The Return of the King: Being the Third Part of The Lord of the Rings

The Return of the King: Being the Third Part of The Lord of the Rings

By: J. R. R. Tolkien
Published by: George Allen and Unwin
Publication Date: 1955
Series: The Lord of the Rings
Series Number: 3

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Description

The Return of the King is the third and last part of The Lord of the Rings, J. R. R. Tolkien's great trilogy of a mythical world in the Third Age of Middle-earth, whose classic dimensions were recognized with the publication of its first part, The Fellowship of the Ring. This was followed by The Two Towers, of which Donald Barr wrote in the New York Times Book Review:

"It is a scrubbed morning world, and a ringing nightmare world. It seems, as any very distant age does, to be especially sunlit, and to be shadowed by perils very fundamental, of a peculiarly uncompounded darkness...

"It is an extraordinary work—pure excitement, unencumbered narrative, moral warmth, barefaced rejoicing in beauty, but excitement most of all; yet a serious and scrupulous fiction..."

But more than this, the author has had intimate access to an epic tradition... so that his story has a kind of echoing depth behind it.

Readers of the two preceding books have followed the companions of the Fellowship to the very borders of Mordor, where Sauron, the Dark Lord, broods in his tower. But the Hobbits, Frodo and Sam, still must make their way to Mount Doom and the Fire in which the Ring of Power was forged and which alone can destroy it.

In this book the battle between the forces of good and evil is joined at last and we see that the triumph of good is never absolute. The Hobbits can return to the Shire but a price is exacted. As Frodo tells Sam, "When things are in danger someone has to give them up, lose them, so that others may keep them." It is the Hobbits' good fortune that there is one brave and strong enough to pay this price for them.

So ends the Third Age of Middle-earth and the power of the Three Rings and, with the end of these things, the Age of the Dominion of Men begins. In this year A.D. 1955, it is possible to wonder whether men will find the wisdom and courage to destroy their Ring of Power or whether they will be destroyed by it.

From the dust jacket
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