TTT, Book 3, Chapter 7 - Helm's Deep

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TTT, Book 3, Chapter 7 - Helm's Deep

Postby Notta Hobbit » Sun Jan 06, 2013 4:36 pm

Time for a new chapter! I apologize that this summary is so short and the questions few. My eyes tend to glaze over in the battle scenes. If somebody else has other questions, by all means ask away!

Summary

After two days of riding, the Rohirrim meet the remnants of the Guard and decide to go directly to Helm's Deep to fortify it against the oncoming Isengard forces. Gandalf takes off on mysterious business. The army fortifies the Deep just in time as the Isengard host attacks it. Eomer, Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli all have plenty of fighting but sustain no more than scratches. The orcs try to blow up the Deep from below, but then Theoden leads a cavalry charge upon their rear which kills them all. At the end of the battle, a dark forest (of Huorns) appears in the distance, and Gandalf returns with Erkenbrand of Westfold.

Questions
1. Why does Tolkien make so much of the killng competition between Legolas and Gimli?
2. How does Aragorn get so quickly from the Hornburg gate to the cavalry charge upon the rear?
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Re: TTT, Book 3, Chapter 7 - Helm's Deep

Postby fattylumpkin » Sun Jan 06, 2013 9:45 pm

question 1: Legolas and Gimli are the only ones that have this competition of orc kill score cards, which is rather cold blooded. the orc are treated like vermin, perhaps because dwarves and elves have a long hate and many scores to settle with orcs? (still, none are more cruel to orcs than other orcs!) It makes one think of shooting partys in Edwardian england, orcs as pheasants, with the days kill record in little books.
But maybe what starts out as a competition between two who are not sure if they like each other, becomes a way for Legolas and Gimli to deal with, by making light of, what are pretty grim and desperate fights, with the odds against them. Surelly, joking about deadly situations is something that Tolkien would have expereinced in WW1.

2:Aragorn and Theoden ride out from the Hornburg , charge the Orcs, who TURN and flee before them
"Their backs were to the swords and spears of the Riders, and their faces to the valley." the army of Isengard is trapped between the Riders, Gandalf and Erkenbrand and the forest.
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Re: TTT, Book 3, Chapter 7 - Helm's Deep

Postby Morwenna » Wed Jan 09, 2013 10:56 am

Legolas and Gimli are representatives of races that have not gotten along with each other for centuries. They start out the expedition rather skeptical of each other, and the group is large enough that they need not interact individually most of the time. But after the Fellowship is sundered, there are only three of them, and they all must cooperate. Each has the chance to observe the other's strengths and weaknesses, and note their differences and similarities. They could have been foes; at least they could have been real rivals; but this battle gives them the chance to turn their rivalry to good use, while making light of the situation as well as they can to keep their spirits up. Neither one has anyone else of his own race around for hundreds of miles (well, excepting Lorien, but no one there will leave till the attack on Dol Guldur), which also helps them bond. After this they are fast friends.
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Re: TTT, Book 3, Chapter 7 - Helm's Deep

Postby Old_Begonia » Sun Jan 20, 2013 6:45 pm

I don't think Tolkien made that big of a deal about Gimli and Legolas' competition. It's there, but it doesn't dominate the chapter, for me. I agree with fattylumpkin, though. I think that he is remembering a little of the commraderie that can spring up in unlikely places during a battle.
What really stands out for me in this chapter is the weather. The gathering gloom as they gather their forces behind the walls, the first onslaught of pelting rain and then the fierce storm. Then Gandalf arrives with the 'cavalry' and the dawn.
"And it is said by the Eldar that in water there lives yet the echo of the Music of the Ainur more than in any substance else that is in this Earth; and many of the Children of Ilúvatar hearken still unsated to the voices of the Sea, and yet know not for what they listen."

There is something profound about standing AT sea level.
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Re: TTT, Book 3, Chapter 7 - Helm's Deep

Postby fattylumpkin » Tue Jan 22, 2013 9:09 pm

Morwenna wrote:Legolas and Gimli are representatives of races that have not gotten along with each other for centuries. They start out the expedition rather skeptical of each other, and the group is large enough that they need not interact individually most of the time. But after the Fellowship is sundered, there are only three of them, and they all must cooperate. Each has the chance to observe the other's strengths and weaknesses, and note their differences and similarities. They could have been foes; at least they could have been real rivals; but this battle gives them the chance to turn their rivalry to good use, while making light of the situation as well as they can to keep their spirits up. Neither one has anyone else of his own race around for hundreds of miles (well, excepting Lorien, but no one there will leave till the attack on Dol Guldur), which also helps them bond. After this they are fast friends.


I have been thinking about Gimli's and Legolas's friendship and when and how it developed. It seems to me that their relationship changes when they arrive in Lothlorien starting with Legolases defense of Gimli to Haldir's "A dwarf! That is not well." with "he has been brave and faithful". They do have one last spat over the blindfolding and then there is the meeting with Galadriel and it all changes!!.
Galadriels understanding of Gimli's sadness, speaking to him in his own language, and the dawn of his love for her!! So beautifully written,
he "looked up and met her eyes; and it seemed to him that he looked suddenly into the heart of an enemy and saw there love and understanding. Wonder came into his face, and then he smiled in answer."
I think that this is one of the most touching moments in the book and the thoughts exspressed here particularly so. Being willing to see another's true character, going beyond judgment and letting go of prejudice, opening up your heart. wow! One of my favorite moments!
Galadriel also said earlier " that though the world is now dark better days are at hand, and that friendship shall be renewed between our peoples." I think that Elf and Dwarf got it! This for me is where friendship starts and Legolas and Gimli become deeper and more interesting characters too. While in Lothlorien Legolas seeks Gimlis company, "Often he took Gimli with him when he went abroad in the land, and the others wondered at this change."
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Re: TTT, Book 3, Chapter 7 - Helm's Deep

Postby Morwenna » Tue Feb 05, 2013 10:08 am

True; I'd forgotten about their interaction in Lorien! :oops:
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Re: TTT, Book 3, Chapter 7 - Helm's Deep

Postby Chubb » Sun Sep 08, 2013 7:18 am

Fattylumpkin wrote:

It seems to me that their relationship changes when they arrive in Lothlorien starting with Legolases defense of Gimli to Haldir's "A dwarf! That is not well." with "he has been brave and faithful". They do have one last spat over the blindfolding and then there is the meeting with Galadriel and it all changes!!.


I believe it is Frodo who comes to Gimli's defence at that point, not Legolas. But you are right it is in Lothlorien that the friendship between Legolas and Gimli is formed > 'Often he [Legolas] took Gimli with him when he went abroad in the land, and the others wondered at this change.' I agree with you, the empathy that Galdriel shows to Gimli, and the power of that empathy to turn suspicion and hurt into a profound loyalty and friendship, is a profound moment in the book. A few words of true hospitality, and being able to stand in someone else's shoes and walk around in them (as Calpurnia puts it in 'To Kill a Mockingbird' :) ) can turn a foe into a friend. Tolkien deftly shows in that short exchange that what might seem insignificant and trivial to bystanders can mean the world to the one feeling marginalised and misunderstood. And it leads to reciprocation of empathy, as we see from Gimli's love for Lorien - he, as a dwarf, is able to love what the elves love, and it is a big step in confronting pride and old resentment to acknowledge that. Importantly, I think Legolas recognises this, though it is not explicitly mentioned. And probably he learns from Galdriel's example too.

So the friendly rivalry between Legolas and Gimli during battle is just another (but valuable) step in the process of increased understanding and empathy between the races - just as they shared an appreciation for lothlorien, in this chapter they (and we) are reminded that they also share a common hatred of orcs. As is mentioned in this thread, I guess the chapter gets across the point that Elves and Dwarfs actually have much in common; but it also tells us they also have much to learn from each other, indeed from their very differences. They need not be the same to work together or get along with each other - in fact their diverse strengths and practices (e.g. uses of arrow/axe; keen-sightedness/knowledge of stonecraft) are all proved valuable in their own right in this chapter. The banter between the two is also quite fun and endearing to read! It's not just the characters who need some relief from the (brilliantly conveyed) tension of the battle of Helm's Deep, the reader does too I suppose.

Other than Gimli and Legolas, several bonds are strengthened in this chapter (Aragorn and Eomer, Gimli and Eomer, Aragorn and Theoden, the introduction of Gamling): all reflections of the camaraderie and trust cemented during adversity, indeed in the face of death. This is an important backdrop to the rest of the story. The joint battle-cries of Aragorn and Eomer are symbolic of the future alliance between the King of Gondor and the King of Rohan.

As for the battle scenes and navigating the descriptions of ramparts, culverts, citadels and all the rest...I agree, it's a challenge, but when I focused on turning the words into an actual images in my mind, I thoroughly enjoyed it - bit like a jigsaw puzzle!
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