Lord of the Rings, Return of the King, read along, Part 2
The conclusion of part 2 of the Return of the King takes us almost to the end of the tale, the ring and the enemy has been destroyed and Aragorn has returned to Gondor to be crowned King.
I was seriously behind with this second part of the read along and I don’t know why but some parts of this section seemed to drag for me more than others. Anyway, finally got there and my answers to this weeks questions are below. Questions this week were provided by Carl at Stainless steel droppings.
- After witnessing the events of Denethor’s demise, what are your thoughts on him as a father and as a ruler, especially when compared to what happened with Boromir and the Ring. Well, it’s no secret that Denethor is not my favourite character! I liked him not as a ruler or a father. I think on reflection that Boromir’s quest for the ring was inspired by his need to impress his father and return to him something that he thought could be used as a weapon. I also wonder whether a lot of his sadness in the chapters before he died was really sorrow over the death of Boromir or sorrow that his plans had not come to fruition. He also sent Faramir, his only remaining son on an impossible task that almost ended his life and was the cause of a great loss of life. In that respect he was not a great ruler – he cared little for the people who were at his mercy and dictated to them based on whatever whim was upon him without respect for their lives. So, although I’ve tried to disguise it (lol), I didn’t like him as a father or a ruler.
- Instead of riding into the city with pomp and circumstance, Tolkien pens the king’s return as a clandestine act in which he demonstrates his rightful place through the act of healing the wounded. Your thoughts? I think that Aragorn didn’t want to return as the King whilst Faramir was ill – he returned to heal the wounded but he didn’t want to be seen as the King maybe because it would have looked a bit sneaky as though he’d taken the throne while Faramir was unable accept or deny his claim. Plus, I think, they had won the battle, but not the war and so it seemed a little early days to be wanting to return to the city with due ceremony.
- For one chapter Sam got to be rescuer and ring-bearer. What are your thoughts about Sam’s brief time as a ring-bearer in comparison to the others who have born the ring, or wished to? I loved when Sam was the ring bearer! Everybody else envisioning themselves taking over the world with the help of the one ring, Sam envisioning a huge garden! You have to love it. And even after that he realised this was just a dream that would never come to pass.
- In a twist unexpected in many hero tales, Tolkien ends the journey into Mount Doom with Frodo ultimately failing at his task. How did you feel about this and ultimately how does it make you feel about both Frodo and Gollum? I suppose it shows the strength of the ring in that at the end it had overcome Frodo as well, if it hadn’t been for Gollum (and his clumsy stumbling feet) the ring would not have been destroyed after all – as neither Frodo or Gollum would have done so. I don’t think this makes them weak, after all Gandalf and Aragorn didn’t even want to touch the ring because they were so fearful of what they would become. To an extent it makes you wonder if Gollum could have been redeemed – until you remember that he did murder his friend to gain possession of the ring before he’d even touched it.
- Given that The Lord of the Rings is largely about an all male cast, what are your thoughts about Tolkien’s portrayal of Eowyn now that we’ve seen the course of her journey through these culminating chapters of her story? I think that Tolkien was very forward thinking when you read this book and think about when it was written. He didn’t overlook anybody – all had a part to play and without Eowyn’s part the ending would have been completely different. It would have been so easy for him to simply keep her in a different place and give that part to somebody else but he let her have a role. Just like the hobbits, at the end of the day they were greatly overlooked by most and yet they also proved invaluable. I guess he was trying to show us that everyone counts and can make a difference. I was a bit surprised when Faramir and Eowyn were in discussion and it almost appeared that Eowyn only sought Aragorn because she would become a queen. I hadn’t really put that together before then – it made me almost a bit disappointed. I got that Eowyn had feelings for Aragorn but this made them seem a bit more shallow. I could be reading that bit wrong though – maybe I should reread.
- Much of this section of our reading has been filled with desperate acts with little hope of success. How do you feel about the mood Tolkien created in the build up both to the battle and the final push into Mount Doom and what are your thoughts on how these sections ended? I think this question reveals the answer to why I have struggled with these chapters of the book, and similarly the way I always feel when watching the film. Everything just seems so desperately hopeless that I almost just didn’t carry on (but how could I give up my quest to complete the readalong?) Even though I already know the ending I still find it offputting! But, like the characters I made myself continue but it was a bit grim there for a while (and I’m only reading a book – good job I wasn’t sent to destroy the ring – I’d probably have kept the ring – with great visions of the world being turned into a massive library, overflowing with books – all shall see my vision and READ or be doomed! ha, ha)
- The “assigned” sections for part 3 only take us to the end of the actual story. Will you be reading the appendices? Mmm, nope! I was going to try and kid everyone (including myself) but the answer is ‘hell no’. Sorry, I’m such a quitter!!!