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“Cleaving the Undead Flesh…”


Tolkien as a second lieutenant in the Lancashire Fusiliers (in 1916, aged 24)
Public Domain, Link



As some of you may know, Eowyn of Rohan and Meriadoc Brandybuck of Buckland worked together to strike down the Witch King of Angmar at the Battle of the Pelennor Fields, just as the Witch King approached the broken body of King Theoden. Merry dealt the killing blow with an ancient dagger designed specifically for use against the Witch King, who had moments before been forcibly dismounted from his dragon-like “fell beast.”

It’s possible something similar might have happened in a recent episode of Game of Thrones.

G.R.R. Martin is fond of using call-outs to Lord of the Rings in A Song of Fire and Ice, even as he uses the older text as a sounding board for his critique of high fantasy. The call-outs are rarely as clear as the one we see above, however, and I strongly suspect that this was Benioff and Weiss rather than Martin (the Night King does not, thus far, even exist as a similar character in the books). Still, I appreciated the nod to Game of Thrones’ complex relationship with Tolkien’s text.

Incidentally, I’m very sad that I was too tired to catch the Tolkien exhibit at the Morgan last week. I’ve heard that it’s just fantastic, though.

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