The Lord of the Rings

by J. R. R. Tolkien

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Book 6 Summary

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The Return of the King: Book 6
Sam rescues Frodo from the Orcs, helped by their in-fighting and the power of Galadriel's gift. He hands Frodo back the Ring, and they travel on, still shadowed by Gollum. They abandon their few possessions as they abandon their hope of doing anything more than destroying the Ring. The landscape grows increasingly bleak as they approach the volcano, Orodruin. Frodo grows weaker and Sam carries him when he can no longer walk. Gollum catches up with them and knocks both of them down. Frodo rises with sudden strength and orders Gollum out of his path: "Begone and trouble me no more! If you touch me ever again, you shall be cast yourself into the Fire of Doom,'' and walks up the path to the fire. Sam, left alone with Gollum, almost kills him, but, having known briefly the burden of the Ring, cannot out of pity. He follows Frodo and sees him, at the fire's edge, claim the Ring for himself. Gollum attacks Frodo, they struggle and Gollum bites off Frodo's ring finger and, dancing with glee, topples into the flames destroying the Ring.

At the gate of Mordor, the little army is at bay. Eagles arrive just as the armies of Mordor are thrown into panic with the destruction of the Ring. Gandalf sends the eagles to rescue the hobbits. Nearly two weeks later, Sam and Frodo wake in Aragorn's camp. They are reunited with the rest of the Fellowship and formally honored. The army returns to Minas Tirith, where Faramir and Éowyn have fallen in love during their convalescence. Aragorn is crowned. On Midsummer's Day, Aragorn and Arwen are married. They and the Fellowship escort the body of Theoden back to Rohan for his burial. Éowyn and Faramir are betrothed. Arriving at Orthanc, they discover Treebeard has allowed Saruman to leave. Accompanied by Gandalf, the hobbits travel on to Rivendell, meeting Saruman and Grima on the way. The hobbits visit with Bilbo and travel on to learn the Shire has not escaped unscathed. Gandalf leaves them telling them to hurry. Entering the Shire, they find that Lotho Sackville-Baggins and then Saruman under the name of "Sharkey" have turned the Shire into a police state and the beginnings of an ecological disaster. They rouse their fellow hobbits to see off the men who have terrorized them, but discover that Grima has murdered Lotho, and that Sharkey is Saruman. Frodo tries to keep them from bloodshed and will not allow the hobbits to harm Saruman. The miserable Grima, who is in turn killed, murders Saruman. Merry, Pippin, and Sam re-enter the life of the Shire as acknowledged heroes. Sam marries Rose Cotton; the newlyweds live with Frodo in Bag End. Frodo, however, does not recover from his ordeal. Just three years after they had fled the Shire with the Ring, Sam accompanies Frodo to the Havens where together with Bilbo, Gandalf, Galadriel, and Elrond, he takes ship for the west. With Merry and Pippin, Sam watches as the ship sets sail and then returns home to his wife and baby daughter.

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Book 5 Summary