The Return of the King
Book 3, The Lord of the Rings
J. R. R. Tolkien
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Concluding the story of The Hobbit, this is the final part of Tolkien’s epic master piece.
Impossible to describe in a few words, JRR Tolkien’s great work of imaginative fiction has been labelled both a heroic romance and a classic fantasy fiction. By turns comic and homely, epic and diabolic, the narrative moves through countless changes of scene and character in an imaginary world which is totally convincing in its detail. Tolkien created a vast new mythology in an invented world which has proved timeless in its appeal.
‘The story moves on with a tremendous narrative rush to its climax… extraordinary imaginative work, part saga, part allegory, and wholly exciting.’
‘A triumphant close… a grand piece of work, grand in both conception and execution. An astonishing imaginative tour de force.’
About the author
J.R.R.Tolkien (1892-1973) was a distinguished academic, though he is best known for writing The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillion and The Children of Hurin, plus other stories and essays. His books have been translated into over 50 languages and have sold many millions of copies worldwide.
IT ALL COMES DOWN TO THIS....
Book three of the world’s most established and arguably fabbity-fab fantasy epic opens with Frodo caught in a web of deceit laid down by Middle Earth’s most inspired and brilliant creation; Samwise Gamgee stands barely metres away from his BFF and finds himself unable to assist; and the few remaining good men of the west are making plans to deal with times and events which have not been witnessed in many Ages.
The one most obvious and immediate complaint against Mr Tolkien’s writing style is the pace of the action. But I have learnt that reading Tolkien is like this: you read, and you read, and you read, and you find yourself learning how green the grass is in a meadow surrounding Frodo and Sam; you keep reading (of course you do) and a few heart beats later, Mr Tolkien is discussing what shade of blue the sky is above the same meadow. But then an epiphany strikes, and it strikes hard. You realise, suddenly, that you care what colour the grass is around Frodo’s feet, and for some reason it is of vital importance to learn the colour of the sky. And you hold your breath, stop reading for a few moments, and take the time to marvel at the miracle that is the imagination of this extraordinarily brilliant gentleman.
Another criticism of the story that could be justified by some is the small cast of major characters. For example, the story spends pages and pages and pages on minor details concerning Frodo’s trek to Mount Doom and unless you fall in the category of reader outlined in the paragraph above, you may well miss the point of it all. At the risk of sounding conceited, it just goes to prove the theorem that Tolkien is not for everyone. At least, not for everybody at the same point in time.
But having said all that, looking at the bigger picture, one can see how events are beginning to fall into place. As I have been saying right from the beginning of book one, with Gandalf being a wizard, and yet so much more than a wizard, it is hard to lose faith in the power of good and lose hope that Sauron will be defeated.
The effect of witnessing the glory that is Minas Tirith at day break for the first time took Pippin's breath away; and mine eyes, they too, did weep for the beauty as described in the e-ink of my kindle screen. How my heart yearned to stand there alongside the great force of good we know and love as Gandalf the White and share in the wonder of the brave little hobbit whose one major existential flaw is his self imposed ignorance of all things beyond the borders of his beloved Shire.
New characters are revealed as the story reaches its climax. We have met one king already but another may well be set to lose his throne to a powerful young Usurper. And the dreaded Shakespearian love tragedy that threatened to raise its ugly head at the start of book two fails to materialise by book’s end (thank goodness!). And true love actually prevails for one cast member after a mind bogging act of self sacrifice by another who entered the story in book one and has not been seen since.
THE LORD OF THE RINGS is unique and will go down in history as one of the finest tales ever penned. But is it really a fantasy epic? Could it be more accurately described as the search for truth, a test of friendship between two innocent and young souls, who were tasked by fate and happenstance with the most unreasonable and terrifying quest imagineable? I have talked before now of characters in this work of art not being who they are set out to be, but this argument could well be applied to the book as a whole.
And in closing, maybe the Lord Of the Ring is not Sauron after all, but the one who has the strength of character, patience and the truest heart that will hold out against temptation long enough to complete an act which most players in this game (of thrones) think unimaginable.
Happy reading, fellow book lovers. May you read this story, and may it’s beauty remain in your hearts, your minds and your souls forever.
- Category: Epic
- Published: 03 November 1997
- Publisher: HarperCollins
- Seller: HarperCollins
- Print Length: 624 Pages
- Language: English
- Series: Book 3, The Lord of the Rings