To have a ray of hope drowned in darkness is torture for the soul. It creates a hollow in one`s chest that burns without fire. A crater of grief expanding from within, drowning all possibility of joy and hope. A cloud of misery encroaching on every thought in our minds. It drains the mind while simultaneously draining the body of energy.
A force darker and stronger than anything we ever felt before. If it were possible to reside in this black hole, our souls would crumple our bodies into its shape, only to escape any form of reality or a residue of a life.
Automatic behavioral patterns emerge from the body itself when the mind is grieving. It is an interesting mode of self-preservation our being is capable of when tragedy strikes. Our limbs move as if by their own accord, taking the whole body with it. Our eyes look, but perceive nothing, for our minds govern our eyes and block any new stimuli.
We could be standing in the most beautiful place in the world, but perceive nothing. We would not be spiritually present to even acknowledge its presence.
Blood and airflow through our bodies as if nothing ever touched us, but our soul remains still, caged and withering.
In a situation as dire and dangerous as that of the people of Edoras, to finally approach Helm`s Deep is a victory. Seeing their safe haven brings utter joy to their hearts, a sense of safety and comfort. Éowyn, however, enters its walls in a gloom. There is nothing valiant or heroic in hiding away in caves.
To make sure the people are safe, she roams around the fortress, with a certain worry in her eyes. It is not one of the scarceness of food they were able to bring from Edoras. But the fate of those who stood against the pack of Wargs on their way to Helm`s Deep.
The ambush was a successful one. The Wargs and their rides managed to inflict many mortal wounds on the soldiers of Edoras. Théoden, Háma, Legolas, Gimli, Aragorn and the Riders of Rohan gave their best to counterattack the Warg riders.
The fall of the crownless king
Although the last of the Wargs ride away and the scene begins to look peaceful again, the loss of Aragorn makes it all seem insignificant.
Gimli, Legolas, and Théoden search the grounds for him but do not find him. A Warg rider tells the search party that Aragorn has fallen off the cliff. The Evenstar necklace in his hand proves his point. Legolas, Gimli, and Théoden look over the cliff, only to see a torrent river flowing beneath their feet. A conclusion befalls them, Aragorn could not have survived the fall.
Now, even if good prevails in the war, who will be there to renew Middle-Earth? To lead all free people to peace and prosperity? Who will be the role model for every newborn child? The only one Legolas thought would encompass all of these features, would be Aragorn. Now, he has fallen.
Legolas in mourning
Legolas mourns. The shock and grief of the situation show in his face. It is not the first encounter with grief he has had up until now, but this one is different. When Gandalf fell, Legolas experienced the feelings induced by the death of a friend.
He had faced the death of Gandalf with a similar facial expression. However, Lothlórien Elves were there to mourn with him, to provide a sense of community in that time of grief. When Merry and Pippin were presumed dead, he bent his head, comforting Gimli and chanting in Elvish.
Now, however, the pain of loss strikes deeper. Legolas` facial expression is not only of grief but of torture. His demeanor changes from warrior to weak. He has lost his dear friend, the leader of their little Company and a trailblazer in many ways. The last King of Gondor has fallen. There appears to be no hope left to drive him forward.
As Théoden instructs Háma to “leave the dead”, Legolas looks at him with a reprimand. Legolas shows anger at Théoden`s order, knowing that one of their best had lost his life. A proper burial would have been his thought perhaps since Aragorn was the last King of Gondor.
However, Théoden, grief does not sway Théoden. The search for Aragorn is abandoned. Since there is an extremely small chance of Aragorn`s survival and they might be overrun by Wargs again soon, his only concern is getting the living to Helm`s Deep.
The loss of love that never was
As they enter Helm`s Deep with all that is left of their Company, Éowyn rushes to welcome them back. The number of those who have returned surprises her. Upon seeing Aragorn missing, she enquires about his whereabouts only to have Gimli confirm her worst fears.
What could all of it mean to her now? What does her safety enclosed in these walls mean, when the one she loves, had fallen? What does it mean for her to fight, when there is no one left to fight for?
Aragorn`s words to Éowyn in the Golden Hall were not merely an account of his thoughts about her. They were her own thoughts and fears about herself. It is no wonder she developed feelings for him. He was the only one to understand her fears and her personality. Now, she has lost the one person that knew her for who she truly is.
She glances up at Théoden as he moves ahead to Hornburg. He meets her eyes welling up in tears, with a look of sadness and apology. The pain that this loss causes her is the last thing he wants her to feel. She has suffered enough in her life to have to only man she ever cared about fall in battle.
She could have helped or even saved him, had Théoden not wanted her to take care of their people. Théoden gave her that task to protect her. In his mind, this is the only thing he can now do for her since the demise of his throne. A noble thought, however, not one that can help her or Aragorn now.
A great evil gathers
There is, however, nothing either one of them can do now but persevere. At least the fact that this fortress is impenetrable gives Théoden a sense of security. How wrong he truly is, is heard as Gríma uncovers the one weakness of the Deeping Wall of Helm`s Deep. Perhaps unnoticeable or even irrelevant to any other mortal.
However, Saruman has a weapon that matches this weakness perfectly. But to be able to place it in the precise place, he needs an army of his fighting Uruk-hai. To Gríma`s surprise and terror there they all stand, in front of Orthanc.
As Saruman gives his speech to these blood-thirsty creatures directing them to war and Helm`s Deep, Gríma stands beside him. His eyes wide open in horror for he is partially to blame for what he sees in front of him. The candle he holds is extinguished by the wind of sheer warmongering before his eyes.
The guilt and fear he feels are manifested through a single tear that slides down his cheek. He may have underestimated Saruman, but now that he is witness to his malice, he cannot but feel guilty about the information shared.
I don`t believe that he only fears the mass of Uruk-hai. I believe he has now come to the realization that his actions, be it only verbal communication, have a consequence. He does have a conscience and a heart, he only discovers it too late.
We now follow Aragorn down the river. Follow me to my next post.