Monday, February 5, 2018

Another LOTR Read-Along: The King of the Golden Hall (TTT 3, 6)

Here we are at last! Edoras! It doesn't really look in the movie the way Tolkien describes it (there's not much grass that I can see, for one thing), but it's so awesome in both that I totally don't care.

Are you reminded of Obi-Wan Kenobi when Gandalf and company first arrive at Edoras? Gandalf tells the guard to go announce their arrival, and then he stares hard at the guard until the man slowly says he will go announce them. It always reminds me of Obi-Wan saying, "These aren't the droids you're looking for."

Theoden joins the ranks of those that lament Boromir's passing, you'll notice. Warms my heart.

And here we meet Eowyn! My favorite female character in LOTR, by far. Wormtongue obviously has been creepily stalking her, which her brother Eomer has been wanting to do something about, but because Wormtongue has had more favor with Theoden King than Eomer for quite a while now, Eomer's mostly just had to glower in silence. I would assume he's also been having members of his household keep an eye on her whenever he's been gone, to make sure Wormtongue hasn't done more than be creepy from afar. That's speculation on my part, though.

Poor Eowyn has spent the last few years waiting on her uncle as he grows old and weak under Wormtongue's influence. And now here comes this man with kingly bearing and great power, Aragorn -- is it any wonder she's a bit starstruck in his presence? We've gotten kind of used to Aragorn, like the hobbits, and forget that he's actually really important, but Eowyn sees his veiled majesty right away. And for his part, Aragorn sees that she is beautiful and has a power of her own, but of course, his heart belongs to Arwen. That's why he's troubled when Eowyn offers him a drink and trembles when their fingers touch -- he knows then that she's developed a crush on him. Now he has to figure out how to deal with that.

A line that struck me during this reading was a bit of Gandalf's advice to Theoden. He tells the king "[t]o do the deed at hand" (p. 507). I love that advice. When I'm super busy and starting to stress out, I make myself slow down and just do the next useful thing. For instance, when I'm packing for a trip, I often spend a day gathering everything that we need and gradually packing them in various suitcases and bags, and that can be a stressful and overwhelming day if I focus on all the stuff I need to do all at once. But if I just keep finishing one task and then starting the next, it all gets done. Maybe I should make a sign that says, "Do the deed at hand" for my kitchen or something.

And I want to particularly mention one line, which I think is the coolest description of a horse ever: "Were the breath of the West Wind to take a body visible, even so would it appear" (p. 513). Why, Eomer! How poetic you are today!

Favorite Lines:

"A king will have his way in his own hall, be it folly or wisdom" (p. 499).

" doubt a man of worth will trust to his own wisdom" (p. 500).

"The wise speak only of what they know" (p. 503).

Discussion Questions:

Tolkien describes Grima Wormtongue as having "a pale wise face" (p. 501). Do you think this means Grima does have some wisdom in him somewhere? Or does he only appear to be wise?

How do you think Aragorn should approach the problem of Eowyn's interest in him?

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