Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Return of the King

The Return of the King. J.R.R. Tolkien. 1955/1965. Houghton Mifflin. 311 pages.

Pippin looked out from the shelter of Gandalf's cloak. 

I have definitely enjoyed reading Lord of the Rings. You can see reviews of the first two books: The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers.

There is something so compelling about most of The Return of the King. In book five, readers see a couple of great battles being fought. Most of the characters that we've come to know and love are right there in the middle of the action. Even Pippin has his own little private war to fight. There is so much drama, so much action, so much going on. In book six, the 'action' returns to Sam and Frodo. Readers see them reach the end of their journey together. The moment of truth that we've been waiting for all along comes...and goes. The Return of the King spends almost as much time in resolution as it does building up the action and suspense. Which isn't a bad thing. I mean if you've come to CARE about these characters, it's not like a hasty "the end" would necessarily satisfy. It's just The Return of the King features many long-and-slow goodbyes. A gradual letting go, you might say. On the one hand, it's great to see the characters reunite afterwards. It's great to see the celebrations. It's even great to know that life goes on. That there are other problems to solve, other things to take care of. That all of life isn't one big adventure.

I'm not sure I loved The Return of the King more than I loved The Two Towers. But I can easily say that I loved all three books, that I enjoyed all three books. I loved so many things about the trilogy. The characters. The setting. The action. The language, the style. It's just a great series of books.

"Do not spoil the wonder with haste!" (49)

"There go three that I love, and the smallest not the least," he said. "He knows not to what end he rides; yest if he knew, he still would go on." (53)

"Yet it is not our part to master all the tides of the world, but to do what is in us for the succour of those years wherin we are set, uprooting the evil in the fields that we know, so that those who live after may have clean earth to till. What weather they have is not ours to rule." (155)

"No more debates disturbed his mind. He knew all the arguments of despair and would not listen to them." (217) 

© 2011 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Mozette said...

Tolkien was one of the first big writers I read after high school where I had to have a massive dictionary next to me because he used words I thought had one meaning, but they ended up having about three.
LOTR took me 3 years and a huge amount of lunch hours (as I was working full time) to read; and I had to go back a page and a half each day because of what I had forgotten each time.
JRRT died a month after I was born in 1973; and so I feel a special bond with his work and I also collect it; forever looking out for rare, out-of-print and unusual works of his and buying them up to care for and keep so my niece and carry on being the carer of this collection I have of almost 30 books in my bookcase (and none of which I lend out to anyone).
And not only did I read the books, but I also went and saw the film that Peter Jackson made; and for a director who hadn't read the books fully, he did a damned good job on the films!

Adam P said...

I loved the Lord of the Rings trilogy so much! As you say, Tolkien's style and language is so unique and just extremley intresting to read. All my friends are massive fans of the films and I keep telling them to read the books because they're so much better.

Great review keep up the good work :)

Jessica said...

I always think its an achievement for reading these. For many years I swore I would never read them but I am beginning to slowly change my mind.

Kailana said...

I was hoping to read this book before the end of the year, but my reading has gotten very very quiet...

Amber Hunter said...

This is definitely encouraging me to finish the series...I read the first book and it was difficult to get through but I still ended up loving it. However, I never picked up the second one. I'm a huge fan of The Hobbit and the movie adaptations of the series so I think I'm going to give them another try!