Lord of the Rings read along, Return of the King, Part 3

Just finished reading the final instalment of Return of the Kings, the journey has finally reached its conclusion 😦  – sad because it’s now ended.

Of course we all know the ending and these last few chapters have just been the round-ups.  So, without further ado, to this week’s questions/discussion points:

What do you think Gandalf was going to speak with Tom Bombadil about?

You know, I’ve racked my tiny brain about this and genuinly don’t have the first clue (plus ‘racked my brain’ is probably a bit over the top as it’s so tiny – took me about 30 seconds!).  Maybe there’s a clue in the whole ‘rolling stones gather no moss’ saying but I really can’t figure it out.  Need to think on it some more.  I’m sure it will all become really obvious when I read everyone else’s posts and I’ll just be like ‘Doh!’

What did you think of the two weddings? Do you think Eowyn will eventually find happiness with Faramir?

I actually do think think Eowyn will find happiness with Faramir.  Initially they both seemed, to me, to be a bit slightly saddened characters, Faramir because of the way his father behaved and Eowyn because she felt a bit restricted/unhappy in the role she played and also because she had unrequited love for Aragorn (but, you know, take a ticket and get in line!) But, I’ve decidedpersonlly to give them a happy ending, in my vision they are totally enamoured with each other, they make each other feel good, their pasts are put behind them and they move on in a happy way (but I’m a sucker for a happy ending!)

What did you think of their meeting with Saruman on the road home?  I was half expecting someone to just kill Saruman.

Oh, my, god, I did want somebody to kill Saruman – but I think that if one of them had done so it would have been like a blight on their own character.  As it turned out, one bad soul killed the other which felt almost fair! Which sounds a bit wrong given that they both ended up dead  ultimately but it was inevitable.  At first I was almost thinking that if Gandalf had just sorted Saruman out then it wouldn’t have been so dire for Hobbiton  but I think Tolkien was giving the Shire a chance to stand up and show it’s metal.  And, I liked seeing the way Merry and Pippin came into their own like battle-hardened warriors.

Holy Cow I was not expecting the scouring of the shire.  If this is your first time reading, were you surprised? And if this isn’t your first time reading, does the shock get a little easier to swallow on re-read?

Well, I’ve already probably covered this above – it was a surprise, and I have no recollection of reading this the first time (maybe I skipped it ‘oops’) – plus did this happen in the film – I can’t remember it doing so?  Anyway, no the shock is no less a surprise because I genuinley had forgotten!

What did you think of the very end, of the departure of the Havens? 

This is another one of those ‘grey’ areas for me and I think maybe I need to read this bit again (another 8 or 20 times!)  It always feels to me that the people who leave on the boat are actually dying?  But that would just make me feel so sad so I’m actually in denial about that.  And, I’m fairly certain I’m wrong, but it feels like they’re on the last journey over the water with the ferryman taking them to their place of rest.  *shivers*

Characters are supposed to change and develop during a story, right?  Who changed more, Sam or Frodo?

Okay, my first thought was to say that Sam changed more and that Frodo couldn’t change and carry on with his life like he had before which is why he left.  Then I thought, mmm, actually, no, Frodo changed the most which is why he could no longer live the same life as before.  Okay, I was having a bit of internal conflict with this one but I’ve made my decision: Frodo.

And, so we’ve come to the end of our journey.  I almost feel a bit footsore!  Seriously, I’ve really enjoyed this read along and the discussion posts.  I hope that we can all do something similar again, after all:

“the road goes ever on and on”

Thanks everyone! 😀

Other discussions at:

All Booked Up
The Blue Fairy’s Bookshelf
Lynn’s Book Blog
Book Den
Geeky Daddy

Little Red Reviewer


The Return of the King

The Return of the King

3 Responses to “Lord of the Rings read along, Return of the King, Part 3”

  1. Jennifer | Book Den

    I had a hard time deciding between Sam and Frodo, too. They changed so differently from one another.

  2. LOTRreadalong The Return of the King: the end « the Little Red Reviewer

    […] blog disussions: All Booked Up The Blue Fairy’s Bookshelf Lynn’s Book Blog Book […]

  3. Carl V.

    I think there is a pretty common feeling that the people leaving the Gray Havens are indeed passing into the next life, so dying if you will. But given that in the story they do actually end up in their afterlife it is sad but not tragically so, in my opinion. I’ve also heard opinions that are opposite to this so in some ways you can choose your own ending, but given how Tolkien talks about the endings for dwarves, men and elves and how they are different I get the impression that it is indeed different afterlife situations.

    Gandalf really should have stepped up into his authority and dealt with Saruman either at Isengard or along the road. I think it is brilliant on Tolkien’s part that he wrote it the way he did, as it shows that there are consequences to all when evil is present in the world and it makes the Shire more a part of Middle-earth as a whole to have had that place experience what it did. At the same time it shows how Gandalf was certainly not perfect and that he made errors in judgement. He was given those two opportunities to deal Saruman justice and did not take them, and a price had to be paid for that error.

    Like you I ultimately came up with the feeling that it is Frodo who went through the most profound change in the story. I could spend hours talking about Frodo’s journey and what it did to him and how it affected his years after the destruction of the ring. There are just so many interesting things about it.

    I also feel Faramir and Eowyn have a happy ending and I don’t think it is just wishful thinking. The way in which Tolkien established their character/personalities, it would be out of character for either of them to just settle for something. They are both passionate individuals, they are both fighters, and they are both fiercely devoted to their peoples. I see them having the most amazing relationship.

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