Children's Literature Bookshelf

“The Return of the King: Part Three of the Lord of the Rings,” by J. R. R. Tolkien. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Boston, 1955, 277 pages, Grades 7 and higher.

“The Return of the King: Part Three of the Lord of the Rings,” by J. R. R. Tolkien.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Boston, 1955, 277 pages, Grades 7 and higher.

High fantasy is an exciting form of literature that allows readers to travel into created worlds and face struggles that are encountered in their personal lives. This process helps readers solve issues facing their situation in a gripping yet satisfying manner. In this genre of literature, young and immature characters set out on a journey to stop some type of evil through courageous and virtuous actions.

One of the greatest fantasy series ever written is “The Lord of the Rings.” J.R.R. Tolkien’s majestic three volume trilogy is moving, fascinating, exciting and cathartic. The characters are drawn brilliantly and readers will not want to stop until they discover the outcome of the quest. The final book, “The Return of the King” is the subject of this booktalk.

With the end of the second volume, “The Two Towers,” hobbits Frodo and Sam are in dire straits. Frodo, the Ring Bearer, has been captured and imprisoned. Sam ingeniously assists his escape from prison, but the minions of the Dark Lord seek to recapture and kill them.

Through daring and bravery, they continue to journey through the Black Gate to Mount Doom. All the while they are being pursued by evil orcs and the sinister snakelike creature Gollum. Aragon, the great leader of the forces of light, and Gandalf the Wizard, lead a great army into combat against the diabolical forces of the Dark Lord.

The Ring carried by Frodo has terrible powers and weighs down and destroys those near it. The only way to destroy the power of the Ring is to cast it into the fires on Mount Doom. The Dark Lord fears this more than anything else and seeks to crush Frodo on the quest. Finally, Frodo becomes weaker and weaker as the awful power of the Ring begins to destroy his will.

While this is happening on the slopes of Mount Doom, Aragon’s army is hurled into a giant battle with the hateful forces of the Dark Lord. Tensions continue to rise as both the battle is in doubt and Frodo is attacked on his final steps to the top of Mount Doom. Faithful Sam rushes to Frodo’s side in a final struggle between good and evil. As Frodo fights Gollum for the Ring, the mountain begins to crack. What happens?

Is the Ring destroyed? Does Aragon conquer the forces of evil? Does Frodo have the strength to fulfill his quest? What roles do the dwarfs and elves play in this great saga? Why is it so hard for good to triumph? To find out the answers to these questions, go to the library and check out the thrilling final book in this trilogy, “The Return of the King.”

The Lord of the Rings has been made into several movies and achieved cult status in the 1960s and later. It still stands as one of the greatest series of high fantasy ever written. Tolkien was a professor of literature at Oxford University and was an expert in folklore. His books are highly moving as readers will identify with the gentle hobbits, courageous kings and queens and the fascinating elves.

One of the great moral points of the series is that people choose virtue or else they will fall into vice. Free will is at the base of Tolkien’s understanding of the world. The series contains some of the finest writing ever achieved. I can’t recommend it highly enough. Enjoy!

Terrence Nollen




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