Lord of the Rings : The Return of the Read - Book 6, Chapter 4

In which some shit has gone down.  Also, Eagles have a comeback tour.

With the destruction of the Ring, Sauron's power breaks... and the counter power falls on our allies.  I note that it does not say Sauron is gone, just that he is defeated at this moment.  But Gandalf knows the power of careful oration, and of leaving the actual combat to the leaders of the armies, so he and Gwaihir the Windlord seek out two hobbits on the slopes of an erupting volcano.

You know what?  I have no shame in admitting Frodo and Samwise facing their own mortality makes me tear up.

The biggest sign that the war is over, that they are safe and recovering, is the return of laughter.  Reunions with friends, returning of treasures, and reminiscing are all tied up, but that they can experience joy again is something long missing.

They are all changed, deeply and in ways that are both visible and invisible.  The growth of Merry and Pippin is comical, but they are truly nothing like the hobbits they were when they left the Shire.  For now, it seems to be enough that the friends have reconnected, but under that there lies a message that what they fought through will shadow their lives through peace and home.

As for the film... we get a last hurrah of excellence with Sam and Frodo saying goodbye... and things just break down into an ongoing rolling ending.

I have no clue why they took away "The eagles are coming!" from Gandalf, but they did for better or for worse.  Perhaps there remains a level of innocence and hope in connection with the hobbits that makes it more uplifting?  The breaking of Sauron is certainly more visible and viseral than in the book.  The disintegration of the tower, implosion shockwave, and utter collapse of Mordor leave little doubt that Sauron is mortally defeated.  It's all, of course, terrifically exciting and all that.

Awakening, the focus is on Frodo first, rather than Samwise, but laughter remains an important constant in this scene.  Similarities also exist, to me at least, in this awakening and Frodo's awakening so long ago in Rivendell.  Elements of it though come across a bit weird, some of it is probably deliberate, and some less so.  I don't think Jackson intended the viewers to see a love story between Sam and Frodo, for one, but it's always come across like that to me.  The perhaps oddest (but also quite fitting) part is as the friends come in one by one... it almost feels like they're all dead and reuniting in an afterlife.  I can actually believe that this wasn't completely unintentional, but it could all be in my head.


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