In the opening of Book V of The Return of the King, Beregond gazes out over Pellenor, realizing that soon, "all realms shall be put to the test, to stand, or fall—under the Shadow." In this fifth installment of our series on The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien, Drs. Crystal and David C. Downing, along with Producer Aaron M. Hill, explore how each of Tolkien's characters respond to this great test. Will Théoden, Éomer, Éowyn, Denethor, Aragorn, Faramir, Pippin, and Merry be pulled down by the "ever-deepening gloom," will they use others as pawns to accomplish their ends, or will they ride gloriously into battle to face fate with humility and grace?