Darkness has fallen over Middle Earth. As Frodo and Sam draw ever closer to Mount Doom, and the end of their journey to destroy the One Ring, both their quest, and the final battle between Sauron and the rest of the Fellowship, will decide the fate of them all.
One of the strongest themes in “Return of the King” is the unexpected hero and nowhere is this theme better illustrated than in the characters of Arwen, Eowyn and Sam.
There is a significant connection between the characters of Eowyn and Arwen in “Return of the King”. They are both beautiful women of noble birth, but it is their courage, rather than their noble heritage, that defines them as characters. Despite her father’s wish that she should journey to the Grey Havens, Arwen chooses to remain in Middle Earth and love Aragorn, rather than spending eternity alone as an elf, even though doing so meant she would sacrifice her immortality. Although she is forbidden to fight, Eowyn chooses to disguise herself as a soldier and go to war with the men (Aragorn and her uncle, King Theoden) because she would rather sacrifice her life for those she loves than remain behind and do nothing. In the end, Eowyn rides into battle with King Theoden’s army and it is Eowyn – not Aragorn or Theoden – who triumphs over the Witch King. In the end, both Arwen and Eowyn were able to find love. Arwen is reunited with King Aragorn and becomes his queen and Eowyn finds love with the noble warrior, Faramir.
The bond shared between Frodo and Sam is one of the strongest in the fellowship, but ironically, it is not Frodo who is the noble hero in the end; it is Sam. In moments where he feels most alone, it is not Smeagol who Frodo cries out to for comfort…it is Sam. When Frodo was lost in Shelob’s lair, it was not Smeagol who came to protect him from the spider. Sam was the one who returned to protect his master from certain death. When Frodo finally reached the end of his long road and could no longer carry the burden of the Ring, Sam carried both Frodo and the Ring to the end of their journey. Sam is also the one who remains faithfully by Frodo’s side comforting his master as they waited for death to come after the Ring was destroyed. When the Fellowship is reunited, Frodo acknowledges all of his friends by name as they come in; all but one. When Sam comes in, rather than joining his friends in their celebration, he remains by the door. He did this because after all they had been through together; just sharing a moment of silent reassurance was enough to let Sam know that Frodo was safe. When Gandalf and Bilbo leave for the Grey Havens with the elves, Frodo leaves the book that he has recorded his journey in with Sam. Although he is heartbroken at the thought of saying goodbye to Sam and the rest of his friends, Frodo realizes that he has finally found peace and he wants to share that peace with Sam.
“The Lord of the Rings” trilogy is one of the most epic fantasy films ever to be created. “The Return of the King” one of those rare and perfectly told stories that combined with stunning animation, flawless casting and an extraordinary musical score creates the very essence of an epic film and brings to a close an extraordinary journey of hope, courage, and sacrifice borne from the heart of the most unlikely of heroes. I would highly recommend this film to anyone who loves fantasy at its best.