Lord of the Rings : The Return of the Read - Book 5, Chapter 3

"Now all roads were running together to the East to met the coming of war and the onset of the Shadow."

I don't know about you, but for some reason that opening sentence hits me as incredibly strong.  This is what everything before now has come to.  To me this chapter is about the scale of war, the mass of lives it touches, the gestalt it takes to confront it, and the loneliness of facing it.  We're not even at battle and the scale is overwhelming.

Theoden tells Merry that no matter now stout his heart, there is not a place for him to ride into battle with the Rohirrim.  But I think Tolkien also throughout this book means to say that battle is no place for anyone.  It is something that must be met, but is not an occasion for joy or celebration but of duty and protection.


In the film this chapter is mixed in within the previous chapter almost as a footnote, the muster ongoing when Elrond shows up to point Aragorn at a different path. 

Of course I know the nature of Dernhelm and the film doesn't to much to hide who it truely is, but the film also significantly works to build the relationship between Eowyn and Merry.  Of course as I commented on last week, I'm all about Eowyn's retorts to someone belonging on the field or not.  Eowyn is a woman who'd totally get what Betty Friedan wrote about and was standing for none of the shit being thrown at her, but in the way most women have learned to cope, by smiling and nodding, then coming at the problem from a side angle and doing what needs to be done.  There's so much awesome to Eowyn I really wish Jackson had chosen to downplay the romance aspect rather than heighten it.

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