The Return of the King (The Lord of the Rings #3)

ISBN: 0739301403
ISBN 13: 9780739301401
By: J.R.R. Tolkien Ian Holm

Check Price Now

Genres

Adventure Classic Classics Currently Reading Fantasy Favorites Fiction Series To Read Tolkien

About this book

"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.

Reader's Thoughts

mark monday

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥a rousing climax to the most ravishing love story of the modern age. tempestuous, tormented Frodo at long last learns to accept the love of his lifemate - the loyal and submissive Samwise Gamgee, bottom-extraordinaire. this is truly a tale of love's labour hard-won, and at such a cost! but love conquers all in the end, and even bitter, militantly hetero villain Sauron cannot stand in the heart's path for too long. in this third book of the torrid trilogy, Frodo's love-hate relationship with the concept of commitment - deftly symbolized by a gorgeous, one-of-a-kind, designer ring - reaches a dramatic fever pitch, as he wrestles with his awkward feelings about monogamy & gay marriage in the boiling, repressive deserts of "Mordor" (clearly a stand-in for maverick Texazona). fortunately, the maternal Sam is constantly by his side to offer succor - forever the wind beneath Frodo's wings.♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥the incredibly racy & erotic atmosphere is filled with a circuit party's worth of soldier types, as well as many classic queer icons: butch trade turned romantic male-model Aragorn; saucy friends-with-benefits Merry & Pippin; the tough & dour yet loveable uber-dyke Arwen; little bear-daddy Gimli; cringing closet-case Oh My Precious; fey pretty-boy Legolas; the exquisite drag queen enchantress Galadriel; and of course, presiding over them all, flouncing from scene to scene, battling his nasty sourpuss of an ex-boyfriend Saruman, and just chewing up the scenery like no one else...the fabulous and effervescent Gandalf the Gay. you go, girlfriend! ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥despite the couple dozen unnecessary scenes of Sam staring dreamily into Frodo's sad sad eyes, this is truly a flawless and timeless gay classic, one that boldly states Love Is a Glorious Burden That We Must Ever Shoulder. love knows no boundaries. and even the smallest of men can have the biggest...."heart", i suppose. queer fave Enya even contributes to the soundtrack. Return of the King is a luscious, deliriously homoerotic fantasia.♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥oops, forgot i wasn't reviewing the thrillingly fagtastic film version. well, as far as the novel goes, it is perfect. i wouldn't change a word. even the poetry is awesome.

Todd

To me, the whole point of reading the first two books of LOTR is to get to this one, because this is the truly masterful part of the story.One thing I will say is that I really admire how the main heroes of the story, Frodo and Sam, are quite inconsequential in the classic tradition of heroes. They can't fight, they can't cast spells, they can't really do anything except persevere through extreme trial, all so that they can do what they promised to do, to do the right thing. Sam, in particular, is a True Hero in my eyes, a character with a pure heart.Do I need to warn of spoilers when everyone already knows the story? Oh well, SPOILER ALERT!It's very interesting to me that Frodo is unable, at the edge of the Pit of Doom, to part with the ring. It takes a struggle with Gollum, and an accident, really, in order for the ring to be destroyed. I wonder if any mortal, even Sam, would have been able to throw the ring away? I suspect not, and to me it signifies our mortal failings in this life. We cannot, try as we might, fully separate ourselves from the natural man of our own accord. But still, like Frodo and Sam, we can give it our best go.In the end, however, we will need to be rescued. Like Frodo and Sam, we will not be able to survive or escape in and of ourselves, but we will need (so to speak) Gandalf and the eagles to come swooping down and rescue us, in the end.(I am, of course, speaking metaphorically in a religious sense.)

Nikki

I fear I'm never going to like The Return of the King as much as the rest, although when you think about it there's so much good in it -- Eowyn, and Faramir, and the victory which... isn't quite at the end, but more in the middle. I think Book V might actually be my favourite, in some ways, but Book VI, well... kind of bores me? I think there's too much emphasis on telling us how joyful everyone is, making the ceremonies too high and making it all a bit precious. And then Tolkien doesn't seem to know where to end it: I think there's half a dozen endings I could identify in Book VI.Still. I read this in two big gulps: Tolkien is an undoubted master, to my mind.

Chris

** spoiler alert ** The Return of the King is the conclusion to the LOTR; its conclusion and its history, for the book is part appendices to the tale. These appendices include bloodlines and history that is not covered by the trilogy itself or by its prequel, The Hobbit.In many ways, this book is the best one of the trilogy. It has the most memorable battle in just about any fantasy work, the Battle of Pelennor Fields. It has the most traumatic and heart breaking, yet realistic, end to the quest.For the best part of this book, in many ways, the best part of the trilogy is the scene where Eowyn confronts the Chief Nazgul to defend her fallen uncle. The best lines ever being, “But no living man am I! You look upon a woman.” And don’t forget, she laughs first. I love the fact that Tolkien refers to her as lady or woman, but never girl. I love that. When I first read the trilogy at the age of seven, I couldn’t understand why Aragorn married Arwen. She didn’t do anything in the meat of the story, and Eowyn, she did something big. As I got older and understood more about literature and the inspiration for LOTR, I came to understand and even endorse why Tolkien structured the book this way. In fact, it is fun to see Arwen rob the cradle. (As an aside, why is it usually, mostly, female elves and human males? Would elven males be less likely to give up their immortality, or we can tolerant the age difference in the elf female, but not an elf male with a human woman?). In fact, Arwen’s sacrifice is as brave, if not more so, than Eowyn’s stand. Tolkien may have few women in his story, but he presents them as strong and independent.It’s undoubtedly true that there is much of Tolkien in the hobbits, but I also think there is something of him in Eowyn. Tolkien is one of the few authors who shows the cost paid by those who stay at home in the time of war. He does this toward the end of the book, but also, most touchingly, with Eowyn when she says to Aragorn, who has bid her stay, “All your words are but to say: you are a woman, and your part is in the house. But when the men have died in battle and honour, you have leave to be burned in the house, for the men will need it no more.” How often in history do we focus on the battle and not the resistance or those who make a stand at home? Tolkien returns to theme of Eowyn and the cost of service and duty in the Houses of Healing when Gandalf points out to Eomer what Eowyn faced during her uncle’s illness and subjection to Wormtongue. It is hard not to see a degree of the survivor of WWI and the father who has to watch his children go to war in the character of Eowyn. The conclusion of her story is most lovingly told. It is not often remembered by many critics, but it should be, that Faramir says, “And if she will, then let us cross the River and in happier days let us dwell in fair Ithilien and there make a garden.” He too is giving up his sword. Both Eowyn and Faramir were unvalued in varying degrees, yet each understands very well. Faramir, outside of Gandalf, is the only character in the book to truly understand Eowyn.While Eowyn allows Tolkien to make comments on the total cost of war, the most heartbreaking aspect of the novel is the end of Frodo’s quest. For Frodo makes it the total way and fails. “But I do not choose not to do what I came to do. I will not do this deed. The Ring is mine!” Frodo says before puting the Ring on. Tolkien is brave enough to allow Frodo to fail. The only reason why the Ring is destroyed is because of the Judas, Gollum, who dies in the height of joy. This use of the temptation of Christ is stunning and heartbreaking. And wonderful.The use of parallels and doubling is still here. There are the three rulers -Denethor, Theoden, and Aragorn – who represent various degrees of ruling. There is almost a second Ring and a second Gollum in the Scouring of the Shire chapter. This book balances the whole trilogy.12/14/12 - Who doesn't like Rosie Cotton?

Markus Molina

Wellllllll,I really loved the second half. Once Frodo and Sam got going, I got into it. Their part of the tale has always been the main story and Frodo is the primary protagonist, so it only makes sense that his stuff is the best. I was very disappointed to find that Gollum hardly comes out, especially considering he's probably my favorite character in LOTR. But overall, I'd give most of the second half and the ending especially a 4/5The first half was really, really boring for me and I struggled through it. It seemed as if Tolkien changed his writing style and became a lot more descriptive and less free. Reading about Faramir and Eomer and all those other chumps was a big bore. Those early chapters were kind of through the eyes of Merry and Pippin, but it wasn't anything like The Two Towers. All the fun was missing. All my favorite characters hardly appeared, (Gandalf, Legolas and Gimli hardly came out at all) The ents were very interesting and fun in the two towers while all the new characters focused on in Return of The King didn't have any flavor or real qualities I could get behind. Tolkien threw in some romance I didn't give a damn about with two characters that hardly appeared in the whole series and it felt extremely forced. Also it didn't make sense to me why Merry and Pippin were so dedicated and loyal to a bunch of strangers and their kingdom, but whatever. I'd give the first half a high 1/5.Overall, I'm glad to have this series finally under my belt. The books always finished strong and every one had me getting emotional at parts. I'm very impressed with Tolkien's intelligence and his ability to create a world where all this crazy stuff is happening. Annnndddd, I'm done!

Rita

Que dizer deste livro... Adorei-o, pura e simplesmente. Emocionei-me e vivi todos aqueles momentos com as personagens, que já fazem parte de mim.No final ficou aquela nostalgia de tudo ter terminado e cada um ir para o seu lado.Sem dúvida que a trilogia do Senhor dos Anéis é daquelas histórias que vai ficar comigo sempre, estará sempre presente.

Traci

Fellowship of the Ring 5 (my favorite of the series)The Two Towers 4 (maybe 4 ½)The Return of the King 4½Lord of the Rings 5 and if I'm counting The Hobbit 5 (my favorite Tolkien)Okay, not sure if my ratings reflect my enjoyment of the books themselves or my appreciation of Tolkien and the world he created that paved the way for many others.I do think every fantasy fan owes it to themselves to read this series at least once in their lives. Not having done so is like a Christian who has never picked up the Bible. They are definitely dated. You cannot pick this up and mistake that it was written today. Some of the writing is stiff, formal. You won't walk away feeling as though you really know the characters like when finishing a Martin, Hobb, or Jordan book. In fact I wonder how it would do if it had been written today. How it would compare to the books it helped spawn. Because if I'm going to be honest I have read better authors. Although I won't go there and name names. (although a few sentences away I did) A few things I didn't like. The times when the action takes place elsewhere and we are told what happened through discussions. This isn't a cheap made for television movie that doesn't have the budget for special effects. Another thing was the ending. I remember being in the theater watching the last movie waiting for it to end before my bladder burst. The book has too many endings in my opinion. The whole The Scouring of the Shire chapter is especially random and out of place.I've touched on what I like about them in my previous reviews but to recap. I like the the idea that the small and weak can make a difference. That heroes are just ordinary people. That fear can be overcome and you can do what is right. That good can always vanquish evil. (although we know this isn't always the case). And the importance of friendships. (although considering how long Aragorn waited to marry the love of his long life do we really think he'd have a hard time saying farewell to the fellowship...I think not. Lol)So take this as you will. I might not "like" it as much as other 4 and 5 star ratings but I can't give it anything else.

Caris

How I Spent My Summer Vacationby: Caris “The O’Malley” O’MalleyThis summer was really good. I got to do a lot of neat things. The best part of the whole summer was that I got to spend it with my new best friend Johnny. Johnny is my friend because he’s smart and he tells good stories and his mustash tickles. The stories he tells are filled with creatures and adventures, so they’re really good.Johnny is really serious about his stories. Sometimes he gets really detailed about little things and I have to call him a fuckstick. Some things that made me call him a fuckstick are: lots of walking and funny names. When Johnny gets going though there’s no stopping him. We have to read a lot of books in school but none of them are as good as Johnny’s stories.It seems like school got out forever ago and just a day ago at the same time. Right when school got out, Johnny started telling me his story, called The Lord of the Rings. This is the story about two little people called Hobbits who go on an adventure. They meet lots of people along the way. Some of them are good and some of them are bad. One of the things that makes me hate Johnny is that a lot of the boring characters are in the story a lot and some of the cool ones (like Tom Bombadil) are just forgotten in the past of the story.Right before school started, Johnny told me the last part of the story. It was called The Return of the King. A lot of things happen in this part and it was the most exciting I think. I really liked the end and wished it would have been longer. It is the conclusion of all I had heard this summer. The end was very sad, but happy at the same time because everything worked out good for the characters.I feel like I spent a million years in Middle Earth this summer. That’s the setting of the story. I feel like I am now friends with Bilbo and Sam. They are the main characters in the story. Middle Earth is a nice place to go, especially when my dad is drinking a lot and my mom yells at him. No one does those things in the Shire. The Shire which is also the setting is where the Hobbits live.The Lord of the Rings taught me a lot about what it means to be someone’s friend. It was Frodo’s job to get rid of the ring, but his friend Sam stayed with him to the end. There was nothing that could keep Sam away from Frodo, not even spiders. Sam would do anything to make Frodo happier even if it meant giving him his last piece of food or his cloak to sleep on. I think if everyone was willing to give their cloak away to their friends then the world would be nicer.The other thing I liked about the story was that there weren’t very many girls in it. There were a couple but they didn’t do anything really and they weren’t around for long. One of those girls I think was a boy anyway because she wanted to fight with the soldiers. She was okay I guess.I don’t want to spoil the story for anyone, but I want to talk about the end. The end was my favorite part. The adventures in far away places was cool but the Shire was neatest. I liked how Frodo, Sam, Merry, and Pippin came back to the Shire and took over again. Saruman an evil wizard decided to take over the Shire after the ring was destroyed and the evil armies were defeated. The Hobbits were not scared though because they knew they could beat him because Galdalf already did. It was really cool when Peter Pettigrew killed him with a knife then got shot by some Hobbits. I didnt really understand that part though. Why would Saruman go back to one of the only places his enemies would return to? He should of known he would catch a beat down there. If he was smart he would have gone somewhere else like America or Mexico. Even though it was a weird part I liked seeing the Hobbits being heroes.That was what I did this summer. It was fun. I hope next summer will be as fun as this one was. When I am an old man I bet I will want to hear Johnny’s story again. But next summer I want to go to camp instead.

Nikki

Finally got to sit down and finish listening to this. I started with the cassette, but I actually finished using the audio CDs, which some kind soul bought me for Christmas. (Definitely recommended: they come with a CD of the soundtrack music too. I love it.)Like most BBC adaptations, I think this is stunningly well done. As I've said with the other instalments, it's perfectly cast -- I do think J.R.R. Tolkien would have approved. It's a testament to how good they are that a housemate of mine who isn't at all interested in fantasy got hooked and wouldn't leave my room and stop listening -- and the one who is into fantasy got that it was LOTR within two minutes of listening and was wildly excited.It does help, of course, that I have a certain amount of childhood nostalgia for this stuff. One very bored holiday with my grandparents' was spent listening to these.

Nikki

The Return of the King is perhaps my least favourite of the three volumes. Part of that is the slow hideous crawl to Mordor, of course, despite the bright valour of Aragorn and Eowyn and most of the people in Minas Tirith -- even the death of Denethor is good to read, though sad. Part of it is the fact that a huge chunk of it, over a hundred pages in my edition, is the winding up of the story. There are some beautiful bits, of course, but Tolkien's descriptions of joy and victory don't ring quite so true as his descriptions of strife against the odds. I'd be surprised if they did: joy is very difficult to write about, I think.It seems to take forever to wrap up and for those interested in the characters, it's very satisfying in that sense, if bittersweet in places. But it's also the wrapping up of the mythology, the end of an age, and for once I was focused more on that than on the characters. I'm not interested in the Fourth Age!Of course, then the appendices are a welcome addition, from that point of view. You really mustn't neglect them, if you're interested in Tolkien's worldbuilding. He worked on a scale that few other writers bother with, for the sheer joy of the imagination required, and it's amazing to look at his handiwork.

Kristin

This was technically a re-read, but since it was twenty years ago that I read it the first time I decided I could review it here. When the LotR trilogy came out in the theaters, I was reading the books after watching the theatrical release. Except for RotK. I either wasn't in the mood to read it or I just bounced off of it. After our trip to Vegas, we watched RotK again, and I decided that I was at last ready to give the book another attempt. Do I need to summarize RotK? I think enough folks have read this - or seen the movies - to remember the basic story well enough.Reading this book was an interesting comparision between the movie and the written word. I know amongst avid Tolkien fans that there was much resentment towards Peter Jackson and how he did the whole trilogy. Now having watched (more than several times) the theatrical version and having re-read all the books, I really must applaud Jackson for tackling such a difficult series. I have decided Tolkien is not an easy read. He has so much history and discription woven into all of the books that you really have to be paying attention to what is going on. His writing style is very formal to the point of being almost stilted. The names of his characters all look alike and sound alike (Eowyn, Eomer, Elrond, Elindil - to mention just a few) and he has multiple names for many of them. I felt it helps if you have read the Simarillion (which is a history of the four books) to help set the stage and all the characters straight - but it is certainly not necessary. Did Jackson "miss the point" in the final movie when compared to the books? In my opinion, no. Jackson took the whole LotR series and distilled it down to its bare bone essence. Like taking wine and making brandy. You start with something full of floral notes, fruity overtones and lingering tastes of summer and end up with, concentrated floral and fruity notes that make brandy. Something was going to be cut, changed, altered (artistic liberties going on here) and out came the movie trilogy. So while I think the books allow a person to really dive into the world Tolkein created and the epic struggle, I feel the movies did a good job of bringing that struggle to the screen. And I would say, if a person has the patience to read Tolkien, it is a facinating comparison because really, the whole story is brilliantly conceived and written.

Nikki

There: I've finally finished my reread of The Lord of the Rings. I'm trying to remember when I last reread it. Probably three years ago, maybe four, because I went through a long period where I was sure it would have lost its magic, and I mostly just remembered the accusations of how slow it was, how boring, how long it took to get anything done. That was true, as far as it matters: Tolkien is wordy, but I like the way he writes. I wasn't wrong in remembering that it tasted nice to me, with the help of my synaesthesia. This wasn't a book I wanted to gallop through at amazing speed. It doesn't have to move fast -- part of it is the awful menace, the seemingly interminable waiting. I feel some of the despair of the characters -- but at least I know that in five pages, or fifty, or five hundred, good news is on the way.I seemed to have swallowed whole all the other accusations too: racism, moral absolutism, sexism, etc, etc. I think most of that comes from a reading that isn't terribly deep, though. It's true that there are the evil men of the East -- I think it's the East -- and so on. I don't think we see a single redeemable character among those, or among the Orcs, for example. But it isn't quite wholesale 'men are good, elves are good, dwarves are good; only orcs and such are evil'. There are evil men, too, like Bill Ferny and Wormtongue, and arguably Saruman, since he's a man-shaped thing at least. And there are men who bring in some -- gasp -- moral ambiguity. Boromir, for a most obvious example. He ends as a noble man, but for a while it's in the balance. Denethor? He gives in to despair and by inaction threatens the cause.Gollum's another. For all the evil he does, he serves Frodo faithfully for a time, and there's a spark of light in him. And he does at the end what Frodo cannot -- however unwittingly and unwillingly. There's darkness in Frodo, and light in Gollum.Aragorn himself leads an army whose weapons are mostly fear and darkness -- the ghost army.As for sexism, it's true that women don't have a great part in the story. No woman rides in the Fellowship, and there's no sign of a woman for great swathes of the book, especially when it comes to Frodo and Sam. Women do have a place in the story, but it's to be come home to. Eowyn is given tasks that keep her safe and home, preparing for the return of the men; Arwen stays well out of the action; Galadriel remains hidden in Lothlorien; at the very end, Sam rides off with Frodo and leaves Rosie there alone, and comes back to her at the last...But at the same time, the role of women is explored a little through Eowyn. She leaves the safe haven of her home and goes out to war -- strikes one of the most important blows. We're told that the Lord of the Nazgul cannot be killed by a man, but Eowyn can kill him. She is eventually calmed, by being settled down with Faramir, but the way she's written, I doubt Faramir could or would rule her, and it's still acknowledged that she has won great reknown for what she did. Galadriel, although she stays hidden, seems to be important among the Wise like Elrond and Gandalf, and wields an elven-ring.Lord of the Rings would probably be quite different if written now, with what we have of reform and feminism and equality, but that's obvious. There's still some place for women in the narrative, and more than might be expected.This last book was shorter than I remembered. It was hard to stop reading it, and in the end I gave in and just sat down to finish it. In a way, I think the end lingers a little too long -- it could end in Minas Tirith, it could end as they enter the Shire, etc, etc. It's a little strange the way the action starts up again a little at the very end, for the Scouring of the Shire. But it is still good to read, and it ties up a lot of loose ends.And the real end, with Frodo and Bilbo and Gandalf and the elves all sailing away to peace and healing, it's beautiful. It's a little too good to be true, because people don't just sail off into the sunset and live apart from any strife; if there's anyone else around, there's usually something to disagree about. But that's what beautiful fictions are for.

Ellie Red

I don't think there is anything new to contribute as far as reviewing is concerned when it comes to this epic trilogy but I just couldn't contain my excitement. John Ronald Reuel Tolkien is the father of this fiction genre, I really believe this! From a little kid I was a hard core fan of the films and I have watched them more times that I can count and I always wanted to read the books and finally I got the chance.Even though it is entirely set in an imaginary world, it feels like reality because Tolkien knew how to write and touch our hearts with simple things. Especially the third part of this epic reading adventure is magnificent, filled with powerful scenes and breathtaking descriptions. If you have read the books you know what I am referring to, if you haven't don't waste another minute and read it, you will only make yourself richer and wiser.

Jenifer

I am including the ratings and reviews of ;Eliza (16) 5 stars. She especially liked the ending. The satisfying tying up of all the ends. She loved that the story came full circle and ended in the Shire.Amelia (13) 4 1/2 stars. She had to take away half a point for the long, boringish parts.Max (10) 2 stars. He liked the beginning because it was the beginning and that was fun. He liked the ending because it was over. He had a hard time with all the boringness in between.This was a huge undertaking, especially because our family is not all at home in the evenings consistently anymore. I'm glad we did this together, and I'm glad that the girls liked it so much. Even though we lost Max through some of the long parts, he really did stick with it admirably. He knows what happened for the most part, and he loved the Ents!

Rob

Long before the movies, I sat up into the deep of the night, a young kid who had no business being awake, but could not put the books down. This is one of the books that gave me the desire to dream.

Share your thoughts

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *