The Two Towers & The Return of the King
I am coming to you today from my cozy Vermont USA bedroom to tell you about the pure love and joy that I have for the Lord of the Rings series, in particular the last two books in the trilogy. I will be referencing some events that occur in the books so if you have not read them yet I advise you read them first and then come back here.
Yesterday was JRR Tolkien's 125th Birthday, if he were alive today. I must first comment on the sheerThe Lord of the Rings trilogy. Every corner of these lands has a tangible beauty that Tolkien has captured among the pages, each landscape has undertones of reality with a perfect balance of fantasy within the pages. This man had an imagination that was able to concoct a richly personal connection with the reader and his characters and the reader and give an atmosphere like no other, and for that I am in awe of him!
These two final books mean so much to me in this tumultuous world that I live in today. These books show that friends can conquer any obstacle that is thrown their way, this is a message that I needed to hear when I was reading them. Reading these books put the current state of the world at ease in my mind. The recent 2016 USA election has been weighing heavily on my conscience and many of yours I presume as well, the state of our environment has also been gnawing at my conscience as of late. To combat these feelings of hopelessness and peril I dove headlong into books to escape and see the wonderful worlds that authors have concocted over the years, Tolkien first. With these books I was able to see the long hard "good fight" winning out and conquering the fears and issues plaguing Middle Earth, this feeling of empowerment transferred into my daily life allowing me to come to grips with our globe's current state.
Knowing that everything is going to be okay, and that evil would not always prevail gave me a light to focus on and run towards as a moth would to a flame. Seeing friendship on this level helped to open me up and create deeper connections with those around me, yes including you all. The most heart warming moment of this trilogy has to be when Sam physically is forced to carry Frodo to the top of Mount Doom in The Return of the King. In this scene readers see that even though Sam is dying he gives all of his strength to fulfill his journey for good to save the free world and his friend that he has stood by for many years. These two pals, Frodo & Sam, are exactly what I strive to have in a friend as they will do as much as possible to support one another. Themes surrounding friendship are prevalent all throughout this series from Frodo & Sam to the lovely Marry & Pippin and the odd duo of Gimli and Legolas. Seeing friendship and support focussed on so much actually was refreshing to read about in the high fantasy world that Tolkien has created for us all to enjoy.
With friendship does come some problems, however Tolkien does not shy away from the topic of jealousy and revenge. This whole thing is seen in the final scene of The Return of the King when Frodo attempts to dispel the ring into the pits of fire when he attempts to claim the ring for his own, thus illustrating the greed of human (Hobbit) kind. When Gollum sneaks into steal this precious powerful ring Tolkien seems to explore the kind of jealousy that drives humanity into a fury, Gollum stole the ring briefly by biting off Frodo's ring finger which is uncalled for and grotesque. Through this final scene I see 2016 summed up in, fear, jealousy, rage, violence, as well as optimism for the future; while the optimism may not be present in our world right now I know society can make changes for the better when we come together!
The World that Tolkien uses to discuss these complicated themes within is unmatched in most other fantasy novels! I love these characters and their many customs, though I must say a few of my favorites are:
- Legolas: I love the mystique nature of the elves and their connection to the natural world. As a biologist I find their connection with the trees to reflect my affinity with the natural world. Elves also hold the key to eternal life which I would love to use to see the world change over time, not to mention these people make some of the most amazing cloaks! The brotherly competition that I saw between Legolas and Gimli in the many battles had me smiling the whole way through because I too may have that same competitive streak...
- Gimli: Brutal are this people, mithril driven, cave dwellers, and notoriously bad at riding horses. Though Gimli was at a disadvantage from the very beginning, yet this did not stop him from helping the fellowship attain their ultimate goal. I loved the friendship that this short gruff dwarf showed to each of the members within the fellowship.
- Sam: Hobbit, gardening for a living, brave, and loyal. This character taught me the most throughout this series about what a true friend is like, and even showed me where I may be lacking in my current friendships. Through his determination and undying love for his family and humble Shire Sam gets through it all with a simple set of guidelines and a determined attitude; in 2017 we all could benefit by acting more like Sam.
I loved all of the characters that arose in this series, though the three that I listed above are the ones that I will treasure forever in my heart. This series honestly deserves every ounce of praise that it has received over the years, I only wish I had read it sooner...
Phenomenal fantasy, friendship, epic journey, and fun all describe this series! If you have not read these books please stop what you are doing and pick them up!
The Two Towers: 4 Stars
The Return of the King: 5 Stars
Overall Series Rating: 5 Stars!
This series will stay with me for a long time to come, please head this review and read them! But in the meantime please stay optimistic and trudge on through your stacks of books...