Return of the King, Book V, Chap. 6 “The Battle of Pelennor Fields”
1) Théoden chooses to charge into battle, though he seems to know he won’t make it through alive. Why did Tolkien choose Snowmane to be his “master’s bane” rather than choose a more heroic death for the king?
2) How do the words of the film, “I am no man,” and those of the book, “You look upon a woman,” differ?
3) After Éowyn slays the Witchking, Théoden tells Merry that he “shall not see her again, dearer than daughter.” Why didn’t Tolkien let Théoden and Éomer see her triumph and instead let Éomer believe his sister to be dead? Why was Merry the only one to see her victory?
Return of the King, Book V, Chap. 7 “The Pyre of Denethor”
1) Do you think Gandalf made the right decision in helping Faramir out of burning rather than following the Black Rider to prevent him from killing more? Why or why not?
2) What is the deal with Denethor? What is the cause of his madness and logic for trying to burn Faramir? And what is his logic for setting himself on fire?
Return of the King, Book V, Chap. 8 “The Houses of Healing”
1) When Gandalf comes to find Merry and Pippin, he talks about how important the hobbits have proven in the midst of battle. Is their presence as important as Gandalf claims? What is Gandalf’s other “charge on [his] hands” that he talks about?
2) This is the second time that Aragorn has called for athelas (or kingsfoil) in healing people grievously wounded. What is the significance of this plant? How does its description affect the way people regard it?
Return of the King, Book V, Chap. 9 “The Last Debate”
1) What do you make of Gimli and Legolas’ conversation as they enter Minas Tirith? Either about their plans to help the White City rebuild or their judgment concerning the worth and ability of Men?
2) Before he died, Denethor said, “You may triumph on the fields of the Pelennor for a day, but against the Power that has now arisen there is no victory.” What is the significance of Gandalf saying that the council should look for the wisdom in Denethor’s final words?
Return of the King, Book V, Chap. 10 “The Black Gate Opens”
1) Before battle is met outside the Morannon, an emissary of Sauron rides out to tell Aragorn’s company that Frodo has been captured. Gandalf reacts to this messenger and his offer of “parley” with uncharacteristic rage. Why do you believe Gandalf acts this way? Has the gravity of their situation left him with no other choice but wrath?
2) In this chapter, we see another miraculous last-minute intervention on the part of the Great Eagles. It seems as if the eagles only lend their strength to a conflict if their presence is absolutely necessary. Why is this? Do the eagles owe loyalty or allegiance to anyone but themselves?