soon as all of them step foot into Osgiliath, the garrison does not have a prayer of defending the city. The Orcs move in with wrath and speed, driving the men to fall back.
The plan is simple: Pippin climbs the tower where the beacon lies and lights it without being seen by the guards. Although the beacon is placed very high up, Pippin’s courage soars as he now has a task before him through which he might regain Gandalf’s trust and be of some help rather than being a hindrance.
His small stature allows him to scale the tower unseen. As he climbs onto the beacon, his size becomes a small problem, as he cannot reach high enough to pour oil onto the wood. He reaches for the lamp hanging over the wood, a rope snaps spilling the necessary oil on the wood. Pippin throws the lamp onto the wood which starts to burn rapidly. The only thing he hadn’t thought about is getting out of the way of the fire that is spreading fast beneath his feet.
Pippin is most proud of himself for accomplishing this small task for Gandalf, but a significant change in the fortunes of Men. He smiles at himself, glad it worked out and starts to descend the tower.
Gandalf: “Amon Dîn.”
Guard: “The beacon! The beacon of Amon Dîn is lit!”
Denethor looks out of his window with an angry expression on his face. He never wanted any help. Denethor would have been satisfied with Minas Tirith falling into enemy hands, and him being the last one to rule the White City. He has resigned himself to failure.
Hope is rekindled!Gandalf
What follows is a masterpiece. There is no dialogue needed, no comment added, with no specific characters in play. There is just the majesty of nature in all its glory, filmed in a breathtakingly beautiful manner accompanied by a composition that only enhances the overall enjoyment. The music swells ever stronger communicating a message of hope, a sign that the fortunes of Men will not be constricted by two Men in disagreement.
I recommend enjoying this scene with a surround sound so that the feeling behind the images and the music could be appreciated in all its worth. I always turn the volume up and play air violin at this part of the extended version of The Return of the King.
Aragorn is the one to take the last beacon’s light in, with eyes wide with urgency and news that needs to reach the King.
Answering the call
Aragorn: “The Beacons of Minas Tirith! The Beacons are lit! Gondor calls for aid.”
Théoden: “And Rohan will answer.”
At long last a step in the right direction. Now, that the call for aid has come, there is no losing face or pride in helping, for Gondor is in need of assistance. This puts Gondor in a submissive position, which in turn brings a sense of confidence and importance of King Théoden to the foreground.
Théoden: “Muster the Rohirrim! Assemble the army at Dunharrow, as many men as can be found. You have two days. On the third, we ride for Minas Tirith and war.”
Théoden: “Make haste across the Riddermark. Summon every able-bodied man to Dunharrow.”
How easy it is, once a decision is made, to organize the people into action. There is no other choice but to gather as many people as possible to stand against the enemy. Sauron’s fear of the people of Middle-Earth uniting under the same banner is slowly becoming a reality. His worst fear realized.
As opposed to the last time Théoden summoned people to fight, he seems much more confident with his decision to leave for Minas Tirith. He acts out of a want to help his fellow man rather than a will to run and hide. This time he will face the enemy head-on. There is no more running from fear, but confronting it. The women and children of Edoras will remain in their homes, without fearing for their lives while the Men face peril on the fields of Pelennor.
In time of grief and sadness running and hiding from fear might be the only acceptable course of action. The Battle of Helm’s Deep taught Théoden that, although not by his doing, a hope may still rise in times of defeat. When all is at stake and everything seems lost, there is always a place for hope. When there is nothing left to lose, the only thing to give is one’s own life, then why shouldn’t it end with a great effort?
Now, the courage and hope that rekindled Théoden’s grieving heart, gives him the incentive to prove himself worthy, not in the eyes of his men, but rather his own.
Following the men
Aragorn: “You ride with us?”
Éowyn: “Just to the encampment. It’s tradition for the women of the court to farewell the men.”
Aragorn finding Éowyn readying for the ride to Dunharrow baffles him. Although he knows her wishes and her fears, still her actions surprise him. That she would risk her own life to ride with the men is something he might have thought she would do. After being sent to the caves of Helm’s Deep with the women and children and protesting about it but getting nowhere, she is leaving nothing to chance.
Although she gives a well-presented argument about her coming along, Aragorn is still doubtful of her intentions. As he eyes her sword he intentions become clear to him. She, however, does not want her intentions advertised or reported to the King, so she quickly covers the sword.
The men have found their captain, they will follow you into battle, even to death. You have given us hope.Éowyn
As she looks into his eyes, there is a clear sense of love, respect, and hope. She goes with them to follow him, to serve him. He has given the men hope and courage to ride and face the enemy. He gave her hope of having the chance to prove her worth and to finally feel pride and honor by expressing herself. Aragorn has inadvertently become her portal to a side of herself that she never had the chance to express. She now has a new outlook on her life.
Hearing these words seems to make Aragorn uncomfortable. He doesn’t think that he is to be celebrated just yet. His contribution to the Battle of Helm’s Deep was one of necessity and duty to the women and children hiding in the caves. He hasn’t proven his worth to himself yet, and as such, he cannot but bow his head every time his heroism is mentioned, for he does not see it.
Aragorn is not as insecure as he was when he began his quest, but confidence hasn’t reached the levels of those around him. There is still much to accomplish and unknown paths to tread. He is not giving into arrogance or any sense of false confidence until he masters all that lies in his path.
A service offering
Merry: “Excuse me. I have a sword. Please accept it. I offer you my service, Théoden King.”
Théoden: “And gladly I accept it. You shall be Meriadoc, Esquire of Rohan.”
As with Pippin, Merry too offers his service, only his King is a more reasonable one. His offering does not come from a place of guilt but rather a place of joy to be included. Merry wants to do his part for the salvation of Middle-Earth, after all, soon there may not be a Middle-Earth to fight for.
War on other lands
Gimli: “Horsemen, humph! I wish I could muster a legion of Dwarves, fully armed and filthy.”
Legolas: “Your kinsmen may have no need to ride to war. I fear war already marches on their own lands.”
This is a reference to all the other free Kingdoms of Middle-Earth who stand alone against a common enemy. Sauron had spread his armies across all the lands in hopes of gaining as much land and power as possible. He pushes toward the destruction of the race of Men, but other races are not spared from his wrath.
Now is the time, Riders of Rohan, oaths you have taken! Now, fulfill them all! To Lord and Land!Éomer
It won’t be long now until the majority of the Fellowship is finally reunited.
Read what happens next in the following post.