Summary: The Return of the King is the towering climax to J.R.R. Tolkien’s trilogy that tells the saga of the hobbits of Middle-earth and the great War of the Rings. In this concluding volume, Frodo and Sam make a terrible journey to the heart of the Land of the Shadow in a final reckoning with the power of Sauron. In addition to narrating the prose passages, Rob Inglis sings the trilogy’s songs and poems a capella, using melodies composed by Inglis and Claudia Howard, the Recorded Books studio director. The 11th tape in this recording contains Tolkien’s preface to the trilogy, including a prior history of the ring, and shire habitat, history, and folkways….Read more.
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JRR Tolkien: The Return of the King Audio Book Summary
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The Return of the King Audio Summary
The novel is the cumulation of the series, and includes the further development, climax, and conclusion of all of the themes initiated in the first two works.
The book begins in a time of crisis for Middle Earth. Despite the victories at the end of The Two Towers, the free people of the Earth continue to be threatened by the dark forces of Sauron. With Sarumon defeated, it would appear that the forces of evil have weakened, but in fact the opposite is true.
Every day Sauron gains more and more power, and it becomes clear that Sarumon, a mighty force and difficult victory, was a mere pawn in Sauron’s game. As he continue to build his orc armies, he dispatches one to Gondor intended to wipe of the race of men from the Earth.
Despite the successful re-initiation of the alliance between men and elves seen at the end of the Two Towers, leading to the victory in the battle for Rohan, the race of men is still staunchly divided, and as an army marches on Gondor, it becomes clear that in order to prevail all men on Earth will need to unite in order to combat Sauron’s menacing armies.
There is only one man who can achieve this great feat, and it is revealed that Aragon, who has been with the Fellowship from the beginning, and a valiant warrior throughout the trilogy, emerges as the rightful heir to both Gondor and Rohan. To unite the race, he must claim his throne and lead the armies together into battle.
Meanwhile, Frodo and Sam march onwards towards Mordor, accompanied by Gollum, who acts as their guide but also secretly waits for an opportunity to kill Frodo and take the ring for himself. This leads to a precarious and woeful alliance, but ultimately Gollum is able to lead the Hobbits through a back entrance into Mordor, evading capture.
As Frodo reaches Mount Doom and enters the chamber of the volcano, however, Gollum finally attacks him. The two struggle, and finally Gollum bites off Frodo’s finger in an attempt to get the ring, at which point he, along with the ring itself, both fall into the volcanic fire, destroying the ring and Sauron’s forces along with it.