The Most Impactful Scenes from Tolkien

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Every year on March 25, the anniversary of the Downfall of Sauron, the Tolkien Society hosts Tolkien Reading Day. This year’s theme is Nature and Industry. The primary goal is to promote the reading of the works of J.R R. Tolkien! To celebrate, Pages Unbound will be hosting two weeks of Tolkien-related posts. In addition to our own thoughts, we will be featuring a number of guest posts! See the full schedule of posts here.

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The Most Impactful Scenes from the Works of JRR Tolkien

We asked our followers:

What do you think one of the most impactful or moving scenes from Tolkien’s work is? Why?

Sammie @ The Writerly Way

I read Tolkien when I was around 11, but “The Ent and the Entwife” always just hit home for me. So much so that I memorized it right after reading it. I was really big into poetry at that point, so I loved the structure and flow of the poem in itself, but if you sit back and really think about the content? And the fact that it’s been so long since the Ents have seen any Entwives? It’s absolutely heartbreaking. I could totally relate to wanting someone to come back and having them be completely lost to you. The overall story in Lord of the Rings felt like one that brought you to the brink of despair and tested your hope, but never truly extinguished it. But for the Ents and Entwives? It never felt like there was any hope. Just regret and longing. Somewhere along the way, they had lost the compromise the poem promised, by being unyielding and stubborn. And that was why it stood out so much against the rest of the story: because it seemed like there was never any chance for a happy ending.

Krysta @ Pages Unbound

Sam’s discovery of Frodo’s paralyzed body in Cirith Ungol moves me every time. Sam sees himself primarily as a servant, one whose role is to help his master succeed. When he sees Frodo lying seemingly dead, Sam believes that he has failed. So accustomed to seeing himself as a helper rather than a hero, Sam does not even know what he should do. Surely he is not good enough, not brave enough, not strong enough to take up the Ring and destroy it himself. But, finally, he decides to do so, reasoning that there is no one left to finish the Quest. Sam possesses such humility, he needs to give himself permission to take up Frodo’s burden. There is, for him, never a question of whether he should turn back because he is scared–only whether he would be “putting himself forward” taking on great matters all alone. But he knows the right thing and he is willing to do it, no matter the cost.

Notably, once Sam realizes that Frodo is not dead, but only paralyzed, he immediately knows his new path: he has to save Frodo. His love for Mr. Frodo is so great that Sam becomes, after Bilbo, the only person to wear the Ring and then willingly give it up. Sam understands that he does not need world domination. To be happy, he only needs a bit of garden to call his own and his own two hands. Sam’s great humility and great love always stand to me in these scenes. They are the two qualities that make him the true hero of the story.


(based on the movie) I usually find the end of The Return of the King the most moving, especially after watching all three films in a row. I haven’t finished reading the book, yet, but expect the feeling would be the same. You kind of feel like you’ve made the whole journey along with the Fellowship, and the sense of reaching the journey’s end seems like something you share with the characters. I also like the scene where Aragorn tells the Hobbits, “My friends, you bow to no one.” He is one of the most powerful and respected people in the land, and he is acknowledging their service. And that is a moving thing to witness.

6 thoughts on “The Most Impactful Scenes from Tolkien

  1. Sammie @ The Writerly Way says:

    This was such a fun thing to participate in! I always love how you guys make me think so much. :3 I so agree about Sam! Not just because we share a name (which automatically means he’s awesome, obviously). I usually love dark, stabby characters, but I confess that Sam totally won my heart with his quite courage and loyalty.


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