LOTR Read-Along! Return of the King Part One

The Hobbit and LOTR Read-Along is hosted by Little Red Reviewer and Geeky Daddy
Previous Posts:
FOTR: Part One Part Two Part Three
Bonus One: Photos of Books
TT: Part One Part Two Part Three

Welcome to Part One of Return of the King!
If you missed my Bonus Post last weekend, here's a link: LOTR Bonus: TOYS!

Man, I am having a harder and harder time only reading the assigned chapters as the plot speeds up in this final volume. This week focuses on Return of the King Chapter 1-6, which brings us mostly through the Battle of Pelennor Fields, but not entirely. Some aspects of my answers may reflect the next few chapters, too, but I've tried to keep that down.

Rather than answer the prompts directly (they're kind of vague this week), I'll just use each as a bit of a jumping off point.

On the Paths of the Dead:

I'm ashamed to admit that this is a section of the book I had forgotten about when I saw the movies, and I had to ask how much of it was from the book. It's more haunting than the series has been for some time, this idea of the men cursed as oathbreakers, waiting through the decades for a chance to be freed. It's a rather nice side effect of his plan to defeat the corsairs coming up from the south that Aragorn can lay them to rest.

On the hobbits' roles in the battle in defense of Minas Tirith:

This is the one of my very favorite subplots in the series: the roles that Merry and Pippin play in the armies of Rohan and Gondor respectively. I find it thematically satisfying that neither one is take very seriously at first, but both manage to accomplish great deeds. They've grown quite a bit from the young hobbits who tricked Frodo into letting them come with him out of the Shire, now showing their bravery and wisdom.

On the build-up to the Battle of Pelennor Fields:

Wow, I love this book. The lead-ins and preparations for the Battle never seemed slow or unnecessary to me, just a rising tide of tension rushing toward the conflict.

On Eowyn's part in the Battle:

As I said above, I started reading ahead because I couldn't put it down at the scheduled section break, so I have more to say about Eowyn than is covered in this third of the book, but I'll try to keep it simple for now. She's sort of a broken person at this point. No one understands her, she's all twisted up between her assigned role, her dreamed role, her crush on Aragorn, her fear and her determination. I think it's her rage and despair that drives her to disobey Theoden and come to war. Now, it was important that she do so, fate and destiny and all that, but it was still originally a selfish decision on her part. (Merry's determination to go is more selfless, of course providing he didn't slow down the other Riders. He wasn't left in charge of a kingdom.) I find myself hoping that this experience teaches her that glory comes with death and pain, and that she finds a way to blend her strength as a warrior with wisdom.

On Denethor and Faramir:

The original prompt was about Denethor's decision to send Faramir into the hopeless battle to hold Osgiliath, but I really don't have anything to say about them without the events of the next chapter after the section we were asked to read. Curse you, chapter break!


  1. Good comments about Eowyn - you can't help feeling a bit sad for her really! She did have such a crush on Aragorn and on top of that struggles so much to be happy with her lot in life. It's a good thing she doesn't always follow rules though! I never really thought about her abandoning her responsibility in terms of being left in charge of the kingdom!

  2. arrghh, chapter breaks, who came up with these??? (oh yeah, it was me.) I'm pretty sure I read one more chapter than I needed to, had to find out what happened with Denethor and Faramir.

    oh, and Eowyn totally rocks!!


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