Review: The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien

Publication Date: October 20, 1955
 
 
Synopsis:
The Fellowship has had its separate adventures for some time now. Secrets have come to light and the journey to destroy the Ring is even more important now.
 
Pippin and Gandalf travel together, while Sam continues following his master.
 
With Gollum still after the ring and Sauron growing more powerful, the Fellowship is racing to destroy what they both deem to be so precious.


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Rating: 5 stars


Thoughts:

This is the last book in the series, and I had told me friend that I would finish reading this by the end of November 2015. Then, I remembered that November was the month on NaNoWriMo, and as you probably know, I only read 1 book and basically just gave up on reading for the rest of the month. Later on, I realized that this book put me into a reading slump. But finally, I picked it up again at the beginning of this year.
Something that really made me happy when reading this was the moment I remembered that the story itself isn’t very long, but there’s an additional 100+ pages that are purely appendices. About 1/3 of this book is just appendices, and once I remembered this, I began to move through this much more quickly.
After taking so long to get through this, I think my interest has wavered a little. That doesn’t mean that I didn’t still greatly enjoy reading this and the story itself, but the long span of time in between picking up each book did affect my overall experience. There isn’t really anyone to blame for this except myself, so I know that at some point in the future, I’ll make an effort to re-read this completely without any other books in between.
I very much enjoyed the discussion of war tactics within this book. It may seem strange for me to enjoy something like that, but I’ve always liked understanding and reading about plans for warfare and fighting. There’s something about this background information that really allows me to become more invested in the book.
When the end rolled around, I was surprised at how quickly the whole thing wrapped up. At first, I was kind of upset that the end of the Journey and quest was so quick, but then I saw a bit of the irony in it. I’m not sure if there’s supposed to be irony in the ending, but I managed to find it.
After that, the rest of the book flew past. I read the remaining pages fairly quickly and enjoyed the ending a lot. The ending actually ended up redeeming Frodo, Merry, and Pippin a bit, at least in my opinion, and I was very happy with how everyone’s lives panned out. Though, I did think that one character’s storyline was a little bit random and sudden in the way it was concluded.

 

All that being said, I know I’ve complained a lot of this series and the characters that I find frustrating, but I did end up enjoying this enough to give it a 5 star rating.
Character(s):
I think this was the book where I realized that I don’t really like hobbits. Aside from Sam, I found the other hobbits to be quite annoying. I think my frustrations with Frodo, Merry, and Pippin have been made quite clear in my reviews of The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers, so I won’t go into it here, but honestly, with so many hobbits in the story, it definitely played a part in my slow reading of this book. However, like I said above, they were redeemed in the end and I managed to care about how their lives turned out.
Just to get this out of the way, if Legolas and Aragorn were real people, I think I’d be in love with both of them.
Overall:
5 stars. I would definitely recommend this series to anyone who loves fantasy. This isn’t something I’d recommend to beginners in the fantasy genre, but it’s a very solid series for people who have explored the genre already and have a better understanding of how complex high fantasy can be.

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