Lord of the Rings

The Pyre of Denethor

Note: This chapter is only half finished, so several of the pictures are broken links.

When the Nazgul withdrew Pippin felt a great weight had been lifted; it seemed the sound of the horns would break his heart with joy. But then he remembered Faramir. "Gandalf!" he cried. When the wizard turned he told him of Denethor's madness.

"The Black Rider is abroad, and will cause great harm, but I must come, since no other help can reach Faramir." Gandalf pulled Pippin up onto Shadowfax's back and they hurried up through the city streets.

Everywhere men were rising from their despair, gathering, and marching down to the gate. They met Imrahil, and Gandalf told him to take command in Denethor's absence.

But Gandalf and Pippin continued up towards the tombs of the kings, where they heard the clash of weapons. Denethor's servants were trying to enter the tomb, bearing swords and torches, but Beregond barred their path.

Beregond fights servants tomb exterior (tall columns and carven figures like gray ghosts)

The men fell back as Gandalf sprang up the steps to confront Denethor, who was just emerging from the tomb. "Faramir is burning, already burning," mouned Denethor. "Soon all shall be burned. The West has failed."

Denethor "He's burning" tomb exterior

Seeing the Steward's madness, and fearing what he might have done, Gandalf pushed him aside and entered the tomb, with Beregond and Pippin behind him.

Faramir inside tomb interior

There they found Faramir lying upon the table, surrounded by wood drenched with oil.

Gandalf lept up, lifted Faramir down from the pyre, and made as if to bring him to the Houses of Healing. "Battle is vain," protested Denethor. "Why should we wish to live longer?"

Gandalf lifts F off pyre tomb interior

"Authority is not given to you, Steward of Gondor, to order the hour of your death," replied Gandalf, and he bore Faramir out and laid him on the beir on which he had been brought.

D shows palantir tomb exterior

Denethor stood in the door to the tomb tall and proud and laughed. He showed a palantir. "Didst thou think that the eyes of the White Tower were blind? Nay, I have seen more than thou knowest. I have seen the forces of the Enemy, and the West is doomed!"

"If I cannot have my city in peace, I will have naught; neither life diminished, nor honour abated." With that, Denethor grabbed a torch from one of the servants and sprang back into the house.

Denethor in flames tomb interior

Before Gandalf could stop him, he thrust the torch into the fuel. Lying down on the table with the palantir in his hands, he was quickly surrounded by roaring flames. Ever after, if someone looked in the palantir, they would only see two hands withering in flame.

Palantir, hands tomb interior (closeup)

"So passes Denethor, son of Ecthelion," said Gandalf sadly.

Gandalf and Beregond bore Faramir to the Houses of Healing, while behind them walked Pippin with downcast head.

Even as they reached the main door of the Houses, they heard a terrible piercing cry that made them all stand still, but when it passed their hearts were lifted in hope. Gandalf rushed to the walls to look on the field below.

"Things of great sorrow and reknown have come to pass," said Gandalf when he returned. Beyond hope, the Captain of our foes has been destroyed, but not without woe and bitter loss. I must go down to meet those who come."

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