Return of the King

J.R.R Tolkien

‘Never is too long a word even for me,’ said Treebeard. ‘Not while your kingdoms last, you mean; but they will have to last long indeed to seem long to Ents.’ ‘The New Age begins,’ said Gandalf, ‘and in this age it may well prove that the kingdoms of Men shall outlast you, Fangorn my friend.

returnoftheking.jpegThe Return of the King was not an easy read for me. Compared to The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers the ending was depressing and the story dragged on.

Our journey is over. The evil that plagued the land has finally been defeated, a new era is beginning as the whimsy and magic fall to the wayside. Sorry if this spoils the ending for you…’s pretty well known and my review is very very simple considering the depth of this book.

What Happens?

Basically, all the characters defend Gondor from hordes of orcs. We learn there are uncertainties if the hobbits will be able to destroy the ring, so regardless of what is going with Frodo and Sam they will keep “the eye” towards Gondor. It’s a grim fate, everyone bands together and chooses to battle on and more or less accept death or the destruction of the ring as the two outcomes. 

But the bitter truth came home to him at last: at best their provision would take them to their goal; and when the task was done, there they would come to an end, alone, houseless, foodless in the midst of a terrible desert. There could be no return.

Frodo and Sam are having a hell of a time. Sam finally finds and comes up with a plan to rescue Frodo from the mess they are in. Right as I found some hope in their situation Frodo starts to grabble with the ring and Sam his will to continue on. Sam soon realizes that this journey was always one-sided. There was never a plan to go home, and even if they wanted too they have run out of supplies. Sam’s loyalty to Frodo and their cause is powerfully heartbreaking. Frodo doesn’t give the ring up easily, like Biblo he struggles. BUT through a series of events only a movie watcher could guess, the ring is destroyed and the threat of evil gone. The story doesn’t end there. 

As the darkness leaves Middle-Earth, so does all of the things I loved and Middle Earth enters a new age ruled by men. Or so we thought. The hobbits return to the shire to find it shambles and the hobbits under the rule of a shady but familiar face. Frodo, Sam, Merry, and Pippin band together to clean up the mess and are distributed the evil of Mordor crept close to their home. I refuse to go into more detail because this I thought this was silly. 

As the story comes to a true end Frodo grows tired of the weight of his adevnture on his mind and body. He leaves with Gandolf, Biblo and the elves to a peaceful place, the Ents return to the forest, and the men are left to figure it all out alone. Not exactly in that order, more or less everyone says their goodbyes, it is sad, and the story is over.

What do I think?

Lord of the Rings is a classic series that is more about the journey than the destination. The ending will not blow your mind and in all honesty, is anti-climatic. Should you read The Lord of the Rings all the way through? Yes, but listen to a dramatic audiobook edition instead of reading the books. I did enjoy reading the series, but I think for me audiobooks would have been a better fit. My only complaint with The Return of the King is the drawn-out ending. As a reader, I am happy everyone had a “happy ending,” just wanted it to happen faster.

Do I recommend The Lord of the Rings/Return of the King? Yes and no. If you enjoy the classics and have time, dive in. If you are looking for a quick fantasy read look elsewhere. I would not recommend for younger readers, which is how I came to read this series since it was on Time’s Best 100 YA books. I have said it before and will say it again, Tolkien is not YA. 

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