Saturday, 8 October 2016

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


Frodo Baggins is the Ring Bearer, the one charged with carrying the One Ring of Sauron the Deceiver to Mount Doom. Only here can it be destroyed to end the life and dominion of the Enemy forever. His quest has been long and arduous, filled with peril and pain. Of the nine companions he set out with, only Samwise Gamgee still stands at his side and they are both weak, close to death as they search a way through the arid plains of Mordor. It is the last leg of their quest, but Sauron's orcs are everywhere as His army masses behind his Black Gates, worse still are the Nazgul, the sleepless Ringwraiths that seek their master's prize as devotedly as He. For Sauron is seeking the Ring and means to have it, to the ruin of all . . .

Yet Frodo and Sam are not the only members of the Fellowship that are in danger. Gandalf, Aragorn, Legolas, Gimili, Meriadoc and Pippin . . . All ride to war against Sauron, desperate to protect the World of Men which is the focus of the Dark Lord's wrath. Sauron has not forgotten that it was Elendil who cut the ring from His finger three thousand years ago and He knows that the heir of Gondor yet lives: Aragorn, son of Arathorn, high blood of Numinor who is Westernesse. All of Gandalf's plans seek to return Aragorn to the throne of Minus Tirith, for only Aragorn has the strength to lead his people and buy Frodo the time he needs to reach Mount Doom.

The Good
The Return of the King is a superb ending to The Lord of Rings and resolves J. R. R. Tolkien's story perfectly. I'm sure that you're already familiar with its plot and events, so I won't really go into them. Needless to say, the novel (and series) tells one of the greatest stories ever to grace fantasy and birthed the genre as we know it. It's filled with mythology and culture, possessing a backstory that is truly remarkable in scope and fascinating to delve into. Furthermore, the novel is the most action-packed of the series and contains the pinnacle Battle of Pelennor Fields (the Siege of Gondor) and the Battle of Morannon outside the Black Gates of Mordor.

The Bad
Once again criticising Tolkien's work feels wrong, almost like blasphemy, but you should be reminded that this will not be the easiest book to read due to the sheer amount of description in Tolkien's prose. The story does read quite slowly, but I have to say that's it's well worth perseviring with!

Final Thoughts
The Return of the King concludes one of the greatest stories ever told in the epic fashion only Tolkien can manage. It is filled with danger, peril and the unflinching commitment of those who stand against evil. If you're only familiar with Peter Jackson's cinematic adaptations, it's time to add The Lord of the Rings to your reading list and experience the story in the scope and depth that the father of fantasy intended!

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