Théoden’s Last Cry
“Forth! Down fear of darkness!
Arise! Arise, Riders of Théoden!
Spears shall be shaken, shields shall be splintered!
A sword day… a red day… and the sun rises!
Ride now… Ride now… Ride!
Ride for ruin and the world’s ending! Death!”
Lord of the Rings stands as a pillar of English literature with Tolkien’s world serving as the archetype for the fantasy genre since the book’s publication. But beyond that, it stands as a symbol of humanity, our ability to overcome darkness with courage.
One major criticism I have on the Lord of the Rings trilogy is generally the lack of duality within characters and more specifically, the lack of flexibility within certain races; all orcs are evil whilst elves are pure and angelic. But in reality orcs are really just a symbol, a blank token or unwavering hatred which must be challenged and defeated. The lack of character development amongst the orcs, goblins and trolls reflect their use as a catalyst to put humanity and it’s neighbouring races through adversity.
The characters and kingdoms in the Lord of the Rings respond magnificently to these waves of chaos, steeling themselves against the forces of evil, forces who wish to trample upon community. I was very scared of death when I was younger, I have made my peace with the inevitable now, but unquestionably the prospect of the abyss still scares me. This is why I see sacrifice as the noblest and most courageous act an individual can perform, when someone believes in a cause so strongly they see fit to forfeit their life to protect that ideal or that spark of hope… It’s powerful, beautiful and extremely moving.
Against all odds, the forces of Rohan unite, reforging their ancient alliance to Gondor, they see the hordes of darkness before them yet they do not stumble, they do not falter. In that moment, the actions of the soldiers showed that humanity was worth protecting, that mankind was not beyond salvation. The soldiers which all hail from different backgrounds prepare to rush to their tangible death to protect something intangible; their ancestor’s legacy and the right for their future generations to walk as free on this green Earth.
Their great deeds would forever be recorded in the songs of lore, of a bygone age where the strength of men did not flinch from the call of duty, where evil merely broke like water upon an iron cliff. From the lowly foot soldier to the mighty king, all were equal on that day and all were willing to die in pursuit of higher ideals. There is no moment more powerful in the trilogy, courage in the face of impending doom, valour against hatred and glory when met with the impossible.
Tis’ a sword day, a red day indeed Théoden king.