Linaewen, my dear friend,
I have been wanting to share with you some of my thoughts on the film Return of the King -- especially after our third viewing together -- but I have been uncertain how to begin. I know it is our custom to converse about such matters, but after due consideration, I find I prefer to put my thoughts down in a letter. Some things are better expressed in writing when the emotions are involved.
I am deeply grateful to you for allowing me to accompany you to the film these three times. As you know, it was very important for me to be able to experience for myself that which touched upon my friends after we were parted. I am grateful to be able to finally learn what took place with each of them, a process that began with seeing the last film -- The Two Towers -- and the extended version of that film.
It hardly seems possible that it was only six weeks ago I saw Faramir and my father once more, albeit on film. It was so very good to be with Faramir again, to see him in a happier time, before my leaving thrust him forward to take on responsibility for the both of us. I did not mean for him to bear that burden indefinitely, but as you know, my return to Gondor was unexpectedly prevented. Faramir has done well, in spite of all that; he is indeed a man of quality and strength -- the best man in Gondor, in fact, and I am proud of him.
As for my thoughts on the newest film, I hardly know where to begin. What I write here is scarcely adequate to express my thoughts and feelings on what I witnessed. Alas, that I was not there! Alas, that my part in the tale is over, but for a memory! There is so much I could have done, so much I could have prevented had I been there...
But I am getting ahead of things, as is my wont; allow me, then, to make a poor attempt at describing my experience before it fades from my memory. Many others have written to tell of their favorite scenes, and I will not spend time doing the same; rather, I will attempt to relate those moments that were the most meaningful to me, and I suspect, to you.
It was glorious! The first sight of my City after being gone so long took my breath away! I fear I wept at the sight, so it was fortunate it was dark in the theatre; you know how I dislike being seen weeping. In spite of the darkness, I noticed you were taking it all in, as if you, too, were coming home after a long time away.
The sight of the beacons being lit, and the Rohirrim on the Pelennor with the dawn behind them made my heart swell until I thought it would burst! But it was sobering to look out once more from the Embrasure on the highest level of the City, and see the fires of Mordor in the East. That was a sight we could never escape -- two mortal enemies facing one another across the River, the White City on one side and the flaming Eye on the other. I wonder what we might behold in future days, now that Sauron is overthrown and the fires of Orodruin die down?
The mustering of the troops, the battles, the desperate stands of my men as they protected the City -- it was glorious and exciting! But it was also devastating! The sight of Mordor's vast army at the gates of Minas Tirith was a shock, and something I hoped I would never see. It truly seemed hopeless in that moment; truly it was folly to even think of resisting! And to witness what took place in Osgiliath, hand to hand combat in the darkness... It brought back the memory of many such battles to defend that city, yet this time I was not there to help. I heard you cry out when Madril was killed. I know you will forgive me for forgetting where I was, drawing my sword and hurdling several rows of seats to get at that foul Orc who did the deed! Alas, that I could do nothing! I trust that we will see in the extended version of the film who makes that wretched creature pay for his evil!
It was hard to see my father so lost, and to see Faramir so alone. I was afraid my brother would bear the brunt of Father's ill temper if I should not return, but for him to be blamed for being alive and me being gone... I could hardly bear it! I know firsthand the emptiness that fills the heart that has lost hope; I never thought to see it so clearly in my Father -- so strong I always thought him!
I think I will not speak further of that memory. Better to remember my little one, Pippin; he showed himself to be a hobbit of quality -- as they all did! I am grateful that Pippin remembered me with love and kindness, and was willing to serve my father in honor of our friendship. I am glad I was not forgotten!
It was, indeed, very comforting to be remembered by my friends. Aragorn wore my vambraces throughout, even at his coronation, and that was good to see; he fulfilled his vow to me and did not allow the White City to fall. He will be a good King for my people, and Faramir will serve him well as Steward. It was sad for me not to be present with the Company as they gathered beside Frodo's bed at the end -- I know you missed seeing me there as well -- but I like to think they thought of me, then, if only briefly.
It was truly inspiring to see those little ones take on tasks that would have daunted the seasoned warrior, and to succeed in them. I still feel ashamed that I doubted their abilities, so long ago when I first beheld the Halflings at the Council of Elrond. Yet sometimes it is a happy thing to admit that one was wrong; I was wrong about many things, Halflings not the least. I thought it folly to send such a one into Mordor, tantamount to handing the Ring back to Sauron as a gift; glad I am to have been mistaken in that respect! Frodo saw it done, when I could not. Halflings are a small people, to be sure, but they have great inner strength and perseverance, and I am glad to have been the companion of the best of them, if only for a time.
Glad I was to see their perseverance rewarded by a safe return to their own country. I was very pleased to be able to see the Shire, after hearing so much about it on my travels; such a green place, peaceful and pleasant! It must have filled the little ones with joy to return there after such a long and hopeless journey. Yet I sense that it will be forever changed for them. Once one experiences the outside world, the familiar world of home is never the same again; more dear, perhaps, and better appreciated, but sometimes less satisfying.
It was a pity that Frodo could not enjoy longer the land he fought for and suffered to protect; yet he seemed content at the end. More than content, really -- joyful and at peace. It was lovely to see him looking so well; I never knew him but when he was burdened and weary. A fine-looking hobbit is our Frodo, with quite a sparkle in his eye!
It is hard to say good-bye to friends, but if it must happen, then that is the best way -- to go with a confident smile on one's face that all is well, and that all will be well.
Again, Linaewen, I thank you for letting me join you in this experience. I am pleased that you were able to recapture that joy you felt so many years ago, when first reading of the successful completion of the Quest. After so many years of reading the tale in the books, I know you were worried about how it would be to see it on film, and I am glad you found it as glorious, as devastating, as comforting and as inspiring as I did. It was my pleasure to have been with you as you beheld my White City for the first time in all its glory, and saw it through my eyes.
I trust that we will be able to repeat the experience soon. Until then, I remain
Boromir Son of Denethor, Lord of Gondor, Servant of the King