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The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien - Barron's Booknotes
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Meanwhile, Gandalf counsels the armies to march to
Mordor itself, not with hope of victory, but only to draw
Sauron's attention, so that Frodo, the Ringbearer, may pass
through the enemy lands unnoticed. If Frodo fails, they
shall all die or be enslaved. Even if Frodo succeeds, they
may still die. The importance of Frodo's task also places the
heroic deeds of the warriors in true perspective. For all
their courage and losses, their battles have been only a
distraction. The real battle lies with the two hobbits, Frodo
and Sam, who struggle alone through Mordor. With them
alone lies victory or defeat. It's the moral battle, not the
physical one, that determines the fate of the world.

Aragorn again shows his wisdom as a leader. As the armies
approach Mordor, there are many who cannot face the
horror of that land. Instead of calling them cowards,
Aragorn gives them an opportunity to fight with honor,
sending them instead to retake the fortress of Cair Andros.
Although difficult, this is a task they can face, even if they
should die, and so he saves them from giving in to despair.

At the Black Gate of Mordor the heralds call on Sauron to
surrender. In answer, an envoy called the Mouth of Sauron
emerges from the gates. In this character you can see
Tolkien's theme that evil destroys free will and identity.
The Mouth of Sauron has forgotten his name and now
exists only to serve his master's will. He holds out Sam's
sword, an elven cloak, and Frodo's coat of mail. He offers a
bargain: Frodo will be released if they swear peace with
Sauron. Gandalf rejects those terms. Why? And why should
Sauron even bother to bargain when the odds are
overwhelmingly in his favor? Why is it important to him
that they submit?

Seemingly, all hope is gone. As the Black Gate swings
open, Sauron's mighty army descends on the small force.
The arrival of the eagles as Book V ends may be a sign of
hope, but will they alone be able to turn the tide of battle?

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The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien - Barron's Booknotes

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