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The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien - Barron's Booknotes
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Satisfied that Merry and Pippin are safe, Aragorn, Legolas,
and Gimli join the men of Rohan in battle against the evil
wizard Saruman.

Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli now ride with Gandalf to
Edoras, the palace of Theoden, king of Rohan. 5}

NOTE: Rohan is also called the Mark of Rohan and the
Riddermark, and the Riders of Rohan are sometimes
referred to as the Rohirrim and the Riders of the Mark.
They are warriors, and Gandalf says of them that they are
unlearned but wise. Many readers have commented on
their similarity to the Anglo-Saxons, the ancestors of the
English. The most important difference between the men of
Rohan and the Anglo-Saxons is that the Anglo-Saxons
didn't have the Rohirrims' love for horses. Other than that,
the two cultures are very similar. The language of Rohan is
based on Anglo-Saxon. The song of Rohan that Aragorn
sings in chapter 6 is modeled after a famous Anglo-Saxon
poem, The Wanderer. This poem talks about how fleeting
life is and how with time all traces of a man's life are
erased. The Anglo-Saxons reacted to this awareness-as did
the ancient Greeks in The Iliad and The Odyssey-by
seeking glory so that their names would be remembered in
song. The men of Rohan also show this awareness of death
and desire for glory. And because they accept death as
inevitable, they also accept the idea that it's not whether
you win or lose that matters, but whether you act rightly.
Thus, in their view, it's better to choose a noble death than
to survive and compromise yourself. The courage of the
Riders is an illustration of Tolkien's theme of heroism.

Gandalf and the others are at first met with suspicion in
Edoras. At one point an argument breaks out when Aragorn
refuses to leave his sword outside the king's hall. Gandalf
gently reminds him that they're all friends-or at least
should be; only Mordor will benefit if they quarrel.
Aragorn reluctantly leaves his sword. In doing so, he's
learned that sometimes he must swallow his pride in the
interest of peace.

After Gandalf frees Theoden from the influence of his evil
councilor, Grima the Wormtongue, the king agrees to do
battle with Saruman. In Grima, a spy for Saruman, you can
see Tolkien's ideas about evil. You are told that Grima
wasn't always evil but was corrupted by Saruman. Given
the opportunity to redeem himself, he refuses, but even so
is treated with mercy. To kill or imprison him would itself
be evil, and so could bring forth no good.

Notice the style of the writing. The sentence structure, or
syntax, is very formal, as in "Never again shall it be said,
Gandalf, that you come only with grief." Tolkien also uses
old-fashioned words, such as hearken and behold, to help
establish the mood and to add the flavor of ancient epics.

For the first time Aragorn meets Eowyn, Theoden's niece.
She is very beautiful, but also appears to Aragorn to be
cold, not yet come to womanhood. Eowyn sees in him a
man of great power and seems to be falling in love with
him. He reacts by acting troubled. As the army rides out,
Eowyn stays behind to watch over her people. She wears
mail and carries a sword like a warrior. Keep all of this in
mind, for Eowyn will later play an important role in the

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The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien - Barron's Booknotes

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