Word of the Road

JRR Tolkien Houghton Mifflin Company 1955 440 pages

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Character Description

Frodo: Frodo is our main character. Burdened with the One Ring of Power, he and his gardener, Sam, are slowing making their way into Mordor, with the creature Smeagol-Gollum as their guide.

Sam: Sam is Frodo's gardener. He is his companion in the War against the Ring. He has never lost faith in Frodo, but he is weary of Gollum.

Merry: Merry is one of the four hobbits (Frodo, Sam, him, and Pippin) and he is the most cautious and well-rounded of the four. He is a fighter, and he will not be left behind.

Pippin: Pippin is the friend of Merry and a companion to Frodo. Although he does not accompany Frodo and Sam to Mordor, he remains with Merry until he and Gandalf are off to Minas Tirith.

Aragorn: Heir to the throne of Gondor, this ranger from the North has an impossible choice in front of him: become the man he was meant to be, and leave behind, Arwen, his lover, or stay a ranger, keep Arwen, and watch Middle Earth fall without its king.

Legolas: The prince of the Woodland Realm of Mirkwood, he represents the elves in the fellowship. He has never left Aragorn's side in the War of the Ring, but he does befriend one of the most unlikely people in the fellowship; Gimli.

Gimli: Representing the dwarf race, Gimli has watched over the hobbits, along with Aragorn, Legolas, and even Gandalf. He has never faltered in battle, and has protected all that he can. Gimli is the son of Gloin, who was part of the original company to retake Erebor. He also has stood as a figure of seriousness and hope for other members of the fellowship.

Gandalf: Being the wisest and and most powerful of the company, Gandalf gave Bilbo a "nudge out the door" to be the burglar in the retaking of Erebor, and he aids Frodo in destroying the Ring of Power. Being one of the only five wizards in Middle Earth, it is his job to protect all the he can. But can he trust that Frodo will destroy the Ring?

Plot Summary

What in Middle Earth?

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King starts were The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers left off. It begins with Pippin and Gandalf, on the horse Shadowfax, the Lord of all Horses. He is said to be able to comprehend human speech and run faster than the wind. As Gandalf and Pippin arrive in Minas Tirith, Merry, Aragorn, GImli, and Legolas are with the King off Rohan, gathering his forces and other allies for war. Aragorn, however has other plans. He, Legolas and Gimli take The Paths of the Dead, hoping that the oath swore to aid Gondor in a time of need would be fulfilled. Although, these are no regular allies; These are the ghosts of the Dunharrow, ghosts cursed never to rest until they fulfill their oath, which they broke when Gondor's need was greatest, in the War of the Last Alliance. Soon only Merry remains with the King, and is almost left behind on the ride to Gondor to aid in the battle of Pelennor Fields. Instead, the shieldmaiden/lady of Rohan, and niece of the King, Eowyn, takes Merry along on her horse, though she is disguised as Dernhelm, a man in the army of Rohan. Thus they leave in what was called the Muster of Rohan, riding swift and without burden to aid those in Minas Tirith. Turning back to Gandalf and Pippin, he and Gandalf arrived to see Denethor, Stewart of Gondor. In the audience of the Stewart, Pippin tells of how Boromir, his son, and the second man in the fellowship, died saving him and his friend Merry. He then pledges himself to Denethor, and becomes one of the Elite Guards of the Citadel. He befriend Beregond, a member of the Third company. The book, The Return of the King, is divided into to volumes: Book V and Book VI. We are currently in Book V, where the point of view is with Pippin, Merry, and Aragorn, Gimli, plus Legolas. Continuing where we left off, in Pippin's chapters, the events that happen in his chapters are this: the beginning of the Battle of Pelennor fields, which entails the battle for Minas Tirith, the coming of Rohan, the fighting between more than six different armies fighting each other, the death of the king of Rohan, the death of the witch king of Angmar, and the death of Denethor, the steward of Gondor. After, all the major deaths,the killing of all of what would be considered Sauron's forces by the dead men of Dunharrow was to follow, and the ending of the battle. After the battle of Pelennor Fields, there is a pyre for the steward. Following that is, what it is in simplest form, a debate on what should be done done next. What is decided is that the remaining fellowship and the remaining forces of Gondor and Rohan will march to the Black Gate and draw Sauron's orcs out to fight in the hopes that Frodo and Sam will be able to destroy the Ring. At this point in the book, the point of view is turned over to Frodo, Sam and Gollum. The first chapter of the book is the continuing point from the last part of The Two Towers. It tells of Sam going into the tower of Cirith Ungol and getting Frodo back from the orcs. It ends with a fell-beast swooping in. The next chapters are, in short, Frodo and Sam crossing over the Black Land, and getting to the Mountain of Doom. In a fury, Frodo's finger is bitten off when Gollum, who is surprisingly still alive after falling down a deep hole. After Frodo finally falls to the power of the Ring, Gollum comes out of nowhere, bits his finger off his hand, and during what can only be described as a moment of pure bliss, Frodo manages to push him off of the cliff in the mountain/ volcano (it's really a volcano, they call it a mountain, `\_(*_*)_/`) Anyway, in the next chapter, we witness the fall of Mordor, and the rejoicing of the men of the West. Frodo and Sam are rescued by the Eagles (big surprise) and are taken back to Rivendell. After everyone is healed and the remaining fellowship is reunited, they make ready to go to Minas Tirith, where Aragorn is crowned King of Gondor. it tells of what happens a bit during his rule. Soon after, the fellowship returns to their rightful places among their races. The hobbits, however, have the longest journey home. On the way home, Frodo, Sam, Merry, and Pippin stop at Weathertop, the Prancing Pony in Bree, where Sam is reunited with Bill, his pony from the first book. They soon get back home, to the Shire, and to Bag End. They have a little trouble though, getting arrested and such, but soon are completely at home, but not for long. Saruman, a powerful wizard, is in Bag End. He was from the first and second book, along with his servant, Grima Wormtongue. In the Shire, Wormtongue kills Saurman, and then three hobbits kill him. Soon the four hobbits are leaving again, and are going to the shore of Middle Earth; They are going to The Grey Havens. Frodo leaves Middle Earth, and Sam returns home with the book of Red Book of Westmarch, which is the tale of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. That was end of the book, and this is the end of my summary.

Where in Middle Earth?

Most of this book takes place in Rohan, Gondor, and Mordor. It switches between the three places where the remaining fellowship is: Merry is in Rohan, Gimli, Legolas, and Aragorn are in the territory of Rohan, but they are not with Merry. Pippin and Gandalf are in Gondor, and Frodo and Sam are in Mordor. There paths all converge in the end, at the House of Elrond. After that, the fellowship splits up, with everyone going their own way. Frodo, however, is the only one to leave Middle Earth to go with the three elves that carried the the elven rings of power, along with Gandalf and Bilbo. Sam, Merry and Pippin are the last to see him go.

Conflict in War

The main conflict between the protagonist and the antagonist is the Ring. Long ago, in the Second Age, Sauron made the three elven rings, the seven dwarven rings, and the nine rings of men. He gave them these rings to seduce them all to evil. Using another ring, the One Ring of power, to rule over all other rings he created, he almost had all of Middle Earth to rule over. However, a last alliance of Elves and Men banded together and fought the armies of Mordor, right under Mount Doom. When Sauron had stroke down the King, his son, Isildur, took up his father's sword and slicing the Ring of Sauron's finger. This ultimately destroyed him, but his spirit endured in the Ring. 2,500 years later, the ring is found by the river folk, Deagol and Smeagol. Smeagol instantly falls under the Ring's evil spell and kills Deagol for it. For the next 500 years, it poisons his mind, and prolongs his life to unnatural long lengths. Bilbo Baggins finds this RIng in his cave in the Misty Mountains. He does, however, gives it to his nephew, Frodo, sixty years after that, on his 111th birthday. Although, secretly, the Dark Lord Sauron has reassumed physical form and has sent the Nazgul after Frodo to reclaim the Ring and start his assault against Middle Earth once more. Unfortunately for Sauron, Frodo and the rest of Middle Earth don't want this to happen, so thus the War of the Ring and the conflict in the book The Return of the King.

Book Review

My honest opinion of The Lord of the Rings is this: Embark on a Lord-knows-how long journey, on your couch, for the ending of a series that captured the mind of a nation, until some of us realized the entire trilogy could have been written in just one book. Witness over 3/4 of the book explain scenery, and almost no good, long sequences of battle and excitement. Meet Frodo Baggins, cousin/nephew (best not to try and think about that), of Bilbo Baggins, a famous hobbit who went on a quest with a bunch of dwarves (see The Hobbit for more information). Frodo and his gardener, Samwise Gamgee, along with Merry and Pippin, who are cousins, along with being related to Frodo's family, are the four hobbits of the quest. Enter the rest of the fellowship, who are totally and obsessively devoted to helping Frodo destroy the Ring. It consists of Gimli, Legolas, Aragorn, Boromir, and Gandalf. Basically the series ends with two battles and the destruction of the Ring. But it is made to last 440 pages. Things I would have to say good about this book is that it is definitely a good ending to the trilogy, and the conclusion of the story seems fitting enough for the story itself. I think that, however, it could've had more of a straight-forward telling. There was way too much describing of stuff and it's very hard to read so much and process it all in one sitting. I believe that if all those years ago that the author had maybe written with more action and dialogue it would be more interesting.

An Excerpt

Here is an excerpt from the book, The Return of the King:

"At last they rode over the downs and took the East Road, and then Merry and Pippin rode on to Buckland; and already they were singing again as they went. But Sam turned to Bywater, and so came back up the Hill, as day was ending once more. And he went on, and there was yellow light, and fire within; and the evening meal was ready, and he was expected. And Rose drew him in, and set him in his chair, and put little Elanor upon his lap.

He drew in a deep breath. 'Well, I'm back,' he said.

I chose this quote because it really represents, in my mind, the completing of the circle. Merry and Pippin are finally going home, with Sam married with children. They have left Frodo to sail to the Undying Lands, leaving Sam the Red book of Westmarch. When its says that Sam is expected, it means that he has a place once more in than two years. His life for more than a year has been devoted to the quest of the RIng. It ends with this quote, which really in itself means so much to the book. The end of the book, this quote, shows us all, that at the end of the, maybe it wasn't the journey there, the destination, or the journey back. It's finally coming home to family, and that's exactly what this is.