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Week 9 : Return of the King Tuesday 3/13/2014 2:01:00 PM

Last 100 page are Tolkiens appendices

Minis Tirith
Gandalf and Pippin storming into Minis Tirith
Focus on: The fertility symbolism:
Certain dates happen on a certain day in a calendar
Or Aragorn looking younger and nobler in appearance as we move
towards Minis Tirith

Fisher King:
Book published by scholar Jessie Weston
From Ritual to Romance
Common sources of myth (certain stories tend to recur)
Specifically dealing with elements in the Arthur legend
The Arthur legend: represents old initiation rites

Annual death of nature and winter and resuscitation in spring a metaphor for
all of the cycles in the natural world
Fisher King: many of the worlds belief systems have to do with the ideas of
death and rebirth that we see in nature
Fisher king: the health of the king represents the health of the land
When king dies, he will be replaced by a new chief in leadership

Tolkien using ^ Theory in LOTR:
Spiritual health of land and he people all related to health and spirit of king
Relationship of the king to the people are all the same

Hobbits start out in the Shire:
More in common with central England than it does in any ancient
medieval world
Mannered speech
As they move east, Hobbits are moving further into the Older world
Tolkien highlights this as Gandalf is riding Pippin towards the gates of
Minis Tirith:
Fields, pastures, agricultural worlds
Tolkien uses archaic English to describe the nature around Minis Tirith:
because its old
He suggests that this is a much older world than the one the hobbits come

Minis Tirith:
The white city: Pippin gazed greater and stronger than isengard
A magnificent city but no footsteps ran on their wide pavements, nor voice
was heard in their halls, nor an face looked out from door
Empty houses falling into decay
This isnt just old, but the city is so old it is dying of old age
Fertility of Gondor is in decline (not enough children)

Pippin also notices about Denethor: comes across as very strong willed
In a impulse burst Pippin lays his sword and offers service t o Gondor
Denethors smile is like a cold sun on a winters evening seasonal
Imagery of spring even if the darkest days of war threatens: is Spring going
to come?

Denethor himself is often described in wintery terms: Tall, Cold, White
Very wizard like: much like Saruman
Gandalf makes very clear Denethor is probably one of the wisest men in all
of middle-earth
Far sighted, far reaching thoughts, insight
Denethor seems even more aged in some ways than Gandalf
Problem: his wisdom fails him (not unlike Sarumans wisdom fails

Denethor is locked into the past: I want things to be as the were in the time
of my forefathers
Denethor is married to the past, to the greater days of Numenor
Unique tragedy: living at the end times
End times for the world that Denethor is comfortable in
He has outlived his usefulness as the Steward of Gondor

Denathor is not able to turn like Theoden
By the enemy and by his own hubris
Clearly Gandalf says Denethor is more like the original Numenoreans than
most others
The best and worst of Numenoreans: Aragorn, Denethor, Boromir/Faramir

Like Boromir, Denethor is very committed to the survival of Gondor as it
has been, not a new envisioning
Denethor like the Numenoreans who are capable of error but still garners
tremendous respect from Gandalf
Denethor is the spiritual, political leader and representative
Old man who is losing his sons
Desperately afraid that this is the end of the world
Thus: not the right leader for the times or to go after Mordor

In his last madness, he is so convinced that this is the end of the world, he is
grieving for his two sons
Too ready to give up
A kingly figure who represents the health of his land/lack thereof
Gondor/Minis Tirith is a site that needs renewal
Needs a new dispensation / a new spring / a new population

2. Aragorn and Legolas, Gimle, Roharrim:
Aragorn: Many hopes will wither in this bitter Spring
Bitter Spring: a war they know they cannot win through force alone
Key: Ring bearer for sauron to be defeated

The palantir were created by the Elves for the numeorean kings
They are the only ones with the rule of the Palantir

The Grey Company / other rangers:
Clothed in grey
All bold and stout and muscular
The rangers will function in the next sequence: will go through Paths
of the Dead and call up the army of the oath breakers
Only Aragorns strength of will is able to dominate all the kings
men and get them through the paths to call the dead to them

Aragorns Powers:
Ability to rule not only men on horses
But the ability to rule even in the spiritual world: to call forth the dead to
fulfill their oaths
Recurring Motif of the undead cannot die without fulfilling this OATH

Tolkien actually seems to be moving away from the traditional conservative
Eowyn wants to fight, wants to be where the danger is
What are her motives in wanting to follow Aragorn into battle?
She wants to escape the cage
Women are often the victims of warfare
She doesnt want the enemy to come to her (like every other time); she
wants to meet them head on

Aragorn himself (even though it pains him) to hurt Eowyns feelings:
Aragorn recognizes Eowyns infatuation

Animus / Anima:
Carl Jung: We project our psychological needs onto other people
Projecting something you are missing on yourself upon an object
of sexual desire (a member of the opposite sex)
Animus: a male archetype yearned for by a woman that represents
something she is missing in her life / in her own sense of self
Anima: Female projection of archetype coming from a yearning male
Aragorn is Eowyns Animus because Eowyn wants to be part of
great deeds

She sees in Aragorn a warrior, a kingly individual, someone who can
liberate her from the confines of her cage
Eowyn cant be a hero in the norms of her culture, but she can fall in
love with one
Aragorn says: Were going to die but its something we have to do
Existential despair: feminine mystique
Aragorn and Thoden both tell her: Dont throw your life away
because youre unhappy

Gondor Flag:
The blackest of black: colour of the Numenorean kings but has the white
tree on it
The crown, the seven stars, the white tree = the standard of Isildur
Not necessarily = black is bad

Heading into Citadel:
The tree: Just before he meets Denethor
Dead tree and the falling drops drips
Looked mournfully and left dead in this place

Perfect symbol of reverence for Aman, and fertility
Perfect symbol of Gondor
The white tree and the fact that its withered tells us:
1. Land is in decay
2. Numenoreans are in decay (long pass but bonds of spirituality have
3. Loss of fertility but the relationship to its spiritual health

Aragorn is here to bring the Spring

Week 9: Thursday Notes 3/13/2014 2:01:00 PM
Eowyn: shield maiden
Iconic Germanic myth idea: warrior female

Roharrim: most Germanic out of all of Tolkiens races and peoples
Their attitudes towards heroism: aggressive than other Numenoreans

Merry recognizes a different version of common speech
Common speech and the Roharrim: Modern English and old English
The Roharrim use the term Holbytla to describe the Hobbits
Merry: Master Holbytla
Holbytla: Hole Builder

Germanic place names
o Eg: Minis Tirith (tower of watch) is Mundburg
o Burg: Town

Ride of the Roharrim:
Merry sneaks on board
He is the viewpoint for the story (we see through Merrys eyes)
Where theres a will theres a way: middle earth version
Idea of the woman who disguises herself as a man

Odd sections: ~ left off screen
Shortcut through the mountains to come upon Minis Tirith
Druedain/ Wild Men: they are an exception to Tolkiens racial set up
in middle earth
Not white/tall like elves/Numenoreans
Duredain are described as aboriginal (short, broad, speak in rather
illiterate tones)
The wild men blend in to the forest
They come out of nowhere and really not referred to again
Question: What was Tolkien thinking?
o Just a last minute inspiration
Drughu (Druedain) and Dunedain

Oath Breakers:
Technically ghosts who cant rest
Purpose: Sending Aragorn into a different direction from the Roharrim
Where Aragorn (just been given his banner) is starting to claim his
spiritual legacy as king
The fact that he can command the dead, (the only one who can do it)
He is the master of two worlds: material and spiritual
finally coming into his own as king

Frightening away the enemy:
not substantial
so all they have is the power of terror
Army of the dead brought to the shore and to chase away the corsairs
(pirates) to take over the fleet

Climax of this battle:
Although allies of Minis Tirith are many (different peoples)
Sauron has acted prematurely
He has an army but not the army he expected

Gandalf is trying to force Saurons hand:
o He thinks the ring is in Minis Tirith
o He wants to strike before anyone can become the dominant user of the
o As soon as he sees Isildurs heir / Isildurs sword (Aragorn and
palantir), that is the worst person Sauron sees that can use the
o It was isildur who killed Sauron version 2.0
o Seeing Aragorn in control of the Palantir with the sword of his
forefather and possibly with the ring, history could repeat itself

The Battle of Minas Tirith
Biggest battle scene of the entire book
Fairly chaotic and horrific
Roharrim come in in just the right time
Warfare is never pretty and as heroic as we think about it:
o Because of the horrible things weapons can do to people
o Bloody mess, up close and personal

We do not see many face to face battles
Not a single specific battle where Eomer or Aragorn participates in
Tolkien doesnt like to show his heroes killing others
For the most part Tolkien keeps it rather distant
Battle is described more as the movement of troops rather than single
combat between individuals

Similarly The Hobbit: The battle is quickly over and the next thing we know
Bilbo is lying in bed

Gimli and Legolas:
Presumably killing orcs
They definitely have a much bigger role in the movie than the book
Gimli and Legolas kept in he background, obviously they are fighting but we
dont really know what theyre doing

Thoden and the Chief Nazgul:
Nazgul goes right for the king of the Roharrim
o Importance of kings and leaders: iconic spiritual, and political figures
o Fall of the king and fall of leader: health of a nation
o Being upfront: proves he is worthy of leading his people
o To take Thoden down is to take some of his power out

Prophecy (witch king cannot be brought down by the hand of man):
Taken down by a woman

come not between the Nazgul and his prey
it seemed that Durnhail laughed: you look upon a woman
At that moment that he moves on her anyway, she cuts the head off his
reptilian neck, he crawls out of the wreck, let fall of his mace
Mace: very useful in the days of armor

Merry defending Eowyn, pulls out his little sword stabbed him from
behindpierced the behind his mighty
The sword was manufactured back in the day by Numenoreans
who were in fact fighting the witch king
A blade created specifically with the goal of bringing down the
great enemy

Why couldnt a man have done that?
Because that wasnt the prophecy

Turns out disobeying their king (Merry and Eowyn) was a correct thing
As he is dying, he wants to send a message to Eowyn not knowing she was
lying beside him

Sheer Evil of the Witchking
For both Eowyn and Merry, just by stabbing the witch king, they both are
The evil itself of the Nazgul are enough to melt away their sword
Eowyns arm turns cold and Merrys arm has turned icy cold
Just merely contact with the Nazgul has been enough to mortally
wound them

Houses of Healing:
Merry finally reunites with Pippin
its not always a misfortune being overlooked
Pippin takes Merry: are you going to bury me?
Kind of pathetic
Merry really is always pulled into the black land / the shadows
Merry like Eowyn is being drawn into this dark place and Merry
thinks hes dead already

Aragorn (only the man who can be king) is capable of chasing away the
black breath
Brings in the kings foil: a weed that no one takes seriously

Physical Form
Chief of the Nazgul could be destroyed, unable to take form again
Even if youre unkillable (as a Maia gone bad, Nazgul), you can be made
impotent by having your flesh taken away
Power sharing arrangement with Sauron
Nazguls were extensions of Sauron (Sauron losing a limb if you lose a
He suffers a major loss with the chief of Nazgul

Aragorn & Denethor:
Turns the tide with his fleet and his flag
The Orcs and men aligned with Mordor are defeated
Denethor: [ his Hubris / his certainty to look into Palantir, his
Has been turned to despair because His mistake:
Denethor has been using the Palantir of Minas Tirith
Just like Saruman, in his pride trying to wrestle it to his own will,
Saruman saw in the palantir was an army that could not be
defeated and decided he will join that power
in fact I can even replace that power
Denethor: almost wizardly in his own power but he looks into the
Palantir thinking he can use it the way the Numenorean kings did
Subsumed by Sauron (only what Sauron wants him to see)
Denethor shows him false information
Denethor: loses all hope of victory

Denethors Despair is a sin:
You do not despair because as long as god is there, there is a plan for
Even eucatrastrophe is a plan
Despair is a sin because it denies the idea that the greater plan is in

Anyone with wisdom shows: You are not able to beat Sauron through force
of violence and force alone
We go without hope
BUT: there is some hope
Gandalf patiently continues to counsel Denethor
Tries to persuade, unsuccessfully

Denethor assumes Faramir is as good as dead = end of Numenor = end of
stewards = End of Gondor
Denethor believes Gandalf has brought a replacement King
Denethor draws the wrong conclusions and that brings him down
Denethor goes too far being convinced that the land is screwed and the line
of the stewards is ending and he is going to become a heathen again

Beregond and Pippin are bound by and oath to the king
But they cannot watch Faramir being burned alive
Beregond has already devoted himself to the line of stewards

Denethor is a tragic figure:
Tragic: Denethor to some extent realizes he made a mistake sending
his sons away
Denethor still has tragic dignity:
Gandalf still treats him with dignity till the end

------won 1 battle, but things are still dire------ the worst fight is still ahead -----

As of this battle, the two main kingdoms (Rohan and Gondor) have both lost
their old men
Theodens successor Eomer is now default: King (a young man in the prime
of life)
Denethors successor: Technically Faramir, but in fact Aragorn (maybe not
in the prime of life, middle-aged) he is just coming into his power
Aragorn has proved he is coming into his full power
Fisher King: old men have died off, younger men have stepped up
at the peak of their power (peak of their manhood to take places)

Winter is coming to an end and Spring is coming: old is gone, new is coming

The next decision: Why make the decision to besiege Mordor?
If they know they cant fight Sauron, why do they spend a whole week
marching to the gates of Mordor?
Examples of Tolkien giving us: Heroism as a group/communal effort:
It takes more than a single hero to win the ultimate fight
Everyone doing his part
Marching to Mordor deters Sauron from Frodo

Learned from Faramir that Frodo /Sam has made it at least to Cirith
Using the smartness of this intelligence/info to take the next step
Focus Saurons attention outside his gates

Great example of Heroism being something from which you dont expect:
A death march with a faint hope that the quest will be completed
whilst they are marching

3/13/2014 2:01:00 PM

Thursday Lecture (Last) 3/13/2014 2:01:00 PM
Monday hand in essay from 12:00 by 4:00pm
Warren Lit 147 office 1
floor department office

Final Test: 3:00 Thursday
Full 3 hours
Test no longer than the midterm (could be done in less than an hour and a
Open-text, open notes
ONLY be about the second half of the quarter (beginning of LOTR)

The Return of the King:
Aragorn who kills the orc, not Sam
Sam hacks off the hand of the Orc, but the Orc trips over the ladder on its
Rarely sheds blood
Did Tolkien himself forget? Or did he progress that Sam and Frodo
would become less blood thirsty?

Wars are always lost, and the war always goes on Tolkien
Fruitless victory and never ending defeat Elrond talks about
Tolkien on atomic bomb: The news today about atomic bombs are so

At the very end of the war of the rings:
Sense that Aragorn as the Fisher king laying ground work for the bright new
Through all of middle earth: Bright new Spring
Kingship is going to be restored after being gone for 1600 years
Fisher King: Promoting marriages, fertility, fullness, completion
o Fertility: standard motif: Marriage represents all is well for the world
o Marriages: of promises kept

When they return back to the North:
Isengard and tree beard:
The ents are restoring fertility to Isengard as well, Treegard
Gard/Garth: Garden, Guard, Ward, Yard
A place where you place people, to be taking care of
Isengard is both a garden and the fortress of Saruman

Treebeard laments that although they can bring fertility back to the
land, they cannot bring it back to themselves:
Men are going to spread / new dispensation
Dwarves will remain the same, Elves are flying West across the sea
Ents do not have children = all things must pass

Fellowship encounters Saruman:
Saruman who was a wizard with a robe of many colour, now an old man
clothed in grey and dirty white = really has come down in the world
He is saturated with self pity: Will you still order my goings?
Gandalf is offering him a chance, but Saruman has gotten petty: kicking
Worm tongue (one person he can still push around, JUST ONE)
= THIS IS THE WORST THING, shows how low he has fallen

Reserving particular venom for the Hobbits:
Hobbits look at him with pity
You can have what Ive got Merry
Saruman is not even grateful, steals Merrys pouch
Saruman is acting absolutely wretched, feeling sorry for himself

Stay at Rivendell for a really long time:
Tolkien wants to have their journey to take place in about a year

Hurt Frodo: A Prophet gets no glory in his own land, only Sam, Merry and
Pippin get the glory:

Get to Brie
Find out how isolated, and the folks have been basically clueless
Merry and Pippin especially, are dressed up as knights
Frodo is just dressed sadly, Frodo again feels the pain of the Nazguls sword
Frodos PTSD shell-shock = being stunned and unsettled, prone to pain,
prone to recurrences
Not unlike what Tolkien probably saw in WW1

I wanted to save the Shire, it has been saved, but not for me
shows a problem he inherited, he took on for necessity
Frodo will never be free of the scar of bearing the burden of the ring

Tolkiens treatment of heroism: were used to seeing heroes getting
glory (Aragorn gets all)
But Frodo doesnt
Frodo is basically a martyr: he gives everything else but his life
Nobody blames him because he is forced to take on an impossible burden
A piece of him went along with the ring (both his finger and his spiritual
Idea that the reward is somewhere beyond what we can see is somewhat
fairy-tale we are used to: the modern 7 year old is not going to want to
wait that long, or to imagine his reward

His reward is that: finally, at the very end, he gets to live out his days in
the healing environment of Aman

Frodo, Sam: Start out like grown-children
The price Frodo pays after realizing this: is very large

Sam is going to have the fairytale ending: the sidekick taking the place
of the hero
Sam is the one taking over the Baggins

Scouring of the Shire:
Having shed all the other members of the Fellowship
The hobbits enter the shire only to find out that there has been dirty business
taking place especially since they last saw Saruman
Dunlanders have come up from the South and taken over The Shire
Holding Hobbits as underlings/slaves and the Hobbits have reluctantly put
up with it

The Hobbits are basically the same, except for the ones who are returning
They are the ones who rouse the ones to rebel
Because Merry and Pippin are knights of Gondor
Clear they have nothing but content for the enemy men

Frodo the silent bearer:
No slaying of Hobbits even if they have gone on to the other side
No Hobbits have ever killed another in the history
Merrys answer: You wont rescue Lotho just by being shocked and sad,
my Dear Frodo Frodo is a conscience, but he cannot be a leader

They are acknowledging Frodos state of mind has changed
Frodo doesnt want to lift a hand, hes known sin
Frodo is a sad saint

Frodo completely nonviolent: Do not kill him, he has not hurt me
Frodo is giving him another chance for redemption

Sam is the field marshal
Sam actually has leadership abilities
Merry and Pippin lead the armies, but Sam gets the folk behind him

Gandalf and Saruman:
Gandalf liked the Hobbits, always trusted them and was interested in them
Gandalf is full of pity and mercy for all things
Saruman never took interest in the lesser folk
Saruman at this point has become so petty hes going after their nice land

Truly Tragic thing about Saruman:
Saruman having shed this mortal body that he has worn for over 2000 years,
he suddenly looks to the West
He suddenly remembers (Suddenly a Maia again)
Saruman looks West because he would like forgiveness
He suddenly remembers if all of his evilness and pettiness has dropped
from his body
But it is too late

Appendix A:
Arwen and Aragorn meet in Lorien
Aragorn was a young man of 20
1. When Elrond realizes theres something between them:
Elrond tells Aragorn he has to meet his destiny (take on Sauron but more
importantly become King)
Elrond is giving him another set of impossible pasks
Why Elrond loves Aragorn, but he loves her daughter even more
They lose eternity together: their last parting is bitter

Arwen has a tragic moment: The end of her story is not happy
When Aragorn tells her it is time for him to release his soul
Arwen begs him to remain alive: I must indeed abide the deed of menbut
I say to younot till now have I understood the tale of your people and your
He dies, she wanders off to what is now the abandoned Lorien
Spring had not yet come: she lay herself to rest
Notice that when Sam inherits Bagend, he gets elected mayor (he has 13
children) = fertile indeed
He uses the dust to spread the Shire and he is indeed a master gardener who
brings his country back
He becomes the leader of the shire, the creator of dynasties, he is living
proof of a democratic hero