Review: Return of the King

The Return of the King (The Lord of the Rings, #3)The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

So I loved this book but it really just dragged on. I mean of the Lord of the Rings series, this was probably my least favorite. The climax felt incredibly short, as did the battle and the ring was destroyed less than three-quarters of the way through. There was an incredibly long journey after the destruction of the ring following the hobbits’ recoveries and their return home.

below are spoilers

I also felt like the fight when they returned to the Shire was rushed, and I’m not entirely sure about its purpose. I mean was it just to show that Saruman was in fact dangerous and should’ve never been allowed to walk free? It was such a short exchange full of death threats, then out of nowhere he gets killed by his abused servant. I don’t know. It was just so rushed.

That was the pace of the whole book though, and the series for that matter. One of its allures was all one of its problems. Though I loved the fast pace of it, and am unsure if I could’ve read a slow paced high fantasy, I felt like I missed so much.

Again, seeing the movie before reading the series helped me visualize everything that was going on, in particular when Aragorn, Legalos, and Gimli traveled into the mountain to recruit the army of the dead.

All in all, I think my favorite of the series was the Two Towers, followed by the Fellowship of the Ring, and The Return of the King was my least favorite (though still a four-star read).

Final note: This complaint is not specific to The Return of the King. I wish Tolkien took more time to explain the role and powers of the wizards. I have no clue what Gandalf’s limitations or actual abilities are. I may sound silly for worrying about that, but sometimes he came across as a god and other times he just seemed like an old man. I mean he single-handedly fought the Balrog in Moria, but then the narrator on multiple occasions referred to Aragorn, and Denethor as equals when staring eye to eye with the wizard. If anyone has more information on wizard lore of middle earth please point me in the right direction.

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