(The Inklings Series is a monthly series featuring the works of my two favorites, J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, or books about them. But I don’t want it to be just me chatting about these books, so that’s where y’all come in! I’ll announce the book at least four weeks in advance of when the discussion post will go live, so you have plenty of time to get the book and read it. Then, the following month, I’ll post a discussion post and let the fun begin!!)
Here’s the thing about reading The Return of the King….EMOTIONS. I had to keep it together with many parts, but do y’all blame me? Between Sam, Gandalf, Aragorn and all of my Middle Earth people, I felt so much of their anguish, sorrow, pain and then joy and happiness.
I’m really going to try and keep this post short, but how is one to pick just a few highlights? This is a near impossible task. For the sake of the Inklings, I will try!
Let’s kick it off with some highlights. I love that Tolkien was such the romantic. Like Faramir and Éowyn’s story? I mean stop.
“He (Faramir) looked at her, and being a man whom pity deeply stirred, it seemed to him that her (Éowyn) loveliness amid her grief would pierce his heart. And she looked at him and saw the grave tenderness in his eyes, and yet knew, for she was bred among men of war, that here was one whom no Rider of the Mark would outmatch in battle.”
One of the reasons I love reading Tolkien’s work, is his ability to completely draw you into the characters and feeling what they were feeling. When the Mouth of Sauron showed garments of Sam to Aragorn, Gandalf and crew, I felt their utter despair. That’s how Tolkien writes. He completely engages you and your emotions. Same with Frodo and Sam’s walk through Mordor. I’m exhausted just thinking about it. And I needed a cup of water. I love how he shows, through his characters, you don’t know how much you have into until you’re put to the test.
I thought a lot about Tolkien’s war experiences while reading this one. I’m not sure why specifically in this book, but he was able to show what evil looks like. Sauron is creepy and evil enough, but He didn’t stop there – between Shelob and the Nazgûl, that’s the stuff of nightmares.
“For yet another weapon, swifter than hunger, the Lord of the Dark Tower had: dread and despair.
The Nazgûl came again, and as their Dark Lord now grew and put forth his strength, so their voices, which uttered only his will and his malice, were filled with evil and horror. Ever they circle above the City, like vultures that expect their fill of doomed men’s flesh. Out of sight and shot they flew, and yet were ever present, and their deadly voices rent the air. More unbearable they became, not less, at each new cry. At length even the stout-hearted would fling themselves to the ground as the hidden menace passed over them, or they would stand, letting their weapons fall from nerveless hands while into their minds a blackness came, and they thought no more of war; but only of hiding and of crawling, and of death.”
Also the Lieutenant of the Tower of Barad-dûr – “His name is remembered in no tale; for he himself had forgotten it…”
Then there’s some many incredible characters (both good and bad):
- As we all know, Denethor is not only a jerk, but creepy and Tolkien describes him perfectly as an “old patient spider.” It’s so fitting and I wish the movie would have shown why he was how he was at the end – because of one of the Seven Seeing Stones. As Gandalf explained: “The knowledge which he obtained was, doubtless, often of service to him; yet the vision of the great might of Mordor that was shown to him fed the despair of his heart until it overthrew his mind.”
- Théoden charging into battle? Dang son!
Ride now, ride now! Ride to Gondor!
- Èowyn – she is such a strong character and the movie didn’t nearly do enough justice to her character.
- Where do I even start with Gandalf?
- Finally I have to talk about Samwise again. He always put Frodo above himself. I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but Sam and Frodo’s friendship reminds me of David and Jonathan. LOVE HIM.
“In that hour of trial it was the love of his master that helped him most to hold firm; but also deep down in him lived still unconquered his plain hobbit-sense: he knew in the core of his heart that he was not large enough to bear such a burden, even if such visions were not a mere chat to betray him.”
Okay, now onto the changes. There were some I can understand, like the story behind going to the oath breakers. That would have added at least an hour. But others? Mmmhmm..
- The Dúnedian..no love
- Again, Faramir deserved more respect: “He knew now why Beregond spoke his name with love. He was a captain that men would follow, that he (Pippin) would follow, even under the shadow of the black wings.”
- Pippin and Merry. I forgot how different they were in the book. They weren’t just goofy, they were far braver before the final battle. I love Pippin’s thoughts when waiting for battle:
“No, my heart will not yet despair. Gandalf fell and has yet returned and is with us. We may stand, if only on one leg, or at least be left still upon our knees.”
- I liked how Aragorn met Èomer from the ship. Bonds of brotherhood! “And last of all Aragorn greeted Éomer of Rohan, and they embraced, and Aragorn said: ‘Between us there can be no word of giving or taking, nor of reward; for we are brethren.”
- Where was the love for Beregond – another example of such loyalty (and saving Faramir)?
“But think, you servants of the Lord, blind in your obedience, that but for the treason of Beregond Faramir, Captain of the White Tower, would now also be burned.” Gandalf
- Oh and Aragorn and his epic healing powers? Dónde está?
I’ll stop now.
Sorry friends! I tried to keep it short!! So let’s end with some discussion questions – feel free to chat about any, all or add your own thoughts!
1. What did you think of “The Scouring of the Shire?”
I liked it. I thought it showed how much the Hobbits had grown and that even the Shire wasn’t safe from Sauron’s evil.
2. What’s something you wished the movie didn’t change?
3. Who are some of your favorite character(s) in this book?
4. What about some favorite quotes?
Obviously many, but I’ll add one more! I love the appreciation Hobbits have of food. I understand them. “Pippin looked ruefully at the small loaf and (he thought) very inadequate pat of butter which was set out for him, beside a cup of thin milk.”
Thanks for joining in!!
“Oft hope is born, when all is forlorn.”