The Return of the King: The Lord of the Rings, Book 3 Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
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Audible Audiobook, Unabridged
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This brand-new unabridged audiobook of The Return of the King, the third and final part of J. R. R. Tolkien’s epic adventure, The Lord of the Rings, is read by the BAFTA award-winning actor, director and author Andy Serkis.
The armies of the Dark Lord are massing as his evil shadow spreads even wider. Men, Dwarves, Elves and Ents unite forces to battle against the Dark. Meanwhile, Frodo and Sam struggle further into Mordor in their heroic quest to destroy the One Ring.
The devastating conclusion of J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic tale of adventure, begun in The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers.
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|Listening Length||21 hours and 52 minutes|
|Author||J. R. R. Tolkien|
|Audible.com.au Release Date||16 September 2021|
|Best Sellers Rank|| 124 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
7 in Classic Literature
7 in Action & Adventure Fantasy
10 in Classic Literature & Fiction
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Top reviews from Australia
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The one most obvious and immediate complaint against Mr Tolkien’s writing style is the pace of the action. But I have learnt that reading Tolkien is like this: you read, and you read, and you read, and you find yourself learning how green the grass is in a meadow surrounding Frodo and Sam; you keep reading (of course you do) and a few heart beats later, Mr Tolkien is discussing what shade of blue the sky is above the same meadow. But then an epiphany strikes the mind of the reader, and it strikes hard. You realise, suddenly, that you care what colour the grass is around Frodo’s feet, and for some reason it is of vital importance to learn the colour of the sky. And you hold your breath, stop reading for a few moments, and take the time to marvel at the miracle that is the imagination of this extraordinarily brilliant gentleman.
Another criticism of the story that could be justified by some is the small cast of major characters. The story spends pages and pages and pages on minor details concerning Frodo’s trek to Mount Doom and unless you fall in the category of reader outlined in the paragraph above, you may well miss the point of it all. At the risk of sounding conceited, it just goes to prove the theorem that Tolkien is not for everyone. At least, not for everybody at the same point in time.
But having said all that, looking at the bigger picture, one can see how events are beginning to fall into place. As I have been saying right from the beginning of book one, with Gandalf being a wizard, and yet so much more than a wizard, it is hard to lose faith in the power of good and lose hope that Sauron will be defeated.
The effect of witnessing the glory that is Minas Tirith at day break for the first time took Pippin's breath away; and mine eyes, they too, did weep for the beauty as described in the e-ink of my kindle screen. How my heart yearned to stand there alongside the great force of good we know and love as Gandalf the White and share in the wonder of the brave little hobbit whose one major existential flaw is his self imposed ignorance of all things beyond the borders of his beloved Shire.
New characters are revealed as the story reaches its climax. We have met one king already but another may well be set to lose his throne to a powerful young Usurper. And the dreaded Shakespearian love tragedy that threatened to raise its ugly head at the start of book two fails to materialise by book’s end (thank goodness!). And true love actually prevails for one cast member after a mind bogging act of self sacrifice by another who entered the story in book one and has not been seen since.
THE LORD OF THE RINGS is unique and will go down in history as one of the finest tales ever penned. But is it really a fantasy epic? Could it be more accurately described as the search for truth, a test of friendship between two innocent and young souls, who were tasked by fate and happenstance with the most unreasonable and terrifying quest imagineable? I have talked before now of characters in this work of art not being who they are set out to be, but this argument could well be applied to the book as a whole.
And in closing, maybe the Lord Of the Ring is not Sauron after all, but the one who has the strength of character, patience and the truest heart that will hold out against temptation long enough to complete an act which most players in this game (of thrones) think unimaginable.
Happy reading, fellow book lovers. May you read this story, and may it’s beauty remain in your hearts, your minds and your souls forever.
Yes, there's a lot of tension in "The Return of the King," the brilliant, rich conclusion to J.R.R. Tolkien's epic fantasy saga. And rather than cheaping out with a "and they all lived happily ever after," Tolkien gives his saga's finale a bittersweet edge, along with plenty of wild battles and good vs. evi..
Gandalf has ridden to the city of Gondor with Pippin (partly to keep him out of trouble), where the forces of Mordor are attacking. There is upheaval in the city itself, as the steward of Gondor is going nuts. Merry pledges his service to King Theoden of Rohan, not knowing what is ahead for the king and his relatives. And Aragorn is seeking out allies to fight Sauron on a military scale, even if they can't defeat him unless the Ring is destroyed. His search will take him to tribes of forest-dwellers, to Gondor -- and even to summon an army of the dead.
In Mordor, the unconscious Frodo has been captured by Sauron's orcs, and taken to the fortress of Cirith Ungol. Sam is desperate to free his friend, but knows that he can't take on an army, and that Frodo would want him to finish the quest. Sam manages to free Frodo from captivity, but they must still brave more dangers before they can come to Mount Doom, the only place where the Ring can be destroyed. As they travel Sam sees Frodo slipping further and further into the Ring's grasp. Will Frodo be able to destroy the Ring?
Usually, the climax of an epic adventure is a disappointment. "Return of the King" succeeds in almost every way, wrapping up each individual storyline, one by one. The ending has a feeling of finality; this is one story that could never have a sequel; Tolkien shows that in a war like this, there is no true "happy ending." Even if the good guys win, there will still be scarring, and death, and haunting memories of what once happened. And even if a person survives, he will never be the same.
This is the grimmest of the three books in this trilogy. Frodo and Sam are stuck in the vividly horrific Mordor, while the city of Minas Tirith is on the verge of completely crumbling. Tolkien does a phenomenal job of exploring the madness, despair, rage and sorrow that accompany a war, and the way it can affect even the idyllic Shire. And he doesn't forget the slow period of healing that follows -- for people, for civilizations, and even for nature.
Though a section of the book near the end descends into near-biblical prose, which changes post-Gondor, Tolkien does not waver in his ability to evoke emotion. One of the most touching scenes in the book is when Sam finds Frodo naked, unconscious and being beaten by an orc. Others include Merry's farewell to Theoden, Eowyn's slaying of the Witch-King, and of course the bittersweet final scene.
Speaking of Frodo, this trilogy's hero is almost unrecognizable in parts of this book. The bright, naive young hobbit of the first book has been worn down to a pale shadow of himself. As he grows increasingly attached to the Ring, we even see him doing what seems unimaginable: threatening Sam with a dagger. Sam has come a long way from the shy young hobbit who couldn't say a word around the High Elves -- now he's attacking orcs and carrying Frodo to Mount Doom.
And the supporting characters are not neglected either, with the younger hobbits being exposed to the horrors of war, Aragorn breaking fully into his role as the future king of Gondor, and passionate war-maiden Eowyn affecting the war as nobody else could. Some much-loved characters are lost, and others will be permanently changed.
The story doesn't really end on the last page; for more background, especially on Aragorn and Arwen, readers should also read the appendices at the end of the book. Another good addition is "The End of the Third Age," in which the unpublished epilogue of this book can be found. Though this is probably not canonical, it nicely concludes the story and is a heartwarming look at what happens in the years following "Return of the King."
It's difficult, once the story has finished, to accept that one has to say goodbye to Middle-Earth and its enchanting inhabitants. But as Gandalf says, "I will not say: do not weep; for not all tears are an evil."
In the final volume the two main story lines reach their common end. The hobbits Frodo and Sam have been slowly working their way toward the volcano deep in Mordor where the ring can be destroyed. The other main characters and their allies converge by diverse paths on the city Gondor, where they will stand without hope against Sauron's invading armies. No matter what the outcome, there will be some who will not see each other again.
This book is necessary if you have read the first two volumes. In fact, it would take tremendous will power not to read it to see how the story ends. A warning if this is your first time through the trilogy. After finishing this book many readers experience a lingering melancholy, a sense of loss for a time. This seems to be only partially due to the story's events. Having traveled, suffered, and grown with the characters, you may miss them. There isn't any easy way to dispel this feeling. In time it will fade.
This piece is a fitting finale to the famous Tolkien trilogy. The entire series' received accolade is well-deserved.
Top reviews from other countries
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 19 February 2021
In this version of the book, it has a wonderful cover design which draws on the story itself and beautifully depicts the white tree of Gondor. As this is part of a set, it also has a sleeve design which when placed together with the other books in this set forms one of the most prominent images from the three books, the white tree of Gondor. A well crafted cover, with maps featuring inside the sleeves, I would recommend this version of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King to any one who wishes to own their own version of this masterpiece.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 9 December 2021
A stupendous ending to the series. Brilliantly written and full of characters the reader comes to care about as the story unfolds.
A masterpiece of literature and one I highly recommend.