Ghân-buri-Ghân guides the Rohirrim to the Grey Wood
Event Type: Military/Strategic
Age: 3rd Age - Ring War
Date: March 14, 3019
An event in the prelude to the Battle of the Pelennor; see that entry for an overview:
'Already [Sun] climbs over East-mountains. It is the opening of day in the sky-fields.'
'Then we must set out as soon as may be,' said Éomer. 'Even so we cannot hope to come to Gondor's aid today.'
Merry waited to hear no more, but slipped away to get ready for the summons to the march. This was the last stage before the battle. It did not seem likely to him that many of them would survive it. But he thought of Pippin and the flames in Minas Tirith and thrust down his own dread.
All went well that day, and no sight or sound had they of the enemy waiting to waylay them. The Wild Men had put out a screen of wary hunters, so that no orc or roving spy should learn of the movements in the hills.... Each company was guided by a wild woodman; but old Ghân walked beside the king....
The leading company was halted, and as those behind filed up out of the trough of the Stonewain Valley they spread out and passed to camping-places under the grey trees. The king summoned the captains to council. Éomer sent out scouts to spy upon the road; but old Ghân shook his head.
'No good to send Horse-men,' he said. 'Wild Men have already seen all that can be seen in the bad air. They will come soon and speak to me here.'....
[Out] of the trees crept warily other púkel-shapes so like old Ghân that Merry could hardly tell them apart. They spoke to Ghân in a strange throaty language.
Presently Ghân turned to the king. 'Wild Men say many things,' he said. 'First, be wary! Still many men in camp beyond Dîn, an hour's walk yonder,' he waved his arm west towards the black beacon. 'But none to see between here and Stone-folk's new walls. Many busy there. Walls stand up no longer: gorgûn knock them down with earth-thunder and with clubs of black iron. They are unwary and do not look about them. They think their friends watch all roads!' At that old Ghân made a curious gurgling noise, and it seemed that he was laughing.
'Good tidings!' cried Éomer. 'Even in this gloom hope gleams again. Our Enemy's devices oft serve us in his despite. The accursed darkness itself has been a cloak to us. And now, lusting to destroy Gondor and throw it down stone from stone, his orcs have taken away my greatest fear. The out-wall could have been held long against us. Now we can sweep through — if once we win so far.'
'Once again I thank you, Ghân-buri-Ghân of the woods,' said Théoden. 'Good fortune go with you for tidings and for guidance!'
'Kill gorgûn! Kill orc-folk! No other words please Wild Men,' answered Ghân. 'Drive away bad air and darkness with bright iron!'....
Ghân-buri-Ghân squatted down and touched the earth with his horny brow in token of farewell. Then he got up as if to depart. But suddenly he stood looking up like some startled woodland animal snuffling a strange air. A light came in his eyes.
'Wind is changing!' he cried, and with that..., he and his fellows had vanished into the glooms, never to be seen by any Rider of Rohan again.
The Return of the King, LoTR Book 5, Ch 5, The Ride of the Rohirrim
Elena Tiriel 13Sep04, 12Mar07