The Return of the King
The Return of the King is the third and final volume of J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, following The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers. more...
The Return of the King, being the third and final part of J.R.R. Tolkien's trilogy - The Lord of the Rings - which came out on October 20, 1955. The story begins as Gandalf delivers news to the steward of Gondor that war is imminent. Gandalf brings Pippin with him, who enters the service of the steward. Aragorn by his courage and leadership proves himself a worthy ruler of men. He is destined to find a lost army of men now dead yet entrapped in a curse set forth long ago by their own disobedience, in the place known as the paths of the dead. The remnants of the Fellowship lead the forces of Gondor and Rohan in defence of Gondor's capital city, Minas Tirith, resulting in the cataclysmic Battle of the Pelennor Fields. Those characters that manage to survive the battle are led by Aragorn on a assuredly suicidal feint-attack against the Black Gates of Mordor, partly to distract Sauron from defending his other borders so that Frodo and Sam can gain a clear passage into Mordor. Aragorn's company now surrounds the Black Gates of the Morannon exchanging idle words with the Mouth of Sauron.
In the meanwhile, the brave and loyal Sam Gamgee (who for a short time has himself become the ring-bearer) enables the long-suffering Frodo Baggins to navigate the barren wasteland of Mordor. For part of the way they are captured by a company of orcs and must pretend to be orcs before they are able to escape. The company, tired and half-alive, finally reach the Crack of Doom, where the One Ring is destroyed along with Gollum, freeing Middle-earth from Sauron's power forever. This happens when Frodo at the last moment decides to keep the ring rather than destroy it, and is attacked by Gollum who bites off Frodo's finger to take the ring, trips, and falls into the lava while still holding the ring. Frodo and Sam are rescued by the giant eagles who Gandalf rides to Mount Doom, from the black gates of Morannon. After Sauron is defeated, his armies at the black gates flee, and the men of Gondor and Rohan are victorious in the battle.
Aragorn is crowned King of Gondor at Minas Tirith. After a series of goodbyes, the Hobbits return home, only to find the Shire under the control of 'sharky' who they find out is Saruman, diminished in power but not in malevolence. Merry and Pippin, now experienced warriors of Rohan and Gondor respectively, take the lead in setting things right again, and lead an uprising of hobbits against Saruman, freeing the shire. Time passes. The Shire heals, but Frodo does not. Eventually Frodo departs for the Undying Lands to find healing, along with Bilbo Baggins, Gandalf and the elves. Sam, Merry and Pippin watch them depart and return home in silence. Sam is greeted by his wife Rose and his daughter Elanor. The last line of the book Sam says to Rose; "Well, I'm back".
The Return of the King is divided into two books - book five and book six. Book Five follows Aragorn and Gandalf up to the opening of the Black Gate. Book Six begins with Frodo and Sam's journey, and details the rest of the story.
- I - Minas Tirith - Gandalf with Pippin arrive in Minas Tirith; they talk with Denethor; Pippin enters the service of the steward.
- II - The Passing of the Grey Company - Follows Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli as they pass through the paths of the dead between Rohan and Gondor.
- III - The Muster of Rohan - Rohan prepares for war; Merry heads off for Minas Tirith, on a horse with a rider who calls himself Dernhelm.
- IV - The Siege of Gondor - Back to Gandalf and Pippin, and the preparations of the city of Minas Tirith for the attack by the armies of Mordor; Minas Tirith is besieged; chapter ends with the gate of Minas Tirith broken, and the army of Rohan finally arriving.
- V - The Ride of the Rohirrim - The Rohirrim pass through the Druadan Forest with the aid of the wild men who live there, that are led by Ghan-buri-Ghan; the army arrives in Minas Tirith. (as seen from their point of view)
- VI - The Battle of the Pelennor Fields - Armies of Rohan, Gondor fight the armies of Mordor, Rhun and Harad as described in Battle of the Pelennor Fields; Merry and Eowyn help to kill the chief of the Nazgul.
- VII - The Pyre of Denethor - Denethor goes mad and tries to burn Faramir alive; he is saved by Gandalf; Denethor then sets fire to himself. They discover that Denethor has been using a palantir.
- VIII - The Houses of Healing - Merry, Faramir, Eowyn and many others are injured and placed in the houses of healing; Aragorn uses kingsfoil to help treat the injured.
- IX - The Last Debate - Gimli and Legolas meet Merry and Pippin again; the captains of the west hold a counsel on their next action; they decide to send 7000 men against Mordor to march on the Black Gate.
- X - The Black Gate Opens - The army, with Gandalf, Aragorn, Gimli, Legolas and Pippin (but not Merry) marches to the black gate. The Mouth of Sauron comes out to discuss terms, and presents tokens which were owned by Frodo; he then departs and the army of Mordor attacks them.
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