Narrator: With the city
besieged in a ring of foes, the Rammas broken, all the Pelennor abandoned
to the enemy and his only surviving son about to die from wounds after
being sent forth on a foolish sortie at his command, the last remaining
slim thread of Denethor's sanity snaps. With a confused Pippin standing
watch nearby, Denethor begins to build a funeral pyre out of Faramir's
Denethor: We must burn. All of us must burn. Only through
flame will I find sanctuary. No tomb! No tomb for Denethor and Faramir...
we will burn like heathen kings of old!
Pippin: I get the feeling someone is about to cause
serious property damage and, for a change, it isn't me. I better go
Narrator: Pippin managed to find Gandalf and Beregond
of the Citadel Guard just in the nick of time. Bursting in on Denethor
just as he was about to set himself and his unconscious son Faramir
Gandalf: Stay this madness!
Denethor: Burning... already burning! Ash! We shall
all be ash and smoke upon the wind!
Narrator: It was at this point that Gandalf had finally
had enough of Denethor and personally put him out of his misery.
Gandalf: I did no such thing!
Narrator: Yes you did.
Gandalf: He had an accident!
Narrator: You threw him down 3 flights of stairs and
kicked him through half a mile's worth of hallway...
Gandalf: He tripped!
Narrator: ...and loaded him into a catapult.
Gandalf: He was very clumsy for a Steward!
Narrator: Then set him on fire...
Gandalf: I thought he had asked me to light his pipe.
I certainly hadn't noticed he was covered in flammable oil!
Narrator: ...and launched him straight over the wall
and into a mass of orcs.
Pippin: Hey now, I was just curious about what that
lever thingie was for!
Gandalf: We have witnesses that back up our version
of things, you know!
Narrator: Fine, fine. The important thing we can agree
on, however, is that Faramir was saved and the madness of Denethor was
at last at an end.
Gandalf: I perceived the evil touch of our enemy in
Denethor's insanity... I have long suspected that the Steward had fallen
prey to using the seeing stone of Minas Tirith. It was in this way that
the Sauron snared him as with Saruman.
Pippin: How could he have done this to a great lord
of men like Denethor?
Gandalf: He uses... sarcasm. He knows all the
tricks; dramatic irony, metaphor, bathos, puns, parody, litotes and...
satire. He is vicious!
Pippin: Compared to that, I got off lucky when he caught
me prank calling him.
Gandalf: Indeed, but this would have taken weeks to
twist a mind so thoroughly. Had you noticed anything unusual about Denethor
Beregond: About him? I should say not. Well, except
maybe that Lord Denethor was convinced that he was being watched by
a giant hedgehog whom he referred to as "Spiny Norman."
Gandalf: Spiny Norman?!
Pippin: Just how big was this giant "Norman" creature?
Beregond: Normally Spiny Norman was wont to be about
twelve feet from snout to tail, but when Denethor was really depressed
Norman could be anything up to eight hundred yards long. When Norman
was about, Denethor would go very quiet and start wobbling and his nose
would swell up and his teeth would move about and he'd get very violent
and claim that he'd laid Fran Walsh.
Gandalf: Hoy, indeed!
Beregond: Lately, Denethor had become increasingly
worried about Spiny Norman. He had come to the conclusion that, with
Norman being a hedgehog, only fire would keep him away.
Gandalf: Ahhhh... this explains much.
Pippin: And puts a whole new spin on the term "flaming
idiot" as well!
(on that sad note, Gandalf and Pippin walk back out to the walls of
the Citadel to witness the latest attack on the city's main gates...
hoping against hope for some sign of Rohan's riders somewhere on the
Hedgehog: Denethor? Denethor? Denethor?