We sat watching the extended edition of The Return of the King yesterday afternoon, (or part of it, the full film runs for something like four hours). The extended edition has clips left out of the cinema version, including some important parts of the story.
Yesterday was for entertainment, not appreciation of the storyline, which meant ponderous bits with Frodo Baggins were skipped over to move onto the next action sequence.
There was a scene I saw yesterday that I had not seen before. The heroes are before the Black Gate of Mordor, their puny force an attempt to detract the attention of Sauron, the dark lord, away from Frodo Baggin’s progress towards the destruction of the ring that would have given Sauron absolute power.
The Mouth of Sauron, a spokesman for the dark lord, comes to the gate, ostensibly to negotiate, but in reality to gloat and leer at the small force mustered to attack the might of Mordor. He is a loathsome creature who attempts to suggest that Frodo had died horribly and that they will share his fate.
In a moment that was like something from a story of King Arthur, Aragorn, a leader of the good guys in the story, rides up alongside Sauron’s spokesman and with a sudden swipe of the sword chops off his head.
We all laughed. Humour was intended, but I wondered afterwards why we found it so funny.
I think it’s because The Lord of the Rings is a story where the good guys and the little guys and the powerless guys are on the winning side for once.
The Mouth of Sauron represents the arrogance of the politicians of our world who regard little people with contempt and who attempt to sweep aside, with force if necessary, anyone who challenges their power.
Gimli’s words made us laugh because we knew, for once, that we were on the winning side.