the Little Red Reviewer

LOTRreadalong The Return of the King: the end

Posted on: November 26, 2011

Final battles, eagles, and a final trip to Rivendell. The story of the Lord of the Rings is at a close with the final chapters of The Return of the King. Middle Earth will never be the same again, and a bittersweet ending for our characters.

(By the way, want more hobbitses, more Middle Earth, more epic mythology?  Look for discussion posts of The Children of Hurin during the month of December. Posts won’t be as formal as these, but Geeky Daddy and Stainless Steel Droppings and I look forward to your comments!)

To lighten the mood, I can’t help but post the original How Lord of the Rings should have ended:

now that you’re laughing, here’s this week’s discussion questions.

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

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

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

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?

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

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

other blog disussions:
All Booked Up
The Blue Fairy’s Bookshelf
Lynn’s Book Blog
Book Den
Geeky Daddy
Stainless Steel Droppings

and my answers after the jump!

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

Maybe to tell him everything is over now, and he can come out of hiding? Or perhaps to invite him to join Gandalf and the Elves on the other side of the Sea?  I’m not sure, but I know when I read that sentence I immediately thought to myself that it was somehow important.

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

It was nice that Aragorn and Arwen finally got to hook up, otherwise it was a lot of torture for both of them!  and I hope Eowyn finds happiness with Faramir. He might not be Aragorn, but he’s a good guy, and he loves her.

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

In all these battles and such, I notice that very few actual bad guys bite the big one. Plenty of Orcs take arrows, and random red shirts, and it sucked to be Boromir, but would it have been so terrible for someone to have just killed Saruman back at his Tower? The Ents are plenty pissed at him, but they wouldn’t even think of killing him, and now Gandalf seems to think he’s pretty harmless. Harmless my ass!  But, similar to Denethor, I wouldn’t have minded meeting Saruman when he was a little younger. I want to know if he was always such a manipulative jerk.  Him and Gandalf certainly have some history that bears thinking about.

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?

I knew it was coming, but the way it happens, the level of the destruction of the Shire’s society, how far people have fallen, it was a total shock to my system.  I felt like I’d fallen into a post apocalyptic story all of a sudden, like The Postman or something.  How utterly heartbreaking to come home, to that.  So, experienced veteran readers, will it break my heart any less the second time through?
What did you think of the very end, of the departure of the Havens?

I actually really liked that part. Put me in a mind of the classic Campbell “Hero’s Journey”, where once you’ve completed your quest, you really can’t go back to the way life was before, you’ve simply changed too much. But where are they going, and what will they do when they get there?  I suppose I’ll have to read the appendices to find out?   It’s a little too bad that Sam doesn’t get to go, but now that he’s started his life with Rosie, why would he want to?   And I just loved how Sam uses Galadriel’s gift to help heal the Shire.
 Characters are supposed to change and develop during a story, right?  Who changed more, Sam or Frodo?

oh, definitely Sam!  And he seemed to have gotten the happier ending as well.

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7 Responses to "LOTRreadalong The Return of the King: the end"

To sort of clarify about taking ship to the West: the Appendices only tell what happens to those characters still on Middle Earth (like the romance of Aragorn and Arwen, and their eventual ending, what eventually happens with Gimli and Legolas, how many times various hobbits are Mayor/Thain/etc). Once you go into the West, your story is done. That’s goodbye, the afterlife, the eternal realm, the undying lands, a place utterly beyond the boundaries of Middle Earth. Beyond that, no one knows. The elves came from outside Middle Earth and they return there, leaving the world to the mortals.

And to hear me wax poetic about how much I love The Scouring of the Shire: http://bluefairysbookshelf.blogspot.com/2011/11/lotr-read-along-return-of-king-part.html

Hi
Here’s my post: http://lynnsbooks.wordpress.com/2011/11/27/lord-of-the-rings-read-along-return-of-the-king-part-3/
Great comments – you know I really had not the first clue about why Gandalf was going to talk to Tom Bombadil. I liked the fact that Eowyn married Faramir – I want them both to have a happy ending – the weddings were sort of low key didn’t you think?
i liked your thoughts about Hobbiton being kind of post apocalyptic – imagine how disappointed you’d be to get back to the Shire after all you’d been through and find such changes! It was a real shock because throughout the Shire always felt ‘safe’ because it was so remote and little known.
Sad to end the journey. I’ve really enjoyed all the discussion.
Thanks
Lynn :D

That’s an interesting idea for what Gandalf could be meeting with Bombadil about – the Havens.

Thanks for the video laugh! :)

http://bookden.blogspot.com/2011/11/read-along-lord-of-rings-return-of-king_27.html

I am with you with all the battle the starring bad guys never really die in the battles. The one that do die are just pawns in the game.
I never would have guessed that the Shire was like an alternate universe when they came back to their home. Then the hobbits work was not finished just yet. I wonder is Gandalf knew about the troubles all along;)

Also I loved your video selection:) That brightened up my day.

[...] Andrea provided the questions for this final section of The Return of the King. [...]

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