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The Return of the King

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The novel of my choice is “The Return of the King” – the third and the final part of the J. R. R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings.” It has been my companion for years and is still my favourite book. Among the three volumes of “The Lord of the Rings”, the last one is the most action- and drama-packed. I enjoy being in the state of suspense every minute of reading.

Having the task of rating this book, I have to be objective, though I am an ardent admirer of the work. My rate would be 9. My evaluation is based on various factors. Tolkien’s creation definitely deserves a high score, even solely for its thorough, elaborated and so does the novel plot. Not only did Tolkien invent an interesting and unique story, he invented a new world, with its own nations, history, languages, cultures and its own rules.

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When you read “The Return of the King”, you cannot help but get absorbed in the new reality created by Tolkien. You get to learn the imaginary languages, with every mountain name, having 3 or more equivalents in different languages (human, elven’s and on goes the list). For having created a different reality, which inspired films, games, societies, Tolkien deserves a 10. However, “The Return of the King” and “The Lord of the Rings” in general cannot be called “easy readings”. With all the particulars, different names for the same things and a complex plot, reading has to be concentrated, focused and sometimes painstaking. Not every average person has enough time and patience to finish “The Lord of the Rings”.

Tolkien wrote a book, that is adored and appreciated by many, but is a Pandora’s Box for others, too complicated and incomprehensible even to start. For this reason, my score is only 9, though notwithstanding its complexity, the book is still selling all over the world years and years after its first publication.

The ending of a very good book might often be a spoiler of the whole work. However, the ending of “The Return of the King” is a great final for such an epic story. When reaching the final chapters of the book, it may seem like a proverbial “happy ending”. The real king occupies the throne and marries his beloved Arwen; the hobbits save their dear Shire from the invasion of the evil Saruman; the Ring is destroyed, and it seems to be the right moment for “and they lived happily ever-after”, which is a typical ending for epic stories, where the evil is eliminated and the good is rewarded for its merits. Tolkien instead makes the story seem more realistic. Our favourite character Frodo cannot find peace and happiness in the Shire anymore, the war and all the battles left a wood not only in his body, but also in his soul. The evil left a trace of melancholy and restlessness on him. Thus, he parts from the Shire from his favourite helper and instructor Gandalf, his uncle Bilbo and the elves to the elves’ land of Aman to finally restore his peace of mind. All his friends stay in the Shire.

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I think that had Tolkien written one more chapter, it would only spoil the story. The ending is perfect. Not a banal happy ending for everybody, but a true to life and moving story of different people (creatures) - hobbits, elves, etc. take different paths in life and bear the past events in a different way. Some manage to move on and live in joy, while others carry the burden in their hearts and cannot let bygones be bygones.

“The Return of the King” is in my opinion a great piece of literature and deservedly gets 9 points.

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