The Return of the King: End of a Masterpiece

At last. We come to the end. We’ve gone through Fellowship and Two Towers. Now, to talk about the legendary conclusion to the greatest fantasy series of all time.

As a kid, The Return of the King was my favorite movie of all time. Granted, I had no sense of what was good and what wasn’t at the time. I was four! I saw armies fighting, flying dragons, evil guys in robes, awesome swords and armor, and I was INIt wasn’t until I was a teenager that I realized just how good that movie is. Not because I watched it again, mind you. But because I did something I’d needed to do for a while: I sat down and read the book.

I loved it! And guess what? I still do!

Plot-wise, this one picks up right where The Two Towers left off. Gandalf, Aragorn, Merry, Pippin, and all our other heroes head to the city of Gondor to stop yet another attack from Sauron’s armies. Meanwhile, after escaping from the grasp of the enemy, Frodo and Sam make their final track across Mordor towards Mount Doom to destroy the One Ring.

Pacing wise, this story is literally split right down the middle. The first half, starring Gandalf and the others, is very well-paced! No event lasts too long, nor are they rushed out of the door. They have all the necessary time to breathe and have a proper impact. Yes, the pacing is marred down by Tolkien’s signature overly-detailed pages. But by his standards, this half is pretty fast!

The latter half, on the other hand, is very slow! Frodo and Sam’s journey across Mordor is incredibly slow and takes its sweet, sweet time getting to the climax. If the first half is like jogging, then the second half is like a casual walk. Normally, I’d complain about this. I’d call it tedious and annoying.

But I can’t. I honestly can’t do it. There is so much amazing stuff in the latter half! Tolkien went full-blast here, giving us some of the most beautiful moments in the history of literature! Not fantasy literature! All literature!

My personal favorite is Sam seeing the Star in Mordor. Up to this point, Tolkien has perfectly painted Mordor as this desolate, miserable place where hope goes to die. Then, when Frodo and Sam are at their lowest, all hope disappearing, Same looks up to the sky and sees it. Glimmering there, piercing the infinite darkness and gloom, is a single star. Even in this hell on earth, light will always remain. And with it, hope. It’s a beautiful moment that perfectly encapsulates what makes Tolkien’s writing so great!

This book has some of my favorite scenes in any Lord of the Rings book. The battle at the Black Gate, ‘The Eagles are coming!’, confronting Saruman in the Shire (though I do feel that leaving it out of the movies was a good idea), all of these scenes are amazing! And they’re just a small selection of what this book has to offer! There are so many good ones!

If you still haven’t read any of the Lord of the Rings books, you need to fix that! Each and every one of these books is fantastic! This one is no different! It is a beautiful masterpiece that will last for years to come!

And that’s it. I’m done with The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. While I did have my complaints, I still love all of these books! They are an incredibly important part of my life! Without this series, I don’t think I’d be who I am today. It makes me feel sort of empty inside, knowing that I’m done.

At least until I talk about the movies.

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