This pivotal moment in the battle for Minas Tirith was like a lightning bolt in my young reading experience. For a bright and shining moment, the forces of good asserted itself over all of the battle and shouted aloud that it would not be vanquished. I still get chills every time I read the end of “The Ride of the Rohirrim” (RK, V, v). The blaring of the horn, which signals the steadfast defiance of the Rohirrim in the sight of overwhelming odds was (and still is) enrapturing.
I do not know why or how an eleven-year-old who knows nothing of medieval warfare or modern warfare or even of true difficulty and hardship, should become so enthralled with the kind of bravery put forth by Théoden and the Rohirrim in this moment. Whatever the cause, I was ready to leap from my seat and charge into battle, whatever that might have meant to me at the time.
Perhaps a relatable metaphor here would be the hobbits’ incredulity on parting from Tom Bombadil:
‘They took a deep draught of the air, and felt that a skip and a few stout strides would bear them wherever they wished. It seemed fainthearted to go jogging aside over the crumpled skirts of the downs towards the road, when they should be leaping, as lusty as Tom, over the stepping stones of the hills straight towards the Mountains’ (FR, I, viii, 136).
The hobbits are so enraptured by their experience with Tom and Goldberry that they feel capable of performing feats on-par with Tom himself. In much the same way, the sounding of the horns of Rohan intoxicated me and made me feel as if I could perform feats of courage akin to those of the riders. An important note, though, is that neither the hobbits, nor I, are truly capable of emulating the actions we were so inspired by. In the case of the hobbits, they are naive and became foolhardy. In my case, however, reality checked my emotions, and I simply kept reading, although perhaps more voraciously than before.
Where Do We Go From Here?
Let’s take a closer look at Eomer and Eowyn!
What Do You Think?
What was your first reaction to the horns of the Rohirrim?
Has your reaction changed over time?
Did I miss anything? Let me know!
One thought on “LotRFI Pt.44–The Horns of the Rohirrim”
This is one of the greatest passages in RotK, and has the weird distinction of being a place where the old Rankin Bass animated special NAILED IT and Peter Jackson’s version was… ok. The actual charge of the Rohirrim and Theoden’s speech in PJ’s version are really strong, but it doesn’t have the almost absurd poetry of happening during the confrontation at the gate.
LikeLiked by 1 person