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The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien - Barron's Booknotes
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Theoden's army appears to have ridden to certain defeat.
They hold the great fortress of Helm's Deep against
Saruman's forces, but can't resist the foes' onslaughts much
longer. Rather than give in to despair, Theoden and his men
ride out in a last desperate attack. But the tide of battle is
reversed when Gandalf arrives with reinforcements, and the
orcs are driven into a mysterious and frightening forest that
has appeared overnight around Helm's Deep. As the
victorious forces set out for Isengard, Saruman's
stronghold, they learn from Gandalf that the army of trees
has been led here by the Ents.

At Isengard, the king and his company find Merry and
Pippin relaxing in front of the shattered gates. The hobbits
tell how the Ents, led by Treebeard, attacked Isengard and
overthrew Saruman.



Gandalf speaks with Saruman, who is holed up in the tower
of Orthanc with the traitor Grima. Gandalf offers Saruman
an opportunity to repent and join the side of good, but
Saruman scornfully refuses. Gandalf then breaks Saruman's
staff, casting him out of the order of wizards and out of the
White Council. Now a weak, pitiable figure, Saruman is
sentenced to be kept prisoner in his tower, guarded by the
Ents.

At the same moment that Gandalf breaks Saruman's staff,
Grima angrily throws a heavy round stone at Gandalf but
misses him. It is a palantir, a stone of seeing, perhaps the
greatest treasure that Saruman had. Once again, evil intent
2has a good effect, for the stone is very valuable.

Pippin is drawn to the stone and sneaks a look into it later
that night. Sauron appears in a vision and questions him,
believing that Pippin is Saruman's prisoner. Sauron calls
Pippin "it" and speaks of him as a dainty morsel, an object
rather than an individual. It was amusing in The Hobbit
when Gollum called Bilbo "it." But now this peculiarity of
speech takes on evil significance. It shows Sauron's
possessiveness and his denial of the individuality and free
will of others.

Galfand presents the palantir to Aragorn, to whom it
belongs as rightful heir to the throne of Gondor. As they
speak, a Nazgul, one of the ringwraiths, passes overhead on
his winged steed. It is a sign that war will come soon.
Taking Pippin with him, Gandalf rides at once for Gondor,
which will be the first country to be attacked.

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