The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

I have now finished the third book of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Return of the King. I read this book much faster than the first two books in the series, though I did not read it faster than I did The Hobbit. It still had its boring parts in typical Tolkien LOTR style. There were parts that I appreciated. But, by comparison, I like the movie more.

The movie cuts out the hogwash after the destruction of the ring, which is the climax of the whole series. Why spend 100 pages after the ring’s destruction telling of how the Shire was corrupted by Saruman or how the likes of Frodo, Sam, Merry, and Pippin had to purge said corruption? The resolution came so slowly that it took away from the destruction of the ring. The Shire’s corruption seemed so trivial and unnecessary. Even Saruman’s death was silly. He tried to stab Frodo but could not break the armor of the hobbit. Yet, Frodo spared his life, though Wormtongue did not. I liked it better in the movie where Saruman was locked up in the tower devoid of power and mischief. And what of Faramir and Eowyn? I found their brief and sudden romance out of place–forced, even. I am happy this romance was left out of the movie.

Some features of the book were good, and I do wish they were in the movie. When the Captains of Gondor confront Sauron at the Black Gate, the book has a creature ride out to meet them, the Mouth of Sauron. By description, he is very cool looking, and by the conversation he has with Gandalf, the scene is intriguing. Samwise was not so hardened against the orcs in the tower that held Frodo, which makes sense–he is a hobbit, not a warrior! The movie gave him more courage than he could have, but even in the book he does save Frodo. The book doesn’t have the watchful eye scouring Mordor for the likes of Frodo and Sam. I felt that part of the movie was silly, and appreciate that it was not part of the book.

Most importantly, I appreciate that the book didn’t have Frodo waking up in Rivendell, frolicking and laughing senselessly with Gandalf, Merry, and Pippin, the last two of which on his bed like little children, and Sam later coming into the room. No, the book made better sense. Frodo woke up with Sam next to him, and Gandalf was present, and there was no senseless laughing. That whole scene was the most lame portion of the trilogy in the movies, but it was done correctly in the book.

I am glad to be done with the trilogy. They were too boring. They were filled with superfluous description of surroundings and climates, yet they lacked sufficient description of the battles. I will gladly watch the movies multiple times throughout my life, but the books will collect dust on the shelves until my son might decide he wants to read them.

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2 thoughts on “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

  1. You are right. I saw the movies first not knowing anything of the books.

    I have read The Hobbit, which was an amazing book. It had a balanced description of surroundings and climates but also of battles. It was a very entertaining book, and I could not put it down. However, the LOTR was unbalanced, and I found it very boring, so I would put it down for weeks on end until I could muster the strength to read through the parts that would put me to sleep. The movies edited the contents masterfully and artfully added in visual interpretations of battles ill described in the book, even artificially adding in scenes not in the book at all. This situation is one exception to the rule, namely that the book is always better than the movie, for I have found in this case that the opposite is true.

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