Friday, March 29, 2013

Follow Friday - The Empire State Building Has One Hundred and Two Floors

It's Friday again, and this means it's time for Follow Friday. There has been a slight change to the format, as now there are two Follow Friday hosts blogs and two Follow Friday Features Bloggers each week. To join the fun and make now book blogger friends, just follow these simple rules:
  1. Follow both of the Follow My Book Blog Friday Hosts (Parajunkee and Alison Can Read) and any one else you want to follow on the list.
  2. Follow the two Featured Bloggers of the week - Book Sniffers Anonymous and Insightful Minds Reviews.
  3. Put your Blog name and URL in the Linky thing.
  4. Grab the button up there and place it in a post, this post is for people to find a place to say hi in your comments.
  5. Follow, follow, follow as many as you can, as many as you want, or just follow a few. The whole point is to make new friends and find new blogs. Also, don't just follow, comment and say hi. Another blogger might not know you are a new follower if you don't say "Hi".
  6. If someone comments and says they are following you, be a dear and follow back. Spread the love . . . and the followers.
  7. If you want to show the link list, just follow the link below the entries and copy and paste it within your post!
  8. If you're new to the Follow Friday Hop, comment and let me know, so I can stop by and check out your blog!
And now for the Follow Friday Question: Tell us about the most emotional scene you’ve ever read in a book – and how did you react?

I've read so many books that trying to choose the most emotional scene from among them would be something of a fool's errand. But for a particularly emotional scene I will pick a scene from J.R.R. Tolkien's Return of the King during the climatic battle of Pelennor Field. After Théoden, the king of Rohan, is killed, and Éowyn has confronted and defeated the Witch-King of Angmar, she succumbs to the Black Breath and falls into a death-like coma. As she lays upon the field of battle near the dead king. Éomer, now king of the Rohirrim following his uncle's death, comes across the scene:

And those who stood by wept, crying: "Théoden King! Théoden King!" But Éomer said to them:

Mourn not overmuch! Mighty was the fallen,
meet was his ending. When his mound is raised,
women then shall weep. War now calls us!

Yet he himself wept as he spoke. "Let his knights remain here," he said, "and bear his body in honour from the field, lest the battle ride over it! Yea, and all these other of the king's men that lie here." And he looked at the slain, recalling their names. Then suddenly he beheld his sister Éowyn as she lay, and he knew her. He stood a moment as a man who is pierced in the midst of a cry by an arrow through the heart; and then his face went deathly white, and a cold fury rose in him, so that all speech failed him for a while. A fey mood took him.

"Éowyn, Éowyn!" he cried at last. "Éowyn, how come you here? What madness or deviltry is this? Death, death, death! Death take us all!"

Then without taking counsel or waiting for the approach of the men of the City, he spurred headlong back to the front of the great host, and blew a horn, and cried aloud for the onset. Over the field rang his clear voice calling: "Death! Ride, ride to ruin and the world's ending!"

And with that the host began to move. But the Rohirrim sang no more. Death they cried with one voice loud and terrible, and gathering speed like a great tide their battle swept about their fallen king and passed, roaring away southwards.

The transformation of Éomer's mood from one of acceptance of the death of Théoden as an accepted cost of war to the sadness and despair at seeing what he believes to be his dead sister Éowyn lying next to the dead king is what makes this scene so intensely emotional. His mood goes from a kind of almost carefree battle lust to a reckless frenzy in the course of a few moments. He rallies his men not with courage and hope, but with anger and hatred.

I should note that this scene was almost entirely excised from Peter Jackson's film version of the Return of the King, an omission that is one of the many things that makes the film version far inferior to Tolkien's original work. Much of Éomer's battle speech is moved to Théoden's speech when the Rohirrim first arrive at the battle, but there it doesn't make much sense, and when placed there the call for death and a ride for ruin to the world's ending is drained of almost all of its emotional content. In Théoden's mouth it is a nice phrase that is all but empty of meaning. But when spoken by Éomer in a frenzied rage after his sister's apparent death, it becomes a powerful blow to the gut.

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  1. Old follower!

  2. @Marissa: Good to see you again!