"Return of the King" is the worthy climax to J.R.R. Tolkien's epic saga, the fantasy that created the genre as we know it today. Now, as the blockbuster movie adaptation is over, many readers are checking out the dramatic story that ends Tolkien's masterpiece and life's work.
The story opens where "Two Towers" left off. Gandalf has ridden to the city of Gondor with Pippin (partly to keep him out of trouble), where the forces of Mordor are attacking. There is upheaval in the city itself, as the steward of Gondor is going nuts. Merry pledges his service to King Theoden of Rohan, not knowing what is ahead for the king and his relatives. And Aragorn is seeking out allies to fight Sauron on a military scale, even if they can't defeat him unless the Ring is destroyed. His search will take him to tribes of forest-dwellers, to Gondor -- and even to summon an army of the dead.
In Mordor, the unconscious Frodo has been captured by Sauron's orcs, and taken to the fortress of Cirith Ungol. Sam is desperate to free his friend, but knows that he can't take on an army, and that Frodo would want him to finish the quest. Sam manages to free Frodo from captivity, but they must still brave more dangers before they can come to Mount Doom, the only place where the Ring can be destroyed. As they travel Sam sees Frodo slipping further and further into the Ring's grasp. Will Frodo be able to destroy the Ring?
Usually, the climax of an epic adventure is a disappointment. "Return of the King" succeeds in almost every way, wrapping up each individual storyline, one by one. The ending has a feeling of finality; this is one story that could never have a sequel; Tolkien shows that in a war like this, there is no true "happy ending." Even if the good guys win, there will still be scarring, and death, and haunting memories of what once happened. And even if a person survives, he will never be the same.
This is the grimmest of the three books in this trilogy. Frodo and Sam are stuck in the vividly horrific Mordor, while the city of Minas Tirith is on the verge of completely crumbling. Tolkien does a phenomenal job of exploring the madness, despair, rage and sorrow that accompany a war, and the way it can affect even the idyllic Shire. And he doesn't forget the slow period of healing that follows -- for people, for civilizations, and even for nature.
Though a section of the book near the end descends into near-biblical prose, which changes post-Gondor, Tolkien does not waver in his ability to evoke emotion. One of the most touching scenes in the book is when Sam finds Frodo naked, unconscious and being beaten by an orc. Others include Merry's farewell to Theoden, Eowyn's slaying of the Witch-King, and of course the bittersweet final scene.
Speaking of Frodo, this trilogy's hero is almost unrecognizable in parts of this book. The bright, naive young hobbit of the first book has been worn down to a pale shadow of himself. As he grows increasingly attached to the Ring, we even see him doing what seems unimaginable: threatening Sam with a dagger. Sam has come a long way from the shy young hobbit who couldn't say a word around the High Elves -- now he's attacking orcs and carrying Frodo to Mount Doom.
And the supporting characters are not neglected either, with the younger hobbits being exposed to the horrors of war, Aragorn breaking fully into his role as the future king of Gondor, and passionate war-maiden Eowyn affecting the war as nobody else could. Some much-loved characters are lost, and others will be permanently changed.
The story doesn't really end on the last page; for more background, especially on Aragorn and Arwen, readers should also read the appendices at the end of the book. Another good addition is "The End of the Third Age," in which the unpublished epilogue of this book can be found. Though this is probably not canonical, it nicely concludes the story and is a heartwarming look at what happens in the years following "Return of the King."
It's difficult, once the story has finished, to accept that one has to say goodbye to Middle-Earth and its enchanting inhabitants. But as Gandalf says, "I will not say: do not weep; for not all tears are an evil."
on 4 January 2012
The conclusion to an awe inspiring trilogy written by a master of literature, "The Return Of The King": Volume 3 is a true jewel of a book. Still full of thrills, it never fails to transport me back into Middle Earth. The adventure continues for Frodo, Sam, Merry and Pippin. There are many moments in the story that make me angry or sad or incredibly moved (nearly to tears), just as there are the occasional light hearted, happy times, particularly at the very end when all is said and done, such as the one chapter concerning Eowyn and Faramir, as they are my two favourite characters among the race of Men, and I see them as the ideal couple. Sam, my favourite character out of the Hobbits as he evokes such care, compassion and determination to do what is right comes out as a true hero, which gains him a good deal of praise and good fortune. Pippin, my second favourite of the Hobbits is as troublesome as ever, earning him a trip to Minas Tirith where he is far more concerned about what is the best place for a pint of ale and a bite to eat, until he finds that bravery outstrips the need for food for thought. The songs and poems are just as lovely as ever, the Elvish language is positively enchanting and Tolkien's use of the English language is epic and masterful; he was a true genius, and his spirit lives on in this classic tale of adventure, good versus evil, love and self discovery.
on 17 June 2008
The Return Of The King being the last part of The Lord Of The Rings sees the final battle between the forces of Mordor and those of the West.We observe the phenomenal growth in character of Merry and Pippin who come into their own as Knights of Rohan and Gondor respectively . In this capacity they perform great deeds of heroism .
We also learn more of the characters Faramir of Gondor and the shieldmaiden and young noblewoman of Rohan , Eowyn .
There are particularly strange and interesting scenes such as Aragorn's deal with the Dead Men of Dunaharrow to help him defeat the forces of Mordor and thus gain their freedom from the curse of being undead.
The epic Battle of Pelennor Fields sees the heroism and sacrifice of many of the key players in the saga...
This book sees the final resolution to the conflict between good and evil.
The lesson of The Lord Of The Rings is that the forces of justice and good can win provided we always realise our cause is just and make a clear distinction between good and evil.This holds a lesson in the world-wide fight against terrorism and all those who want to destroy our Western , Judeo-Christian civilisation.This at a time when young people seem no longer influenced by real heroes and when political correctness and narcissism obscures moral clarity.
LOTR is therefore more relevant today than ever.
on 20 September 2003
Return of the King has got to be the best part of 'The Lord of the Rings'. It is an absolute thrill reading it. You can literally hear the thunder roaring in the Pelennor Fields and the gulls in the Havens. Tolkien is muti-focal; not only is he focused on the epic battles, the scenery but on the emotion throughout the entire book, something that the world's population can empathise with greatly. Middle-earth is a universe you will travel to every so often.
on 19 July 2014
The Return of the King is the conclusion to Tolkiens epic saga, The Lord of the Rings. Widely considered as a classic, this trilogy begins in the rolling fields of the shire and takes us through a journey of enormous proportions till at last we reach our destination in Mordor. The character development as we go through this saga is second to none as we watch our heroes Frodo, Sam, Merry, Pippin, Gandalf, Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli and Boromir all do great deeds,to enable the fellowship to complete it's quest.
In this version of the book, it has a wonderful cover design which draws on the story itself and beautifully depicts the white tree of Gondor. As this is part of a set, it also has a sleeve design which when placed together with the other books in this set forms one of the most prominent images from the three books, the white tree of Gondor. A well crafted cover, with maps featuring inside the sleeves, I would recommend this version of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King to any one who wishes to own their own version of this masterpiece.
on 24 November 2001
There are surely few people in this world who have never heard of Tolkein's Lord Of The Rings. Originally meant to be published as 8 separate books, they were eventually amalgamated into three of which this is the third. Hence, you would be more than a little well advised to begin reading the other two first because unlike some serials, they are ESSENTIAL to your understanding of this one. It is not a second sequel to the original, but instead a direct continuation of a story.
So it is better to talk of the story as a whole...and a thousand words would never be enough. This third novel then continues an truly epic work which tells the story of a battle of good against evil set in a fantasy world. Your basic premise puts a band of hobbits(small hairy humanoid characters) on a quest to destroy a magical ring which would give the evil lord the power he needs to crush the forces of good. The only way they can do this is to cast the ring itself into the cracks of doom - lava filled chasms deep in the heart of Mordor...the enemy lands.
The Lord of The Rings series may be fantasy novels, but they have a universal appeal. i have never come across anyone who would argue that they didn't enjoy reading them. Tolkein has a way with words which can draw the reader deep into his work, so much so that time will fly past and you'll find yourself reaching the end of the story far too soon and be left gagging for more. You can't ask for more than this offers, and thats the bottom line - five stars isn't enough.