Barliman's Chat This Saturday at 6pm ET, Hall of Fire turns again to The Return of the King as we examine the final chapter of Book V — The Black Gate Opens.

Intent on drawing forth Sauron’s hidden strength, the Army of the West marches on Mordor. Seemingly bent on self-destruction, they provocatively cross the Anduin, set the fields of Morgul Vale aflame and proclaim the return of the Lords of Gondor.

Well, well, now at any rate I understand poor Denethor a little better. We might die together, Merry and I, and since die we must, why not? Well, as he is not here, I hope he’ll find an easier end. But now I must do my best.

Return of the King Bk V, Ch X: The Black Gates Open

At the Morannon, Aragorn arrays his host on two great hills before the Towers of the Teeth, and the Captains of the West parley with the mysterious Mouth of Sauron. But they are shocked when an the ambassador of the Dark Tower displays Sam and Frodo’s gear — implying they have been camptured. As Denethor put it, it does indeed semm as though the fool’s hope has failed. Soon Sauron’s forces pour out of the Black gate, surrounding the Army of the West.

What do you think about the strategies of Gandalf and Aragorn? Are they heedless to even enter Morgul Vale? Why does Gandalf insist on Aragorn’s return be heralded? Who is the Mouth of Sauron? What is his background? And does Gandalf merely hope at the very end, or does he realise something that his companions do not?

We’ll also take a closer look at Pippin. What are his motivations, and how does this cheerful hobbit face up to the challenge of being a soldier of the White Tower?

Join us this weekend in #thehallofire as we explore the final chapter of Book 5 of Lord of the Rings.

Upcoming topics

May 31: Trees and Tolkien
June 7: Tooks and Brandybucks
June 14: What fascinates you most about LoTR and Middle-earth?

aragorn on horseback

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