Well, it's finally here. The conclusion of our summer-long journey through Middle-earth. Yesterday marked the end of our book club.
But of course, we need to talk about the ending first!
I don't mean to get ahead of myself here, but I just want to go ahead and state that I think, overall, the ending to Return of the King was about five times better than the movie. My main reason for this is that we actually get some closure for characters that kind of just disappear at the end of the movie. Let's take Faramir and Eowyn, for instance. Despite the fact that Eowyn straight up slays the Witch-king of Angmar and Faramir is nearly burned to death, the movie almost forgets about them after their "big moments."
On the other hand, I love what Tolkien did with their characters in the book. Their romance seems fitting: both have lost family, and both long for some kind of companionship in the wake of so much destruction. Not only that, but their arc married so naturally with Aragorn's character. Of course, Aragorn never showed any bitterness towards the Stewards, and felt it fitting to bestow a princedom on Faramir, however briefly he served. We only got hints of love between Aragorn and Arwen in the book, and this Eomir (or should I say Farawyn?) thing is just the romance this series needed to tie itself up.
Moreover, Theoden is fittingly honored in the book, whereas in the film they kind of just let him rot on the battlefield for all we know (and after he answered the call of Gondor when his forces were destitute?? I mean, come on, guys). Rather, Tolkien gives him a proper funeral and burial on his own homeland. Just a little later, Merry and Pippin get their final ent-draught from Treebeard, and we learn of Saruman and Wormtongue's fate (which becomes more sinister at the end of the story).
Film is a different medium, true, but I just enjoyed getting to see where all of these great characters ended up, and I wish the movie would have treated them with more attention.
My only critique of the ending is that, while the Shire becoming a dictatorship makes sense in some ways (after all, hobbits had become fairly well-known by the end of the story), it almost disrupted the story arc, in my opinion. It kind of created a climax after the climax. Here, I did like the movie ending better, as the hobbits returning to a peaceful and unchanged Shire was almost like a sigh of relief after the terrors of Mordor. Having another battle at this point felt almost a little anticlimactic in light of the Ring and the battle at the Black Gate.
Overall, though, I really enjoyed getting into these books and getting to understand Middle-earth as it was originally intended. I no longer feel ashamed at calling myself a Lord of the Rings fan, ha! Thank you to everyone who joined in with me, as well. I hope you also loved getting to dive into Tolkien's magical world, and please let me know if there are any other books you would like to do in the future!
For now, I'm signing off. I pray you all stay safe and healthy during this season, and I pray you always remember that God's incredible, unconditional love for you.
I'm a sci-fi/fantasy lover & writer who especially likes talking about Star Wars and futuristic tech. I like finding new things & finding the beauty in old things, especially in my "Everyday Snippets" series. I hope you'll join me on my blog and unleash your imagination!