tolkienmatters: The Houses of Healing was a large infirmary in…

Lord of the Rings – Return of the King – Peter Jackson


The Houses of Healing was a large infirmary in the higher levels of Minas Tirith. As it’s name implies, it was used as a hospital for the sick and injured of Gondor. It features prominently after the Battle of Pelennor Fields. Faramir was sent here after being saved from Denethor’s attempt to burn him. Merry and


were also sent here after fighting the Witch King in the battle, where they both contracted the Black Shadow. Ioreth, the eldest woman working in the Houses of Healing, was worried about all three, and their fatal conditions, proclaiming that ‘The hands of the king are the hands of a healer. And so the rightful king could ever be known.’. Gandalf heard this and summoned Aragorn to the Houses to help, where Aragorn proved his kingship (and knowledge of old lore) by caring for them all with Athelas (Kingsfoil in Common tongue), the herb that healed them and could defeat the Black Shadow. While the Armies of the West marched on the Black Gate Faramir and


had still not left the Houses, and though


initially wanted to join the battle, she decided to remain with Faramir, where the two fell in love.

“So at last Faramir and Éowyn and Meriadoc were laid in beds in the Houses of Healing; and there they were tended well. For though all lore was in these latter days fallen from its fullness of old, the leechcraft of Gondor was still wise, and skilled in the healing of wound and hurt, and all such sickness as east of the Sea mortal men were subject to. Save old age only. For that they had found no cure; and indeed the span of their lives had now waned to little more than that of other men, and those among them who passed the tale of five score years with vigour were grown few, save in some houses of purer blood. But now their art and knowledge were baffled; for there were many sick of a malady that would not be healed; and they called it the Black Shadow, for it came from the Nazgûl. And those who were stricken with it fell slowly into an ever deeper dream, and then passed to silence and a deadly cold, and so died. And it seemed to the tenders of the sick that on the Halfling and on the Lady of Rohan this malady lay heavily. Still at whiles as the morning wore away they would speak, murmuring in their dreams; and the watchers listened to all that they said, hoping perhaps to learn something that would help them to understand their hurts. But soon they began to fall down into the darkness, and as the sun turned west a grey shadow crept over their faces. But Faramir burned with a fever that would not abate.“

– The wounded after the Battle of Pelennor Fields, and before Aragorn comes to the rescue. Return of the King, The Houses of Healing.

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