An end was come in Middle-earth of the Fellowship of the Ring

I finished The Lord of the Rings on my lunch break today. That was my fifth time through, and it took me a while. This time through the books, I had to take a couple of breaks to read other things, but I am amazed at how much more I understood this time of the story. Each time, everything seems clearer, and it’s clearer to me how much depth there was that couldn’t be included in the movies. Each time I read the books, I resent the changes to Faramir and Aragorn (falling off a cliff?!) and Arwen a little more. But there were so many things they did right . . . I don’t want to complain too much.

For me, no reading of The Lord of the Rings is complete without checking the appendices to see how our friends ended up. I know some people never read those bits, but honestly they are some of my favorite parts. There are parts of the actual story that bring me to tears (most notably King Theoden’s charge), but nothing more than the final conclusion of all the stories.

But Arwen went forth from the House, and the light of her eyes was quenched, and it seemed to her people that she had become cold and grey as nightfall in winter that comes without a star. Then she said farewell to Eldarion, and to her daughters, and to all whom she had loved; and she went out from the city of Minas Tirith and passed away to the land of Lorien, and dwelt there alone under the fading trees until winter came. Galadriel had passed away and Celeborn also was gone, and the land was silent.

There at last when the mallorn-leaves were falling, but spring had not yet come, she laid herself to rest upon Cerin Amroth; and there is her green grave, until the world is changed, and all the days of her life are utterly forgotten by men that come after, and elanor and niphredil bloom no more east of the Sea.

The movie touched on Arwen’s fate a bit, but if you didn’t read the story of Arwen and Aragorn in Appendix A, you really should. Everything happened just as Elrond said it would in the movie, and I loved that they worked that part of the story in.

We have heard tell that Legolas took Gimli Gloin’s son with him because of their great friendship, greater than any that has been between Elf and Dwarf. If this is true, then it is strange indeed: that a Dwarf should be willing to leave Middle-earth for any love, of that the Eldar should receive him, or that the Lord of the West should permit it. But it is said that Gimli went also out of desire to see again the beauty of Galadriel; and it may be that she, being mighty among the Eldar, obtained this grace for him. More cannot be said of this matter.

I think that Gimli really got short shrift in the movies. He was reduced to comic relief, which meant that at times his courage and endurance were minimized in order to make a joke. His adoration of Galadriel was also cut . . . you get an idea of it in the extended editions, but nothing like in the book. Which means you also miss out on the great understanding that grows between Legolas and Gimli. It makes me happy to think that they were able to take that last journey together.

1482 On September 22 Master Samwise rides out from Bag End. He comes to the Tower Hills, and is last seen by Elanor, to whom he gives the Red Book afterwards kept by the Fairbairns. Among them the tradition is handed down from Elanor that Samwise passed the Towers, and went to the Grey Havens, and passed over Sea, last of the Ring-bearers.

For a while, I was convinced that this was how the movie should end – that viewers should know that Sam gets to go over the Sea as the last of the ringbearers. I did like how the movie ended (except I wished it had been Frodo’s door instead of some random hobbit-hole), but I had to go home and read the appendices after I saw it.

1484 It was heard after that Master Meriadoc came to Edoras and was with King Eomer before he died in that autumn, Then he and Thain Peregrin went to Gondor and passed what short years were left to them in that realm, until they died and were laid in Rath Dinen among the great of Gondor.

Merry and Pippin were laid to rest, and when Aragorn passed away, he was laid beside them. Merry had become the Master of Buckland, Pippin was the Thain, and Sam, of course, was elected mayor seven times. Pippin’s son Faramir marries Sam’s daughter Goldilocks.

Mr. Tolkien was an incredibly detailed man, and though some would say that he should have let his story be, I appreciate that he included the “where are they now” information at the end. For me, the story wouldn’t be the same without knowing what happens to all of them, especially Sam.

But for now, I’ll leave these characters for another year or so. (Maybe this year I’ll finally get the endurance to make it through The Silmarillion!)

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