Chapter 6: Celebration
In the Golden Hall of Meduseld, Éowyn brings Théoden a cup. Théoden raises it & Aragorn leads the men in standing. Théoden addresses the crowd thus:
“Tonight we remember those who gave their blood to defend this country. Hail the victorious dead!”
Responds the crowd & downs their drinks. Aragorn hesitates & then drinks from his mug.
* * *
The Rohirrim party in the Great Hall. Èomer instructs a group, including Gimli & Legolas.
“No pauses. No spills.”
He hands Legolas & Gimli a mug of ale each. Gimli accepts his while Legolas looks confused, not quite understanding what is happening. Gimli adds to Èomer’s instructions:
“And no regurgitation.”
Understanding finally dawns in Legolas’ eyes. Legolas looks to the dwarf who looks back at him:
“So it’s a drinking game?”
“Aye. Last one standing wins.”
The men of Rohan begin to talk loudly:
“What’ll we drink to?”
“Let’s drink to victory!”
The men cheer raucously. Gimli chugs down his drink. Legolas cautiously sniffs his before taking a hesitant sip.
* * *
Back in the Golden Hall, Éowyn approaches Aragorn holding a goblet. She offers it to him saying:
“Westu, Aragorn, hál (Be-thou Aragorn well).”
Aragorn takes the goblet from Éowyn who watches him smiling. He hands the goblet back to her & walks away. Théoden joins his niece watching Aragorn.
“I am happy for you. He is an honorable man.”
“You are both honorable men.”
Théoden turns to face his niece. He states seriously:
“It was not Théoden of Rohan who led our people to victory.”
After the two of them stared at each other for a while. Théoden shrugs with a sigh.
“Ah. Don’t listen to me. You are young & tonight is for you.”
* * *
In the Great Hall, Legolas & Gimli continue their drinking contest. Both of them have a good pile of mugs in front of them. Legolas downs a mug of ale & Èomer hands him another. Gimli grabs for another drink, stands up & belches.
“Here, here. It’s the dwarves that go swimming with little hairy women.”
Legolas examines his fingers looking worried.
“I feel something. A slight tingling in my fingers. I think it’s affecting me.”
Gimli lets out a laugh.
“What did I say? He can’t hold his liquor!”
Then his eyes cross & he passes out, falling to the stone floor of the hall. Legolas looks down at the fallen dwarf, then back up smugly.
* * *
Merry & Pippin dance & sing on the tabletop much to the amusement of the onlookers.
Oh you can search far & wide
You can drink the whole town dry
But you’ll never find a beer so brown
As the one we drink in our hometown.
You can keep your fancy ales
You can drink ‘em by the flagon
But the only brew for the brave & true…
Pippin looks up & meets the eyes of Gandalf. He stops singing. Merry looks over at his cousin.
Breaking out of the trance, the two of them finish their song.
…But the only brew for the brave & true
Comes from the Green Dragon!
The hobbits chug their drinks.
“I win!” shouts Pippin.
Aragorn joins Gandalf’s side & speaks quietly.
“No news of Frodo?”
“No word. Nothing.”
“We have time. Everyday Frodo moves closer to Mordor.”
“Do we know that?”
“What does your heart tell you?”
“That Frodo is alive. Yes. Yes, he is alive.”
At that moment a scream was heard. All festivities ceased. Gandalf, Aragorn & Legolas all met eyes & ran out of the hall.