A Tolkien Virgin: The Return of the King - Book VI - Chapter 5 - The Journey Continues

Book VI
Chapter 5
The Steward and the King

<!--±1045|right|"Faramir met Aragorn in the midst of those there assembled, and he knelt, and said: 'The last Steward of Gondor begs leave to surrender his office...'"±-->The story screeches to a halt and we get to read about Faramir and Eowyn.  I'll be honest, at first I was annoyed because I actually thought that Eowyn and Aragorn were supposed to end up together.  So, when Faramir starts hitting on Eowyn, I was like, "easy there buddy, that's Aragorn's girl!"  So, I thought that Faramir's love for Eowyn, who would end up with Aragorn anyway, was going to cause complications between Faramir and Aragorn, the Steward and the King.  But, I was wrong.  As I read on and it became clear that Aragorn wasn't sending word to her or anything, I was okay with the fact that Eowyn realized she loved Faramir.  But, it was still jarring to go from battles and the destruction of the ring and all that to Faramir and Eowyn strolling in a garden.

Aragorn's return to Minas Tirith was pretty awesome.  I could do without Ioreth, though.  When Gandalf said, "Now come the days of the King and may the be blessed while the thrones of the Valar endure!"  I was pleased to actually understand the reference to the Valar.  Is it just me or is this the first mention of the word "Valar" in the Lord of the Rings?

After the Return of the King, the crowning of Aragorn, Aragorn judges Beregond, and Eowyn and Eomer set off for home.  It was nice to see all the surviving members of the Fellowship together again.  I actually would have liked Tolkien to dwell on this a little more.  The interactions of the members of the Fellowship--Legolas, Gimli, the hobbits, Gandalf--was something I enjoyed earlier.

When Gandalf leads Aragorn to find the sapling of Nimloth, again I was pleased to understand the significance of the sapling, having, of course, read the Silmarillion first.  But almost more noteworthy than the sapling itself is Gandalf's speech about the Fourth Age belonging to Men and his description of himself as "the Enemy of Sauron."  Gandalf, will finally return to his home with the Valar after all this time.

Tolkien briefly mentions Aragorn's wedding with Arwen.  Although she has barely been mentioned at all in the story to this point somehow she seemed a better fit for Aragorn than Eowyn.  Part of that has to do with the change in Aragorn himself as he becomes the King and Strider fades.  He seems more distant now than ever, more lofty and aloof.  And it just seems right that this Aragorn marry an Elf.

till next time,
keep thinking,

Mark-Edmond Howell
Kanazawa, Japan

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