Book reviews · Pop culture · Reading

The Return of the King

I finished my 20th book this weekend: the audio version of JRR Tolkien’s The Return of the King.  This book wraps up the Lord of the Rings trilogy and concludes the wider tale begun in The Hobbit.  I have read all these books a few times a listened to the audio books three times as well – a clear indication that I love these stories.  The vivid descriptions, the engaging characters, and the themes of friendship and sacrifice all bring me back to Tolkien’s work repeatedly.  This is no simple tale of good triumphing over evil and leaving everything alright again.  Many characters pay dearly for their part in the struggle against Sauron and Saruman, and in some sense the triumph of the hobbits and their friends also marks the ending of an age for many peoples in Middle Earth.  This third piece of the trilogy builds well to its climax and captures the blindness of arrogance on the part of evil, as Sauron cannot even imagine the course of action chosen by Frodo.  The book also spends a significant amount of time unfolding the aftermath of the victory, in which there are great blessings but also continued brokenness.  To link some tenuously to a previous blog post, I heard the other day that there are two kinds of people in the world: those who have read and enjoyed the Lord of the Rings and those who will.  I know these stories aren’t actually for everyone, but the books remain among my favorites.  Not all those who wander are lost…

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