The Third and Final novel in the Trio, and it all comes to a head! The preceeding novels, and indeed much of Tolkien's own works, culminate in This Book.
It, litterally, all comes down to this! And the ensuing novel is like watching a huge arrangement of dominoes slowly fall all over middle earth. Even to be seen time and again from different angles, and through different eyes.
If I had a favorite, this would have to be it.
Not only do both, and All the storylines begin to get into the really meaty parts; travel after travel is brought toward its end and things that are 'to be done' become things that are 'now over'...
Aside from the more interesting material events, Tolkien also seems to have better woven this last book, having far more effective and clear connections made between the multiple stories, and managing to repeat events and timelines without seeming to repeat himself. Large sections of story left untold from the film interpretation are covered, and All the loose ends ultimately get tied up.
The book ends, then, and the enormous addative materials begin.
I found the first reading of this sort of in depth material to be a bit daunting and overwhelming, but found it enlightening and revealing on my second read.
Whereas the council held in the first book covers much depth quickly in the first book, the ensuing materials make that short reading seem a brief introduction.
The enormous times and various events and references seem thick on the ground and I cannot help but feel it is this sort of depth that keeps fans comming back and continuing to be interested for years to come.
I found the Dwarf History particularly interesting, as well as the completely seperate love story which also seems to cover more cohesively a running narrative that may have been lost if put substantially into the greater story.
I have heard of his other publications on the subject and may concidder looking into them as well. In the meantime, I enjoy most that the novels do what I most admire in a writer's writing, which is to say, they end in such a way that the reader knows the Rereading of the novel will then be read in a whole new light, as a New Novel all over again!
I certainly think the series is designed to get better and better over time... a tactic I find particularly applaudable in any writing. I knew going into this that it was a much loved and engaging book, and I am left agreeing with that proposition.
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