“At its head there rode a tall and evil shape, mounted upon a black horse, if horse it was; for it was huge and hideous, and its face was a frightful mask, more like a skull than a living head, and in the sockets of its eyes and in its nostrils there burned a flame…”

Book V
Chapter 10
The Black Gate Opens

The title alone is enough to make me cringe. And sure enough, things get bad. Real bad. Not exactly unexpected. Nowhere was the futility of their attack any more evident than where it says, “And so…it was with less than six thousands that the Captains of the West came at last to Challenge the Black Gate and the might of Mordor.” And the sea of enemies that swarms them at the end is mind-boggling. Even greater than at Helm’s Deep.

The only hope is in the destruction of the ring. For, I don’t believe that Frodo and Sam have been captured–or at least not still captured. I keep telling myself that these books wouldn’t be so popular if it all ended badly.

I just hope that the thousands of lives thrown away at the feet of Sauron have distracted him at all. I hope that these men die for a purpose.

The battle is so hopeless that I find myself wishing that Gandalf would burst into a ball of white fire and just mow down whole armies of Sauron. Obliterate them all, storm into Barad-dûr and just punch Sauron in the face, knocking him down and out and then just pick him up and throw his ass out the Door of Night for an overdue reunion with his master, before he even knows what hit him. That would be sweeet.

And, hey, where’s Manwe and even Illuvatar in all of this? There are the eagles, and their appearance as Pippin died or passed out did give me chills (though I doubt they were sent by Manwe), but Illuvatar’s predestined plan from way back in the Vallaquenta sucks majorly. Can I get a witness?

Needless to say, I can’t wait to get on to Book VI. Book V was pretty much what I expected. Some of the specifics were interesting, and it wasn’t as gloomy as Book IV, but Book III is still my favorite to this point. I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again: Ents rule.

till next time, keep thinking

Kanazawa, Japan