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MonkeyNotes-The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
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The Seige of Gondor

Summary

Pippin meets Beregond in the chaos of the upcoming battle and the two watch as the horizon is devoured by the Darkness coming from the Black Land. Just as the two talk of the creeping shadow, they are struck dumb by a shuddering cry uttered by "fine bird-like forms horrible as carrion fowl, yet greater than eagles, cruel as death". The Nazguls sweep down upon some men who are trying to reach the gates to safety. Beregond recognizes Faramir just as he is attacked by one of Sauronís formless demons. Just in time, Gandalf appears and saves Faramir, delivering him safely to his fatherís throne.

Faramir tells his father Denethor that he has met Frodo. Further, he tells him that Frodo is on his way to Cirith Ungol to dispose of the Ring. Denethor is angry because he had wanted the Ring to destroy his enemies. He tells Faramir he would have rather him died than Boromir. The king dismisses his son, displeased and feeling betrayed.


The next day Faramir is sent an extremely dangerous post, Osgiliath, to defend the walls of the city against the enemy. He goes to please his father, knowing that Denethor feels he has been let down. A messenger comes to relay the news that the leader of the Nazguls, the black captain, is leading his followers to Osgiliath and is being joined by a regiment of men from the south, the Haradrim. Gandalf warns Denethor that the Black Captain will not die at the hands of a man, and that his son, Faramir is in trouble on his post. Gandalf tries to help Faramir, but the latter is hell-bent on doing right by his father; he refuses to leave.

The battle is fierce and Faramirís troops are decimated. The deadly dart of a Nazgul seriously wounds him. For a while, it appears the good troops are losing to Sauronís evil forces. They have thrown dead and disfigured soldiers over the walls of the fort, and the Nazguls circle overhead with their relentless screeching. The reinfOrcements have not arrived, and those trapped inside the city begin to fear their own deaths.

As Faramir lies dying, Denethor is overcome with guilt and despair. He loses all hope and interest in the battle, deciding to take his own life as he buries his son on a giant funeral pyre. Pippin manages to postpone this while he runs to find Gandalf. He tells Beregond to stop the king from doing anything mad.

Pippin goes down to where he can see Gandalf, but is stopped by the sight of a huge battering ram called a grond hammering away at the Gate. The gate breaks open and the Black Rider enters. He faces Gandalf. He takes off his hood and reveals his evil formless body. A red fire shines between the shoulders and the crown, no head is visible, and he tells Gandalf that he is death.

At that moment, a cock crows. The sounds of reinforcements can be heard. A true battle is about to occur.

Notes

In this chapter, Tolkien has shown remarkable knowledge of father and son relationships. An angry father dismisses his errant son because his ego is hurt and then repents and goes mad with grief. Since Boromirís death, Faramir is the only one on whom the fatherís hope and lineage rests. The resulting near-tragedy is full of complicated ethos, another testament to Tolkienís ability.

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