Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Return of the King (The Lord of the Rings, #3)” as Want to Read:
The Return of the King (The Lord of the Rings, #3)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Return of the King

(The Lord of the Rings #3)

4.52  ·  Rating details ·  600,246 ratings  ·  8,404 reviews
Alternate cover edition here.

The Companions of the Ring have become involved in separate adventures as the quest continues. Aragorn, revealed as the hidden heir of the ancient Kings of the West, joined with the Riders of Rohan against the forces of Isengard, and took part in the desperate victory of the Hornburg. Merry and Pippin, captured by Orcs, escaped into Fangorn For
...more
Mass Market Paperback, Media Tie-In Edition, 490 pages
Published 2003 by Del Rey (first published October 20th 1955)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Return of the King, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Yelp! Dear Linh,

I have a possible answer. Namely, in heroic literature, such as the Lord of the Rings, and in classic literature in general, authors always…more
Dear Linh,

I have a possible answer. Namely, in heroic literature, such as the Lord of the Rings, and in classic literature in general, authors always strive towards some kind of moral symmetry. Sins must be atoned for, and the proper form of atonement for the gravest sins is a hero's death. Boromir had to die for his sins, and (if you've read the Hobbit) so did Thorin Oakenshield.

Frodo committed serious sins by the end of the story, as the ring overpowered him and he coveted it for himself and himself alone. However, it seems that Tolkien could not simply kill him off. Not because he is the main protagonist, but because he is such an unlikely protagonist - a hobbit willing to go into the very mouths of hell to save his friends - and if in this he was overpowered - so what! So, we cannot just kill him off.

However, the "Undying Lands", while not death (in fact, the opposite) do represent a departure from this world. So, for Frodo the atonement is not merely complete, it is actually transformed in to a reward. He sinned, but the burden was not meant for him, and in taking it on voluntarily (and playing a large part in quite literally saving the world) he went farther than anyone could have expected. The departure must take place, that is the way of things, and the scales of justice must find balance in all things, but for Frodo, punishment is turned into reward - and this reward must be accepted, or the scales will not find their balance.

Please tell me what you think of this interpretation!

Yelp!(less)
Ethan It is not necessary to read them but it provides much backstory and also what happens after the books. I would suggest that you do read them.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
4.52  · 
Rating details
 ·  600,246 ratings  ·  8,404 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
mark monday
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

a rousing climax to the most ravishing love story of the modern age. tempestuous, tormented Frodo at long last learns to accept the love of his lifemate - the loyal and submissive Samwise Gamgee, bottom-extraordinaire. this is truly a tale of love's labour hard-won, and at such a cost! but love conquers all in the end, and even bitter, militantly hetero villain Sauron cannot stand in the heart's path for too long. in this third book of the torrid trilogy, Frodo's love-hate relationship
...more
Sean Barrs the Bookdragon
Tolkien is the master of world building. With his writing comes generations of detailed history and lore. Middle Earth did not simply spring up overnight. Instead it is firmly established with the most thorough groundwork that is simply unmatched. And here his epic trilogy comes to an end. I’ve read it many times over the years, and reviewing it is no easy task. So, like my reviews of the first two books, I’ve picked out ten things I really love about the book. Spoilers ahead.

1.The blade that w
...more
Mike (the distracted librarian)
EXTENDED EDITION MOVIES MARATHON TIME!!!!!! 😍😃😃😃 my place at 5 am. Bring snacks.

❗Note: there are much more scholarly reviews available out there, so if that interests you, I would refer you to reviews like this one:
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...
or the official Tolkien Society: https://www.tolkiensociety.org/
That being said, I hope my layman approach is enjoyable for most 😉

Aragorn: "For Frodo."


Holy Gimli son of Glóin, I loved this book! Tolkien is a demigod when it comes to worldbuildin
...more
Alejandro
The last stand for the control of Middle-Earth!


I WENT TO MIDDLE-EARTH AND ALL I GOT WAS THIS CRUMMY RING

That’s the message in a t-shirt that I got in a tourism travel (and I still have it!). I thought that it was appropiate to begin my review about the third part and final of Lord of the Rings.

All that fuzz about a ring that can turn you invisible? You may think, but that was the least of its properties. Its major use was being able to control of the rest of ring-bearers with it, and if you
...more
Alex
Nov 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The Return of the King is the last installment of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Can the companions defeat the power of Sauron? Will there be peace in the land of Middle-earth once more, or shall the darkness overpower the world?

I want to write an amazing review for this series, because it deserves the best. I don't know if it will be amazing, but I will try. Tolkien made a wonderful world, and an epic journey across the beautiful Middle-earth. How amazing it was to walk side-by-side with the co
...more
Hannah Greendale
The Return of the King takes about a hundred pages to sink one's teeth into, but persevering is worth it for the glint of sunrise on a victorious maiden's hair, for the show of willpower against all odds in the eleventh hour, and for the golden bloom of a happy ending.
James
Book Review
4 of 5 stars to The Return of the King, the third book in the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, written in 1955, by J.R.R. Tolkien. After reading the first two books in this series, how can you not finish it with this one? I knocked them back between 9th and 10th grades, loving every minute of the imagination and struggle between good and evil. When I got this this final one, I already knew I'd be sad to say goodbye to all the characters I'd fallen hardcore for over the 1500 pages betw
...more
Paul E. Morph
Well, I've come to the end of the road once more... This was my tenth reading of Tolkien's saga of Middle Earth (the first time I visited was in 1986) and it's pointless trying to write a balanced review of my favourite books. Suffice it to say that these books are a part of me; written into my DNA, if you like, and I love them dearly.
I'll be back in a year or two, Bagginses, to do it all over again...

Buddy read with Sunshine Seaspray.

-------------------------------------------------

And I did co
...more
Stephen
Jun 05, 2010 rated it really liked it
***NEW LAWSUIT UPDATE BELOW (6-30-11)...Lone reviewer continues fight with corporate ASSCLOWNS powers in epic 1st Amendment battle royale.***

4.0 stars. FULL REVIEW (hopefully) to follow after resolution of the lawsuit* filed against this reviewer in the District Court of Narnia by, among others: 20th Century Fucks Fox, Lucasfilms, the Tolkien Estate and Robert Van Winkle (aka Vanilla AsshatIce) in order to prevent the release of an allegedly offensive but in reality just knee-slappingly funny PA
...more
Jason Koivu
Nov 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ah, The Return of the King. The end of a sweeping epic, one which held me firmly in its grasp as a child and still holds a place in my heart as an adult.

Everything is in motion and actually coming to an end almost from the first page of this last book in the trilogy. Frodo is ever so close to completing his quest. Aragon, Gandalf and the others are nearly at the end of their rope. Indeed, the end is nigh!

But this is not a quick finish. Tolkien dragged things out. There is a mini-battle after th
...more
J.G. Keely
Writers who inspire a genre are usually misunderstood. Tolkien's reasons for writing were completely unlike those of the authors he inspired. He didn't have an audience, a genre, and scores of contemporaries. There was a tradition of high adventure fairy tales, as represented by Eddison, Dunsany, Morris, MacDonald, Haggard, and Kipling, but this was only part of what inspired Tolkien.

His writing was chiefly influenced by his familiarity with the mythological traditions of the Norse and Welsh cul
...more
Anish Kohli
“So we come to it in the end, the great battle of our time, in which many things shall pass away. But at least there is no longer need for hiding. The board is set, and the pieces are moving. And now all realms shall be put to the test, to stand, or fall – under the Shadow.”
People: *looking at the 3 star rating causes wincing and face spasms* What fuckery is this? You rated Tolkien 3 damn stars?
Anish: Guys, take it easy! This book was...
People: You rated the last one 4 stars bcz of that
...more
Jonathan
Feb 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing
A Review of Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, by Sauron

[Oprah Winfrey voice-over]: We all remember him. Sauron, the displaced Lord of the Rings. Once feared by millions, Sauron has been living in relative squalor in what he prefers to remain an undisclosed location.

[Video shows unidentified heap of garbage behind a Wal-mart. In front stands a mailbox with the word "Nameless Enemy" printed on the front. The flag is down.]

[applause]

Oprah: Today, we'll be joined by someone that many of you kn
...more
Lyndz
Jun 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: witches-wizards


Well, there really IS no greater compliment...
K.D. Absolutely
Aug 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: 501 Must Read Books; 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2006-2010); TFG100 Most Favorite Books; Time 100; Metalist 100 by Newsweek; Guardian's 100
What else can I say? I enjoyed all these three books included in
The Lord of the Rings

The Fellowship of the Ring (The Lord of the Rings, #1) by J.R.R. Tolkien (5 STARS), The Two Towers (The Lord of the Rings, #2) by J.R.R. Tolkien (5 STARS) and now
The Return of the King (The Lord of the Rings, #3) by J.R.R. Tolkien(5 STARS).

It has the most tight interesting plot, memorable characters and universal unending theme: the triumph of good over evil. In fact, in the closing scene of the book, Frodo gives the book he wrote to Sam, the world's greatest gardener. The title of the book is The Downfall of the Lord of the Rings and the Return of the King. The "lord" refers to the evil king Sauron
...more
Liz
Is it even possible to review a legend? To write a review about a completely different and unique world?

It is not. It is just not possible.
Just imagine writing a review about our world, about all the countries and cities and cultures and all the wars. It would simply be too long and too difficult.

What I can say about this book is that the epic journey finally came to an end.
The Fellowship had to fight bloody, hopeless fights, it had to survive epic battles and it found friends where friends
...more
J. Treader
Mar 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018
Heck yeah! I’ve read The Lord of the Rings!

*buys a sword*
Kerri
Feb 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A perfect final volume to an epic adventure. I came to love the characters dearly and was sad to finish the story in many ways. The last chapter in particular was very emotional.
James
Apr 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
‘The Lord of the Rings’: John Ronald Reuel Tolkien’s three volume masterpiece comprising ‘The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers and The Return of the King’ – is quite simply a literary, artistic and intellectual creation and achievement of epic and monumental proportions.

The stories that J. R. R. Tolkien has crafted to produce ‘The Lord of the Rings’ feel as though they have been carved out of stone. Tolkien’s creation of another world – Middle Earth, its history, its legends and the storie
...more
Bradley
Ah, at long last, I finished my fifth or sixth reread of The Return of the King, marveling at just how unstated Peter Jackson's tongue-in-cheek faux endings were in comparison with the real thing.

Ah yes! The action is definitely glorious in both! The emotions brilliant! Wave after wave of battle, failure, regrouping, and last minute saves are fantastic in both the novel and the movie, but what staggers my imagination is not the end of Sauron, the unmaking of the One Ring, or how it came to pass.
...more
Will Byrnes
Nov 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing
The conclusion to my favorite series of all time. Will Frodo be able to complete his mission? Will such completion cost him his life? Can Middle Earth be saved? Ok. I know. You've seen the wonderful Peter Jackson films. But there is nothing like reading it for yourself. It is the difference in feeling between seeing it on TV and being there. Read the trilogy. Be there. You won't regret it.
Merphy Napier
Dec 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: classics, adult, fantasy
here's the video where I did a review https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EOsui...
Johann (jobis89)
Jun 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
"I will not say: do not weep; for not all tears are an evil."

You know the drill - Sam and Frodo are on their way to Mordor to try and destroy the ring, but not without a companion lurking in the shadows... The armies of the Dark Lord are massing in an epic battle for Middle Earth... it's all come down to this!

And so my journey through Middle Earth has ended *cue hysterical crying*. Revisiting both The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings this year was a great decision - I'll be revisiting Hogwarts in a
...more
Glenn Sumi
My First Journey Through Middle-earth Cometh To An End (a.k.a., Hey Folks, I Made It There And Back Again!)



Wow. I did it! I journeyed over some 1200 pages, met strange creatures, witnessed real magic, wept, gasped, laughed, moaned, yawned (occasionally), and by the end of it all felt as exhausted and grateful as Sam and Frodo dragging their precious, burdensome cargo to Mount Doom.

Herewith, as in my reviews of the two previous volumes, are some observations from a Tolkien novice. Please excuse
...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
494. The Lord of The Rings: The Return of the King, J.R.R. Tolkien
The Return of the King: Sauron sends a great army against Gondor. Gandalf arrives at Minas Tirith to warn Denethor of the attack, while Théoden musters the Rohirrim to ride to Gondor's aid. Minas Tirith is besieged. Denethor is deceived by Sauron and falls into despair. He burns himself alive on a pyre, nearly taking his son Faramir with him. Aragorn, accompanied by Legolas, Gimli and the Rangers of the North, takes the Paths of t
...more
Roly Chuter
May 16, 2007 rated it did not like it
I’m sure glad Stevie didn’t bother to read this one:
Sam and Frodo wake up in some swamp/heath/mountain pass
Frodo: We’re lost, oh its awful, I’m hungry, we only have 3 pieces of elfin bread left
Sam: Don’t worry Frodo I’m here for you, you have the bread
Sam and Frodo walk around a bit looking dirty and lost and miserable
Frodo: oh the ring, it’s so heavy, how will I cope?
Golem: Myyy presssciousss [and all that nonsense]
Sam: Don’t worry you have a nice sleep, things’ll look better in the morning you
...more
R.K. Gold
Jan 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
So I loved this book but it really just dragged on. I mean of the Lord of the Rings series, this was probably my least favorite. The climax felt incredibly short, as did the battle and the ring was destroyed less than three-quarters of the way through. There was an incredibly long journey after the destruction of the ring following the hobbits' recoveries and their return home.

below are spoilers

I also felt like the fight when they returned to the Shire was rushed, and I'm not entirely sure abou
...more
Cecily
I’ve read the three volumes of LotR more than once, and seen the three films often enough that I sometimes forget what was in (or not in) which.


“One does not simply mix up movie and book quotes”

But there’s one huge difference that burned deep: Peter Jackson omitted the penultimate chapter, The Scouring of the Shire (bar a fleeting vision of a possible future in Galadriel’s mirror). That totally changes the context of the final chapter. I prefer Tolkien’s version. (I also regret that Jackson omi
...more
Brian
Dec 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
2019 Update, Seven:
Seventh time I've departed from the fellowship. My heart bursting with living flames. Such sweet sadness.

2018 Update, Sixth Read:
-Imagine your worst experiences in life, the most horrible feelings you've felt, or the most excruciating suffering you've gone through. Multiply that by ten, and you will feel the demonic power of the winged Nazgul bringing "the Black Breath."
-Loved the battle with Eowyn and the Witch King of Angmar. She laughed! Imagine that. Such intense, ferociou
...more
Manny
As a German, I am still a pre-teen, and I had to read the last volume of the German edition of The Lord of the Rings as a pre-teen. I am not sensitive enough to the nuances of language to be able to comment on the interesting debate about this new translation, which excited many people's passions on both sides when the book came out in 2000. Though I did find the translator's brief afterword very interesting. I loved his elegant apology to Margaret Carroux, the original German translator, where ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter, #7)
  • Lord of the Flies
  • Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There (Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, #2)
  • Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Novels and Stories, Volume II
  • Watership Down (Watership Down, #1)
  • A Wrinkle in Time (Time Quintet, #1)
  • The Handmaid's Tale
  • His Dark Materials (His Dark Materials #1-3)
  • Dragons of Spring Dawning (Dragonlance: Chronicles, #3)
  • The One Tree (The Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, #2)
  • In the Hall of the Dragon King (The Dragon King, #1)
  • Castle of Wizardry (The Belgariad, #4)
  • Reaper Man (Discworld, #11; Death, #2)
  • The Search for the Red Dragon (The Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica, #2)
  • A Storm of Swords: Steel and Snow (A Song of Ice and Fire, #3: Part 1 of 2)
  • Deryni Rising (The Chronicles of the Deryni #1)
  • Magician: Apprentice (The Riftwar Saga, #1)
  • Anna Karenina
See similar books…
54,081 followers
John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, CBE was an English writer, poet, WWI veteran (a First Lieutenant in the Lancashire Fusiliers, British Army), philologist, and university professor, best known as the author of the high fantasy classic works The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings .

Tolkien was Rawlinson and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford from 1925 to 1945, and Merton Professor of English lang
...more

Other books in the series

The Lord of the Rings (3 books)
  • The Fellowship of the Ring (The Lord of the Rings, #1)
  • The Two Towers (The Lord of the Rings, #2)
“I will not say: do not weep; for not all tears are an evil.” 4860 likes
“I am glad you are here with me. Here at the end of all things, Sam.” 2889 likes
More quotes…