Fantasy. Fiction. HTML: The evil Saruman has been defeated by Gandalf, but in Mordor the battle for the Ruling Ring continues. Wounded by the giant spider, Shelob, Frodo has been captured by the dreaded orcs. Sam, alone and in possession of the Ring, must rescue his master if their mission - to find the Cracks of Doom, and there destroy the Ring - is to continue. Meanwhile, the other Fellowship members are preparing for war against the armies of the Dark Lord, Sauron... Widely regarded as a broadcasting classic, the BBC Radio dramatisation of 'The Lord of the Rings' stars Ian Holm, Michael Hordern, Robert Stephens, John Le Mesurier and Peter Woodthorpe. ©2018 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd (P)2018 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd
Tolkien does not flag at any point in this epic story. He's also the master of the slow reveal, so that as the story goes on, and particularly in the demoument (which is
I'm not sure what I think about the communist/fascist angle that suddenly emerges on returning to the Shire. I felt for a while as if I'd wandered into Animal Farm by mistake. It felt a bit like Tolkien was labouring a political point too obviously at that point. But from the story point of view, within the confines of Middle Earth, that part of the story was still absorbing, complex and heroic like the rest of the book.
I appreciated Eowyn's part in the book - woman as a hero, sensitively portrayed. I like how her character has a whole story of its own, though she is not one of the Fellowship.
Merry and Pippin really emerge as characters in this last book - it takes them a while, but once they do, they are truly awesome.
I like how once Frodo achieves his quest, he is spent, and becomes just a shadow for the rest of the book. It's sad, and more realistic than a 'happily ever after' would have been. His burden truly was too great, and the wound he took really did have a lasting effect. This works so well, and takes the story far beyond any last hint of the 'fairytale'.
The scene at Mount Doom is magnificent. I gasped out loud while reading it. The Gollum event is predictable yet inevitable. The eagles coming afterwards, despite their use earlier in the book and Gandalf's role, still feel a bit too much like deus ex machina for my liking, but that's a petty argument. I loved it. All of it. I don't really want to find any fault with it.
I feel like saying I'm sorry I took so long to discover the incredibleness of LoTR, but actually, I think this was the exact right time for me to discover it. Greater than fantasy, much more than escapism, vastly huge and yet masterfully intimate, this is indeed a work of genius.
The Lord of the Rings is a "must-try" for anyone who likes fantasy if not a must-read. Not everyone I know who has tried it loves it, but as someone who has read widely in the fantasy genre, I can tell you no novel is more influential in post-World War II high fantasy and there are authors, particularly Brooks and Jordan, whose fantasy novels come across as cheap imitations--especially having tackled both those authors recently. The work repays second and third readings because of the depth Tolkien gives his world of Middle Earth. According to the introduction, Tolkien had worked out an entire history for Middle Earth before he'd ever written the first volume and it shows. Other made-up worlds seem like painted trees on a drape--Tolkien's trees have roots. At the end of Return of the King, you'll find appendixes including notes on language, maps, and family trees as well as an index.
Some complain of Tolkien's style. And I remember once seeing his prose as stiff, although this time I was mostly impressed with its readability and the glints of humor, at least in Fellowship of the Ring. But when the fellowship splits after Fellowship of the Ring and especially when the hobbits disappear from the narrative, Tolkien often goes into heroic saga mode. Out of characters' mouths come out words like: verily, alas, forsooth, ere, aught, oft, nay, yonder, thee and thy. This only increases in the first book of Return of the King much of which reads like the love child of the King James Bible and Beowulf. I think that is what contributes to the reputation of The Lord of the Rings as stiff (and those songs--which I skip over.)
There are antique touches even in Fellowship of the Ring--like Gimli's adoration of Galadriel and how female characters are depicted--notable for their beauty than any other quality. (Although Galadriel is certainly more than a pretty face.) But then there's Eowyn. According to the index at the end of the last book, she can be found on 44 pages of this thousand-plus page novel--and that's more than any other female character other than Galadriel. All but 7 of those pages are in Return of the King where she's the most prominent female character. At first she shapes up to be a kick-ass heroine. Aragorn asks her what she fears and she answers "a cage." She wants to fight--to do "great deeds."
And she does. And certainly when she faces an enemy who tells her no living man can hinder him, her answer, "But no living man am I. You look upon a woman," my inner feminist wanted to cheer. But in the end, her ambition and courage is seen as a sickness, and she's healed and "tamed" by the love of a man and declares she "will be a shieldmaiden no longer" but a healer. Goodness knows in this novel war is shown to do damage--and those words wouldn't be out of place having come from Frodo's mouth. And it could be seen as healthy to turn from death to life, from war to peaceful pursuits. But something in the context--of an ambitious woman now "tamed" and happily caged, made me gag, maybe all the more because Eowyn is the only female character with a heroic dimension.
On the other hand, some of the most memorable and powerful passages come from Return of the King (including Eowyn's heroic deed). Particularly chapters such as "The Pyre of Denethor" and the first three chapters of Book VI dealing with Frodo, Sam and Gollem in Mordor are striking. And though it's not a favorite chapter and might seem out of place to some, I rather appreciate what I think is the message of "The Harrowing of the Shire" (beyond the anti-industrial message.) Tolkien doesn't end with martial triumphalism, but with the displacement and damage of war--of how a veteran feels to find his home changed on return and that not all wounds heal.
Not everything is equally engrossing. Generally, I liked the choices of cuts and compressions the film made. My eyes glazed over at the frequent songs and I skipped over them. So yes, I have my share of criticisms. But so much shines in this novel--not all of which riches you're going to get by watching only the movie.
Book 5 is perhaps the most exciting part of the story. Once again it deals solely with the fates of the companions. War is coming to the human stronghold of Minas Tirith, although no longer ruled by the kings of old, it is still their citadel overseen by the powerful Steward Denathor father of Boromir and Faramir. He is upset over the loss of one son and not pleased with the conduct of the other. The arrival of Gandalf and Pippin on Shadowfax is one ray for the forces of Light, but Aragorn must lead the others, and poor Merry is almost overlooked again. Having defeated the first and least of the hosts of Mordor at grievious cost, thoughts turn to Frodo and Sam. Aragorn decides to challenge the Black Gate itself in order to clear their way.
Book six opens with Sam desperate to find and rescue his master after the terrors of Shelob's lair - he was unconscious not dead! Together they crawl, creap and grovel their way thorugh yet more stoney mountains. Thank goodness for the lack of swamps! Until at last in a very contrived sense of timing, (a hallmark of the trilogy) the plot is resolved at the Cracks of Doom. Fortunetly for cynics everywhere Frodo is not too heroic. There is a great reference back to the Hobbit for sharp eyed readers. Yet another example of the terrific detail that makes LoTR such a definative work. Merry could only overcome the King of Angmar with the blade picked up by chance in the barrows some 1000 pages earlier, yet little reference is made to this. Whence Eowyn came by such a blade is one of the few (very very few) plotholes.
There are many discussions on the meaning of the final chapters, but whatever else they may be, they are certainly a definative ending with all the loose ends tied up (apart from the Entings - what was seen on the moors and discussed in the Green Dragon way back at book 1?). This is a referreshing change form many more modern writers who prefer to leave the ends sufficiently loose for future sequels. JRR and no plans to write any more. The appendix is fascinating, and if you thoroughly enjoy it, then you should to go on and read the various works of Christopher Tolkein - The Silmarillion and all the rest. If however partial fragments of old history and re-written and changed plot evolutions, tales of descendants etc leave you cold then you can fearlessly skip the whole lot.
At times it is a very sad tale. At times magnificant and elsewhere boring. Much like life. Read it, and revel in the artistry of a story and world written and composed over a lifetime. You won't find the like again.
One very interesting aspect of LotR is how a reader may perceive certain characters if she re-reads the trilogy at different junctures of her life. Faramir really caught my attention, this time around, as did his father Lord Denethor. The actions of other characters seem weaker or just out-right goofy (Aragorn yelling his fifteen names every time he meets someone). But the last time I read the books my thoughts were different - and they will be the next time, I am sure.
Regardless of any downfalls - the very few of them there are - this is an epic journey that no one should go without reading. It is a fantastic story of adventure, courage, compassion, morality and out-right fun. Absolutely fantastic.
Finishing this series always makes me sad. I'm never quite ready for the journey to end. Even writing this review has made me a bit melancholy
This book has so many great moments. The battle for Gondor is epic. Eowyn and Merry facing down the Wraith King. Sam carrying Frodo when Frodo couldn't go on. Ghan-buri-ghan! The Paths of the Dead. Frodo and Gollum and the Ring. Theoden's tragic death. Denethor's madness. If I was to list them all out, I'd be here all day.
One thing I appreciated this time around is how the story comes full circle, showing the growth of the four hobbits who left the Shire and have come back changed. It's a shame the impact of this is left out of the movies.
It should be noted that the final third of this book is devoted to appendices. While I skimmed through them a little as I read the story, I did not read them word for word on this read through. The end of Appendix B contains the highlights of "what happened after" for those of the Fellowship who remained behind. It was nice to see what everyone was up to after the main story.
I really need to do a full movie re-watch soon. And not wait so long for my next series reread.
The first half of the book is just
The denoument in the south is pretty unsatisfactory, but we probably all know by now that Tolkien originally had rather different matrimonial plans for the new king of Gondor. (Hint: Who does Eowyn fall in love with at first sight?) The Scouring of the Shire, however, _works_ -- almost well enough to redeem the rest of the book. _Here_ is a conflict that he really knows how to do, and it feels exceptionally solid, credible, all-around good -- and the reader realizes that maybe he didn't want the smug little hobbits to get what they had coming to them after all. Between the miserable, and self-sustained though arguably not self-inflicted, condition of Saruman, and the all-around awkward position of the hobbits, this is a chapter that gives the lie to claims that _The Lord of the Rings_ is entirely black and white.
Of course, the rest of this book really *is* entirely black and white, but even so...
On the other hand, the book is quite an adventure story. Tolkien did a clever thing in figuring out how to put the Ring, which was of such singular importance (indeed, destroy-or-fail), in the hands of Frodo, a simple young Hobbit, by giving it the insidious power of seduction. Isn’t that what power does, after all, seduce us? There are mighty wizards and mighty warriors, but in this case innocence is what’s wanted, and the humble must also summon their courage and rise to the occasion. Of course, in the ultimate moments even Frodo succumbs to the ring, but thank goodness for Gollum, who was the novel’s best character.
For me, in one sense this is a parable about growing up, about being brave enough to confront Evil and even more importantly, not being tempted by it. It’s about sticking together, and brotherhood amongst those of differing backgrounds, for there is strength in diversity. It’s about having hope and faith despite what appear to be insurmountable odds. It’s telling to me that the hobbits are stronger and a couple of them are literally taller when they return to the Shire, and at that point they are more than capable of fighting their own battles. What parent could want more for their kids at the end of childhood’s journey?
I do love it for inspiring reading in so many people, including friends, and I’m glad for having finally read it myself, decades after my misspent and obviously deprived youth. Now perhaps the movies will make some sense. :)
Tolkien again creates some creepy adversaries; this one stood out for me:
“The great shadow descended like a falling cloud. And behold! it was a winged creature; if bird, then greater than all other birds, and it was naked, and neither quill nor feather did it bear, and its vast pinions were as webs of hide between horned fingers; and it stank. A creature of an older world maybe it was, whose kind, lingering in forgotten mountains cold beneath the Moon, outstayed their day, and in hideous eeyrie bred this last untimely brood, apt to evil. And the Dark Lord took it, and nursed it with fell meats, until it grew beyond the measure of all other things that fly; and he gave it to his servant to be his steed. Down, down it came, and then, folding its fingered webs, it gave a croaking cry, and settled upon the body of Snowmane, digging in its claws, stooping its long naked neck.”
On love unrequited:
“Then Eomer was silent, and looked on his sister, as if pondering anew all the days of their past life together. But Aragorn said: ‘I saw also what you saw, Eomer. Few other griefs amid the ill chances of this world have more bitterness and shame for a man’s heart than to behold the love of a lady so fair and brave that cannot be returned. Sorrow and pity have followed me ever since I left her desperate in Dunharrow and rode to the Paths of the Dead; and no fear upon that way was so present as the fear for what might befall her.”
Lastly, on hope, with one of my favorite lines and images ‘there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach’…
“Then at last, to keep himself awake, he crawled from the hiding-place and looked out. The land seemed full of creaking and cracking and sly noises, but there was no sound of voice or of foot. Far above the Ephel Duath in the West the night-sky was still dim and pale. There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach. His song in the Tower had been defiance rather than hope; for then he was thinking of himself. Now, for a moment, his own fate, and even his master’s, ceased to trouble him. He crawled back into the brambles and laid himself by Frodo’s side, and putting away all fear he cast himself into a deep and untroubled sleep.”
As Aragorn and his party comes out of Isengard, the Rangers of the North come and tell Aragorn that he neads to hurry to stop the war that is raging in Minis Trieth. As he leaves the king Theoden with Merry, Gandalf and Pippin are ariving into Minias Trieth as
I liked this book because it was breath taking how detailed all of the seans were and how graet the battles were.
Book two of The Return of the King
I love the book, I was sad that it was over. I wanted to continue with life in the Shire. I want to know more about Merry, Pippin and dear Sam. I didn't quite cry, but I came close.
Let me gush over Sam. For one thing, he was masterfully played by Sean Astin in the film. Genius casting there. The last half of this book was Sam's story. It had started out as Frodo's. Frodo had the ring, it was his job to destroy it, and everyone else was supporting. By the third book, Frodo was lost. The ring had taken him away and he was but a shell. The story was told through Sam's eyes and it was beautiful. Sam was the one who kept them going. His devotion to his Master Frodo is as lovely as any tale of friendship there is.
I like this book because it adds a lot of detail and has very interesting characters, like their races, such as an elf, hobbit, or dwarf.
This book has a lot of imagry in it, and it commonly adds a few events
I would recommend this book to anyone who likes fiction, a descriptive, moderately challenging book with a good plot.
I really enjoyed this book. It is well written, but one thing bugs me. It is how he chooses to tell the different points of view in the story. In Book Five (the first part of the Return of the King) the story is not focused on Sam and Frodo, and in Book Six it is. When it the point of view "switched" back to Frodo and Sam, it was like going back in time which really confused me. The book also uses old English, which did not bother me but it could bug others. The plot was interesting and it had a few interesting twists. Overall, this was a very good book.
This final book is the triumphant end. Where all things work together for good. I love that sort of ending.
Clarly, The Lord of the Rings is the best fantasy series ever written. Every single fantasy book that has been written after it will carry at least one Tolkien inspired plot point, or character or paragraph, or sentence. There is no getting away from it.
Tolkien has written these books in such a way, that its indescribeable. Lyrical, poetic, moving, dramatic, sad, realistic. Everything.