LotRFI Pt60–The Last Word

‘Well, I’m back’ (RK, VI, IX, 1031).

Seriously, that is the end?!?

I was incredulous and underwhelmed. After such a lengthy and grueling journey, in which I had left so many characters and experiences behind, I expected, nay deserved, more! I was flabbergasted that this was the end to such an epic quest. After the shock of this ending passed, my mind began creating a number of endings that I thought were more suitable for the story.

Image copyright New Line Cinema

Perhaps the three remaining hobbits ride out together on more adventures. They revisit Bombadil and purge the evil from the Barrow Downs. Perhaps they go back to Bree and set the record straight about the Rangers. My mind was racing because I could not settle for the ending I was presented with.

This was probably a major contributing factor for why I didn’t read the appendices. I was so let down by this ending that I walked away and entered into my own imagination to change it. I have subsequently realized that I would have undoubtedly been upset by any ending to the story, and that all of my own ‘endings’ were really an attempt to extend the story, even into a sequel. Indeed, it is probably because I did not read the appendices that my own imagination took flight into different stories. Had I read them, I probably would have been re-grounded in Middle-earth and the background of LotR instead of trying to extend the story in my own direction.

What Do You Think?

How did you react to this final line?
Did you go on to read the appendices?
Did I miss anything? Let me know!

3 thoughts on “LotRFI Pt60–The Last Word

  1. I think a lot of us imagined the course of Middle-Earth after Sam gets back–and still do, if the various RPGs set in Arda are any indication.

    As far as the flat ending, I have to think there’s a useful effect in it. The great grand story is *done*, and some semblance of normalcy has to reassert itself. Sam coming back home is that reassertion; it stands in for the “happily ever after” that caps so many stories, and, for me, there’s not much happier than getting back home to family. (I know it’s a privilege that not all share.) For me, then and now, it works.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve got a lot of these to catch up on, Luke. And as usual, I *wish* I could remember my first reaction to every scene. This is one I can’t recall. But I can tell you I didn’t read the appendices for nearly twenty years, if I were to guess.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. When I first read the book I was a tween. The ending left me feeling flat and unsatisfied. I wanted Frodo to have all the things denied him, a home full of love, a wife, children, grandchildren to hear Grandpa Frodo’s adventures. Maturity helped me see it ended the only way it could. As to the appendices, I wondered why Tolkien didn’t just weave most of it into the story. It wasn’t like he was going for a short version. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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