Tolkien Gateway

Talk:King of the Dead

I don't see any reason to doubt the identity of the King of the Dead. The name is not used only by "evil men" Aragorn drives from Gondor, but also some pages earlier by none other than people of Morthond Vale when they flee. Hill of Erech and the Dead had been folklore of those regions for literally thousand of years, so it is quite clear that when they cry of "King of the Dead", they think of the undead king of the oath-breakers, familiar from the folklore. Whether they think Aragorn as him when the Grey Company descends from the Paths of the Dead is somewhat beyond the point. --Haltiamieli 15:56, 14 June 2007 (EDT)

True, i did miss that reference to the men of Morthond shouting it rather than just the evil men, but looking at the book now the passage reads as such "Ever there rose the same cry in the gathering night: 'The King of the Dead! The King of the Dead is come upon us.' Bells were ringing far below, and all men fled before the face of Aragorn."
From that quote it seems just as easily to imply that regardless of who the inhabitants thought it was, they were in fact referring to the individual who was in fact Aragorn. Considering an independant leader of the dead men is never refered to separately (even when Aragorn asks them at the stone of Erech 'Why have ye come?' a specific individual is not named, it simply says "and a voice was heard out of the night that answered him, as if from far away." where it would have been an ideal oppertunity to give a specific independant King of the Dead a line) All of this makes the reference rather ambiguous. I'm not saying for certain that it *is* Aragorn i'm just pointing out that there's a bit of a question surrounding it Dr Death 08:34, 15 June 2007 (EDT)
Just a note, as well, 'ye' is plural, though Aragorn might not have known that the Dead had a King at that time. I admit I never thought of it up to this point, but it seems now to me more likely that Aragorn was the King of the Dead in their minds. Best to include both theories. --Narfil Palùrfalas 09:32, 15 June 2007 (EDT)
Hold up, just found proof- i'm wrong, "And thereupon the King of the Dead stood out before the host and broke his spear and cast it down. Then he bowed low and turned away; and swiftly the whol grey host drew off and vanished like a mist." Reverted to an older edit. Apologies for wasting peoples time. Dr Death 09:36, 15 June 2007 (EDT)
Time spent pondering about Tolkien's creations is never time wasted! ;) --Haltiamieli 10:47, 15 June 2007 (EDT)
I'd forgotten about that quote. Good find, Dr Death. In older speech, "you" and "ye" were plural, though "thou" and "thee" were singular. Since Tolkien used the old direct object, I'd assume that he was using the old sense of the word; that is, he was addressing the Host of the Dead collectively. --Narfil Palùrfalas 12:05, 15 June 2007 (EDT)