The Lord of the... whatever, Book III, Chapter 6:
The King Of The Golden Hall
They rode on through sunset, and slow dusk, and gathering
night, the monotony relieved only by Giggly asking "Are we
there yet?" every five minutes. Gandalf allowed them only a
few hours rest after Lego-lass fell out of her saddle and was
almost trampled to death. The waxing moon sank into the
cloudy west, an important point to remember should you wish
to draw up a table of moon positions to prove how wrong the
timing of the whole story is.
Suddenly The Horse Formerly Known As Slimshadë, being
far more intelligent than normal horses (and probably far
more intelligent than anyone else in the book), stopped and
neighed. As the other horses caught up (he was the fastest
as well) Lego-lass, Aragon, Giggly and Arwen got their first
glimpse of The Golden Hall.
The source of the smoke and metallic noise was also
revealed. In front of the hill on which the Hall stood,
hundreds of Dunlending slaves were labourious turning the
spits to roast thousands of chickens of an enourmous
barbecue. A large sign above proclaimed 'Made by the
Metalwork Dept. of Isengard School for Boys'.
"Lo! It is the Great Hall of Medusald," cried Gandalf,
pointing, "called The Golden Hall because of the large
numbers of golden dandelions which you can see growing on
the side of the hill and out of the guttering."
"Dandelions!?!" exclamied Giggly. "Am I to believe that
there is no actual gold involved anywhere?"
Giggly fell silent.
"Speak, Lego-lass, and tell us what you see," commanded
"The same as the rest of you," Lego-lass responded over
the sound of Giggly's sobs. "What did you expect? Its only 50
"In that great building," Gandalf said, pointing at the
Hall, whose peeling paint and missing roofing tiles gave it
a less than grand look, "HeyHoDen, king of the Rohirrim, holds
The travellers rode up to the Hall. On either side they
passed ancient graves. "Those on the left are the tombs of
the kings, those on the right the tombs of the royal pets."
"I used to know a chant that would have been appropriate
now," said Aragon as they passed the tomb of Fuzzy, the
Royal Hamster, "but I've forgotten it."
"For that you should all be truly thankful," muttered Arwen
under her breath.
Surprisingly no one came to meet them until they reached
the great (or shabby, depending on your point of view) doors
of the hall and dismounted, at which point an obese guard
wobbled up to great them.
"Bonjour!" cried Gandalf in greeting.
The guard looked blank. After a few seconds he let out
that great slogan of slobbish incomprehension: "Yer wha?"
"Bonjour, mon ami!" Gandalf persisted.
The guard turned to Aragon. "Is this bloke mad or summin?"
Gandalf looked disappointed. "Don't you speak the noble
language of the Rohirrim?"
"Don't be stupid, mate. We gave up on that years ago. Who
wants a language where the verbs have so many forms no-one
can understand them, and the words are masculing and
"Masculine and feminine," corrected Gandalf.
"Yeah, whatever. Hang on a minute, I'm sure there's
something I should have said before." He rummaged in his
pockets and pulled out a piece of paper. "Here we go - 'Who
goes there?'" he read, sounding important, or as important
as a fat man in rusty chain mail can.
"Tell us who you are first," demanded Arwen irritably.
"Okay, babe." Aragon winced on his behalf "I'm Hammy, the
Doorstop of HeyHoDen. Now you."
Gandalf answered. Aragon had been noticing with great
irritation how the wizard had assumed the role of leader.
"We are travelers from afar. I am Gandalf the mighty
wizard, and these are Lego-lass and Arwen, the beautiful
elves -" Lego-lass blushed, "-and this is Giggly, the crafty
Dwerrow; and this is Aragon, some bloke who comes with us."
Aragon glared at Gandalf's large back, but remained silent.
Bide your time, he thought to himself, wait until he's asleep
one night, and then...
"Oh, I'd better let you in then. First you must lay down
"I will not lay down my sword," growled Aragon, "for it is
the sword of Elendil reforged, that was broken under..."
"Look, I just want the weapon, not its life story," said
Hammy, souding bored.
"Just give it to him," whispered Gandalf. "We haven't got
all day to argue with idiots."
Reluctently, Aragon laid down his sword. With it went
Giggly's axe and Lego-lass's bow. "I must request that you
leave your staff here, master Gandalf," said the guard.
"Idiot," Gandalf said, this time out loud. "Would you deny
an old man his stick?"
"The staff in the hand of a wizard may be more than a prop
for age. You could take somebody's eye out with that thing."
As Gandalf laid it agaist the wall, Aragon pulled faces at
him and chanted "Nyah nyah nyah-nyah nyah".
Arwen laid down her broadsword. "I must ask for the knives
as well, babe." said Hammy. Arwen growled and laid them
down. "And the crossbow, and the morningstar, and the
Gandalf, Aragon, Giggly and Lego-lass entered the hall,
leaving behind Arwen and her innumerable weapons. In the
centre of the enourmous hall there was a small square of
carpet, covered in empty crisp packets, chicken bones and
lager cans. On this sat a small armchair, a large sofa, a
coffee table and a strangely empty space.
"Greetings, HeyHoDen, King of Rohan," called Gandalf to
another fat man, this one, like Hammy, shabbily dressed, but
wearing a tarnished crown and sitting in the armchair. On the
sofa sat Eowynn (who winked at Aragon) and a short, skinny
man with greasy hair.
"I return your greetings on behalf of the king," said the
short man. "I am the chief of his counsellors, Grimey."
"So you are the one who some call Wormtongue."
"I am." Lego-lass noticed the way in which his tongue
flickered in and out of his mouth as he talked. "Pray tell
me what business you have with us, master Gandalf, who some
"Why do they call me Stormcrow?" said Gandalf, temporarily
"For they say that wherever you go, bad news and trouble
"So why Stormcrow?"
"I don't know! I didn't invent the nickname!"
"That is because you, Wormtongue, are too stupid to invent
"Do not be so sure, master wizard. It was I who invented
the Great Barbecue, which was made by Aruman as a gift to
us, and which feeds our people."
Aragon felt that he ought to have some part in the
coversation. "Why can't the king speak for himself?"
Both Gandalf and Grimey glared at him. "Because," said
Grimey, "he is busy awating the invention of the television."
He indictaed the bare patch of carpet.
"But surely he can speak for himself," said Aragon. "And
where is Eonard?"
The king spoke at last, in a deep, weary voice. "He has
been grounded, and sent to his room without any supper, for
suggesting that we go to war with our good friend Aruman."
"Friend?!? ARUMAN?!? What false notions have you put
into your good lord's head about that most villainous of
"See, lord, how the wizard comes here to corrupt us? I
say..." At that moment, Grimey stopped speaking. Gandalf
had produced a short black stick, white at the ends, from
under his cloak and was pointing it at Grimey. He muttered
something under his breath, and there was a flash of light.
If Gandalf had had his staff, no doubt the light would have
been enough to illuminate the hall. With his wand, however,
the flash was as bright as a torch when the batteries are
"Ow!" cried Grimey, clutching at his foot. He lost his
balance, tripped over an old can of bitters, and fell,
hitting his head on a chair leg and knocking himself out
cold. Giggly curled over with laughter, and Eowynn and
Lego-lass applauded and cheered.
"Now I may speak to you, Lord HeyHoDen, without the
interference of your slimy little servant. You must take
heart, for what he has told you is not always the truth.
Rise from that chair, and come and look upon your kingdom!"
HeyHoDen stood up, slowly and with great difficulty, the
chair groaning as the springs expanded once again.
"Eonard!" he cried, "come here at once!"
A door opened at the back of the hall and a tall, lanky
man emerged, looking sheepishly around.
"Go and fetch my sword from Grimey's chamber. I am going
"Why do I always have to get the swords?" Eonard moaned.
"Can't Eowynn do it?"
"Fetch me my sword, boy!"
"Yes dad... mutter... mumble... mutter..."
"Too long have I listened to the lies of Wormtongue, as I
sat in my chair waiting for his television nonsense that he
said Aruman was working on. I will look out on my land, and
breathe the free air again."
"I was just going to sugest that," said Gandalf irritably.
He strode up to the doors. "Open. The Lord of the Mark
"Who's Mark?" Lego-lass whispered to Aragon, who shrugged.
The door were slowly pulled open, to reveal a pile, now 7
foot high, of Arwen's weapons, with the warrior herself sat
"Look out over your land, HeyHoDen. All is not dark."
cried Gandalf. "Evil broods in the east, but the greatest
threat come from Aruman. He plans to invade Rohan, fight
his way to Edoras and turn the great hall into a dormitory
for a new public school."
"Here's your stupid sword, dad," muttered Eonard, joining
them. "Hairygrim, or whatever you call it."
HeyHoDen ignored him. "Then we, the people of Rohan, must
cast off the slobishness in which we have lived, and go to
war to defend the non-selective comprehensive education
system of our fore-fathers! Fetch me that fool Hammy. We
must muster an army and head with all haste to Deem's Help,
the great fortress of our people!" But Hammy appeared to
have vanished. On closer investigation, it appeared that
every other soldier in the city had vanished, taking their
horses with them. Later, a note was found with Gone to
Dunharrow. Back after war has ended scribbled on it.
Rohan would go to fight without an army.
The preparations that went on during the day were both
tiring and tiresome. The team of Dunlending slaves
disassembled the barbecue to carry it with them. After much
deliberation, and several particularly cruel ideas from
Eonard, who had been grounded many times as a result of
arguing with HeyHoDen, it had been decided that the best thing
to do was to lock Grimey in Edoras. Several hours were wasted
while Arwen, angry at having missed yet another vital scene,
re-secreted her weapons about her personage. A summoning to
arms was sent out, and when that failed Eonard was sent out
with a sharp stick (he wasn't trusted with a sword) to round
So the company that set off to defend Rohan was not an
army. It was a rabble. Due to the sudden dearth of horses,
Eowynn had to share horses with Arwen (who was busy thinking
of ways to join the battle without Gandalf noticing), Eonard
with Aragon and HeyHoDen with Gandalf. (The Horse Formerly
Known As Slimshadë was a strong horse, Aragon mused as
they rode. Those two men must weigh 70 stone between them.)
In front of them they drove hordes of farmers, armed with
pitchforks, and smiths, armed with pokers, like pigs to the
slaughter. They had to turn back once, when it was realised
that Eowynn had forgotten her make-up bag. But once four
Dunlendings had been assigned to carry the enormous bag, they
They rode to war.
This chapter of this epic work is presented through the courtesy of
Sir Confused-a-lot <SirConfy-aaaaaaat-teunc-dawt-org>.
Copyright © 2000 by the author. All rights reserved. Some variance between this
e-text and the original printed material by Professor Tolkien is inevitable. Using this
as an electronic resource for scholarly or research purposes may lead to a certain
degree of academic embarassment. All agree that the printed version of the text,
available from respectable publishers such as Houghton Mifflin and Ballantine Books,
is to be preferred.
The Rohan Chamber of Commerce would like to remind readers that many promising career
opportunities are available in the Rohirrim National Guard. Officer commissions are
immediately available to any enlistee who can bring his own horse.