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This article refers to the novel. For other namesakes, see The Return of the King (disambiguation).

The Return of the King is the third and final volume of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, concluding The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers.


Title

Tolkien conceived of The Lord of the Rings as a single volume comprising six sections he called "books" and extensive appendices. The original publisher, Allen & Unwin made the decision to split the work into three parts, publishing the fifth and sixth books and the appendices under the title The Return of the King, in reference to Aragorn's assumption of the throne. Tolkien indicated he would have preferred The War of the Ring as a title, as it gave away less of the story.

Structure

The structure of The Return of the King mirrors somewhat that of The Two Towers in that the first section recounts the various adventures of several characters including a massive battle, and the second section resumes the quest of the Ring-bearers.

Contents

Book V: The War of the Ring

Return of the king-cover.jpg

The story begins as Gandalf delivers news to Denethor, the Steward of Gondor, that war is imminent. Gandalf brings Pippin with him, who enters the service of the steward. Aragorn, by his courage and leadership, proves himself a worthy ruler of men. He is destined to find a lost army of men, now dead yet entrapped in a curse set forth long ago by their own disobedience, in the place known as the Paths of the Dead. The remnants of the Fellowship lead the forces of Gondor and Rohan in defence of Gondor's capital city, Minas Tirith, resulting in the epic 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 Gate of Mordor, partly to distract Sauron from guarding his other borders so that Frodo and Sam can gain a clear passage into Mordor. Aragorn's company now surrounds the Black Gates of the Morannon exchanging idle words with the Mouth of Sauron.

Chapters

Book VI: The End of the Third Age/ The Return of the King

Alan Lee's 1998 cover for The Return of the King

In the meanwhile, the brave and loyal Samwise Gamgee (who for a short time had himself become the Ring-bearer) enables the long-suffering Frodo Baggins 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 two Hobbits, tired and half-alive, finally reache the Cracks 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 Great Eagles, whom Gandalf rides to Mount Doom, from the Black Gate. After Sauron is defeated, his armies at the Black Gate flee, and the men of Gondor and Rohan are victorious in the battle.

Aragorn is crowned King of Gondor at Minas Tirith. Waiting several months for the marriage of Aragorn and Arwen, the Fellowship of the Ring then part for good on Dol Baran, 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. 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. Time passes. The Shire heals, but Frodo does not. Eventually Frodo departs for the Undying Lands to find healing, along with Bilbo Baggins and the Keepers of the Three Rings. Sam, Merry and Pippin watch them depart and return home in silence. Sam is greeted by his wife Rose and his daughter Elanor. In the last line of the book Sam says to Rosie; "Well, I'm back".

Chapters

Appendices

Appendix A, Annals of the Kings and Rulers

  1. The Númenórean Kings
  2. The House of Eorl
  3. Durin's Folk

Appendix B, The Tale of Years (Chronology of the Westlands)

Appendix C, Family Trees (Hobbits)

Appendix D, Calendars

Appendix E, Writing and Spelling

  1. Pronunciation of Words and Names
  2. Writing

Appendix F

  1. The Languages and Peoples of the Third Age
  2. On Translation 

Indices

  1. Songs and Verses
  2. Persons, Beasts and Monsters
  3. Places
  4. Things

Portrayal in adaptations

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Translations

Foreign Language Translated name
Afrikaans Die Terugkeer van die Koning
Albanian Kthimi i Mbretit
Arabic عودة الملك
Aragonese A Tornada d'o Rei
Armenian Թագավորի վերադարձը
Asturian La torna del Rei
Azerbaijani Kralın qayıdışı

شاهین قاییدیشی (South Azerbaijani)

Basque Erregearen itzulera
Belarusian Cyrillic Вяртанне караля
Bengali রাজার প্রত্যাবর্তন
Bosnian Povratak kralja
Bulgarian Cyrillic Завръщането на краля
Burmese ဘုရင်၏ပြန်သွား
Cambodian ការវិលត្រឡប់របស់ស្ដេច
Catalan El retorn del rei
Chinese 王者再临
Croatian Povratak kralja
Czech Návrat krále
Danish Kongen vender tilbage
Dutch De Terugkeer van de Koning
Esperanto La Reveno de l' Reĝo
Estonian Kuninga tagasitulek
Faroese Kongurin kemur aftur
Filipino Ang pagbabalik ng hari
Finnish Kuninkaan paluu
French Le Retour du Roi
Frisian De Kening Komt Wer (Western)
Georgian მეფის დაბრუნება
German Die Rückkehr des Königs
Greek Η Επιστροφή του Βασιλιά
Gujarati રાજા ની રીટર્ન
Hausa Komawar Sarki
Hawaiian Ka hoʻihoʻiʻana o ka Mō'ī
Hebrew שיבת המלך
Hindi द रिटर्न ऑफ़ द किंग
Hungarian A király visszatér
Icelandic Hilmir snýr heim
Indonesian Kembalinya Sang Raja
Irish Gaelic Tuairisceán an Rí
Italian Il ritorno del Re
Japanese 王の帰還
Javanese Bali Sang Prabu ?
Kannada ದಿ ರಿಟರ್ನ್ ಆಫ್ ದ ಕಿಂಗ್
Kazakh Патшаның қайтып келуі (Cyrillic) Patşanıñ qaytıp kelwi (Latin)
Korean 왕의 귀환
Kurdish گەڕانەوەی پاشاکە (Central) Vegera padîşah ? (Kurmanji Kurdish)
Kyrgyz Cyrillic Падышанын кайтып келиши
Laotian ການກັບຄືນຂອງກະສັດ
Latin Regressus Regis
Latvian Karaļa atgriešanās
Lithuanian Karaliaus sugrįžimas
Luxembourgish D'Zréck vum Kinnek
Macedonian Cyrillic Враќањето на Кралот
Maltese Ir-Ritorn tar-re
Malayalam രാജയുടെ മടക്കം
Malaysian Kembalinya Raja
Marathi द रिटर्न ऑफ द किंग
Mongolian Cyrillic Хаан эргэж ирэх нь
Nepalese राजाको रिटर्न
Norwegian Atter en konge
Occitan Lo Retorn del rei
Pashto د پاچا بیرته ستنیدل
Persian بازگشت پادشاه
Polish Powrót Króla
Portuguese O Regresso do Rei (Portugal)

O Retorno do Rei (Brazilian)

Punjabi ਰਾਜਾ ਦੀ ਵਾਪਸੀ
Romanian Întoarcerea Regelui
Russian Возвращение короля
Sardinian Sa Torrada de su Re
Scots The Return o the Keeng
Scottish Gaelic An Tilleadh an Rìgh
Serbian Повратак краља (Cyrillic) Povratak kralja (Latin)
Sindhi بادشاهه جو واپسي
Sinhalese රජුගේ පැමිණීම
Slovak Návrat kráľa
Slovenian Kraljeva vrnitev
Spanish El retorno del Rey
Swahili Kurudi kwa Mfalme
Swedish Sagan om konungens återkomst (Old) Konungens återkomst (New)
Tajik Cyrillic Бозгаштани Подшоҳ
Tamil த ரிடர்ன் ஆப் த கிங்
Telugu ది రిటర్న్ ఆఫ్ ది కింగ్
Thai ลอร์ดออฟเดอะริงส์ ตอน กษัตริย์คืนบัลลังก์
Turkish Kralın Dönüşü
Ukrainian Cyrillic Повернення короля
Urdu بادشاہ کی واپسی
Uzbek Қиролнинг қайтиши (Cyrillic) Qirolning qaytishi (Latin)
Vietnamese Sự trở về của nhà vua
Welsh Dychwelyd y Brenin
Western Frisian De Kening Komt Wer
Xhosa Ukubuya koKumkani
Yiddish דער צוריקקער פון דעם מלך
Previous novel:
The Two Towers
The Lord of the Rings
novels
Next novel:
Last in series


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