Éowyn awaits the return of the company. She stands before the doors of the Golden Hall of Meduseld, just like she did when Gandalf and the Three Hunters first rode into Edoras. However, everything has changed since she was first introduced to the company.
The people of Edoras are no longer suppressed and miserable as they were when their King was overtaken by Saruman`s spell. Now, he is there to lead them and protect them to the best of his ability. Many men, young and old, have lost their lives protecting the Keep of Helm`s Deep. Many women`s lives have been irreparably altered by this tragedy.
Éowyn`s life has been influenced in a great manner as well. Her spirit has risen, her hopes of a better tomorrow have been awakened and her dormant heart had begun to beat excitedly.
A solemn gathering
A solemn atmosphere fills the Hall of Meduseld. Éowyn presents her uncle with a ceremonial cup of wine. King Théoden raises it aloft in remembrance.
Théoden: “Tonight we remember those who gave their blood to defend this country. Hail the victorious dead.”
Aragorn takes a second of thought before taking a sip of his drink. To have Haldir die in his arms, losing his immortal life defending Men`s Keep, is worth taking a moment to honor. His eyes well up with tears as he remembers Haldir`s death and all those who have lost their lives.
Aragorn might also be feeling guilty for having survived the battle when many others did not. It is a natural and honest feeling to have. He does not ignore it, he lets it run through him like a flood. There is no holding back emotion when it comes to comrade`s deaths. And as well they should, they are remembered.
To remember those who have lost their lives and to mourn them is not the point of this gathering, however. It is to honor and celebrate those who have given their lives to protect their country.
A lively gathering it turns out to be.
The drinking game
Éomer: “No pauses. No spills.”
Gimli: “And no regurgitation.”
Legolas: “So, it`s a drinking game.”
Gimli: “Last one standing wins.”
Per the nature of their relationship, Legolas and Gimli enter a drinking game. Since there are no Uruk-hai they could kill and thereby outscore each other, something has to give. Gimli is more than familiar with a game of this nature, with alcohol in general.
Legolas, on the other hand, had never dabbled into this sort of thing. He never found use in excessive drinking, so this is all unknown territory for him.
A look of hope and love
Éowyn presents Aragorn with the ceremonial cup of wine, in the same manner, she did for her King. However, when handing the cup her hands release the cup slowly, enjoying the warmth and caress of her love interest, Aragorn. He takes a sip while her eyes never leave his face.
There is love in the look of her eyes, happiness for his survival and above else hope and excitement at what may become a romance still. Aragorn bows his head to thank her and without his eyes leaving her face, he walks away.
Aragon`s expression while looking at her does not relay any sort of romantic notion. It could be said that he is somewhat embarrassed and unworthy of her attention, for he knows what she loves is not what he is.
Théoden, noticing the situation and his niece`s happiness comes to offer his comment and opinion.
Théoden: “I am happy for you. He is an honorable man.”
Éowyn: “You are both honorable men.”
Théoden: “It was not Théoden of Rohan who led our people to victory. Ah, don`t listen to me. You are young. And tonight is for you.”
Since Éowyn wasn`t a part of the Battle at Helm`s Deep, she could have only assumed that her uncle brought their people to victory. Little does she know that he could have been the one to doom them all. Although Théoden does not precisely name the person who turned their fortune around, there is a strong sense that she knows of whom he is thinking.
As Théoden admits of not being responsible for victory, Éowyn`s expression changes, from proud and happy to sad and confused. It would seem as if her image of her King may have shifted slightly. Although Éowyn puts him in the same category as Aragorn, he knows he doesn`t belong there, not yet anyway.
It is a humbling thing to admit you aren`t as strong as everyone supposed. As the moment passes and Éowyn looks at him with sadness in her eyes, Théoden quickly casts his statement as a joke.
Gimli: “It`s the Dwarves that go swimming with little, hairy women.”
Legolas: “I feel something. A slight tingle in my fingers. I think it`s affecting me.”
Gimli: “What did I say? He can`t hold his liquor.”
Legolas: “Game over.”
And there we have it, Legolas has won. Now, we can look at this in two different ways. We may take the perspective that since Legolas is Elf-kind, his natural resistance to alcohol is higher. It may well be that his natural resilience to, for him uncommon, drinks is simply higher than any normal human`s.
Or we could take the perspective of him already being accustomed to alcohol in the form of wine. In The Hobbit, we learn about King Thranduil`s love of wine and his wine cellars. Therefore, it isn`t a stretch to think that his son might have been enjoying it himself and thereby built a respectable resilience to any form of alcohol. The choice is yours to believe what you will.
A little bit of home
The Green Dragon Song
Oh you can search far and wide
You can drink the whole town dry
But you`ll never find a beer so brown
As the one we drink in our home town
You can keep your fancy ales
You can drink them by the flagon
But the only brew for the brave and true
But the only brew for the brave and true
Comes from The Green Dragon
Text by Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens
Pippin pauses for a second to look at Gandalf as he dances. His look is that of questioning and curiosity. The Palantír still holds his interest, for that which is forbidden is the sweetest fruit. Merry finds it odd for him to stop their song only to look at Gandalf, but Gandalf knows exactly what his look means to say.
An inevitable thought
Aragorn: “No news of Frodo?”
Gandalf: “No word. Nothing.”
Aragorn: “We have time. Every day, Frodo moves closer to Mordor.”
Gandalf: “Do we know that?”
Aragorn: “What does your heart tell you?”
Gandalf: “That Frodo is alive. Yes. Yes, he`s alive.”
Aragorn approaches Gandalf timidly, with concern in his eyes. He may have hoped for a positive answer to his question, but sadly there was none. To alleviate his concern and present both of them with hope, he gives Gandalf a solid statement on their Hobbit`s progress. There is still time for Frodo to reach Mordor in time to destroy the Ring, but the question remains: is he even still alive?
Noone in this grandiose Golden Hall of Meduseld can answer that question for him. The only thing left to do is ask his own heart and the little voice inside him. The little voice can only truly help us with our own feelings about our own decisions and subsequent actions. To have a feeling if one is alive or not is a lot harder to pinpoint because hope mixes in with reason and shifts the feeling into a positive one.
He smiles as if to seem positive and confirms to himself and to Aragorn that Frodo is alive. He doubts the assessment of his heart and his eyes and body language prove it. Both he and Aragorn are holding onto blind hope for Frodo`s life.
What about Frodo and Sam? How are they getting along with their guide?
Read more about it in my next post.