The Houses of Healing

From Tolkien Gateway
This article is about the chapter of The Return of the King. For the building in Minas Tirith, see Houses of Healing.
Anke Eißmann - Athelas.jpg
The Houses of Healing
Chapter of The Return of the King
EventAragorn heals the wounded of Gondor and Rohan.
Date16 March 3019
LocationMinas Tirith
PerspectiveMerry and Peregrin
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The Houses of Healing is the eighth chapter of the first book in The Return of the King.

Summary[edit | edit source]

Crying and in pain, Merry accompanied the procession carrying Théoden and Éowyn into the city.[1] As Merry ascended the city roads, he ran into Pippin, who was startled and glad, and noticed that Merry was stumbling badly. Merry's arm had gone completely numb after he stabbed the Nazgûl. Pippin escorted Merry to the Houses of Healing.

After the battle, Aragorn furled his banner and ordered his men to prepare tents outside the city. He refused to claim his throne until the war with Mordor was decided, for good or ill. Aragorn planned to wait outside the gate until the Lord of Minas Tirith bade him to enter. Aragorn, learning of Denethor’s fate, assigned Imrahil to act as the interim leader of Gondor. Aragorn, Éomer, and Imrahil secretly agreed, though, that Gandalf was their true leader for the remainder of the war against Mordor.

At Gandalf's request, Aragorn entered the city in the guise of a Ranger. The wounded, including Merry, Faramir, and Éowyn, grew steadily sicker from the poison of the Enemy’s weapons. One of the city’s nurses recalled a legend of Gondor, which said, "The hands of the king are the hands of a healer, and so shall the rightful king be known." Only Aragorn could save those wounded by the Enemy.

Aragorn crushed the leaves of an Athelas plant, a seemingly useless herb that grew in Gondor, and stirred them in a bowl of warm water. The sweet scent of the herb awoke Faramir from his fever. Faramir immediately affirmed Aragorn as his superior and king. Aragorn then tended to Éowyn and Merry, who both returned to consciousness when Aragorn touched and kissed them. All through the night, Aragorn healed the wounded of the city. Rumours flew throughout the city that the King of Gondor now walked again, bringing healing in his hands. As foretold at Aragorn's birth, the people called him Elfstone,[2] or Elessar, after the green gem that he wore around his neck, which Galadriel had given to him earlier.[3]