Mortality – Denethor POV – 1 of 3
In which Denethor faces his worst fear, is scolded by Brandir, and believes he has uncovered his part in the tale.
All of the quoted poetry is from the Lay of Leithian, in Tales of Beleriand, as was most of the verses in Ch. 10, Proof. It is not a mistake that I parallel Denethor and Finduilas to that story, which is usually the bailiwick of Aragorn and Arwen tales. It is the only way for Denethor to address what he is feeling and why.
It is a struggle to figure out how to allow Denethor his emotional side – which is powerful – but not make him go over-board and get all mushy. He can’t talk to Finduilas except in words of rule, power, and princes. But she does not object, and will introduce a quiet language of love into that will transform him. It is a small miracle that they end up together. Before he can get to that point, he has to be able to speak to himself, and to do that he reaches for the stories and poetry, but also the history, that he loves.
In this chapter, Denethor has to face the conflict between his loves, and admit to himself a deep desire to abandon his first and (until now) greatest love, which is Gondor itself. He is jealous of Thorongil’s ability to get to the end of his service and just…leave. It leads him (almost unconsciously) to a clever solution, his own Lady-or-the-Tiger conundrum.