I am now done with the entire story of the hobbits. Overall, I have enjoyed the books more than the movie. Here’s what I have to say about The Return of the King:
I found the characters in the book seem a lot more hopeless than in the movie. I mean, the movie does a good job of showing the despair of the city Minis Tirith, but the book really shows it much better. I found myself at times forgetting that I already knew the ending and that most of the characters would be fine. Speaking of already knowing the story, I kept waiting for the part where Gollum tricks Frodo into thinking that The Fat Hobbit has eaten the bread. It’s not in the books – they added that for the movie.
In “The Scouring of the Shire”, which was left out of the movie, I felt it was a huge allegory about the failures of communism as implemented by Russia and other countries. (As opposed to communism the theory which should be an awesome world) Lotho and Sharkey have instituted a policy where they confiscate the goods from the Hobbits and claim this is so that they can be shared amongst all. Yet the only people who end up getting the goods are Lotho, Sharkey, and their cronies. Similarly, during the “Golden Age” of communism, the state would collect everything for redistribution, but only the Party Members got access to the high quality goods.
I wonder if it was a very barely concealed hint that the Elves and their companions went to Heaven as they went to a place called Haven and then they were able to live forever.
Other than Tom Bombadil, the only thing that I didn’t like over the course of the series was the way the author dealt with the story temporally. Instead of going from character to character in each paragraph or chapter, as most authors do, he would go an entire ridiculously large amount of chapters with one set of characters and then go back and start again with other characters. Although he provided some hints, this made it really hard for me to see when things were happening. For example, when Frodo was being bitten by Shelob, what was happening with the battle in Gondor and so forth. Perhaps that’s just the way books were written back then.
Finally, I found it a bit confusing that everyone had a ton of names. For example Strider, Elfstone, Aragon, and something of the Dunedain are all the same person. Gandolf is often called Mithrandyl (or something like that) and it makes it a bit harder to keep track of what’s going on.
In the end, I’m glad I read it and spent the money on it.