The Return of the King: Novel Summary: Book VI Chapter 5

In the Houses of Healing, Faramir courts the Lady eowyn. The shield maiden of Rohan states that she does not desire healing, but rather to ride once more into battle. Faramir, however, tells her that he would “lose so soon” what he has found, and professes his love to her. His profession of love sparks a change within eowyn, who declares, “I will be a healer, and love all things that grow and are not barren.”
Later, Faramir, as the last Steward of Gondor, does what the situation demands and offers to surrender his role to Aragorn, the rightful king who has at last begun to rule. Aragorn, however, does not release Faramir from service, but instead appoints Faramir and his descendants as his perpetual Stewards. As an officer of the king, then, Faramir announces Aragorns ascension to power and crowns him king. At the end of the chapter, Aragorn weds Arwen, the daughter of Elrond. Frodo reflects, “Now not day only shall be beloved, but night too shall be beautiful and blessed and all its fear pass away!”
Tolkien continues to develop his theme of endings and passings even as he relates the kindling of the romance between Faramir and eowyn. Faramir, for instance, states that his reason tells him “we stand at the end of days,” but his heart, in the presence of eowyn, convinces him that no “darkness will endure.” Some readers have found the passage regarding their courtship unconvincing and abrupt, and while such criticisms contain some legitimacy, readers may do better to consider the love relationship between these two characters as another example of eucatastrophe: a sudden turn toward good out of sorrow, even if it is fleeting and transitory. The eucatastrophic hymn (which, as Tom Shippey points out, resembles the language of the psalms) sung by the eagle in the midst of the passage would seem to support this view of Faramir and eowyns relationship.
The lines of poetry which Aragorn speaks upon his coronation are, in fact, a strong echo of the two lines of Anglo-Saxon poetry which struck Tolkien so forcibly when he was a student. They are the lines that inspired Tolkien to create his vast and rich private mythology. The original lines read, in translation: “Hail Earendel, brightest of angels / above the middle-earth sent unto men” (as quoted in Humphrey Carpenter, J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography, 1977: New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2000; page 72). As adapted to be spoken by Aragorn, they reinforce his messianic status and underscore the ways in which Tolkiens work can be viewed as a parable (not an allegory) of his own understanding of the Christian salvation myth. Aragorn, like Christ in Christian belief, has come into this world-“Middle-earth”-to rule forever: “In this place will I abide, and my heirs, unto the ending of the world.” Furthermore, outside of a specifically Christian context, the lines emphasize the apocalyptic nature of Tolkiens story-for, in fact, the world of his characters is ending. Aragorns accession to the throne represents the end of the Third Age of the world and the beginning of the Fourth-the Age of Men in which, ironically from our vantage point, the Men of old such as Aragorn will be long-forgotten. This simultaneous attention to both eternity and temporality is one of the features that has made Tolkiens vision of the world so compelling to so many.
Frodos reflections at the wedding of Aragorn and Arwen recall the New Testaments description of the new heaven and the new earth, where there is no night. Tolkiens Christian background informs this eucatastrophic, apocalyptic image.