Ch. 20 – Pride

Pride – Denethor POV – 3 of 3

In which more battles are joined and Denethor pays the price of victory.


Denethor is grieving, yet also relieved at what has come to pass.

Secondary characters pop in throughout the chapter. Brandir in particular starts to come into his own, revealing a far more complex person than had previously been visible. This was when he won me over. There will be much more of him as the story goes on. Halmir and Denethor will continue to have their oblique, laconic arguments about the Captain.

The waterfall scene was a sudden addition to the story, one of those accidents of imagination that demands to be written. It has a terrible “What if?” in it, one that repeats 40 some years later when he faces another fire while at the edge of despair and blaming himself for bringing about ruin. What brings him back from that suicidal impulse in this case, and what failed in the last? In reading the pyre scene, I keep returning to the moment when Faramir calls for Denethor, and it almost draws the Steward from his self-destructive madness. Then a few sentences later, Denethor looks on Faramir again and it’s right there – why did he reject that claim? That is the moment in which he is both like Lear and like Othello, loving not wisely, but too well. It is not accidental that he runs into an irate wizard in both situations, of course. Denethor is not the only one who needs to rein in his pride.



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