Large Print Reviews
The Return of the King
By J.R.R. Tolkien
Reviewed by Rochelle Caviness - August 3, 2003
Warning: This review contains some spoilers concerning The Two Towers the second volume in The Lord of the Rings.
When we last left Frodo and Sam, Frodo had been taken by the Orcs and is being held until he can be delivered into the hands of the Dark Lord. Sam, who thought that Frodo had died after being stung by Shelob, a demonic arachnoid, had taken the One Ring and headed off alone in an attempt to complete Frodo's mission to destroy the ring. Sam met with disaster almost immediately, and all indications were that it was only a matter of time before the ring came into the possession of the forces of evil...
The Return of the King represents the final installment in the The Lord of the Rings saga. Written by J.R.R. Tolkien, this saga is a classic tale of good versus evil and is mythic in character. The story is peopled by a host of mythical creatures ranging from elves and dwarves to trolls and wizards. It is also a traditional quest story, in which the hero - Frodo, must complete a set task in order for good to triumph. In this case, Frodo is trying to reach the Fiery Mountain, so that he can unmake the One Ring by throwing it into the Cracks of Doom. Aligned against him and the Companions of the Ring, are the forces of evil who covet the ring for the power that it would give them over the world.
As The Return of the King opens, the War of the Ring has begun. The Dark Lord Sauron has set his army, led by the King of the Ringwraiths against the forces of good led by the remaining Companions of the Ring that have vowed to aid Frodo on his quest to destroy the ring. For the companions, their quest took an unexpected turn when they became separated from Frodo and Sam at the beginning of part two of this saga, The Two Towers. While they continue to fight against their sworn enemy, they do so without their titular leader, Frodo. While the remaining Companions of the Ring engage the enemy in diverse means, Frodo is rescued from the Orcs by Sam, and the two sets off once again toward the Fiery Mountains to destroy the ring.
The The Return of the King is the most epic segment of The Lord of the Rings. Aragorn, who has discovered that he is the heir to the Kings of the West, is finding that despite its heavy weight, he is well suited to wearing the mantle of kingship. He also discovers that along with kingship goes special powers, including the ability to heal the sick. Aragorn is a noble lord, and by the strength of his personality and deeds gathers about him a powerful army who willingly follows him into battle against the forces of evil.
The companions strive mightily to keep the Dark Lord engaged in battle, despite the heavy causalities that they are suffering. They know that should the Dark Lord leave the field of battle that he will discover that Frodo and Sam are still bent upon destroying the ring in the Cracks of Doom. Should he learn of this, he would surely send his forces to destroy the two weakened and nearly defenseless hobbits. The companions know that if Frodo fails, the Dark Lord would use the ring to take dominion of the world.
When the forces of evil are at long last defeated, as they must be in a traditional good versus evil story, such as this, everyone assumes that everything is once again right with the world. The companions return to their respective homes. However, when the hobbits return home they find that they still have one more battle to fight before they can get on with their lives...
The Lord of the Rings is a monumental work of fiction that will cast a spell upon you that will last the rest of your life. In the style of the Homeric legends, the heroes of this story must endure numerous trials before they complete their appointed quest. In crafting this story, Tolkien has created an entire world, complete with its own language and alphabet. The Return of the King concludes with a massive series of appendices that detail such various aspects of the Middle-earth world, including its history, brief biographies of the various races that in habit Middle-earth, its language, various family trees, and maps of the land.
In short The Lord of the Rings is a sample of masterful world building, in addition to being a phenomenal epic. It is one of those unique stories that everyone readily acknowledges is a classic work of literature. Ever since its first publication, The Lord of the Rings has been a favorite of readers of all ages. It is marvelous that an unabridged large print version of the trilogy has finally been released, opening up the world of Middle-earth to individuals who have difficulty reading standard print.
Whether this is your first foray into Middle-earth, or your hundredth, you will find that The Lord of the Rings is well worth the reading. You will find that this story not only entertains, but that it will also energize your spirit and your imagination - spurring you on to tackle the forces of evil that surround you...
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- The Fellowship of the Ring, by J.R.R. Tolkien.
Being the first part of The Lord of the Rings in which Bilbo Baggins declares his nephew Frodo is heir, and entrusts him with the One Ring. To keep the ring from the evil Dark Lord, Frodo sets out on a quest to unmake the ring. (Large Print)
- The Two Towers, by J.R.R. Tolkien.
Being the second part of The Lord of the Rings, which follows the adventures of the various Companions of the Ring as the forces of darkness gather against the forces of good. (Large Print)
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