Peter Jackson’s epic film franchise based on J R R Tolkien’s novels has sadly now come to an end. While I regularly re-read The Hobbit it has been over 10 years since I re-read The Lord of the Rings. July saw me reaching for The Return of the King to complete my long, over due re-read.
We return to Middle-Earth on the brink of war. Saruman and his Uruk-hai army may have been defeated, but now Sauron, the dark lord himself, is ready to unleash the hoards of Mordor. Gandalf and Pippin ride to the fortified city of Minas Tirith; to bring aid and advice. This time round I found the sections in the besieged city as the most fascinating. With the tense atmosphere, palpable fear, and the madness of Lord Denethor.
Meanwhile Merry is left with King Théoden and the horse-lords of Rohan. After the battle against Saruman’s Uruk-hai army, at the ancient fort of Helm’s Deep. The Rohirrim have very little time to re-organise and muster a larger force to ride to the aid of Minas Tirith. Defying the wishes of the king. Merry and Lady Eowyn secretly ride out too. Here Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli also depart to the Paths of the Dead too. Seeking to raise an army of the dead to stop an unseen threat coming from the sea.
Finally but certainly not least we have Frodo and Sam. They must now make the torturous journey across Mordor, a smoky, desolate expanse, to reach the fires of Mount Doom. This is the most emotional thread of the story. Seeing the physically and mental deterioration of Frodo. As the burden of the ring becomes almost unbearable. Luckily Frodo has Sam, and a more loyal and strong friend you could not find. I wish I could have my on Samwise Gamgee! As much as Frodo and Sam pull the heart-strings. What I most enjoyed in this was seeing the two younger hobbits, Merry and Pippin, have more time in the lime light; as individuals.
I do it every time, but I am still surprised how much shorter this is to the two previous books. Just over a quarter of the physical book is actually appendices, and this is the first time I’ve ever read any of them. I found in them some interesting time lines and family trees. Yet as you can see from my description above Tolkien has fitted a whole lot in. Every word is precious to Tolkien and again he uses them here perfectly to really bring Middle-Earth alive. This was an emotional and action packed adventure, and a fitting end to an enchanting series. An epic read and appropriately this is becoming quite an epic post.
The Return of the King was a comforting read, that took me back to a familiar and enchanting world. I highly recommend to those who enjoy epic fantasy. I am a little sad it is all over! Great read.
Have you read The Lord of the Rings? Do you like the films?
10 Books of Summer – 3/10