By J.R.R. Tolkien
Houghton Mifflin Company, 277 pp, 1954
This series just keeps getting better. The
second book was better than the first, and this one is best of all. It's
also the shortest.
I won't say much about this book, mainly
because so much has been said in the fifty years it's been in publication.
It picks up where The Two Towers leaves off, with Gandalf and Pippin at
Minas Tirith, dealing with the crazy lord of Gondor and the hordes of
Sauron. Aragor, Legolas, and Gimli are trying to get to Minas Tirith, and
Aragorn decides they must travel through the very cool-sounding Paths of
the Dead, where Aragorn will summon an army of zombies. Sam rescues Frodo
from the orcs and they continue their journey through Mordor, with the
ring weighing even heavier on Frodor and Gollum shadowing their every
So that's the book. It's slow at first,
then picks up with the siege of Gondor. After that, it's all battles and
fighting. Very exciting.
What's most interesting to me is what
they're going to do with the upcoming movie. The Two Towers ended before
the book did, so this last film has a lot of ground to cover. I imagine it
will skip the drawn-out ending, with Frodo, Sam, Pippen, and Merry
liberating the shire, and then Frodo, Gandalf, and some elves leaving
Middle-Earth on a ship (an odd ending, I thought).
The movie also must be PG-13, which will
also be interesting because this is a fairly gory book. We've got zombie
armies and severed heads flying around, folks. How do you portray that in
a movie and not get tagged with an R rating? But if they leave it out,
Tolkien readers (including your truly) will be disappointed.
Like I said, it should be interesting. But
never forget this. As good as the movies are, the books are always better,
and this case is not an exception. If you like the movies, you'll like the
books even more.