The Return of the King, by J.R.R. Tolkien

Thus concludes the trilogy of The Lord of the rings, though it ends quite differently than in the movies. The movie, of course, ends (more or less) with the destruction of the Ring, but that event takes place only two-thirds of the way through the book. After, we travel with the hobbits to witness the crowning of Aragorn and the end, finally, of Saruman. I like that Tolkien gave such thought to the fact that life could not have possibly gone right back to normal after the destruction of the Ring; so many books end at the climax but give no space to the rebuilding that must come after. Tolkien's is a more complete method of storytelling, I believe.

The one major complaint I have with the series is the lack of attention given to women. There are only two women of any import in the entire story, and only one is human. Eowyn seems, on the outset, to be a rich character due to her desire to fight for her people as the men do, but this is later revealed as the emotional reaction of a spurned woman. Though she practically saves the day, she is soon relegated to the role of wife. All other great deeds are performed by males, though they often use tools given to them by women to complete their tasks. Woman's role is to inspire, but it's not enough to make one forget how few there are in the entire work.


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