Sunday, June 1, 2014

LOTR Read-Along: The Black Gate Opens (ROTK Ch. 10)

Look at that.  Done with book five.  Ready to start the last book.  Wow.  We're really going to do this, folks!  We're going to finish this whole read-along.  I only have 127 pages left in my copy.  Nine more chapters.  Crazy, man.

Okay, so anyway, this chapter... blech.  So depressing.  Starts out so sad, with Merry not able to go, watching Pippin follow Aragorn and Gandalf to war, "a small but upright figure among the tall men of Minas Tirith" (p. 865).  That image gets me every time -- tiny Pippin, small but stalwart.  Oooof.

I love Bergil here, how proud he is of his dad.  He says, "the Men of Minas Tirith will never be overcome.  And now they have the Lord Elfstone, and Beregond of the Guard too" (p. 866).  As if his dad and Aragorn, the two of them make all the difference.  So sweet.  Truly one of the greatest kids I've read in an adult book.

As the company marches on Mordor, "they walked like men in a hideous dream made true" (p. 868).  What a contrast to back when we first got to Rohan, and Eomer thought dreams and legends were coming to life before his eyes.  He was so happy then.  Poor Eomer.  Probably needs a hug, and I'm not there to hug him.

The whole chapter -- and book -- end with such a cheery note, only Pippin isn't able to appreciate what the Eagles coming means, so it's not actually cheery at all.  Argh!  Frustrating and awful book -- why am I reading this?  Again?

Favorite Lines:

Tree and stone, blade and leaf were listening (p. 866).

And out of the gathering mirk the Nazgul came with their cold voices crying words of death; and then all hope was quenched (p. 873).

Possible Discussion Questions:

While the army marched toward the Black Gate, the Nazgul "flew high and out of sight of all save Legolas" (p. 868).  Why not all except Legolas and Elrohir and Elladan?  Is Legolas unusually keen-sighted even for an elf?  Is there some great distinction between Woodland Elves and Elves from Rivendell?  Is it because he's a whole elf, and Elrohir and Elladan are half-elven?  Does Tolkien just keep forgetting Elrond's boys are there?


  1. Yes, pretty utterly frightful all the way around... :-( However, we're almost back to the Great and Wonderful Sam. Hurray! :-)

    And are you still interested in the Frodo post? Maybe for after the next chapter, #1 in Book Six?

    1. I'm still interested! Do you still have my email address? If so, send it my way as soon as you've got it done!

    2. Yes! And I'm just finishing it up. I'll try to get it to you in the next day or so and then you can put it up whenever you like...


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