The Return of the King by JRR Tolkien

Spoiler-Free Review: The Return of the King by JRR Tolkien

Following up with my review of JRR Tolkien’s The Two Towers, I have finished reading The Return of the King. I’m glad to be going through all of these books finally! Check out my review of The Two Towers here.

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Spoiler-Free Review: The Return of the King by JRR Tolkien

TitleThe Return of the King

Author: JRR Toklien

Genre: Fantasy, Classic, Fiction, Adventure

Published: September 15th, 1999 by Houghton Mifflin

Goodreads description

As the Shadow of Mordor grows across the land, the Companions of the Ring have become involved in separate adventures. Aragorn, revealed as the hidden heir of the ancient Kings of the West, has joined with the Riders of Rohan against the forces of Isengard, and takes part in the desperate victory of the Hornburg. Merry and Pippin, captured by Orcs, escape into Fangorn Forest and there encounter the Ents. Gandalf has miraculously returned and defeated the evil wizard, Saruman. Sam has left his master for dead after a battle with the giant spider, Shelob; but Frodo is still alive — now in the foul hands of the Orcs. And all the while the armies of the Dark Lord are massing as the One Ring draws ever nearer to the Cracks of Doom.

About: JRR Tolkien

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien (1892-1973) was a major scholar of the English language, specialising in Old and Middle English. Twice Professor of Anglo-Saxon (Old English) at the University of Oxford, he also wrote a number of stories, including most famously The Hobbit (1937) and The Lord of the Rings (1954-1955), which are set in a pre-historic era in an invented version of our world which he called by the Middle English name of Middle-earth. This was peopled by Men (and women), Elves, Dwarves, Trolls, Orcs (or Goblins) and of course Hobbits. He has regularly been condemned by the Eng. Lit. establishment, with honourable exceptions, but loved by literally millions of readers worldwide.

In the 1960s he was taken up by many members of the nascent “counter-culture” largely because of his concern with environmental issues. In 1997 he came top of three British polls, organised respectively by Channel 4 / Waterstone’s, the Folio Society, and SFX, the UK’s leading science fiction media magazine, amongst discerning readers asked to vote for the greatest book of the 20th century. Please note also that his name is spelt Tolkien (there is no “Tolkein”).

Source: The Tolkien Society

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My Review

Plot

Finally we make it to the climax of the series! Because The Lord of the Rings was originally written as one book, we have reached the climax of the whole story. Because of that, the events in The Return of the King were very exciting.

Characters

There were some new characters introduced who were involved in battles and such, which is always just a little disorienting right at the end of a story. But all in all I don’t think that it really detracted from the story.

Pacing

The pacing in The Return of the King felt better this time. I’m not sure if it’s because I grew used to the writing style, or perhaps it was because this book featured the most action and goings-on. Of course, I would have preferred to see alternative POV chapters for all of the stories involved, instead of continuing to keep Frodo and Sam separate. But generally speaking it wasn’t so bad.

Overall

I actually really enjoyed the ending of The Return of the King, as there was much that was left out from the movies. I will say that I feel as though the proper climax of the story was downplayed, and instead another scene acted as the actual climax for this book which isn’t seen at all in the movie. It was strange to experience the ‘climax’ twice within this story. While I did really enjoy the extra scenes and information, I felt as though stylistically it fell through a bit.

I give The Return of the King 4/5 stars.

Spoiler-Free Review: The Return of the King by JRR Tolkien

Let’s talk about it

Have you read The Lord of the Rings? What did you think about the series as a whole? What about The Return of the King as the third book in the series? Have you seen the movies? Please leave your thoughts and opinions in the comments below.

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