The third chapter of book three was an odd experience for me as a reader. I have to admit that it took me a little while to find my bearings and understand that the narrative had jumped to a different perspective than the previous chapter.
Once I found my legs, though, I was intrigued to walk among the Uruk-Hai in their camp and to watch their march through Rohan. I was not quite sure what to make of these characters because, up to this point, they had been nameless, faceless sources of dread. Now, I had to confront their being in a completely different way.
The chapter was effective in making me understand how the Orcs interacted with one another with malice without making me question whether or not they had a sense of humanity. I understood that these characters were mean, ruthless, and cruel, but did not question their motivations or whether or not they could be redeemed. My claim is not that Tolkien wrote the Uruk-Hai simply, but that I read them simply when I was a child. The kind of in-fighting and bickering portrayed among the disparate bands on the march was something I could relate to. The contrast between the milieu of this terse, selfish group and the rather unselfish, supportive climate of the Fellowship made a solid impression on me. I think that I somehow unintentionally internalized these groups as exemplars to apply to my life: good groups (that is, groups that function well and where everyone is appreciated, not morally just groups) look like the Fellowship, bad groups look like the Uruk-Hai.
Pippin and Merry evolve a lot over this passage, but I want to side-step that conversation for now and come back to it when I do a character analysis of each of them, probably in book V.
Where Do We Go From Here?
What Do You Think?
What impression did chapter three make on your reading?
Did it change the way you perceived the Orcs and Uruk-Hai?
Did I miss anything? Let me know!