The Lord of the Rings: Third Discussion

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We’ve made it to the third stage of our Lord of the Rings Read-Along, co-hosted by Stephanie at Chasm of Books!  Today we are discussing the final chapters of The Return of the King.  Anyone is welcome to participate and comment, even those not officially signed up for the event.  I have posted three discussion questions below, but feel free to bring up other topics and questions, as well!

Question 1

When Frodo destroys the Ring, Sauron’s armies are left directionless and bewildered, “bereft of will”:

From all his [Sauron’s] policies and webs of fear and treachery, from all his stratagems and wars his mind shook free; and throughout his realm a tremor ran, his slaves quailed, and his armies halted, and his captains suddenly steerless, bereft of will, wavered and despaired.  For they were forgotten.  The whole mind and purpose of the Power that wielded them was now bent with overwhelming force upon the Mountain.

What does this say about the nature of the Ring and its connection to Sauron?  What does it say about the people in Sauron’s armies?

Question 2

As Frodo approaches Mount Doom, he decides to forsake weapons: “I’ll bear no weapons fair or foul.”  Even during the scouring of the Shire, he refuses to take up arms.  In response, Merry tells him:

But if there are so many of these ruffians, it will certainly mean fighting.  You won’t rescue Lotho, or the Shire, just by being shocked and sad, my dear Frodo.

What do you think the book says about Frodo’s character?  What does it say about pacifism in general?

Question 3

A lot has been said about the “many endings” of The Lord of the Rings.  Do you agrees that the book “just keeps going?”  What do the chapters after the destruction of the Ring and Aragorn’s coronationadd to the story?

Question 4

What are your final impressions of the book?  Favorite characters?  Favorite scenes?

Thank you to everyone who participated in the read-along, and especially Stephanie for co-hosting!

3 thoughts on “The Lord of the Rings: Third Discussion

  1. Krysta says:

    Question 2: I’ve always found Tolkien’s attitude toward pacifism interesting. Frodo’s position seems to me to merit respect, but, at the same time, Merry is correct in pointing out that Frodo’s pacifism can only exist in a world where others take up arms on his behalf. Without Merry and Pippin taking up arms, Frodo would have just been slaughtered and the rest of the Shire would have continued under the tyranny of the outsiders. I know that bringing in an author’s biography when criticizing his or her work can be tricky, but I think it’s fair to say that Tolkien’s experience in the war would have shaped his attitude toward fighting. Here we’re very possibly looking at a conflict with which Tolkien was all too familiar–an abhorrence for violence and bloodshed mixed with a recognition that fighting is sometimes necessary (and even noble) and that it can lead to good. Tolkien simply refuses to be reduced to simple answers.


  2. Krysta says:

    Question 4: Where to start?!

    Favorite scenes: Eowyn awesomely taking on the Witch-king. Merry and Pippin meeting Theoden at the gates of Isengard. Sam following his imprisoned master The orc running away from Sam the terrible “Elf warrior”. The Rohirrim and Eomer at Minas Tirith. I could go on.

    Favorite characters: All of them? But how can you not love Sam? He’s so loyal and faithful. I consider him the true hero of the story. I’m also fond of Boromir, Faramir, and Eowyn. For some reason I’ve also always loved Merry and have been fascinated with Prince Imrahil and the knights of Dol Amroth. And I’ll just give Glorfindel some recognition while I’m naming every character in the series. Oh, and I can’t forget some of the awesome villains–the Witch-king and the Mouth of Sauron. *shudder*

    Final impression: Wow. No matter how many times I go back, it’s always more beautiful than I remembered.


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