The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Return of the King

The Companions of the Ring have become involved in separate adventures as the quest continues. Aragorn, revealed as the hidden heir of the ancient Kings of the West, joined with the Riders of Rohan against the forces of Isengard, and took part in the desperate victory of the Hornburg. Merry and Pippin, captured by Orcs, escaped into Fangorn Forest and there encountered the...

Title:The Return of the King
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Edition Language:English

The Return of the King Reviews

  • Jason Koivu

    Ah,

    . The end of a sweeping epic, one which held me firmly in its grasp as a child and still holds a place in my heart as an adult.

    Everything is in motion and actually coming to an end almost from the first page of this last book in the trilogy. Frodo is ever so close to completing his quest. Aragon, Gandalf and the others are nearly at the end of their rope. Indeed, the end is nigh!

    But this is not a quick finish. Tolkien dragged things out. There is a mini-battle after th

    Ah,

    . The end of a sweeping epic, one which held me firmly in its grasp as a child and still holds a place in my heart as an adult.

    Everything is in motion and actually coming to an end almost from the first page of this last book in the trilogy. Frodo is ever so close to completing his quest. Aragon, Gandalf and the others are nearly at the end of their rope. Indeed, the end is nigh!

    But this is not a quick finish. Tolkien dragged things out. There is a mini-battle after the great war has concluded. Many a loose end is tied up. The tearful goodbyes are interminable. I certainly didn't want it to end. I would've been happy if this series had continued on indefinitely. When I first read this as a young teen, I was a very slow reader. It took me nearly two years to finish and by then I was fully attached to these characters.

    That attachment began when I was about five years old, when I saw the Rankin Bass animated version of this book on TV. I cried like a baby when Frodo and Sam were trying to escape what appeared to be their inevitable death. I held on to that memory and supplemented it over the years with the other animated versions of Tolkien's Middle Earth series. So, by the time I got around to reading

    , I was as good as a card-carrying member of the fan club.

    Certainly this series isn't for everyone. I've heard many complain about it for various reasons: too many characters, an impenetrable backstory, etc. The recurring complaint that the books are too dense was something Tolkien was apparently aware of, because he included a very helpful appendix section at the back of

    which answers some questions the reader may have as well as filling in more of the background details if you're confused or just interested in learning more.

  • J.G. Keely

    Writers who inspire a genre are usually misunderstood. Tolkien's reasons for writing were completely unlike those of the authors he inspired. He didn't have an audience, a genre, and scores of contemporaries. There was a tradition of high adventure fairy tales, as represented by Eddison, Dunsany, Morris, MacDonald, Haggard, and Kipling, but this was only part of what inspired Tolkien.

    His writing was chiefly influenced by his familiarity with the mythological traditions of the Norse and Welsh cul

    Writers who inspire a genre are usually misunderstood. Tolkien's reasons for writing were completely unlike those of the authors he inspired. He didn't have an audience, a genre, and scores of contemporaries. There was a tradition of high adventure fairy tales, as represented by Eddison, Dunsany, Morris, MacDonald, Haggard, and Kipling, but this was only part of what inspired Tolkien.

    His writing was chiefly influenced by his familiarity with the mythological traditions of the Norse and Welsh cultures. While he began by writing a fairy story with The Hobbit and

    , his later work became a magical epic along the lines of the Eddas. As a translator, Tolkien was intimately knowledgeable with these stories, the myths behind them, and the languages that underpinned them, and endeavored to recreate their form.

    Contrarily, those who have followed in his footsteps since have tended to be inspired by a desire to imitate him. Yet they failed to do what Tolkien did because they did not have a whole world of mythic tradition, culture, and language to draw on. They mimicked his style, but did not understand his purpose, and hence produced merely empty facsimiles.

    If they had copied merely the sense of wonder or magnificence, then they might have created perfectly serviceable stories of adventure, but they also copied those parts of Tolkien which do not fit a well-built, exciting story--like his work's sheer length. Tolkien made it 'okay' for writers of fantasy to produce books a thousand pages long, and to write many of them in succession. Yet Tolkien's length had a purpose, it was not merely an affectation.

    Tolkien needed this length in order to reproduce myth. The Eddas were long and convoluted because they drew from many different stories and accounts, combined over time by numerous story-tellers and eventually compiled by scribes. The many digressions, conflicts, repetitions, asides, fables, songs, and minutiae of these stories came together organically. Each had a purpose, even if they didn't serve the story, they were part of a grand and strange world. Epics often served as encyclopedias for their age, teaching history, morals, laws, myth, and geography--as may be seen in Homer or The Bible.

    This was the purpose of all of Tolkien's long, dull songs, the litany of troop movements, the lines of lineage, the snippets of didactic myths, and side-adventures. To create a realistically deep and complicated world, he felt he needed to include as many diverging views as the original myths had. He was being true to a literary convention--though not a modern one, and not one we would call a 'genre'.

    He gave characters similar names to represent other historical traditions: that of common prefixes or suffixes, of a house line adopting similar names for fathers, sons, and brothers. An author who copies this style without that linguistic and cultural meaning just makes for a confusing story, breaking the sensible rule that main characters should not have similar names.

    Likewise, in a well-written story, side-characters should be kept to the minimum needed to move the plot and entertain the reader with a variety of personalities. It is another rule Tolkien breaks, because he is not interested in an exciting, driving pace. He wants the wealth of characters to match the number of unimportant side characters one would expect from a historical text.

    The only reason he sometimes gets away with breaking such sensible rules of storytelling is that he often has a purpose for breaking them, and is capable of drawing on his wealth of knowledge to instill further depth and richness in his world. Sometimes, when he slowed his story down with such asides, they did not have enough purpose to merit inclusion, a flaw in pacing which has only increased with modern authors.

    But underneath all of that, Tolkien does have an appealing and exciting story to tell, of war and succession and moral struggles--the same sort of story that has been found in our myths since the very earliest writings of man. He does not create a straight monomyth, because, like Milton, he presents a hero divided. Frodo takes after the Adam, placing strength in humility and piety, not martial might or wit. Aragorn is an attempt to save the warlike, aristocratic hero whom Milton criticized in his portrayal of Satan.

    Yet unlike Satan, we do not get an explanation of what makes Strider superior, worthy, or--more importantly--righteous. And in this, Tolkien's attempt to recreate the form of the Eddas is completely at odds with the Christian, romantic moral content with which he fills the story. This central schism makes his work much less true to the tradition than Anderson's

    , which was published the same year.

    Not only does Tolkien put forth a vision of chaste, humble, 'everyman' heroes who persevere against temptation through piety, he also presents a world of dualistic good and evil, of eternal, personal morality, prototypical of the Christian worldview, particularly the post-Miltonic view. His characters are bloodless, chaste, and noble--and if that nobility is sometimes that of simple, hard-working folk, all the better for his

    analogue.

    More interesting than these is his portrayal of Gollum, one of the few characters with a deep psychological contradiction. In some ways, his central, conflicted role resembles

    , whose work inspired Tolkien. But even this internal conflict is dualistic. Unlike Gro, Gollum is not a character with an alternative view of the world, but fluctuates between the hyperbolic highs and lows of Tolkien's morality.

    It is unfortunate that both good and evil seem to be external forces at work upon man, because it removes much of the agency and psychological depth of the characters. There is a hint of very alien morality in the out-of-place episode of Tom Bombadil, expressing the separation between man and fairy that

    epitomized. Bombadil is the most notorious remainder of the fantastical roots of Tolkien's story which he painstakingly removed in editing in favor of Catholic symbology.

    Yet despite internal conflicts, there is something respectable in what he achieved, and no fantasy author has yet been capable of comprehending what Tolkien was trying to do and innovating upon it. The best modern writers of fantasy have instead avoided Tolkien, concentrating on other sources of inspiration. The dullards of fantasy have merely rehashed and reshuffled the old tropes back and forth, imagining that they are creating something.

    One cannot entirely blame Tolkien because Jordan, Martin, Goodkind, Paolini, Brooks, and Salvatore have created a genre out of his work which is unoriginal, cloying, escapist, and sexually unpalatable (if often successful). At least when Tolkien is dull, ponderous, and divergent, he is still achieving something.

    These authors are mostly trying to fix a Tolkien they don't understand, trying to make him easy to swallow. The uncomfortable sexuality is an attempt to repair the fact that Tolkien wrote a romance where the two lovers are thousands of miles apart for most of the story. Even a libertine like me appreciates Tolkien's chaste, distant, longing romance more than the obsessively fetishistic consummation that has come to define sexuality in the most repressive and escapist genre this side of four-color comic books.

    I don't think Tolkien is a great writer, I don't even think he is one of the greater fantasy writers. He was a stodgy old Tory, and the Shire is his false golden age of 'Merrie Olde England'. His romance wasn't romantic, and his dualistic moralizing cheapened the story. His attempt to force Christian theology onto a heroic epic is as problematic and conflicted as monks' additions to Beowulf.

    Tolkien's flaws have been well-documented by notable authors, from Moorcock's

    to Mieville's

    , but for all that, he was no slouch. Even if we lament its stolid lack of imagination,

    is the work of a careful and deliberate scholar of language, style, and culture. It is the result of a lifetime of collecting and applying knowledge, which is a feat to behold.

    Each time the moon is mentioned, it is in the proper phase as calculated from the previous instance. Calendar dates and distances are calculated. Every name mentioned has a meaning and a past. I have even heard that each description of a plant or stone was carefully researched to represent the progression of terrain, though I can find no support for this theory.

    Yet what good is that to a story? It may be impressive as a thought exercise, but to put that much time and work into the details instead of fixing and streamlining the frame of the story itself seems entirely backwards to me. But for all that

    may be dull, affected, and moralistic, it is Tolkien's, through and through.

  • Stephen

    4.0 stars. FULL REVIEW (hopefully) to follow after resolution of the

    * filed against this reviewer in the District Court of

    by, among others:

    ,

    , the

    and

    (aka

    ) in order to prevent the release of an allegedly offensive

    PA

    4.0 stars. FULL REVIEW (hopefully) to follow after resolution of the

    * filed against this reviewer in the District Court of

    by, among others:

    ,

    , the

    and

    (aka

    ) in order to prevent the release of an allegedly offensive

    PARODY review depicting

    ,

    ,

    and several inebriated

    hopped up on "Shire Ale" and "Longbottom Leaf" all playing a naked, sexually explicit game of "ring toss" using oversized versions of the

    ; all while singing a re-mix club version of

    .

    I hope to have this matter resolved shortly or at least by the time I come up with something to actually say about the book.

    Discovery is proceeding in the case and this reviewer has requested travel records and receipts from counsel for Darth Vader and several of the Ewoks (now sober) relating to an "incident" that hopefully will not "stay in Vegas" for long. The incident, now being discussed all in chat rooms across the Internet, concerns the Sith Lord's behavior at a recent bachelor party for one of the Imperial staff and may assist in demonstrating that the parody review was not as damaging to Lord Vader's reputation as the complaint alleges. I will keep you posted.....

    The prosecution was dealt a serious blow today when, during cross-examination,

    admitted under oath that

    did indeed "suck bad enough to pull a softball through a garden hose," seriously undermining the case for damages brought by Robert Van Winkle (aka

    ). Following today's proceedings, Mr. Van Winkle responded by saying, "Yo, Yo...wetting himself and then walking away looking confused." More on this as it develops.

    .

    .

    .

    *

    : The lawsuit referenced above is itself a parody.

    The full review is

    ...

    unlikely because the reviewer himself is inebriated on ale and some kind of pipe-weed and thus can not prepare a proper review at this time.

  • Kane

    [Oprah Winfrey voice-over]: We all remember him. Sauron, the displaced Lord of the Rings. Once feared by millions, Sauron has been living in relative squalor in what he prefers to remain an undisclosed location.

    [Video shows unidentified heap of garbage behind a Wal-mart. In front stands a mailbox with the word "Nameless Enemy" printed on the front. The flag is down.]

    [applause]

    Oprah: Today, we'll be joined by someone that many of you kn

    [Oprah Winfrey voice-over]: We all remember him. Sauron, the displaced Lord of the Rings. Once feared by millions, Sauron has been living in relative squalor in what he prefers to remain an undisclosed location.

    [Video shows unidentified heap of garbage behind a Wal-mart. In front stands a mailbox with the word "Nameless Enemy" printed on the front. The flag is down.]

    [applause]

    Oprah: Today, we'll be joined by someone that many of you know but haven't seen or perhaps thought of in decades. Because of his status as a wanted quasi-deity, Sauron has agreed to participate via the internet, thanks to our good friends at Skype. Welcome Dark Lord of Mordor.

    Sauron [via Skype, single eye only] Thank you Oprah, it's good to be here, among friends.

    Audience: Booooooooooooooooooo

    Oprah: Sauron, I wanted to do this show so you would have the opportunity to tell the story of the final volume of Lord of Rings, The Return of the King, from your perspective.

    [Sauron flinches]

    Oprah: I'm sorry, I understand you even have trouble with the title. Why do you want to talk to us today?

    Sauron: After

    , my agent told me that some asswhipe named Ashton Kutcher tweeted that he was going to "punk me". I had no freaking clue what he was talking about but he told me this was trouble. Then one day I was coming back from Costco…

    [audience laughs]

    Sauron: Frack you. I use a lot of kleenex. Anyways, I was trying to load all of my items from my cart into my Corolla. They don't even give you bags those bloody cheapskates! Before I know it, a young lady offers to give me a hand. It's the first time in years anyone's ever helped me. I was so grateful. Then as she puts my last box into the trunk she drops something under the car. It makes a metallic sound as it hits the pavement. She looks distressed so, being the gentleman I am, I go on my hands and knees, reach under the car and feel a small trinket. I pull it out. It's a ring. A plastic pink ring. My pants are ruined, I have oil streaks on my arm and my nose is running. She asks me to look to the right and say "You cannot hide. I see you. There is no life in the void. Only death.", while holding up the ring. I do it. I don't know why but I did. Then that a-hole Kutcher bursts out of the bushes laughing. The cameras were next. It was all over YouTube within like 20 minutes. It was the lowest point for me since I tore my cornea when Barad-dûr came crashing down [a single tear drops from The Eye].

    Oprah: I thought you might have trouble today so I've brought you some help.

    [Dr. Phil enters to applause]

    Sauron: Aww hell no. Who invited this windbag?

    Dr. Phil: I feel some negative energy.

    Sauron: Thanks Kreskin. I went from the cusp of the total domination of the free peoples of Middle-earth to living next door to Marjory the Trash Heap from Fraggle Rock. I think she's dead but I'm not sure. So yes, there's a tad bit of negative energy. A-hole.

    Dr. Phil: If you're willin ta change, I can make some resources available to you. Are ya willin to do that?

    Sauron: Your accent is melting my brain. Please stop talking.

    Dr. Phil: I sense some resistance. This ain’t my first rodeo son!

    Sauron: You'll sense some fist in your face in a second, you hack.

    Dr. Phil: One of the things I believe is that we're in the biggest teen crisis in the history of this country.

    Sauron: [stares] I don't…

    Dr. Phil: I heard you've started to abuse narcotics? Your eye does look a little red.

    Sauron: I am Sauron the Deceiver, the Dread Abomination. I can do whatever the hell I want you country bumpkin. I'll snort the rest of the hair off your head right now if I feel like it.

    Dr. Phil: It's ok to admit it.

    Sauron: Fine. I'm hooked on Ent-draught, are you happy? That Treebeard is one expensive pusher. Maybe I do a little lembas bread too, but only in the morning. I can stop any time.

    Dr. Phil: How was your relationship with your parents Sauron?

    Sauron: Why do we always have to go there!? Fine, fine whatever makes you and Harpo Inc. happy. Freaking vultures. I originated as an immortal angelic spirit, an offspring of the thoughts of Eru, the Creator. I was there before anything else was created. It's all in The Silmarillion you illiterate blowhard.

    Dr. Phil: Boy, you're saying a lot of words there but you're not tellin me much! I'll tellyouwhat, if someone out there doesn’t agree with me, then somewhere a village is missing their idiot.

    Oprah: That's an Ah-ha moment. [to audience] Isn't that right?

    [applause]

    Dr. Phil: Let's talk about the Return of the King.

    Sauron: That's why I'm here you idiot. Let's just say, if Aragorn would have accepted the offer I made through the Mouth, we'd all be living happy lives now, with the lands to the East under my rule and those to the West paying me tribute. I felt that was a reasonable offer. I didn't know he cared so much about a halfling. I just want to apologize to everyone.

    Oprah: What do you say audience, should we give Sauron another chance?

    Audience: Noooooooo!!!

    Oprah: Sorry.

    Sauron: Blow me! I'll forge a new One Ring and come back and stuff it up your asses while it's still hot! Read this in the Black Speech of Mordor detective Gandalf: "May cause a-hole burns". I'm not sorry! I'd do it again!

    Dr. Phil: [to Oprah] I think my work is done here. [smiles and look at Mrs. Dr. Phil, who smiles]

    [applause]

    Oprah: Sauron…I have a confession to make. I had a dual purpose to bringing you here. I wanted you to face your issues but I always wanted to discuss…OPRAH'S FAVOURITE THINGS FROM MIDDLE-EAAAAAARRRTTTTHHHHH!!!!

    [Drab stage background parts to reveal glorious backdrop of Middle-earth. Audience goes ape shit, women make out with the closest person, grown men don't even bother to hide the growing urine stains on the front of their pants, Oprah guffaws triumphantly]

    Sauron: WTF!

    Oprah: That's right! That's right! You're all going to get all of my favourite things from the world that Sauron failed to conquer! Anddddddddd THEN WE'RE ALL FLYING TO RIVENDELL!!! From there, Tom Bombadil will take us on a guided tour of the ruins of Barad-dûr. You may even find a petrified eyelash from the Lidless Eye!!

    [audience member]: Tom who?

    Sauron: I'm out of here. I'll ship you back the gift basket.

    [Oprah voiceover] Thus ends the story of Sauron's Review of Lord of the Rings and our glimpse into the Eye of evil. What new terrors is the Dark Lord of Mordor planning? What new plots will he unleash on Middle-earth in order to recapture what was lost. Thank you. That's our show today. Make sure to sign up for Oprah's No Phone Zone Pledge on Oprah.com

    [applause]

    Sauron: I'm still here. I'm having trouble logging off. Bollocks! I'm not too good with bloody comput

    [click]

    [applause]

  • mark monday

    ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

    a rousing climax to the most ravishing love story of the modern age. tempestuous, tormented Frodo at long last learns to accept the love of his lifemate - the loyal and submissive Samwise Gamgee, bottom-extraordinaire. this is truly a tale of love's labour hard-won, and at such a cost! but love conquers all in the end, and even bitter, militantly hetero villain Sauron cannot stand in the heart's path for too long. in this third book of the torrid trilogy, Frodo's love-hate relationship

    ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

    a rousing climax to the most ravishing love story of the modern age. tempestuous, tormented Frodo at long last learns to accept the love of his lifemate - the loyal and submissive Samwise Gamgee, bottom-extraordinaire. this is truly a tale of love's labour hard-won, and at such a cost! but love conquers all in the end, and even bitter, militantly hetero villain Sauron cannot stand in the heart's path for too long. in this third book of the torrid trilogy, Frodo's love-hate relationship with the concept of commitment - deftly symbolized by a gorgeous, one-of-a-kind, designer ring - reaches a dramatic fever pitch, as he wrestles with his awkward feelings about monogamy & gay marriage in the boiling, repressive deserts of "Mordor" (clearly a stand-in for maverick Texazona). fortunately, the maternal Sam is constantly by his side to offer succor - forever the wind beneath Frodo's wings.

    ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

    the incredibly racy & erotic atmosphere is filled with a circuit party's worth of soldier types, as well as many classic queer icons: butch trade turned romantic male-model Aragorn; saucy friends-with-benefits Merry & Pippin; the tough & dour yet loveable uber-dyke Arwen; little bear-daddy Gimli; cringing closet-case Oh My Precious; fey pretty-boy Legolas; the exquisite drag queen enchantress Galadriel; and of course, presiding over them all, flouncing from scene to scene, battling his nasty sourpuss of an ex-boyfriend Saruman, and just chewing up the scenery like no one else...the fabulous and effervescent Gandalf the Gay. you go, girlfriend!

    ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

    despite the couple dozen unnecessary scenes of Sam staring dreamily into Frodo's sad sad eyes, this is truly a flawless and timeless gay classic, one that boldly states Love Is a Glorious Burden That We Must Ever Shoulder. love knows no boundaries. and even the smallest of men can have the biggest...."heart", i suppose. queer fave Enya even contributes to the soundtrack. Return of the King is a luscious, deliriously homoerotic fantasia.

    ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

    oops, forgot i wasn't reviewing the thrillingly fagtastic film version. well, as far as the novel goes, it is perfect. i wouldn't change a word. even the poetry is awesome.

  • James

    4 of 5 stars to

    , the third book in the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, written in 1955, by

    . After reading the first two books in this series, how can you not finish it with this one? I knocked them back between 9th and 10th grades, loving every minute of the imagination and struggle between good and evil. When I got this this final one, I already knew I'd be sad to say goodbye to all the characters I'd fallen hardcore for over the 1500 pages betw

    4 of 5 stars to

    , the third book in the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, written in 1955, by

    . After reading the first two books in this series, how can you not finish it with this one? I knocked them back between 9th and 10th grades, loving every minute of the imagination and struggle between good and evil. When I got this this final one, I already knew I'd be sad to say goodbye to all the characters I'd fallen hardcore for over the 1500 pages between the volumes. But when the movies came out, I had a chance to re-live the intensity of this drama... as taking on such large books with everything else I had on my reading plate, did not make sense. Watching them in film form tho lived up to many expectations. Of course, I loved the books more, but I still enjoyed the films and will watch them if I am skimming the channels and find one in play.

    The flaws in each of the characters, as well as their journey, are immense but real. When you find out some of the changes in this book (no spoilers!) and people you thought were long-forgotten, it is brilliant. And seeing the evil forces fight the good forces... it's just a version of the reality we face every day. All over a ring that provides power. But power is at the center of it all. And it's one of the few books where I found myself happy with the ending.

    I could talk about these forever, but I won't bore you. I am not a big fan of fantasy, and have only read a handful of books and authors in this genre. These are a favorite across all genres for me, and it's because of the creativity in Tolkien's mind that I consider reading more in this genre. Before Harry Potter, we had a family of hobbits... who stole our hearts and taught us many lessons. Ones I still think of today whenever I need to weight the options before me. Please give them a chance! But start with #1.... you have to read them in order!

    For those new to me or my reviews... here's the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at

    , where you'll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I've visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.

  • Ana

    I've just finished a re-read of the trilogy. There is only one lord of classic literature and his name is Tolkien.

    Sixty years later Tolkien's epic tale of men, hobbits, elves, dwarves, trolls and goblins is still relevant.

    In my opinion this was the best book of the trilogy. The Return of the King gave me ALL THE FEELS like nothing else, I got pretty choked up at the last chapter. The Return of the King contains a ton of appen

    I've just finished a re-read of the trilogy. There is only one lord of classic literature and his name is Tolkien.

    Sixty years later Tolkien's epic tale of men, hobbits, elves, dwarves, trolls and goblins is still relevant.

    In my opinion this was the best book of the trilogy. The Return of the King gave me ALL THE FEELS like nothing else, I got pretty choked up at the last chapter. The Return of the King contains a ton of appendices, and the readers can find out the conclusion for each of the Fellowship members. 'The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen' is one of the most beautiful things ever written (I really wish it hadn't been left out of the main story).

    People have asked me who my favorite character was, and it's impossible to answer. Aragorn, Faramir, Frodo, Arwen, Sam, Legolas, Gandalf, Gimli, Boromir, Merry, Pippin, Galadriel, Éowyn, Éomer, Glorfindel, Haldir... I love them all.

    I leave you with this wonderful art. Kudos to whoever made this.

  • Bookdragon Sean

    Tolkien is the master of world building. With his writing comes generations of detailed history and lore. Middle Earth did not simply spring up overnight. Instead it is firmly established with the most thorough groundwork that is simply unmatched. And here his epic trilogy comes to an end. I’ve read it many times over the years, and reviewing it is no easy task. So, like my reviews of the first two books, I’ve picked out ten things I really love about the book. Spoilers ahead.

    Tolkien is the master of world building. With his writing comes generations of detailed history and lore. Middle Earth did not simply spring up overnight. Instead it is firmly established with the most thorough groundwork that is simply unmatched. And here his epic trilogy comes to an end. I’ve read it many times over the years, and reviewing it is no easy task. So, like my reviews of the first two books, I’ve picked out ten things I really love about the book. Spoilers ahead.

    Aragorn never really felt kingly until he was given the sword of Elendil. His commanding presence became more than just a presence when he wielded the sword. We all knew it was coming, but it was great to see it happen nonetheless.

    With the return of the kings also ushers in the end of the stewards. For all Boromir’s weakness, and his father’s madness, Faramir maintained his honour. Had he taken the ring for himself, the realms of men would have fallen. He played a pivotal role in the action, and his actions demonstrated that men are not as weak as the elves thought. His fate and future titles show such a thing.

    There are many heroes within this trilogy, many men who give up their lives to vanquish evil. In spite of Gondor ignoring his calls for aid, in spite of Gondor watching Saruman ravish the lands of Rohan, Théoden still rides to her aid when his own lands are safe. He honours his pledge even when the one made to him was broken. Acting on the advice of Gandalf, he squashes his own hurt pride and rides for war because he understands what is at stake if he does not. Théoden was a true king and one the bravest men of this story. He knew what he rode to, but he went anyway.

    There have not been many moments for women to show their strength in this story. Arwen’s moment in the films was non-existent in the book. Frodo was saved on the river by an Elf-lord called Glorfindel. So when Eowen battled the Witch King, it is the first major moment Tolkien gave to a female hero. In a vastly male dominated genre, it was great to read this scene. If I have one criticism of Tolkien, it’s that we didn’t see more of such things.

    Golem almost comes back into the light. He tries so very hard to conquer the ring, though ultimately it defeats him and he succumbs to its power. Had Frodo never been forced to betray Golem to Faramir in

    I do think he would have stayed loyal. Perhaps he would have survived the events of this book. What do you think? Could he ever have been on the ships bound to the grey havens after all had done?

    This is probably one of the most exciting action sequences I’ve read in fiction. Sauron’s hoard is unleashed in all its brutal fury, and the realms of men quake in its wake. Their defences are weak; their courage faltering, but they do have one weapon to stem the tide: the white rider. Terry Brooks loved it so much he copied the entire thing, or thereabouts, in

    A massively unrepresented character on the screen and one who spent much of the third age waring the dwarves in the north and the elves of Mirkwood, The Mouth of Sauron is the vessel of Sauron’s voice. Second only to the Nazgul in the command structure, The Mouth of Sauron is sent in to negotiate, threaten and persuade when more tact is required. Nazgul are clearly incapable of such a task, so it falls to him. I’d love to know more about this character, and his deeds, but his end at the Black Gate in the movie is most fitting. We can only presume that he also died there in the book, though there is no mention of his demise….

    Sam saves Frodo so many times in this series. Whilst Frodo has the burden of the ring, Sam has the burden of Frodo. Without him Frodo would be dead, most likely murdered by Golem in his sleep or, if he made it that far alive, eaten by Shelob.

    In the films Saruman dies at Isengard. In the book he is imprisoned by Treebeard only to later convince him to let him escape. He and Wormtongue, in a senseless act of aggression, conquer the Shire. Such a situation allows for the Hobbits to show that they no longer need wizards or Kings to deal with their problems. They arrive back, rally their people, and crush the evil that has infected their home. Saruman, who only has the power of his voice at this point, dies in the action. All though this dragged the book out a bit, it was entirely necessary to show the growth of the characters after the story had ended.

    It also explains Frodo’s decision to leave the Shire, something the movies fluffed up. The Shire is never the same, and any attempt to rebuild it will never make it feel like home for Frodo. He has gone through too much to go back to his old life. So he needs a new one, one where he can heal and attempt to put his past behind him. The beautiful lands to the west await him. I love this final image:

  • Alejandro

    That’s the message in a t-shirt that I got in a tourism travel (and I still have it!). I thought that it was appropiate to begin my review about the third part and final of

    .

    All that fuzz about a ring that can turn you invisible? You may think, but that was the least of its properties. Its major use was being able to control of the rest of ring-bearers with it, and if you

    That’s the message in a t-shirt that I got in a tourism travel (and I still have it!). I thought that it was appropiate to begin my review about the third part and final of

    .

    All that fuzz about a ring that can turn you invisible? You may think, but that was the least of its properties. Its major use was being able to control of the rest of ring-bearers with it, and if you think about that many of the most powerful beings in the Middle-Earth possessed a ring, well, it seems logical why all that fuzz. Moreover, a factor that not usually is pondered is that The One Ring also helps to extend the lifetime of a being to an absurd expanse, and since Sauron is just a “shadow” of his past self, it’s evident why he needed The One Ring so bad.

    I commented in my review of the first part,

    , about my theory of the plans of The One Ring. Not Sauron’s. Not Saruman’s. But the One Ring. It was obsessed about the Hobbits, since they were the last bastion of pure goodness in the whole Middle-Earth. Without making any spoilers, I am kinda sad that while it wasn’t due actions of The One Ring, bute vil powers damaged that idyllic of a more simple life. Also, I think that the whole thing was unnecessary to the main story and even over-extending the tale kinda ruining the “final” climax of the war.

    Back, in

    , Bilbo’s first act having The One Ring was…

    …piety.

    A small noble deed that would define the fate of the whole Middle-Earth.

    That makes you think about it. Each action has a consequence. Maybe you won’t be able to realize the consequence, but it’s clear that you have to think about your actions, since you never know that something that you may consider irrelevant, even correct, it may lead to consequences with epic importance.

    Again, I won’t spoil anything, I only can say that one of my favorite female characters in the saga is Éowyn, along with Galadriel. Their paths are separate, they are different kind of female characters, but definitely, they proved their own importance and vital roles in this story plenty of male characters.

    Galadriel’s role was centered mainly in the first part (but you'll find her here again),

    , and you can’t doubt that she, along with Elrond (one of my favorite male characters), both are of the most powerful beings in the Middle-Earth, where their existence over there, defined the beginning and the end of the Third Age.

    Éowyn was introduced on the second part,

    , but it’s on the third and final part,

    , where she plays her vital role in an age where men were the ones usually in the battlefields.

    It’s clear that a predilect theme of J.R.R. Tolkien was to show that while wars are things to avoid if possible, if the war is inescapable, it’s short-sighted and close-minded not considering the worth and courage of the “unlikely” beings (Hobbits, women) and including them into the ranks of the defending army. Since many times the tall and strong men don’t think that people of small height or from the “weaker sex”, can be valuable during a war. But you can testify that in “The War of the Ring”, four Hobbits and a woman, changed the course of it, during epic moments of impossible odds.

    The saga ends here,

    , at least the main story, because certainly you can find a

    more of tales in the other books by Tolkien set in the Middle-Earth.

    And it’s indisputable the legacy caused by this story.

    Since

    the following novels and book series in the genre of epic fantasy are inspired and/or influenced due the publication of

    , but its impact isn’t limited to this literary genre, since if you know what to look or watching carefully you’ll find plots, elements, concepts, etc… of this story in other novels of different genres, in films, in TV, etc…

    Once you woud be aware of this story, you keep noticing here and there, the influence and impact of it.

    Not matter if you like

    or not, you have to thank anyway, since the imagination and creativity in the minds of artists in the whole world, in all kind of art fields, were never the same after the publication of this work. They got better.

    Thank you, Tolkien.

  • Alex Farrand

    is the last installment of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Can the companions defeat the power of Sauron? Will there be peace in the land of Middle-earth once more, or shall the darkness overpower the world?

    I want to write an amazing review for this series, because it deserves the best. I don't know if it will be amazing, but I will try. Tolkien made a wonderful world, and an epic journey across the beautiful Middle-earth. How amazing it was to walk side-by-side with the co

    is the last installment of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Can the companions defeat the power of Sauron? Will there be peace in the land of Middle-earth once more, or shall the darkness overpower the world?

    I want to write an amazing review for this series, because it deserves the best. I don't know if it will be amazing, but I will try. Tolkien made a wonderful world, and an epic journey across the beautiful Middle-earth. How amazing it was to walk side-by-side with the companions through his enchanted world. Even though the days grew darker as the companions rode closer to Mordor, he developed a picturesque world that no author could compare to. I really felt like I was in his world. I could imagine feeling every leaf, and tree with my finger tips. I could see the magnificent, beautiful Galadriel in her white dress like she was standing right in front of me. I could feel the presence of Sauron's power falling over the land. I have mixed feelings about the trilogy as a whole. I am very sad that it has ended, and I will have a book hangover for days, but I am very happy that it has ended for the companions. I never was so sad for any series to end, but very glad for the happy ending. I am very happy to have read this series. I put a lot of hours into the three books, and it was the most amazing time. I never regret reading these novels, and I will never watch the movies ever again. The movies do not live up to the stories that Tolkien created.

    As I look at the books in front me I am just amazed at the beautiful written words that Tolkien created. By Jove, what an inspiration! The companions are my friends, and I worried for all of them once the darkness wrapped itself around the earth. I have watched the movies before, but I sort of forgot what exactly happened.

    They are my friends, and I will never forget any of them for as long as I live.

    The last line of the book Sam says "Well, I am back". That is how I feel right now. That line snapped me back into reality. I read it over and over again, and I knew the tale was over. So, here I am back in my dreadful reality. I am back in my world of infrastructure, sidewalks, and cars. Everything seems so dark and gloomy, especially living where I do in the winter. As I look outside my living room window the sky is gray, and the snow is dirty. The trees that are planted in the suburb do not look as beautiful as they once did in my eyes. Now, when I walk through a forest I will listen and search for the Ents and the Elves. When I sit on a grassy hill I will root around for a door knob to a Hobbit hole. If I am ever near a mountain I will look, and walk through the tunnels of the dwarves.

    Here I part from my lovely friends. One day I will return to read you. You all are amazing. Yes, the novels are long, and it can be overwhelming, but every word read is worth it. For now these books will be placed back into their boxset with great care. I recommend it to everyone! Good luck if you have a chance! Happy reading. Please visit my blog here:


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