by J.R.R. Tolkien
A stellar end to this trilogy by one of the most exciting young voices of the genre. Almost nothing of this is original, but it’s still nicely written. I mean, come on, the author is obviously a fan of George R.R. Martin. Or why did he put all of those ‚R’s in his name? Well, at least he has finished his trilogy – other than Martin. It’d be nice to read a sequel, though. Regarding the plot, that’s a blatant copy of Terry Brooks‘ original and breathtaking The Sword of Shannara. This Tolkien took all of Brooks‘ characters and just gave them different names! He also stole the idea with the Dark Lord and there’s a magic sword in it, though Andúril isn’t nearly as cool as the original. But I guess it’s hard to create something fresh in Fantasy nowadays, everything seems to have been written at least once already. Still, I don’t get that whole Ring thing – I think it’s an allegory for this Tolkien guy’s negative attitude towards marriage.
Then Pippin cried aloud, for the Tower of Ecthelion, standing high within the topmost wall, shone out against the sky, glimmering like a spike of pearl and silver, tall and fair and shapely, and its pinnacle glittered as if it were wrought of crystals; and white banners broke and fluttered from the battlements in the morning breeze, and high and far he heard a clear ringing as of silver trumpets.
In case you hadn’t noticed, this was irony. What I really think about it is: it’s the best Fantasy book ever written. Yes, they could’ve just asked the eagles to carry them to Mount Doom, but seriously, who cares? This is the most epic story ever told, beautifully written and blessed with an amazing set of characters, containing some of the most iconic scenes of Fantasy history. Here comes the fanboying:
And as if in answer there came from far away another note. Horns, horns, horns. In dark Mindouin’s sides they dimly echoed. Great horns of the North wildly blowing. Rohan had come at last.
Sorry, wrong picture. It’s this one, of course:
IT’S THE BATTLE OF PELENNOR FIELDS, EVERYONE! WHAT! COULD! BE! MORE! EPIC! THAN! THIS! This is the embodiment of goosebumps, constructed and built up so perfectly, and there are two major scenes which are perhaps my most favourite two scenes every in Fantasy apart from Hermione punching Draco Malfoy: First, Éowyn being a badass and killing the Witch King.
‚Hinder me? Thou fool. No living man may hinder me!‘
Then Merry heard of all sounds in that hour the strangest. It seemed that Dernhelm laughed, and the clear voice was like the ring of steel.
‚But no living man am I! You look upon a woman. Éowyn I am, Éomunds daughter. You stand between me and my lord and kin. Begone, if you be not deathless! For living or dark undead, I will smite you, if you touch him.‘
…and thus, the Witch King was smitten. My absolute favourite is that scene which I’ve been waiting for since the Prancing Pony, that scene that gives me goosebumps every time, even if I read sixty times in a row: Aragorn coming into his own.
There flowered a White Tree (…) the signs of Elendil that no lord had borne for years beyond count.
Thus came Aragorn son of Arathorn, Elessar, Isildur’s heir, out of the Paths of the Dead, borne upon a wind from the Sea to the kingdom of Gondor; and the mirth of the Rohirrim was a torrent of laughter and a flashing of swords, and the joy and wonder of the City was a music of trumpets and a ringing of bells.
I’d like to give you a GIF, but they failed to include this perfect scene into the movies, so I’ll just take this one:
Of course, there’s the second storyline, but there’s not that much happening other than, you know, beating Evil Itself and that showdown on Mount Doom – we’ve known right from the start that Frodo would’t be able to do it, he couldn’t even throw the damn thing into his own hearthfire, after all – so it was obvious that someone else had to do the job. The epicness of its epicness is just unsurpassable.
‚Wicked masster!‘ it hissed. ‚Wicked masster cheats us; cheats Sméagol, gollum. He mustn’t go that way. He musstn’t hurt Preciouss. Give it to Sméagol, yess, give it to us! Give it to uss!‘
‘Precious, precious, precious!’ Gollum cried. ‘My precious! Oh my Precious!’ And with that, even as his eyes were lifted up to gloat on his prize, he stepped too far…
The rest, as they say, is history. And there’s a lot of rest – I liked all of it. Because it showed us three things: firstly, you can’t ignore evil. You can go on and look the other way, and bar your doors and pretend it’s not there – but it will still creep in through the window. The Shire is a long way away from Mordor, but evil finds it still. Secondly, the cleansing of the Shire underlines the immense character growth our hobbits have gone through since leaving Buckland: they are, as Gandalf says, now among the Great themselves. And finally: after war and suffering, there can be no happy ending. Frodo has saved the Shire, saved the entire world, but after everything he’s been through, there can be no simple ‚and he lived happily ever after‘. No, these things don’t simply go away once the bad guys are gone.
‚Well, here at last, dear friends, on the shores of the Sea comes the end of our fellowship in Middle-earth. Go in peace! I will not say: do not weep; for not all tears are an evil.‘
The ending is just….aaaargh, it’s so terrible. It makes me cry every time. This time, too. To sum it up: PERFECT. There’s not a single word in all of this which I’d change. An unparalleled epic story about friendship, bravery, and hope. All the stars in the world to this one, my favourite Fantasy book of all time.