The Return of the King – J.R.R. Tolkien

Return of the KingReading level: 9
Series: Book 3 of The Lord of the Rings series
Genre: Fantasy, adventure,
ELL-Friendly: No
Library recommendation: High school

Well, I’ve finished The Lord of the Rings series. It was a good ride, but this series just wasn’t for me. Most people absolutely love these books, the movies, and the story in general, and that’s great. But I couldn’t really get into it. There’s nothing inappropriate (except orc killing and whatnot) so I’ll definitely put it on my classroom shelves. The reading level says 9th grade, but there are hundreds of words I didn’t know and that my dictionary didn’t know either. It’s a difficult read.

Not until about a quarter of the way through this book did I realize how to read this series: skip all the crazy names and places. Don’t even try to remember who those random people are or where those places are located. Not important. I was spending way too much time beating myself up about not understanding made-up words for people and places. I suppose I just committed LOTR heresy or something.

There’s a lot of LOTR in the Harry Potter series. For example, Wormtongue is like Wormtale, both bad guys are called the Dark Lord, and both Harry and Frodo let their enemies live (Wormtale/Peter Pettigrew and Sauroman, respectively). I’ll always be a Harry Potter gal. 🙂

In my review of The Fellowship of the Ring, I whined a bit about the lack of women. There are some awesome women in the series as it goes on, but Eowyn was the awesomest. Or so I thought. She went into battle against her father’s wishes, killed an evil thingy, refused to sit idle, put Faramir in his place…and then became all submissive. Whaaat?! Allow me to explain.

After Faramir and Eowyn are hurt in battle and are recovering, Faramir is all, “I’m sad.”

And Eoywn is like, “How come? Can I help?”

And Faramir’s all, “You’re so beautiful. And fair and bright. And pretty.”

Then Eoywn is AWESOME and says, “Alas, not me, lord! Shadow lies on me still. Look not to me for healing! I am a shieldmaiden and my hand is ungentle. But I thank you for this at least, that I need not keep to my chamber…” And then she walks away.

A little bit later, Faramir confesses his love for Eowyn and all of a sudden she’s on board. She says, “Then must I leave my own people, man of Gondor? And would you have your proud folk say of you: ‘There goes a lord who tamed a wild shieldmaiden of the North! Was there no woman of the race of Numenor to choose?”‘

So she turns her “wild shieldmaiden” into something negative, something that must be tamed. I’m just going to end this post here…

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