Book 5, Chapter 1 Notes from Return of the King

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Return of the King Book 5, Chapter 1

Pippin and Gandalf are riding away from Edoras the capitol of Rohan towards Gondor and the strongholds of Minas Tirith. Pippin had looked into the palantir against Gandalf's advice, and saw the dark lord Sauron gazing out from Mordor looking for the ring of power. Gandalf's horse, Shadowfax pauses but then rushes on again. Pippin thinks of his hobbit companions Merry, Sam and Frodo and wonders how they are doing. They come to the great outer gates of Minas Tirith and the guards ask Gandalf who or what Pippin is. Gandalf replies:

"'I will vouch for him before the seat of Denethor.... And as for valor, that cannot be computed by stature. He has passed through more battles and perils than you have, Ingold, though you be twice his height; and he comes now from the storming of Isengard, of which we bear tidings .... His name is Peregrin, a very valiant man.'" Book 5, Chapter 1, pg. 21

Pippin tells them that he is a Hobbit and Gandalf clarifies that he is a halfling. Pippin speaks of Boromir the son of Denethor the steward of Gondor. Gandalf tells them to sharpen their swords and when they ask if Rohan is coming he says that they will be here as quickly as they can. Between the outer wall and the city are four leagues of land filled with farms, orchards and houses. Minas Tirith is built into the side of a mountain. It has seven levels with seven curving walls separating them. The massive doors to enter each section are staggered. They enter through each level and come to the tower in the middle. This is the citadel of the steward and the hall of the missing king. Gandalf warns Pippin to be wary of his words before Denethor and not to speak of Aragorn. Pippin wants to ask more questions, but Gandalf tells him that there is not time to answer all of his questions.

The hall is extravagant with large marble monoliths and a great throne at one end. Below the throne is a smaller seat where they find Denethor. Gandalf hails him and the steward asks of his son Boromir. He laments his son and asks how a Hobbit managed to escape when Boromir fell. Pippin offers his sword at Denethor's feet and the steward is amazed by this gesture. He swears the Hobbit into his service and then tells him to tell his whole tale. Gandalf asks if he has heard of the fall of Isengard and he says that he has. Denethor bids for food and chairs to be brought out. Pippin weaves his long tale, but mentions nothing of Aragorn. Denethor commands for lodgings to be prepared for the pair and speaks with Gandalf. The wizard knows that the old steward had more interest in the tale than to simply hear tidings of his dead son. The steward speaks of the king returning and Gandalf tells him that he should pay more attention to maintaining a kingdom for him to return to. He leaves silently with the hobbit and Pippin remains quiet. Once they get back to their lodging Pippin asks if the wizard is mad at him. Gandalf laughs and says "'Indeed you did your best...I hope that it may be long before you find yourself in such a tight corner again between two such terrible old men.'" Book 5, Chapter 1, pg. 33. From his stories, Denethor learned that someone else besides Boromir led the group from Moria after Gandalf's fall. Denethor loved Boromir more than his son Faramir. Gandalf tells Pippin to be wary of his new post. He wishes he could find Faramir and tells Pippin that he plans to go to a committee of lords. He asks the hobbit to look after his horse, Shadowfax.

Pippin is thinking of breakfast when a man named Beregond arrives to teach him the gate passwords and details of his duty. He asks Pippin about Gandalf and Rohan. Pippin asks about the mealtimes. Beregond laughs and tells him that they will be able to eat soon. They go out and find that Shadowfax has been well taken care of. Beregond is amazed that Shadowfax has neither bit nor harness. Pippin and Beregond go through the city finding food. The guard admits that he at first took Pippin for a child. They ascend the walls and Pippin looks over the landscape to the ruins of Osgillath and the mountains of Mordor. They speak briefly of the Black Riders. Pippin asks when they expect the onslaught but they do not know.

Denethor sits in his tower most of the time and the people of Gondor think that he has some farseeing ability. He has told the guards that there is a great black fleet sailing up the Anduin. He asks Pippin if he feels hope and the hobbit says that he has faith in his companions abroad. Beregond's conviction is strengthened but Pippin wishes the whole affair were already over. Beregond says that the city will seem happier once Faramir returns. They talk long into the day and then eat in the mess hall. Pippin's coming is welcomed. Men of Gondor think that he is a halfling prince and some rumor that an army of fierce halflings is coming to help them.

Beregond departs for his watch duty and others follow. Later Pippin walks out into the city and is an object of interest to many of its inhabitants. He comes to a group of children playing around pillars and they asks where he is from. He tells them that he is from the Shire but this means nothing to them. One of the boys says that he could overcome Pippin in strength and Pippin laughs. He tells the boy that if he tried that he would kill him. The boy is scared for a moment but then puts up his fists. Pippin laughs again and tells the boy, whose name is Bergil, that he knows his father, Beregond. They go to see his father and Bergil is allowed to pass the gate because he is with Pippin. They see the dust of the lord of the outer lands approaching.

"Behind him march proudly a dusty line of men, well-armed and bearing great battle-axes; grim-faced they were, and shorter and somewhat swarthier than any men that Pippin had yet seen in Gondor." Book 5, Chapter 1, pg. 46

Only 200 men march into the city; they had hoped for ten times this number. For the rest of the day, bands of men enter the city. The largest band numbers at 700 and is led by Prince Imrahil. At the end of the day there are 3000 armed men in the city. The captains of Gondor had hoped for many more than this. Bergil and Pippin watch every band enter the walls and then go back into the city. Pippin meets Beregond at dinner and then decides that he wants to see Gandalf. Beregond tells him that he has been summoned to Denethor's tower the following day. When Pippin finally finds Gandalf, he is wondering how long it will be until Faramir returns. He tells Pippin that there will be no dawn.

Topic Tracking: Love and Loyalty 1
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