The Lord Of The Rings: The Return of the King (Dramatised)

Length: 3 hrs and 10 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (1,190 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A BBC radio full-cast dramatisation of the third book in JRR Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy. Brian Sibley's famous 1981 adaptation, starring Ian Holm and Michael Hordern, has been divided into three corresponding parts, with newly recorded beginning and end narration by Ian Holm.
©2018 BBC Worldwide Ltd trading as BBC Studios (P)2018 BBC Worldwide Ltd trading as BBC Studios
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Chapters are out of order

Uodate: so the whole book is there but the chapters are out of order. Chapter 2 should be 1, 3 should 2, and 1 should be 3.
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This book is taken from the old BBC version of the LOTR trilogy. Book two ends with the coming of the battle of Gondor and this book begins with the burial of King Theodin meaning it’s missing most of the book which they neglected to include it (about 60% is missing from this audio rendition). This is a five star book and performance but not with most of the book missing.

12 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Excellent.

Return of the King picks up right where Two Towers left off. After accidentally revealing himself to Sauron via the Palantir of Orthanc, Pippin is taken to the city of Minas Tirith by Gandalf, who suspects that Sauron's next move may be to target that city. Meri is put in the care of King Theoden of Rohan. Aragorn, Gimley and Legolas go in search of the mysterious Paths of the Dead, a haunted road which provides the only chance Aragorn has of reaching Minas Tirith before the city is lost. And Sam Gamgee embarks on a desperate mission to rescue Frodo who, left comatose by Shelob's venomous sting, was subsequently discovered by a band of Orc soldiers, though fortunately not before Sam, mistaking Frodo for dead and resolving to see the quest through to its end on his own if possible, took the Ring from his friend. But even if he succeeds, only time will tell whether they'll have the strength to see the quest through to its ultimate end, much less whether that end will come on Mount Doom with the destruction of the Ring.
As with the first two installments, the BBC did an excellent job on this one. Ian Holm does an excellent job of conveying the terrible changes the ordeal has wrought in Frodo, and definitely leagues better than Elijah Wood's rather wussy performance in the films. Peter Woodthorpe is the perfect combination of scary and pathetic in his portrayal of Gollum. So all in all this is an excellent production surpassed only by the Rob Inglis narrated unabridged productions, which Audible has finally made available. So if you haven't given this production a listen you might just be in for a good time.

11 people found this helpful

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Well read disappointingly edited

The voice actors did a nice job but I didn't expect the book to be so heavily abridged. Scenes I treasured were altered or omitted yet much time was dedicated to full renditions of songs.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Nicely Dramatised

I've read the triligy several times and love the unabridged work, however this dramatised version has very good voices and pace. I don't care for the singing, but I tend to fast forward through that and it's just part of the story.

7 people found this helpful

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Simply Epic

This is quite possibly the greatest story ever told. This should be required reading for every single person on the planet.

21 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

A Lot of fun

This was my first audio book and I really enjoyed it. Not just because it is one of my favorite movies, books and now audio but because I was able to crochet while listening to it. I'm a crafter so this kind of thing really makes me happy. I like being able to multitask. I can't wait to find another book to listen too. With my eyes going slowly this is a God send.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Fantastic climax to the trilogy

This I think is the best of the 3 parts in this dramatised series by the BBC. It still contains enough plot to be exciting and the music and sound effects are very complimentary to it's production.
I can't wait to have time to listen to it again, which I think is best done in large chunks of listening time so that you get emerced into the plot.
Don't buy this if you want plot information purity.

13 people found this helpful

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not the book.

This is not the book just a script. this should be taken down and replace with the book.

1 person found this helpful

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This is not the actual book. (avoid).

Not really an audiobook, so much as it is an audio only recording of a play.

7 people found this helpful

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Love that there are no breaks in this version!

This is the best version of the LotR out there. Wonderful adaptation, excellent acting, everything works. All dramatizations should strive for this level of quality!

2 people found this helpful

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  • Andyjn
  • 02-15-16

An excellent end to a great trilogy

This instalment is like the rest in the series. A great story brought to life by a great cast. An excellent listen.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Nephrite
  • 02-18-20

The End of The Red Book

The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King(1981) Adapted for BBC Radio 4 by Brian Sibley and Michael Bakewell

Here we are at the end of the journey my friends. Sauron’s mighty armies have been destroyed and there is a king in Gondor once again. The Dark Lord and his ilk are dispelled. Surely the task is done? Unfortunately for the Hobbits of The Shire the answer is no.

The Return of The King’s dramatisation is also peerless in its field. The Peter Jackson film adaptation is good. The Extended Editions especially. But it has one major omission. It doesn’t include The Scouring of The Shire. I won’t be too specific as to what occurs but from its name I’m sure I don’t need to be the one to tell you that it isn’t exactly pleasant...at least mostly.

The cast are on fine form one last time. Frodo as portrayed by Ian Holm once again comes in for praise only this time his personality has become somewhat warped. At last the burden has begun to lure the good kind gentle Hobbit. But his core is still pure...even though anyone could be tainted and scarred by such an evil.

Thank the Lady of Lothlorien that Frodo has a gardener with him! Samwise Gamgee has a pitch perfect portrayal courtesy of Bill Nighy. Sam manages to be stout-hearted and brave beyond the call of duty. After all he might not be able to carry The Ring but he can carry the Ring-bearer! Sam truly is the hero of the tale which seems appropriate since he is the most ordinary of them all. This is something captured wonderfully by Bill Nighy in his performance. He is also excellent at showing Sam’s incredible loyalty to Frodo and distrust of Gollum.

Speaking of Gollum or Smeagol, he is played by Peter Woodthorpe who manages to display both sides of the character. The two personalities are very well done even if I personally prefer Andy Serkis in the role. His sneaking and corrupted attitudes are shown very well as well as the famous tendency to speak like thisisisis especially with regards to fisheseses. (It actually feels weird to type like that. Maybe it is my inner pedant?)

You’ve heard me praise before the work of the series musician Stephen Oliver and the Radiophonic Workshop’s Elizabeth Parker but I made one notable blunder. I didn’t include the wonderful singing voices tied to the series. There are quite the collection of them across all three parts but sadly I could not find sources where many were named outright. The only names I could find definitively were Matthew Vine, Oz Clark and David James. Regardless I will praise all the singers as a group because all the songs across the series sound absolutely beautiful to my ears. I can’t guarantee they’ll be to everyone’s tastes musically but I certainly enjoyed them.

Once last time I will recommend hunting down either a physical CD of this version – Warning!: Physical versions are expensive – or obtaining a digital download from somewhere such as Audible. If I remember correctly the physical CD release of The Return of The King comes with a bonus disc which contains a large selection of the music heard throughout the series – although I believe not all. Some songs such as The Ballad of Gil-Galad as I refer to it or officially The Fall of Gil-Galad when listened to on the CD in question are sung by other performers than in the original dramatisation which may bother you. Personally it does somewhat hinder my enjoyment of the bonus CD but the bonus songs are notably not included in the digital version I own and have used for the reviews.

Now what could I review next? Perhaps it is time for a visit to the time of handsome cabs, endless fog, opium dens and gentlemen’s clubs? After all this is the home ground of The Great Detective.

Namárië!

Nephrite

1 person found this helpful

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  • Luke
  • 11-21-18

A must for all LOTR fans!

This recording is an absolute must for all Tolkien fans. A wonderful cast, superbly put together by Brian Sibly for Radio. I re-listen to this every year. Simply wonderful!

1 person found this helpful

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  • R M Mewis
  • 04-16-18

makes me cry every time & want to start it again!

from the 10 year old to the now 35 year old this series has never failed to keep me enchanted, scared and amused, and no doubt it will until I go deaf in my dotage!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Emma Richardson
  • 12-22-17

wonderful

This is my favourite adaptation of my favourite book. Stunning and atmospheric throughout. I particularly enjoyed the music.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • James Garbutt
  • 09-29-17

Loved it

Loved this. Well worth a listen! I have always been a fan of The Lord of the Rings from childhood. And this is a beautifully done performance

1 person found this helpful

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  • Susan
  • 08-28-17

Excellent in all aspects

Loved it when. first broadcast. A brilliant production. Wonderful to have it on my phone.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Ross Elliott
  • 08-10-17

excellent

Fabulous dramatisation. Wonderful voices which i remember dearly from childhood in the 80s when this series was first broadcast. Sadly many of these great actors have died now. They leave a master piece radio drama legacy.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • sally
  • 08-25-09

Wonderful tolkein

I realy enjoyed this dramatisation. i am aware it is not a recent one but it stands the test of time.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-03-20

I cried AGAIN

I've listened to all three of these dramatizations a few times now and I love them as much as I do the films, I swear I'll get round to reading the books one of these days.

The first time I listened to TROTK, it really wasn't my favourite compared to the last two. I wasn't much of a fan of all the singing, which don't get me wrong, I liked in the previous two and I appreciate the effort that was made but there was just a LOT of it in this one. Especially in places where I didn't think it really needed to be and I thought the ending went on a bit, just a little bit like the film adaptation!

However now I've listened to it more than once, I appreciate it a whole lot more. Ok I've still got a small problem with the singing but I like it more then I did! As it does work very well in places. I do love the ending a whole lot more now and I half-wish more books were written following this trilogy, like Legolas and Gimli travelling together or Merry and Pippin in Gondor. Probably wouldn't be as interesting a story though.

It has an amazing cast, that's all I can say about that.

Considering the recent passing of Ian Holm, I found Frodo's goodbye to Sam at the end heart breaking. I probably found it more upsetting then I've ever had done before. He'll be greatly missed.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-02-19

Not what I was after

I picked this dramatic adaptation accidentally and couldby stand it longer than 2 minutes after the first two books being read by Ron Inglis

2 people found this helpful