Middle Earth Challenge: The Return of the King

Pippin: I didn’t think it would end this way. Gandalf: End? No, the journey doesn’t end here. Death is just another path, one that we all must take. The grey rain-curtain of this world rolls back, and all turns to silver glass, and then you see it. Pippin: What? Gandalf? See what?Gandalf: White shores, and beyond, a far green country under a swift sunrise. Pippin: Well, that isn’t so bad. Gandalf: No. No, it isn’t.Gandalf and Pippin speaking in Minas Tirith

So here we are. At the end of all things. This has to be one of my favorite and random challenges I’ve started for myself. I think I originally started this to keep myself busy while I was stuck at home because of Covid-19. Also from helping the kids with their school work and fixing things around the house. I had a lot of downtime on my hands.. A lot…..

I have to say this adventure had a surprising out comes. The number people I’ve met while writing about these was fantastic. Made a few new friends and not to mention the knowledge about the Middle Earth has grown 10 fold. While I had a good knowledge base before, this help me have a better understanding about the this world in novels and film. I have found myself growing rather attached to these characters and the Middle Earth as whole. So there is an element of sadness knowing that this is the end of the challenge. Oh sure I can revisit the novels again or watch the movies. But it’ll be different. It’s hard to explain how or why, just is.

I have to say by diving into the Middle Earth, it has given me a number of ideas for campaigns for D&D and/or events within’ the game. It has help develop my storytelling ability and have a better understanding on how to make a backstory for characters. but I am getting off topic here.

before I get into the The Return of the King, I have made a top 10 list of my challenge to share with you. Also make a list of links for the videos that I have shared in addition to this challenge.


Here are some links that have helped me on long my adventure through out the Middle Earth.

First we have History of the Ages. They were called History of the Middle Earth not that long ago. but do to copyright laws, they had to change their name to History of the Ages. The work these guys do is awesome and fun to watch. In addition to the Middle Earth history videos, they make fan made movies and readings from the books.

Description: History of the Ages is a channel dedicated to everything Tolkien Lore, here we have videos based on Middle Earth Lore and answering some interesting questions regarding The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, The Silmarillion and more!! If you’re a fan of Tolkien then please subscribe and help us build our Middle Earth community!! We are sure you will not regret it! If you want to support our channel, please head to our Patreon page and consider becoming a Patron! 🙂 https://www.patreon.com/historyoftheages Also we have our own official website too! https://www.historyoftheages.co.uk All content falls under fair use: any copying of copyrighted material done for a limited and “transformative” purpose, such as to comment upon, criticize, or parody a copyrighted work. Such uses can be done without permission from the copyright owner. Huge thanks to all artists of Tolkien’s world.

Second on the list we have Lore of the Rings. This another group I used a few times for this quest.

Description: This channel is dedicated to Tolkien’s Legendarium. I investigate the rich and abundant world of Arda, Lore of the Rings is a channel dedicated to the exploration of Middle-Earth. My goal is to share Tolkien’s world to the masses and to give a mere representation of his works. I hope you find my content enjoyable and enriching. Subscribe now to explore the legendarium together with me.

Third we have Rosenthal z.s.. They make soundtracks and best known for the Horn of Gondor: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack Music Composed by Petr Kubelik

Forth the Independent Online Cinema group.

Description: Independent Online Cinema is a London based filmed entertainment production and distribution platform known for creating hugely popular fantasy, sci-fi and children’s films including The Hunt for Gollum. IOC was founded in 2009 by British film director Chris Bouchard to release ‘The Hunt for Gollum’ in partnership with YouTube. After millions of views, the channel went on to premiere another popular LOTR fan film ‘Born of Hope’ by Kate Madison. Bouchard since co-directed The Little Mermaid 2018 starring Shirley MacLaine and Madison created the award winning fantasy web-series Ren: The Girl with the Mark. IOC now develops and creates high quality and ambitious independent fantasy films and TV shows, as well as supporting high quality independent films from around the Internet. http://www.independentonlinecinema.com http://thehuntforgollum.com http://bornofhope.com http://rentheseries.com Founded by film producer Chris Bouchard: http://chrisbouchard.co.uk

Fifth group, we have Nerd of the Rings.

Description: Sharing a passion for all things Tolkien! On Nerd of the Rings, I’ll post videos explaining characters and concepts from Middle-earth history, video essays, gaming, DIY, Amazon LOTRonPrime series updates, dramatic readings, and more! If you love the Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, the Silmarillion, the books, the movies, the music – any and all of Middle-earth, please subscribe and join me in this adventure! I am honored to share this love of Tolkien with such excellent and admirable hobbits! All content falls under fair use: any copying of copyrighted material is done for a limited, educational and “transformative” purpose, such as to comment upon, criticize, or parody a copyrighted work. Such uses can be done without permission from the copyright owner. Thank you so much to all the artists who do such amazing work inspired by Tolkien’s world! If your art is featured in a video, please let me know and I would love to post your name in the description of the video!

Sixth we have the last, but not least the Nerd Cookies group.

Description: In-depth analysis and coverage of new and old Science Fiction and Fantasy entertainment. Twitter: @Nerd_Cookies

If you find your self wanting to know more about the Middle Earth would check out any of these guys. Most of the videos are no more than 5 minutes, some are up to 15 minutes long. That is you don’t want to read the novels and other website for the information. but at any rate, we have now come to the main point of this post. The Return of the King… From day one I knew I was going to make this novel my end game to this challenge. With the Hobbit being the beginning of it all.

Now if you haven’t read the book or watched the movies. Please stop reading this post. SPOILERS AHEAD!!!!

As the Shadow of Mordor grows across the land, the Companions of the Ring have become involved in separate adventures. Aragorn, revealed as the hidden heir of the ancient Kings of the West, has joined with the Riders of Rohan against the forces of Isengard, and takes part in the desperate victory of the Hornburg. Merry and Pippin, captured by Orcs, escape into Fangorn Forest and there encounter the Ents. Gandalf has miraculously returned and defeated the evil wizard, Saruman. Sam has left his master for dead after a battle with the giant spider, Shelob; but Frodo is still alive — now in the foul hands of the Orcs.
And all the while the armies of the Dark Lord are massing as the One Ring draws ever nearer to the Cracks of Doom.

Gandalf delivers news to Denethor, Steward of Gondor, that war is coming. Gandalf along with Pippi, who enters the service of Denethor. Aragorn, with his courage and leadership, proves to be a worthy ruler of men. He starts his quest to find a lost army of men now dead and entrapped in a curse given long ago for their own disobedience. In a place known as the Paths of the Dead. Remnants of the Fellowship lead the forces of Gondor and Rohan in defence of Gondor’s capital city. Minas Tirith, resulting in the Battle of the Pelennor Fields. Those characters who manage to survive the battle are led by Aragorn on an assuredly suicidal feint-attack against the Black Gates of Mordor. A plan was laid out to partly distract Sauron from defending his other borders, so that Frodo and Sam can gain passage into Mordor. Aragorn’s company now surrounds the Black Gates of the Morannon exchanging words with the Mouth of Sauron.

Sam Gamgee (for a short time had himself become the ring-bearer) enables the long-suffering Frodo to navigate the barren wasteland of Mordor. For part of the way, they are captured by a company of Orcs and must pretend to be orcs before they are able to escape. The company, tired and half-alive, finally reaches the Crack of Doom, where the One Ring is destroyed along with Gollum, freeing Middle-earth from Sauron’s power forever. This happens when Frodo at the last moment decides to keep the ring rather than destroy it, and is attacked by Gollum who bites off Frodo’s finger to take the ring, trips, and falls into the lava while still holding the ring. Frodo and Sam are rescued by the giant eagles whom Gandalf rides to Mount Doom. After Sauron is defeated, his armies at the black gates flee.

Aragorn now crowned King of Gondor at Minas Tirith. After a series of goodbyes, the Hobbits return home, only to find the Shire under the control of ‘Sharkey’ who they find out is Saruman, diminished in power but not in malevolence. Now in the movie Saruman was killed in the beginning of the film. In fact, Saruman does not appear in the theatrical cut of The Return of the King. It was Treebeard who suggests that the fallen wizard’s power is no more.Now in the extended edition, Gandalf, Aragorn, Théoden, Gimli, Merry and Pippin confront Saruman in Isengard at the beginning of the film. Gandalf wishes to interrogate Saruman, but Gríma stabs Saruman at the pinnacle of Orthanc. As Saruman falls to his death, he drops the Palantir. Now in the novel, Merry and Pippin, now experienced warriors of Rohan and Gondor respectively, take the lead in setting things right again, and lead an uprising of hobbits against Saruman, freeing the shire.

The Shire heals, sadly not Frodo does not. Eventually Frodo departs for the Undying Lands to find healing, along with Bilbo Baggins, Gandalf and the Elves. Sam, Merry and Pippin watch them depart and return home in silence. Sam is greeted by his wife Rose and his daughter Elanor. The last line spoken in this book Sam says to Rose;

“Well, I’m back”.

The differences between the novel and the film:

A sequence that did not make it from the book into the film at all despite the hopes of many fans, was the “Scouring of the Shire”, in which the Hobbits return home at the end of their quest to find they have some fighting to do, owing to Saruman’s takeover of the Shire. Jackson felt that it would tax the audience’s patience to mount another battle scene after the critical conflict, the defeat of Sauron, had already been resolved.

Several changes can be found in the scenes encompassing the Siege of Minas Tirith. In the film Denethor loses his mind and tells everyone to run for their lives, and Gandalf knocks him unconscious and rallies the defense of Minas Tirith. This did not happen in the book.

The Witch-King never broke Gandalf’s staff in the book, and there was never any indication that Gandalf feared him in the least.

The pyre scene in the book involved Gandalf’s rescuing Faramir, and Denethor’s revealing the Palantir before burning himself. The film gives a more violent depiction, in which Gandalf physically assaults Denethor so that Pippin can pull Faramir off the pyre. Denethor tries to stop him, but Gandalf has Shadowfax kick Denethor into the flames. Before he dies, Denethor actually sees Faramir regain consciousness. Denethor is somehow able to run all the way to the peak of Minas Tirith and jump to his death. Denethor never reveals the Palantir itself, although he makes a clear reference to it with the line “… the eyes of the White Tower…” in an earlier scene.

The Army of the Dead have an expanded role, including their leader the King of the Dead. The Dead not only defeat the Corsairs of Umbar, but follow Aragorn all the way to Minas Tirith and abruptly end the Battle of the Pelennor Fields. The extended edition shows the Dead destroying their city, presumably because they have no further need of it.

The Mouth of Sauron is decapitated by Aragorn, which is ironic given that the Mouth claimed to the right not to be assailed in the book, as he was an emissary. Gandalf also assured him of no harm.

Gollum does not topple over the edge of the precipice in Mount Doom. Instead, Frodo attacks him in an attempt to regain the One Ring, which results in both of them falling over the edge, with Gollum and the Ring dissolving in the lava and Frodo being saved by Sam.

The Return of the King was always one of my favorite parts of the story. Originally Tolkien wrote it as one story. But it was the publishers that broke it up into three different parts. This has been a lot of fun and I am looking forward to the upcoming Amazon show about the First/Second Age of the Middle Earth. There are so many stories that they can use and as well make up new stories.

So if you find yourself with some time on your hands. I’d say pick up the LOTR and dive into the wonderful universe. There are some many story to pick from and a few different films as well .

“And he lived happily ever after to the end of his days.” -Bilbo Baggins


https://lotr.fandom.com/wiki/Main_Page, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Lord_of_the_Rings, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J._R._R._Tolkien, https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCaA5XOYRRQ7XeJh-3ugBP0g, https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120737/

5 Replies to “Middle Earth Challenge: The Return of the King”

      1. It’s another fantasy series. Very much like the established Middle Earth kind of world Tolkein created. It’s a fourteen book series and the writer died by the tenth book and Brandon Sanderson took over and finished it. Usually, I tell other Middle Earth fans (like myself) to try Wheel of Time if their fantasy wants to keep going.

        Liked by 1 person

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