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Old 02-18-2008, 03:25 AM   #1
Araréiel
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Why hold'claim Osgiliath?

Long time, no post. Three years! Anyway, my honey and I spent the week re-watching the extended movies, one disk a night. Tonight we started watching Return of the King, and are going to watch both disks. Right now he's getting stuff for onion dip, so we're between disks, and that is irrelevant.

Anyway, I can't recall if this was addressed in the books, and he hasn't read them, but Denethor was hellbent on Faramir holding Osgiliath, and then reclaiming it. C'mon, death mission. Cody and I were debating by Denethor wanted this. I am of the belief right now that Denethor was trying to get Faramir killed at this point, and Cody suspects maybe it was as a watch point to Mordor, so tropps coming could be seen quicker and a rider sent to Minis Tirith.

What was the reason?
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Old 02-18-2008, 07:30 AM   #2
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You can tell Cody he was on the right track.

Osgiliath had strategic value. It was the easiest place to cross the River Anduin, which Sauron's army had to do in order to attack Gondor.

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"And the Enemy must pay dearly for the crossing of the River. That he cannot do, in force to assail the City, either north of Cair Andros because of the marshes, or southwards towards Lebennin because of the breadth of the River, that needs many boats. It is at Osgiliath that he will put his weight, as before when Boromir denied him passage."
–Denethor in "The Siege of Gondor" (The Return of the King.)

That answer your question?

While I'm here– welcome back to the Downs. That's a rather cool signature you've got there.
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Old 02-18-2008, 12:22 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nerwen View Post
You can tell Cody he was on the right track.

Osgiliath had strategic value. It was the easiest place to cross the River Anduin, which Sauron's army had to do in order to attack Gondor.
Indeed, Osgiliath was a huge strong hold for Gondor. If taken, Minas Tirith could easily be invaded.
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Old 02-18-2008, 01:58 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nerwen View Post
You can tell Cody he was on the right track.

Osgiliath had strategic value. It was the easiest place to cross the River Anduin, which Sauron's army had to do in order to attack Gondor.

–Denethor in "The Siege of Gondor" (The Return of the King.)

That answer your question?

While I'm here– welcome back to the Downs. That's a rather cool signature you've got there.
Thank you, on all counts. It's been too long since I've read the books, and Cody never has. It's time to get them all again in paperback or something other than my special edition (one of the inch-thin for the entire trilogy, bible-paper half-leather things that cost a few hundred bucks), and read it again. Cody never has. Absolutely amazing books. Not just LotR, but all the rest too.
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Old 02-19-2008, 11:43 AM   #5
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Of course Osgiliath was important, but at least in the movies Denethor isn't really himself when making this decision. Plus, what he sends in the movie is clearly too little to do any damage to Sauron's troops. The only smart thing to do would have been to keep them for the upcoming siege.
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Old 02-19-2008, 08:46 PM   #6
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Which, I suppose, is why you're never told why it's important in the film.
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Old 02-19-2008, 09:04 PM   #7
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I think, in the film, attempting to retake Osgiliath is important because such a ludicrous suicide mission is the most convenient way for Insane Mean Daddy to kill off Misunderstood Younger Son.
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Old 02-20-2008, 05:42 AM   #8
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Well, I wasn't going to put it quite like that...
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Old 02-21-2008, 02:35 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by William Cloud Hicklin View Post
I think, in the film, attempting to retake Osgiliath is important because such a ludicrous suicide mission is the most convenient way for Insane Mean Daddy to kill off Misunderstood Younger Son.

EXACTY how it appears in the film.

Time to re-read the trilogy, methinks.
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Old 02-21-2008, 06:39 AM   #10
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In the book it's much more straightforward: Sauron had to take the crossings, and Gondor had to defend them. Once lost, retaking themwas of course not an issue: the Men of MT fell back on the Causeway Forts- bastions covering the Road where it crossed the marshy land and passed through the gate in the Rammas- a barbican, really. It was this defense that Faramir took command of (pretty logically, given that he was now Captain-General), and in the retreat from the Causeway Forts after they fell that he was wounded. Leading that defense was not conceived as either a murder or a suicide, and quite-sane Denethor very correctly covered the retreat with a well-timed cavalry sortie. He certainly didn't throw away 200 good heavy cav on a pointless charge against prepared defenses!

Tolkien, unlike PJ, was a soldier.
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Old 02-21-2008, 09:56 AM   #11
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Osgiliath was strategically needed. In both WW's one of the main goals was to destroy bridges so the supplies and access would be cut off.

My main contention is that Denethor should have destroyed the access across the river before Saurons troops arrived. Faramir could have easily defended from that point. But there are so many other issues in both the book and the movie that don't make sense militarily that I don't really question them anymore.

I really hated what was done to Denethor and his two sons in the movies. I never did really like Denethor in either, but the movies made him out to be worse.
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Old 02-21-2008, 10:32 AM   #12
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Quempel, the Osgiliath bridge had been destroyed (by Boromir) the previous June. In March Sauron forced an amphibious crossing.
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Old 02-21-2008, 02:23 PM   #13
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That's why I said access across the river, not bridge. There are certain things that can be done to keep boats from reaching the shore. There are certain things that can be done to shore up the shore. There are certain things that can make it impossible to cross a river except at a very narrow crossing, thus making it 'easy pickins' for the defenders. Again there are tons of military mistakes in both the books and the movies. However, having the giant eagles of Manwe fly the ring into Mt. Doom doesn't make for a good story. One of my biggest is the whole ring issue, why couldn't Sauron just as easily forge a new ring to rule over the one ring? Plus the wizards had knowledge of black-powder, I am pretty sure black-powder bombs or guns might just make it easier to win the war. But Tolkien hated that technology so it wasn't used, he preferred the killing in LoTR to be done with knives, not guns.
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Old 02-21-2008, 02:38 PM   #14
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Qempel, I think we can assume that Gondor tried to beef up the landing-zone defenses as best she could (although Denethor wasted manpower and time on the Rammas)- and apparently they held for two days; but with an enemy of overwhelming numerical superiority (as well as the attested morale-effect of the Black Captain), not to mention the fatigue of unrelieved troops in continuous combat- they just weren't capable of holding. There is no such thing as an impregnable position given sufficient men (and sufficient disregard for casualties). The idea that a few hundred Men of Gondor could prevent indefinitely the Morgul-Host from effecting a crossing is a non-starter.

Rommel did his level best to make Normandy 'impregnable,' remember?

Quote:
why couldn't Sauron just as easily forge a new ring to rule over the one ring?
Because it wasn't 'easy' the first time, in fact Sauron invested 'the better part' (i.e. most) of his native power in the One. He hadn't sufficient left to make an even mightier one. Besides, in Tolkienverse some works, like the Trees and the Silmarils, can't be repeated.

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Plus the wizards had knowledge of black-powder, I am pretty sure black-powder bombs or guns might just make it easier to win the war.
"The wizards?" Say rather Saruman. If indeed the 'fire of Orthanc' at Helm's Deep in fact was gunpowder, which we don't know.
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Old 02-21-2008, 07:29 PM   #15
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Because it wasn't 'easy' the first time, in fact Sauron invested 'the better part' (i.e. most) of his native power in the One.
This being why destroying the Ring did for him.
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Old 02-22-2008, 11:28 AM   #16
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What seems curious to me is that the last Bridge has been built not too long before the War of the Ring:
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For that is the ruin of Osgiliath on either side of Anduin, which our enemies took and burned long ago. Yet we won it back in the days of the youth of Denethor: not to dwell in, but to hold as an outpost, and to rebuild the bridge for the passage of our arms. And then came the Fell Riders out of Minas Morgul.- Minas Tirith, LOTR
Denethor was born in 2930. Sauron returned to Mordor in 2942 and declared himself openly in 2951, when Denethor was 20. What a crazy idea it was to rebuild the bridge at this time! Makes me think of Turin and Nargothrond...
Cast the stones of your pride into the loud river...

But the other side made strange moves as well. What was the need for Sauron to attack the Bridges of Osgiliath a year before the war, in June 3018? In UT it is explained like this:
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So it was that Sauron prepared two strokes – in which many saw the beginnings of the War of the Ring. They were made together. The Orcs assailed the realm of Thranduil, with orders to recapture Gollum; and the Lord of Morgul was sent forth openly to battle against Gondor. These things were done towards the end of June 3018. Thus Sauron tested the strength and preparedness of Denethor, and found them more than he had hoped. But that troubled him little, since be had used little force in the assault, and his chief purpose was that the coming forth of the Nazgûl should appear only as part of his policy of war against Gondor.
Well, the nazgul may have feared water and all, but I don't buy it that there was no other way to ship them over the Anduin than using the Bridges. After all, Khamul and his pal from Dol Guldur did use a boat and were none the worse for it...
And the disadvantages were enormous. Basically Sauron gave ample warning to the Gondorians hitting a year in advance exactly in the same place where he planned his main attack for the next year. He sacrificed the Bridges, which he otherwise could have used next year. I guess the WK had a hell of a time shipping Grond and other heavy equipment over the Anduin in March 3019.
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Old 02-22-2008, 11:47 AM   #17
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It was hardly giving up some secret to attack Osgiliath in June- Osgiliath was almost necessarily the main focus. Any campaign against MT from Morgul would necessarily rely on the Road and its causeway, which meant Osgiliath.

Moreover, Sauron's plan in June was to seize the Bridge, not to have it destroyed- which would indeed have been an immense prize, and which he would have gained but for Boromir and Faramir.

Tolkien himself admitted that the Nazgul/water business was 'hard to sustain'- but the basic argument, that the assault provided cover and disinformazia for the RW's hunt for the Ring, still holds up. Nor is there anything at all wrong with a reconnaisance in force to probe the enemy defenses.
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Old 02-24-2008, 06:37 PM   #18
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What mystifies me more than anything else about the bridge issue is that, in RotK (maybe it was only in the EE, I haven't seen the original in so long that I don't remember!) there's an image of trolls and Orcs pushing siege towers and Grond, among other things, across what is clearly a bridge, in what is clearly Osgiliath. Is it a bridge over the river, because it certainly looks like it to me! Next time I watch the movie I'll mark down the time, but it's about, eh, four or five scenes before the end of the first disc. I was mystified about this even before reading William CH, Quempel, and Gordis's posts (and having reread RotK just last week while crewing a show), because while watching the films I vaguely recalled that there was no bridge in Osgiliath... and now I'm just peeved, since I know that there definitely wasn't.

I'll have to agree with William CH, though... in the films, it came out like "a ludicrous suicide mission is the most convenient way for Insane Mean Daddy to kill off Misunderstood Younger Son." Particularly because the whole "Yes, I do wish that," scene was horrifically skewed from in the books, and Denethor really did wish his son was dead. Blahhh, don't get me started on that.
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Old 02-24-2008, 10:18 PM   #19
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Movie and Book and Palantir

A few things. In the book Denethor calls a council and it is decided there that the outer defenses will be defended because Denethor wants it that way. Faramir seemed to have guessed that because prior to returning to Minis Tirith, Faramir sent the company to Ithilien to Osgiliath to reinforce it.

Why defend this position? It is made clear in the book that to the south, towards Lebennin the river was too wide and north toward the island of Cair Andros the area was too marshy. Thus the crossing had to come at Osgiliath so they wanted to defend at that point.

If you look at the book vs. the movie, the tactic makes more sense. It has all the bearings of a tactical retreat, to make the enemy pay for taking territory, and to buy time for the Rohirrim to arrive (remember, they didn't know when that would occur, they had an idea, but they were not sure). Faramir spent the day retreating from Osgiliath to the outer forts on the Rammas EchorI also prefer in the book that the sortie was to rescue Faramir as he retreated with remaining out companies, and that it was made by Prince Imrahil and the knights of Dol Amroth who rescued Faramir and the remanent of the out companies. In this case the book explains why they defended Osgiliath where the movie makes it look like . . . well, William Cloud Hicklin said it better.

As far as the bridge, yes it is there. It would have been part of the original city since the heart of the city was in the middle of the river. A non-fan would not know that though who watched the movie for the first time. I guess one could assume it was repaired. The book makes it clear the initial attack is done with a build up of barges and boats. Quick repair on a stone bridge I guess. Perhaps in a the next version they can make it have a platoon section in the middle.

Finally, could Denethor have decided to defend the Pelannor and outer defenses because of what he saw in the Palantir? That Sauron wanted him to attack Osgilath in order to weaken the defenses of Minis Tirith? Just some thoughts.
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Old 02-25-2008, 11:03 AM   #20
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As far as the bridge, yes it is there. It would have been part of the original city since the heart of the city was in the middle of the river. A non-fan would not know that though who watched the movie for the first time. I guess one could assume it was repaired. The book makes it clear the initial attack is done with a build up of barges and boats. Quick repair on a stone bridge I guess. Perhaps in a the next version they can make it have a platoon section in the middle.
Now it set me thinking... I doubt not that the original bridge in Isildur's times and in the times of the Kings was made of stone. But what about the last (Denethor's) bridge? Likely most of it was made of wood - wooden construction resting on the ancient stone pillars. In Ecthelion's and Denethor's times, with Sauron gathering strength in Mordor, it was quite likely that the Gondorians would one day be compelled to destroy the bridge. And indeed it has happened on June 20, 3018.
But how could the Gondorians destroy a stone bridge in a matter of hours? Remember, they had no explosives - only the "bad guys" did. So, the bridge was likely wooden and Boromir and Faramir simply burned it.
But then, it was not that difficult for the Witch-King's troops to repair the bridge to allow the passage of Grond and siege towers and the cavalry.
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