30 Days of Books: Day Nine
Posted by Jen Moore
Day 09 – Best scene ever
The Rohirrim indeed had no need of news or alarm. All too well they could see for themselves the black sails. For Éomer was now scarcely a mile from the Harlond, and a great press of his first foes was between him and the haven there, while new foes came swirling behind, cutting him off from the Prince. Now he looked to the River, and hope died in his heart, and the wind that he had blessed he now called accursed. But the hosts of Mordor were enheartened, and filled with a new lust and fury they came yelling to the onset.
Stern now was Éomer’s mood, and his mind clear again. He let blow the horns to rally all men to his banner that could come thither; for he thought to make a great shield-wall at the last, and stand, and fight there on foot till all fell, and do deeds of song on the fields of Pelennor, though no man should be left in the West to remember the last King of the Mark. So he rode to a green hillock and there set his banner, and the White Horse ran rippling in the wind.
Out of doubt, out of dark to the day’s rising
I came singing in the sun, sword unsheathing.
To hope’s end I rode and to heart’s breaking:
Now for wrath, now for ruin and a red nightfall!
These staves he spoke, yet he laughed as he said them. For once more the lust of battle was on him; and he was still unscathed, and he was young, and he was king: the lord of a fell people. And lo! even as he laughed at despair he looked out again on the black ships, and he lifted up his sword to defy them.
And then wonder took him, and a great joy; and he cast his sword up in the sunlight and sang as he caught it. And all eyes followed his gaze, and behold! upon the foremost ship a great standard broke, and the wind displayed it as she turned towards the Harlond. There flowered a White Tree, and that was for Gondor; but Seven Stars were about it, and a high crown above it, the signs of Elendil that no lord had borne for years beyond count.
Oh, that just gives me chills. Yes, I’m a giant Tolkien nerd. I have read (and understood!) most of the Silmarillion. I think I must have read Lord of the Rings at just the right time, when I was a junior in high school, old enough to mostly understand what Tolkien was doing and young enough to just be swept away in the grandeur of it all, and for it to imprint so hard I’ll never get it out of my brain. This was also the same year that the Peter Jackson movies came out, and while I am very fond of the movies…well, they miss out my favorite scene.
I’ve been rereading LotR lately — actually, I’ve been reading it aloud, since my roommate expressed a desire to read the series but explained how she’d gotten bogged down (as so many people do) in the long wandering bits in the first book, and I’ve wanted to read it aloud for some time. There is no straight-up audiobook version of LotR, which is a damn shame, because it reads wonderfully. If Tolkien knew anything, he knew how to pace the prose. We’ve gotten up to Strider at the Prancing Pony, now, and are plunging headlong into the plot. Wish us luck!
(A close runner-up for favorite scene was the bit in the Houses of Healing where Aragorn bitches about the master there and his lack of knowledge of kingsfoil. I do so love Strider when he’s bitchy.)