Thursday, October 11, 2012

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

Title:  The Return of the King
Author:  J. R. R. Tolkien
Pages:  511
Genre:  Fiction, Fantasy
Source:  Kindle
Why I picked it up:  Finishing my re-read!  
What you'll love:  The ultimate story about friendship.
What will bug you:  Once again, the switching of characters midway through.

I'm pretty excited to have finally re-read this entire series.  I've attempted it before and pooped out before finishing The Return of the King.  I actually finished a few weeks ago - I've committed the ultimate disservice, which is to wait to write about a book.  The details just aren't as crisp!

Spoilers abound.  Be warned.

There's so much I love about this book and series.  It's hard to sum it up in a post.  For me, this is the ultimate story about friendship.  Legolas and Gimli, under different circumstances, should dislike each other.  It is through this journey that they develop a close bond.  I love how at the end of the quest they take off together to show each other their own beautiful places in the world.

The friendship between Frodo and Sam is of course a special one.  My husband remembers reading (he forgets where) that in Tolkien's personal letters he states that the story for him is actually about Sam.  He is a central character for me, for sure.  He is the one constant good; his loyalty and dedication never wavers.  Although it is Frodo carrying the ring, he would not have seen the task to the end without Sam to lean on.

As I stated in The Two Towers, I wish Tolkien told the story of Aragorn et. al alongside Frodo and Sam.  It's difficult getting to a point in the storyline where you kind of know what's going on in Middle Earth, then backtrack.  For example, Frodo and Sam are worried because there are so many orcs in Mordor.  It's hard not to be all "well, don't stress - they'll be clearing out shortly to meet Aragorn at the black gate."  Speaking of meeting Aragorn at the black gate, I want to say I'm just obsessed/fascinated with the Mouth of Sauron scene from the movie.  You need to just check out the creepy way his lips move over those teeth.  It kind of gives me the shivers.

The first time I read The Return of the King I was somewhat irritated with the scouring of the Shire.  I remember feeling like the story had come to a close and then we had this crazy extension.  This time around I really appreciated it.  It was a way of seeing the massive growth these four individuals (Frodo, Sam, Merry, and Pippin) have undergone.  They've been working alongside warriors and kings, facing death and terror.  Then they're expected to be intimidated by a few bullies?  I think not.

There are so many appendices.  I skimmed.  I'll confess.  I was interested in the backstory of Aragorn, and finding out what happened to our main characters as the years progressed, but much of the lore I skimmed over.  Actually, some of it would have been useful to know about as the story was being told.  Anyone else feel this way?

All in all I'm so happy I re-read this series.  It holds a special place in my heart.  I read them for the first time because they were favorites of Dennis and we were going to see the movies.  He rightly insisted I read the books before we saw the movies.  I'm happy to have these books in my life.


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