The Steward and the King
|The Steward and the King|
|Chapter of The Return of the King|
|Event||Aragorn and the Ring-bearer return from Mordor victorious.|
|Date||1 May-15 July 3019|
|Perspective||Éowyn, Faramir, Frodo, and Aragorn|
|< The Field of Cormallen|
|Many Partings >|
The Steward and the King is the fifth chapter of the second book in The Return of the King.
The narrative jumps back to the time before the quest is finished, now focusing on the perspective of those in Minas Tirith. While Aragorn and the forces of Gondor were away, the city remained shrouded in fear. Faramir met Lady Éowyn in the Houses of Healing. Éowyn longed for Aragorn and the chance to fight with the Riders of Rohan against Mordor. Her sadness, mixed with pride and beauty, led Faramir to fall in love with her. For days, they stared to the east, waiting for word of Gondor’s success, until they eventually saw the Darkness break. As sunlight broke through the sky, the citizens of Minas Tirith broke out in song. Messengers soon arrived telling of Aragorn’s victory. The conflict resolved, Éowyn’s longing for war faded, and she and Faramir agreed to wed.
When Aragorn returned, Faramir rode out of the gate of Minas Tirith and offered him the keys of the city and an ancient crown. To everyone’s amazement, Aragorn called for the Ring-bearer and Gandalf. Frodo handed the crown to Gandalf, who placed it upon Aragorn’s brow.
The city of Minas Tirith began to revive. Its walls were restored, and the city was filled with trees, fountains, and laughter. Ambassadors from many lands arrived in Gondor, and Aragorn showed mercy by rewarding both the faithful and the enemies of the West. Gandalf explained that the Third Age of Middle-earth had passed: the war against Sauron was over, and Aragorn’s reign in the age of Men had begun. The group climbed up an ancient, snowy path, at the end of which, amidst a pile of debris, Aragorn found a sapling of the great White Tree—the symbol of ancient Elendil, Gondor’s kingdom. Aragorn took the sapling back to the Citadel. The old, dead tree was removed and laid to rest, and the new one planted in its place.
The day before Midsummer, a group of Elves approached Minas Tirith. Celeborn and Galadriel, Elrohir and Elladan, and all the Elf princes arrived in the city. Behind them, mightiest of all, was Elrond with his daughter, Arwen. On the day of Midsummer, Aragorn (now called King Aragorn II) and Arwen were wed. Queen Arwen, seeking to repay Frodo for his immeasurable service and suffering, offered him a gift. When the time came, he may sail in her stead across the Great Sea to the unknown West, where the Elves dwelt in eternal youth and joy.