Lord of the Rings: Return of the King

BY J.R.R. TOLKIEN; summary by your Power Poetry Team

It’s a bad day for the kingdom of Gondor. A massive amy of Saruon’s Orcs stands on Pelennor Fields, breaking down their gates, with orders to leave no one alive. For the better part of a day, they’ve been working on that order fairly effectively.

Théoden King and his 6,000 horsemen have appeared on their flank and are taking some of the heat off by engaging the enemy, but they are still vastly outnumbered and their numbers are dwindling fast. Théoden himself has fallen in battle, and the Orcs still have the weight of numbers.

Enter Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli, followed by the Army of the Dead, who have been promised that they will be released from their obligations at the battle’s end. The Army then washes over the Orcs like the sea over a sand castle, obliterating them. Despite counsel from Gimli, Aragorn releases the Army from their obligations, and they go gratefully into the afterlife, finally at peace. Nice to have an army that doesn’t die until you tell them they can.

Gimli has a pretty good point, though. Aragorn would have done well to tell the Army that the battle wasn’t yet over; the next step was to march into Mordor and pull the same trick. Then they would have fulfilled their obligation.