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Old 11-01-2006, 06:49 AM   #1
Doubting Dwimmerlaik
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alatar is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.alatar is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.

You should hear how she talks about you,
You should hear what she says
She says she would be lost without you,
She's half out of her head
You should hear how she talks about you,
She just can't get enough.
She says she would be lost without you,
She is really in love.

She's in love with you boy!

- Melissa Manchester in “You Should Hear How She Talks About You”

Aragorn makes to leave Dunharrow but Éowyn catches him before he escapes. This Ranger must have wanted to be seen. Anyway, she begs Aragorn to continue the fight, to ride alongside her uncle and brother. Aragorn, having done this before in both Rohan’s and Gondor’s services (as Thorongil), has no problem leaving one battlefield to fight on another. He also plays dumb when Éowyn, yet again, pops ‘the question’ to him - though this time, she says it all with her eyes and face.

Dude, she loves you. Arwen could be, at this very moment, dead. Her father has just given you a shiny sword and tells you to go after the biggest baddy on the scene (“Thanks Dad!”). At the very least, string Éowyn along a little more, just as a back up plan in the case things get too dicey.

But no, Aragorn tells poor Éowyn that it’s not he that she loves, but someone that just happens to look and act very much like him. When Aragorn, yet again (did I just repeat myself?) tells the ‘girl’ that there’s just no way that he could ever love some wild untamed shieldmaiden, Eowyn’s heart breaks once more, hopefully, for her and our sakes, the last time. Haven’t we been down this path 100 times already? She staggers backward, finally, maybe for the first time, hearing Aragorn’s words.

And so what does he do? He says that he wished her joy from Day 1, and he gently strokes her cheek. You know what she’s thinking…

“He DOES love me!” Estel rekindles hope yet again. Aragorn! Just break it off clean if that’s your intention…We then realize why Aragorn takes the ‘Paths,’ as that’s the only way he can lose the stalker that he’s created. By the by, Miranda Otto’s tearing (as in beginning to cry) is well done. I’m a believer and I can only think, Viggo, what are you thinking? At least kiss her good bye! (yes, I know that he’s holding Arwen/Liv in his heart, but some prefer the morning over the twilight).

Then, to further confound the audience, Aragorn makes to make off without his Abbott and Costello team. His words to Gimli, “Not this time. This time you must stay, Gimli,” are just too bizarre. It sounds as if he were addressing Brego, his horse. And just why would Gimli and Legolas want to stay or need to be left behind? Of course, a few short words are enough to change the course for this King, and so the three Hunters are back together for another exciting journey.

Aragorn’s leaving stirs the camp. Some say that the hero is fleeing as no hope remains (that, actually, in some sense will be true when Aragorn does leave). King Théoden reassures everyone, telling them the real reason that Aragorn has chosen the path through the Dwimorberg - to further mess with Éowyn’s heart.

The Rohirrim, minus three, are now without hope and fear the upcoming battle in Mundburg. With three more, their chances were much greater; three less, there is no chance. I guess that it is true that some heads are counted as more than one. Théoden, again making use of the dramatic pause, tells his soldiers that regardless what they find on the fields of the Pelennor, regardless of the numbers Mordor has on the field, he and the Rohirrim will meet the enemy in battle and not slink away.

Morning comes, and Théoden prepares to leave. He instructs Éowyn that she now is to rule and, if things turn sour, to defend Edoras as best that she can (I’d stick with Dunharrow if I were her). The pale Éowyn asks what else she can do, and Théoden, taking the maiden’s hands, asks that she smile. He then almost promises her that, though there will be losses, that she will live to see her sun shine again. I just love these two in this scene, even though Miranda Otto doesn’t say much. Bernard Hill plays a King that you’d want to follow,

Speaking of following kings, as the three Hunters trot a gray/grey path, Legolas informs Gimli, and so us, what lies ahead on this road. He speaks of the traitors, Oathbreakers, the army that was to fight for the “last king of Gondor” yet ran away into the mountains. Are we confusing Isildur and Eärnur here? If so, why? We then are treated to the rapidly rotating camera angle, which makes me queasy. Legolas gives more of the prophecy, stating that the heir of Isildur can call the Army of the Dead back to service.

Note that, for a very unused road, the path to the Paths of the Dead seems pretty well maintained. Sure, they are ghosts of traitors, but when it comes to road construction and maintenance…And what a decorative use for skulls!

The three finally reach the entrance to the tunnel of the Paths of the Dead. Gimli is already begins to feel afraid. Not sure why this is necessary. My thought as why the book Gimli was ‘afraid’ was so that we were given more about him and less about all of the interesting items seen in the tunnel. If the book Paths were given from Legolas’s point of view, the chapter would have been much different. Anyway…

Legolas reads the ‘pictograms’ above the door, and as he does, something, seemingly of the spirit world, rushes at the newcomers. The horses by now have had enough and bolt. Note that Anduril’s scabbard and other baggage is still on the horses. Hopefully the horses will run the long road down to Minas Tirith so that the baggage can be claimed later by its owners.

Aragorn calls to Brego, and his efforts would be more appreciated by Gimli, who stares white-eyed and near panic. Forgetting the horses, Aragorn boldly states, “I do not fear death,” only bad reviews and drinking scenes, and manfully strides off into the passage. Legolas, passing on his pre-Path speech (He’s saving up dialogue minutes for later in the movie), follows his leader. Gimli steels himself as not to give the elf prince another reason to jest, and then reluctantly follows.

Back in Dunharrow, the Rohirrim make ready to ride. Careful now, didn’t your parents tell you not to run with spears? You’d think that, from the activity of the camp, that Wargs were seen nearby. Théoden appears and sees Merry preparing to ride. He uses an oxymoron, “Little hobbits,” and tells Merry that he cannot come. Didn’t some king just do this scene? Merry, of course, does not want to be left behind like so much baggage. He wants to do his part, however small, in this war for the world. Théoden claims that Merry will be a burden and says no more. Not sure if he convinced me, as from what I can see the little pony that Merry rides should be able to keep up with the other larger animals.

Merry stands watching the King ride off. Suddenly he’s pulled into the air and is seated in front of a rider, who obviously is pretty strong to be ale to do that. He and we immediately realize that it’s no man that bears Merry, but the Lady Éowyn herself.

The Rohirrim ride on to Mundburg and death.

Another army marches toward Minas Tirith as well. Note that the troll drummers are out of sync with the drumming, or I just don’t understand the Mordor All Drum band.

Back in the caves of the Paths of the Dead, Legolas gets absolutely loquacious as he describes what he and no one else sees (told you that he was saving up dialogue chits). I’m interested to figure out how he knows that the Dead have been summoned. Who or what summoned them? Is it the blood of Isildur or Narsil-reforged? Gimli remains panicked, but not so much as not to look foolish. The three walk through the hands of the dead where smoke-like arms and hands reach for them. Gimli, burning screen minutes that could be used for more interesting things, attempts to huff and puff and blow the hands away. Now we know why our dwarf was so afraid to enter - he knew that yet again, he’d be playing the fool, and underground at that.

It doesn’t end there. Aragorn notes that the floor may not be what it seems, and Gimli not only provides us with the ‘why,’ but with some more humor as well. Sorry, but with such a scary scene building, I’d rather stay with the spookiness and forego the silly. Thankfully, Aragorn and his companions reach the great hall of the Paths of the Dead. They hear then see the Toll Keeper of the road through the mountain. Aragorn, now bent on ruling the world, unlike when he was in Rivendell, meets and greets this dead king in royal fashion. “You will suffer me,” he boldly says, and I’m thinking about the suffering my ears are taking from such elegant prose. Ugh! A dead city appears, then the Oathbreakers who live there show up at well. The Dead King reiterates the warning that was posted on the door. It was always my belief that this road, and whatever else lay upon it, was created by living men before death and the curse took them all. Tolkien’s dead, again as I read it, do not have physicality and cannot interact with matter in this world. PJ’s dead are different. Hopefully they will be, at the least, consistent.

Anyway, our three heroes are ringed by hordes of green dead beings. The king reiterates that the “way is shut.” Legolas, doing was he does best, puts an arrow right between (though slightly above) this Dead King’s eyes. If only the elf were as accurate at Helm’s Deep. The arrow passes right through, as one would expect. Aragorn decides to wound the other king with words, and then they begin to duel with swords. Anduril, magical blade that it is, turns the blade of the Dead King. Would the Dead King’s blade have bitten Aragorn? Why can Aragorn interact physically with the dead, yet Legolas cannot? Anyway, the ringing of steel against, well, what once was steel should have clued the Dead King that something here was different. Then, though not believing that heirs of Isildur still walk the green earth, Aragorn reaches out and begins choking the Dead King. That makes perfect sense.

Anyone else stumble over the dialogue here? The Dead King states that, “That line was broken.”

Aragorn retorts with, “It has been remade.” Are we mixing the bloodline of Isildur and the reforging of Narsil? Is this something like the ‘Holy Grail’ as described in the DaVinci Code? I’m clueless (I mean, more than usual).

Aragorn makes them an offer that they can’t refuse (an aside: would Aragorn, to get the Dead King’s attention, put a live horse in his bed?). Our Ranger King has to repeat the offer thrice as either the Dead King is deaf or the offer must be made a specific number of times to fulfill some prophecy or other. The Dead King laughs, and the ghosts seem to pack up and leave. Aragorn begins to beg. It gets windy and the cavern starts to shake, as if the earth were going to open up and release its dead. The one structure in the place crumbles, and we learn a valuable lesson - never ever build with skulls! An avalanche ensues, and the number of skulls is numbered more than the grains of silly sand on a beach. Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli wade through and find the exit. Though surely glad to be outside once more, the view does not welcome them. Black ships sail up the Anduin – or is it the Morthond? - burning as they go. No help will come up from the south to Minas Tirith - Sauron’s pirates make sure of that. Hope finally fails in Estel, and he is brought to his knees. Legolas visibly sighs, and Gimli (to me) thinks about what the next step will be. Regardless, something must be done.


The Dead King reappears and states that the dead will fight - they just had to go back home to get a few things and say bye to the family - why else the delay?

So Aragorn now has his army, but will they be effective? And will he reach Minas Tirith in time?
There is naught that you can do, other than to resist, with hope or without it.
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Old 11-09-2006, 04:25 PM   #2
Elladan and Elrohir
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I really wish they'd just left the Paths of the Dead alone. I like a little bit of the new stuff, but none of it particularly adds to the scene, and it serves to spoil Aragorn's show-up at Pelennor Fields later.

The Aragorn/Eowyn stuff is mesmerizing, well-scripted and well-acted. Both Mortensen and Otto thoroughly understand their characters, and it shows in their final scene together.
"If you're referring to the incident with the dragon, I was barely involved. All I did was give your uncle a little nudge out of the door."

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Old 11-13-2006, 03:36 AM   #3
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The Eye

Ah yes, The Paths of the Dead. With nary a Dúnedan in sight, Aragorn forges on with his two bestest buddies.

I thought that the "magic sword" bit was a little too corny, a little too Harry Potter and not Tolkien enough. I preferred the book version where Aragorn's character and personal traits such as his boldness were enough to engender the support of the armies of the dead. He revealed himself to them as the Heir of Isildur and so they pledged their allegiance to him in order to fulfill their oath and have rest.

Perhaps PJ thought that this was a bit of a blind leap of faith for the average cinema viewer, and that a more tangible (though to my mind, less likely) reason be given as to why the dead joined the party. If that were so, maybe he could have produced some kind of heirloom other than the sword to vouch for his authenticity e.g. a ring. I dunno... what are others' thoughts on this matter?
But Gwindor answered: 'The doom lies in yourself, not in your name'.
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Old 11-13-2006, 03:06 PM   #4
Doubting Dwimmerlaik
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Originally Posted by doug*platypus
I dunno... what are others' thoughts on this matter?
Wasn't the flag/standard that Arwen created the symbol that made the Dead follow Aragorn, or at least show them that he just wasn't some brigand out of the hills with 'a following?'
There is naught that you can do, other than to resist, with hope or without it.
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Old 11-30-2006, 08:02 AM   #5
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I really like the shot of Aragorn in the extended version as he's riding along the path towards the haunted mountain - he looks so creepy as the camera looks up on him. he almost looks like a 'spirit' or one of the 'dead' himself....

I love the way the camera pans from right to left on the title above the door that Legolas translates. really clever idea, showing an old arcance language - why does it have to read from left to right? that's what I love about these films, the little things, the attention to detail that you might miss on first viewing but can delve into on subsequent viewings.

Now on to my 'least favourite' part of the whole Trilogy (yes my cup is half full, not half empty lol)

Gimli treading on the skulls and blowing away the 'spirit' that gathers around him. totally unfunny, cringe worthy part that totally undermines him, breaks the tension of the scene, and adds nothing to the film. Horrible moment!

I can live with the paths of the dead scene being put into the movie as it happens. 'looking back' at the events works in a book sense, and even in a mini series tv sense, but wouldn't work movie wise. Although I don't like the whole skulls falling avalanche bit - just doesn't work for me....
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Old 01-22-2007, 06:49 PM   #6
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anyway. I definitely DID NOT like the part where Aragorn messes around with Eowyn. Bad move. Baaaaad move. If I had been Eowyn, i would have slapped him. So what if he's Isildur's heir? He has no right to mess around with a woman's heart.....
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Old 01-23-2007, 02:57 PM   #7
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I don't think he's messing around with her. The two of them have developed a relationship, a deep bond, much deeper than in the books. Besides, look at what he's saying. "I have wished you joy ever since I first saw you." A line transplanted from the feast in the ROTK book. I think it certainly implies his pity for her, which is present in the book as well; she rejects Faramir at first because she thinks he's merely pitying her as well.

It doesn't get much clearer than "I cannot give you what you seek."
"If you're referring to the incident with the dragon, I was barely involved. All I did was give your uncle a little nudge out of the door."

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Old 09-10-2011, 01:10 PM   #8
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I agree, Elladan. Aragorn is trying to make up for hurting her.
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