Pippin finds Gandalf, and tells him of Denethor's plan to burn himself and Faramir in the crypt. Gandalf rushes to the tombs to stop him. Some of the King's men are trying to follow the orders and start the fire, others are trying to stop them. Several men have already killed each other. Denethor is clutching one of the remaining palantir and defies Gandalf, saying that he will not live to see the throne he has been steward over be handed to an upstart and a usurper, even if he is from the line of Isildur. He claims that Gandalf has been playing them all like pawns in order to gain the rule of middle earth for himself. (It seems also to suggest that, like with Theoden, Saruman may be posessing Denethor for a while). Gandalf tries to pursuade him that he will not lose any honor by relinquishing the kingdom. He jumps on the pyre and rescues Faramir, still unconscious, whose garments have been soaked with oil for the fire. Gandalf tries once more to reason with Denathor, but he grabs a torch and lights the fire, jumps onto the pyre clutching the palantir and dies. Gandalf sends Faramir to the infirmary with Pippen. Later, he and Pippen look out over the battlefield at all who have fallen. Gandalf sends Pip to guard Faramir, and goes himself to meet 'those who are coming.'
Saturday, December 13, 2003
The Lord of the Nazgul realizes he is defeated and vansihes. King Theoden rides to battle against the Southorn men. In the midst of the fight, the Nazgul reappears, mounted on those flying creatures. Durnhelm and Merry are not far behind him. His horse is wounded, and Theoden falls. The Nazgul is letting his creature eat Theoden's horse when Durnhelm challenges it. He laughs and declares that no man has ever hindered him. Durnhelm replies that he is not a man, takes of his helmet, and (duh) reveals a head of blond hair. Eowyn has joined the battle after all. The creature attacks, and she fends it off, cutting off its head. The Nazgul brings down his mace and shatters her shield, breaking her arm. Merry rallies his courage, takes his sword and stabs the Nazgul in the back, allowing Eowyn to cleave the Nazgul's head from its shoulders. Her sword shatters, and Merry's dissappears.
Theoden regains consciousness and sees Merry. He tells him that he wishes to speak to Eomer (remember, cool blonde guy with the flowing helmet). He declares that Eomer is to be king of Rohan. He tells Eomer to send a message to Eowyn telling her of his death. Theoden dies. Eomer gives orders for Theoden's body to be carried from the plain, and turns and sees his sister's body lying nearby. Imrahil, Prince of Dol Amroth sees the procession, and declares that Eowyn is still living, but just barely. She is sent to the infirmary. Merry is left behind, his right hand numb from when his elf blade stabbed the Nazgul.
The battle is once again turning against the combined armies when they see the ships of the corsairs coming. They dispair. Then, Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas come bounding (especially in Legolas' case) out of the ship leading a whole host of the Dunedain, Rangers of the North. So the battle is won, every enemy is slain, and the three Princes...Aragorn, Eomer, and Imrahil are united.
Merry is still riding with the mysterious rider and the host of Rohan. Theoden is in counsel with a wild man to determine the best way to approach Gondor unexpectedly. They decide on a footpath, that leads through an orc wall. The wall was destroyed, and there was no ambush. They discover along the trail the body of the messenger who was sent to them from Gondor. He never made it back to tell Denethor that Rohan was coming to aid them. As they draw closer to Gondor, Sauron's dark magic almost makes them lose hope, but the light from Gandalf's staff beams through the air 'piercing the darkness' and hope is restored. Rohan makes a grand entrance into the battle.
Pippin is still in Gondor. The forces are gathering around the city. Denethor, Boromir and Faramir's Father, berates Faramir for the way he mishandled the situation with Frodo and the Ring (Remember, in the book Faramir tells Frodo that even if it fell in the gutter, he would not reach out a hand to pick it up -- the only complaint I have in the movie!). Denethor tells Gandalf that He would have been strong enough to keep the ring and not use it, for his strength is greater than Gandalf. Gandalf replies that it might be so, but he refused the ring even when offered to him. Gandalf and Pippin hear news that Frodo and Sam have made it that far at least. Mordor is unleashed upon Gondor. The fighting begins, and there are not enough men. Denethor sends Faramir out to battle without blessing. Faramir is injured and brought back. Denethor realises how poorly he has treated his son, and his mind breaks. He orders his servants to carry them both to the tombs and set fire to them. Pippin rushes off to find Gandalf to make him stop the suicide. Gandalf is fighting off The Lord of the Nazgul when a horn sounds and the Riders of Rohan come in the last hour.