Message Board | Rules

Thread: The Pyre of Denethor

Bottom of Page    Message Board > Tolkien Weekly Courses > The Pyre of Denethor   
Here is the log from April 18th:

Start of #bilbos-study buffer: Sun Apr 18 18:17:00 2004 [15:36] * Now talking in #bilbos-study
[15:36] * ChanServ ( has joined #bilbos-study
[15:36] * ChanServ sets mode: +o ChanServ
[15:36] * ChanServ changes topic to 'Welcome to the Planet-Tolkien
Classroom. If we do not have a class discussion going on at the moment
join us in #tolkien (Rednell)

[16:58] [virumor] hi V
[16:59] [virumor] hi Amarie
[16:59] [V] hi
[16:59] [Amarie] Hi Vs!
[16:59] [V] hehe
[17:00] [Amarie] I though I should hang around to see even if I haven't
done the homework
[17:01] [V] yeah
[17:01] [V] get the book out now
[17:01] [virumor] i never do my homework, anyway
[17:01] [virumor] hahahahahahar
[17:02] [Amarie] you have the books engraved in your head Vir
[17:03] [virumor] yes and i have the appendices tattooed on my chest
[17:04] [Rednell] that what I thought was the incentive too, Amarie. Smile Smilie
[17:06] [Amarie] Vir will now know what it is like when people are to busy
looking at his chest to look at his face when they are talking. "Hello,
my face is up here!"
[17:07] [virumor] in that case i will replace it by the eye of Sauron.
[17:07] [Amarie] lol
[17:08] [Rednell] ok, we are discussing The Pyre of Denethor tonight.
[17:08] [V] burn baby burn
[17:09] [virumor] bilbo spears
[17:09] [Rednell] Pippin comes running to Gandalf for help.
[17:09] [V] just as Gandalf is about to leave........
[17:09] [virumor] just after the witch-king left
[17:09] [V] Gandalf had been motionless
[17:09] [V] why]
[17:10] [Rednell] In the meantime, the mood in Minas Tirith has picked up
a bit as they see that Rohan has come
[17:10] [virumor] Imrahil is going to the battlefield
[17:10] [V] the fear lifted when the WK left
[17:10] [virumor] they meet gandalf and pip
[17:10] [V] Gandalf gives command to Imrahil
[17:11] [Rednell] well, there was only a small contingent with Imrahil at
the 1st gate.
[17:11] [Rednell] The others fled to the 2nd gate.
[17:11] [virumor] the cowards
[17:11] [Rednell] they didn't think Rohan was coming and neither did
Denethor. Plus they had seen Faramir brought back
[17:11] [virumor] i thought they met Imrahil on their way to Rath D’nen
[17:12] [virumor] strange that for once, Denethor didn't see anything
useful in his palantir then.
[17:12] [virumor] but he was nuts already then, so.
[17:12] [Rednell] they did, but most of the Gondor army had retreated to
the 2nd gate when they were under attack and felt the fear and dread
that the WK brought along
[17:13] [virumor] one nazg’l flew over the cuckoo's nest
[17:13] [V] Denethor was with Faramir then
[17:13] [Rednell] Denethor didn't interpret his palantir very well.
[17:13] [virumor] he had the palantir with him.
[17:13] [Rednell] Why was Gandalf relunctant to go with Pippin?
[17:14] [virumor] witch-king was going to wreak havoc
[17:14] [virumor] Gandalf wanted to try to at least prevent that.
[17:14] [V] Did the sun rise in the south?
[17:14] [Amarie] now that would be wierd
[17:14] [Rednell] ye, he really feared that others would die if he left to
help Denethor.
[17:15] [virumor] sun rises in the east normally.
[17:15] [Rednell] why do you say that V?
[17:15] [V] He has tomake a choice - the battle or Faramir
[17:15] [V] it says they caught the glimmer of morning far away, a light
growing in the southern sky.
[17:15] [virumor] that's just sunlight breaking thru the mordor smog
[17:16] [Rednell] Even in the herat of our stronghold the Enemy has power
to strike us for his will it is that is at work.
[17:16] [V] but sunoight wouldn't come from the south in the morning
[17:16] [Rednell] yes, that is how I interpreted it, too, Vir
[17:16] [virumor] why wouldn't it?
[17:16] [V] Sauron had got at Denethor through the stone
[17:16] [Rednell] indeed
[17:17] [V] because the sentence refers to morning
[17:17] [V] the glimmer of morning
[17:17] [Rednell] I don't think it refers to rising sun, V.
[17:17] [V] not a problem - I just didn't understand it
[17:17] [V] not important
[17:17] [V] as an image it doesn't sit right for me
[17:17] [Amarie] It is just "a ray of hope"
[17:17] [V] but never mind - carry on
[17:18] [Rednell] I think so Amarie, Tolkien does that often
[17:18] [V] it wasn't just Denethor that was affected - the guards were
also at each other's throats
[17:18] [Rednell] yes, V. And that grieved Gandalf
[17:18] [Amarie] fear does that
[17:18] [V] was this all from the WK
[17:19] [virumor] only Beregond didn't want to obey Denethor, that's it.
[17:19] [V] I suppose they also believed Denethor's rantings
[17:19] [Rednell] Such deeds he loves, friend at war with friend, loyalty
divided in confusion of heart.
[17:19] [Rednell] Divide and Conquer comes to mind
[17:19] [virumor] Beregond saw that Faramir was still alive, like pippin.
[17:20] [V] OOoh can I just mention.......... in the first para of this
chapter 0 I love the bit about the horns blowing
[17:20] [Rednell] none the less, he killed comrades in arms
[17:20] [virumor] Hornblower
[17:20] [Amarie] when your leader says that all hope is lost you don't
feel very incoruaged
[17:20] [V] he knew the consequences
[17:21] [Rednell] consequences could be bad for him, either way
[17:21] [V] Poor Beregond! To have to kill his fellow soldiers
[17:21] [virumor] self defense
[17:21] [virumor] they would kill him.
[17:22] [V] yes but it is still wrong
[17:22] [Rednell] Denethor seems to have but one moment of sanity when
Faramir calls his name
[17:22] [V] they should be killing the enemy not each other
[17:22] [virumor] yes, but he still refuses to help.
[17:22] [virumor] he thinks he knows things better than the Grey Fool.
[17:22] [virumor] which should be White Fool, anyway.
[17:22] [V] he kept that hidden
[17:22] [Rednell] well, Denethor explains much to Gandalf
[17:23] [virumor] he then mentions "only one day you'll have victory -
it's just one finger of a hand" or something.
[17:23] [virumor] and he is right.
[17:23] [virumor] and he shows the Palantir. At last. What a big surprise.
[17:23] [Rednell] no one seemed very surprised to see that appear.
[17:23] [virumor] in a modern story, Gandalf wuld've exclaimed "duh!" at
that part.
[17:24] [V] To this city only the first finger of its hand has yet been
[17:24] [Rednell] How was he deceived by the palantir?
[17:24] [V] How many people would know what a palantir is
[17:24] [virumor] he wasn't really deceived. There were several huge
[17:24] [V] he wa misled
[17:24] [Rednell] lots, V. It was part of history and folklore
[17:24] [virumor] Sauron just made them a bit huger. Or made him only
focused on the huge armies so that he lost hope.
[17:25] [Rednell] well, he saw the black sails coming up the Anduin
[17:25] [virumor] maybe he was afraid of the images of the Sherman tanks.
[17:25] [V] Denethor wavers when looking at Faramir
[17:25] [V] was it, would the guards know about them
[17:25] [virumor] he was already too far gone at that point.
[17:26] [Rednell] He certainly would not have know that the Corsairs were
not sailing those ships.
[17:26] [V] remembered in nursery rhymes
[17:26] [Rednell] but even if he did know it was Aragorn, I think he
reaction would have been much the same
[17:26] [virumor] if he waited a bit longer
[17:26] [virumor] he would've seen the banner.
[17:26] [V] but then he wouldn't have died and left the stewardship to
[17:27] [virumor] yes, there was still the so-called "conspiracy" against
his person.
[17:27] [V] he would have had to give the stewardship to Aragorn
[17:27] [V] he owuld not like doing that
[17:27] [Rednell] exactly
[17:27] [virumor] i think he wouldn't have accepted that anyway.
[17:27] [V] he didn't recognise Aragorn's claim
[17:27] [Rednell] he wanted things to be the way they were in days of old.
[17:27] [virumor] he forgot about his task.
[17:28] [V] I will ot bow to such a one, last of a ragged house long
bereft of lordship and dignity.
[17:28] [Rednell] I think the breaking of the staff was very symbolic
[17:28] [virumor] it was his task to prepare gondor until the King came
[17:28] [virumor] the West has failed, another one.
[17:28] [Rednell] but it took so long and he became a proud and arrogant
[17:28] [virumor] not really.
[17:28] [virumor] he became bitter and desperate.
[17:29] [Rednell] you don't think he was proud?
[17:29] [virumor] proud of Gondor and MT
[17:29] [V] he was proud
[17:29] [virumor] rightfully proud.
[17:29] [V] and bitter
[17:29] [V] and a bit mad
[17:29] [V] he was of the line of whatsisname
[17:29] [virumor] arrogant because he only saw Gondor as threatened by
[17:29] [virumor] Mardil.
[17:29] [V] Numenor
[17:29] [V] and all that
[17:29] [virumor] only mad after Faramir's return.
[17:29] [V] not sure about that
[17:30] [V] all that Palantir use got to him.........
[17:30] [virumor] and Boromir's death.
[17:30] [V] yes
[17:30] [virumor] Faramir's return is the straw that broke the camel's
[17:30] [V] more than likely
[17:30] [Rednell] indeed, Borormir's death was really the beginning of his
[17:30] [V] especially Gandalf being there and a halfling
[17:30] [virumor] but no halfring
[17:31] [V] nor a whole ring
[17:31] [virumor] he only had his steward's ring
[17:32] [V] he thought the one ring would save them all
[17:32] [Rednell] taking Faramir's life and his own would end the line of
[17:32] [virumor] he saw it as their only chance for survival.
[17:32] [virumor] as he knew it was impossible defeating Sauron by arms.
[17:32] [Rednell] true
[17:33] [virumor] i think using the palantir made him lose hope, Boromir's
death broke his spirit which opened the path for insanity. Faramir's
return made him bananas finally.
[17:33] [V] I do find Denethor sad
[17:33] [Rednell] I think that is a good analysis Virumor.
[17:33] [Rednell] He is a pathetic character.
[17:33] [V] I think you are right Vir but I don't think it was using the
palantir, it was what Sauron let him see
[17:34] [V] and the battle with Sauron
[17:34] [virumor] that made him lose hope.
[17:34] [V] it did
[17:34] [Rednell] or how he interpreted what he saw.
[17:34] [virumor] the battle of Sauron made him age fast.
[17:34] [V] yep
[17:34] [virumor] while he was only a year older than Aragorn.
[17:34] [Rednell] He thought Frodo and the Ring were in Sauron's hands
[17:34] [virumor] possibly
[17:34] [V] DIdn't Sauron indicate he had it....... or he thought Saurman
had it
[17:35] [virumor] Sauron thought Saruman had it.
[17:35] [V] yep
[17:35] [virumor] or no
[17:35] [V] htat's it
[17:35] [virumor] that Aragorn had it
[17:35] [virumor] as Aragorn showed himself
[17:35] [virumor] that was the whole point of the attack on MT.
[17:35] [V] but he also saw Pippin first
[17:36] [Rednell] Denethor gleened a lot of information from Pippin
[17:36] [V] so he would have thought Saruman had it
[17:36] [V] then that Aragorn did
[17:36] [V] Denethor says he has learnt the names of his companions
[17:36] [V] And he knows about Aragorn
[17:37] [V] I love the death scene! So good - the fire the palantir......
[17:37] [virumor] he hates Aragorn
[17:37] [V] and Denethor in the middle
[17:39] [virumor] another bonfire of the vanities
[17:39] [Rednell] Theoden uses Merry's stories to entertain him and help
him forgot what is going on around him, Denethor uses Pippin for
information. Very crafy man.
[17:41] [virumor] another wise fool.
[17:41] [Rednell] I find great irony in that Theoden loses his life
because Gandalf tries to prevent Denethor from taking his own.
[17:42] [Rednell] But then the question arises as to whether Gandalf would
have make a difference in the Battle on the Fields of Pelennor
[17:42] [virumor] but then the witch-king wouldn't have been slain
[17:42] [virumor] and Faramir would have died.
[17:43] [Amarie] that would be very unfortunate
[17:43] [virumor] Gandalf would've killed the witch-king, maybe.
[17:43] [Amarie] perhaps
[17:43] [virumor] but i think the latter would've fled
[17:43] [Amarie] yeah, not daring to face the maia
[17:43] [virumor] and Eowyn wouldn't have shown off
[17:44] [Amarie] and she would be yelled at for not obeying uncle
[17:44] [virumor] who knows what could've happened
[17:44] [virumor] she would be put in a cage for the rest of her life
[17:44] [virumor] nice practical joke, King Elessar.
[17:45] [Rednell] specualtion. Even Gandalf did that as he said others
would die so he could save Faramir from his father's mad act.
[17:45] [V] Theoden for Faramir
[17:45] [V] Was that a fair trade?
[17:45] [virumor] Faramir was most important
[17:46] [virumor] Th’oden had done his job because he brought his army
[17:46] [V] why was Faramir important - he didn't do anything after that
[17:46] [virumor] and he was a good warrior
[17:46] [V] Eomer could take over from Theoden and Theoden was an old man
[17:46] [V] he died in battle
[17:46] [virumor] so?
[17:46] [virumor] because he died he sucked in battle?
[17:46] [V] But what else did Faramir do? Apart from marrying Eowyn and
stewarding the city
[17:47] [V] no, he died a warriors death
[17:47] [virumor] he still was a member of the Council of King Elessar
[17:47] [V] Theoden was a great warrior
[17:47] [virumor] Prince of Ithilien
[17:47] [V] I meant that his death in battle was better than Faramir being
burnt by his dad
[17:47] [virumor] while Aragorn was gone battling here and there he served
as steward in MT
[17:48] [V] yep
[17:48] [virumor] even Gandalf couldn't know that Th’oden would die
[17:48] [V] but at the time Gandalf made the choice what was it - Denethor
and Faramir against the rest of the allies
[17:48] [virumor] although it would be logicazl that the witch-king would
focus on the banner of Rohan
[17:49] [V] if he went to the battle Faramir would die
[17:49] [V] if he went to Faramir who else would die in his place
[17:49] [virumor] some ppl on the battlefield.
[17:49] [Rednell] hmmm, I wonder. when the terrible cry was heard and the
light grew clear as the sun broke through the clouds, Gandalf's face was
grave and sad.
[17:49] [V] I just wonder why he chose Faramir
[17:49] [Rednell] I think he did know Theoden had died.
[17:50] [virumor] didn't he staznd on the walls for a moment and peered on
the battlefield?
[17:50] [virumor] he then saw everything that had happened.
[17:50] [Rednell] just a sec, probably
[17:51] [V] but wasn't that after he had made the choice?
[17:51] [virumor] he knew that Faramir would die for sure if he went to
the battlefield
[17:51] [virumor] he didn't know for sure if Th’oden would die, as he was
a skilled and mighty warrior.
[17:51] [virumor] perhaps that was the reason he chose Faramir
[17:51] [V] possible
[17:52] [V] I think he made the right choice
[17:52] [virumor] or perhaps he asked Pippin to throw a coin
[17:52] [Rednell] ok, no, Gandalf heard the cry and saw the sun come
through as they were carrying Faramir to the Houses of Healing, so it
would seem he did not look on the battle field
[17:52] [virumor] i'm sure he did.
[17:52] [virumor] because he didn't return to the battlefield.
[17:52] [virumor] he looked and saw that Aragorn had arrived.
[17:52] [V] Not before going with Pippin
[17:53] [Amarie] Pip was very eager to get gandalf to come, he would have
broken pip heart if he didn't.
[17:53] [virumor] befor going with pippin, aragorn hadn't even arrived
[17:53] [V] Then he looked out and saw all that had befallen
[17:53] [V] after Denethor's death
[17:54] [V] in the Houses of Healing
[17:54] [virumor] and then Aragorn and Co arrive
[17:54] [V] when?
[17:55] [Rednell] next chapter.
[17:55] [virumor] yes, after the battle.
[17:55] [virumor] after the orc hunting.
[17:55] [virumor] and dunlending hunting.
[17:55] [virumor] ah well, after the slaughter.
[17:56] [V] Hmmmmm quite a while.....
[17:57] [V] It says that Gandalf 'beheld with the sight that was given to
him all that had befallen'
[17:57] [virumor] striking though, after slaughtering thousands of foes he
goes healing some hobbits and a warrior chick
[17:57] [V] is that just good eyesight or hindsight
[17:58] [Rednell] where was that, V?
[17:58] [virumor] hi Fea
[17:58] [V] was Gandalf able to see backwards to what happened
[17:58] [virumor] when he peered on the battlefield
[17:58] [V] when they took Faramir into the houses of healing Gandalf goes
to the wall and looks out
[17:59] [virumor] maybe he asked CNN for the videotape of the battle
[17:59] [Rednell] ahhh, ok, I forgot reading that part.
[18:00] [virumor] and rewinded it
[18:00] [virumor] 'imbedded' journalists in the army of Gondor
[18:00] [V] webcam
[18:01] [virumor] a palantir appears to be something like a webcam, yes
[18:01] [V] hey yes
[18:01] [V] with better resolution
[18:01] [virumor] apparently no Logitech in Middle-Earth
[18:01] [virumor] Legotech
[18:02] [Rednell] ok, off topic. :P
[18:02] [virumor] a bit..
[18:02] [V] it was him, miss, Vir did it
[18:02] [Rednell] Do you think Denethor's and Theoden's ends were fitting?
[18:03] [Rednell] Theoden's was by far more heroic
[18:03] [V] yes
[18:03] [virumor] doesn't make any difference in the end
[18:03] [virumor] dead is dead
[18:03] [V] Denethor's was cowardly and desperate and negative
[18:03] [V] it does to the people around
[18:03] [virumor] of course, Denethor woldn't go to the halls of Eru as
easily as Th’oden.
[18:03] [V] he'd be a slave somewhere.......
[18:04] [virumor] well when you're dead you don't care bout what the ppl
say anymore
[18:04] [V] we digress
[18:04] [virumor] safe for the Nazg’l of course
[18:04] [virumor] i think we're all too harsh on Denethor
[18:04] [V] No we are not
[18:04] [Rednell] what is your defense of Denethor, Virumor?
[18:05] [virumor] he has lived his entire life under the thread of Mordor.
lost his wife, son, his only weapon against defeat (as he saw it) so he
lost all hope and went insane.
[18:05] [virumor] he isn't an ubermensch like Aragorn
[18:05] [virumor] can't all be as perfect as him
[18:05] [Rednell] truely tragic character.
[18:06] [V] perfectly normal behaviour
[18:06] [Rednell] and Theoden?
[18:06] [virumor] had an easy time compared to Denethor
[18:06] [V] Denethor chose to die, Theoden gave his life in battle
[18:06] [Rednell] lost his wife and son and lived under the threat of
[18:06] [virumor] he didn't even realize there was a threat from Saruman
[18:06] [virumor] until Gandalf made him wake up
[18:07] [Rednell] only because he was under the spell of wormtongue,
through Saruman.
[18:07] [virumor] was his wife killed ?
[18:07] [V] she died
[18:07] [virumor] how?
[18:07] [Rednell] just as Denethor was under the spell of Sauron through
the palantir
[18:07] [V] shortly after childbirth I think but not sure
[18:07] [virumor] Denethor had a harder time
[18:08] [virumor] compared with his character, even harder.
[18:08] [Rednell] I agree that the proximity to Mordor was very difficult
for him
[18:08] [virumor] anyone who lived under that threat for that long like
him would succumb
[18:09] [virumor] safe for mr perfect - aragorn
[18:09] [virumor] and mr prefect - Faramir
[18:09] [Amarie] well Aragorn grew up in protected Rivendell..
[18:09] [Rednell] Not necessarily. It was not for them to be under the
threat of MOrdor
[18:09] [virumor] and when there finally was a chance for him to take away
that threat (the ring) then it was taken away from him.
[18:10] [virumor] Saruman is a puppy compared to Sauron.
[18:11] [Rednell] indeed, Sauron's puppy
[18:11] [virumor] not really
[18:11] [virumor] disobedient puppy, kinda.
[18:12] [virumor] the whole war of the Ring is a chessgame with kings
Gandalf and Sauron.
[18:12] [virumor] or Aragorn and Witch-King
[18:12] [virumor] because Gandalf and Sauron would move the pieces.
[18:13] [Rednell] that is an interesting perspective
[18:13] [virumor] ty
[18:14] [Amarie] Oh! Alvhild = elfhild is/was a common norwegian name!
[18:14] [Amarie] i deliver newspapers to a Alvhild Smile Smilie
[18:14] [virumor] would be logical, as Rohan is very Scandinavian.
[18:15] [Amarie] very!
[18:16] [Rednell] Amazing, Tolkien really had a way with words and names.
End of #bilbos-study buffer Sun Apr 18 18:17:01 2004