The Return of the King is the third and final book in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien. While the surviving members of the Fellowship defend the city of Gondor from the forces of darkness, Frodo and his friend, Samwise Gamgee, continue on their quest to destroy the Ring of Power. In order to succeed, they must follow the creature Gollum deep into Mordor. Will Frodo succeed in destroying the ring, or will the Dark Lord Sauron triumph in his conquest of Middle Earth? As the battle wages and the quest continues to its dramatic climax, read our remaining life lessons from this final installment of the series.
1. Greed Can Do Ugly Things to A Person
Gollum was originally a Stoor known as Smeagol, and not that different from a Hobbit. However, that all changed 500 years before the events of the Lord of the Ring to place. He went out for a day of fishing on his birthday with his cousin Deagol, and his life was changed forever. It was Deagol who originally found the One Ring at the bottom of a lake, but the minute Smeagol laid eyes on it, he wanted it for his own. He killed Deagol to get the ring, became an outcast and was driven deep into the Misty Mountains. There, the ring slowly corrupted him, transforming him into the creature Gollum. Did he care that he was morphing into an insane, bug-eyed mess who talked to himself and lived in caves? Not at all. All he cared about was the One Ring-his precious. Don’t let greed and the quest for power, fame, love, or anything else corrupt you. Just because something is shiny and full of promise doesn’t justify going to any means to possess it.
2. Be Willing To Speak the Truth Regardless Of The Consequences
From the get go, Samwise Gamgee recognized Gollum as someone not to be trusted. He knew that Gollum’s interest lay in getting the ring back for himself. He tried to warn Frodo again and again, and for his troubles he, Samwise, was the one that Frodo turned on and distrusted. Sometimes, you have to be willing to speak up for what you know is true, even though people may not believe it, even though the consequences of speaking up might make you an outcast from the rest of the group. In the end, it will be worth it. It didn’t take long for Sam to be vindicated and reunited with a remorseful Frodo, who wondered why he ever doubted Sam in the first place.
3. Take Things One Step At A Time
After Samwise bravely rescues Frodo from the Tower of Cirith Ungol, they stand weak, starving and parched, surveying the final leg of their journey. The land stretched out below them is full of ash and destruction, with danger at every turn. Gazing forlornly at what lies ahead, Frodo wonders aloud how they will ever get across. Samwise Gamgee again comes to the rescue, suggesting they concentrate on simply doing what is right in front of them first getting down the mountainside. When you’re facing a heavy task, carrying a heavy burden, or just plain have to do something you don’t really want to do, remember you don’t have to do the whole thing all at once. Break it into smaller, more manageable chunks, taking each one step at a time.
4. Don’t Let Power Cloud Your Judgment
Despite all odds, Frodo and Sam make it to the volcanic Mount Doom. Blistering in the heat, all Frodo has to do is take those final steps, let go of the ring, and let it sink into the fire to be destroyed forever. As he prepares to destroy it, he holds the ring up, looking at it one last time. It glints, it glows, and he feels its power and suddenly, he wants that power for himself.
The better part of Frodo knows the ring would destroy not only him, but everything he holds dear, yet that power beckons to him. Power has a way of corrupting people. Don’t let it cloud your own judgment, or make you do things you know you shouldn’t. It’s not hard-simply let it go.
As our journey through The Lord of The Rings comes to an end, your own journey through Tolkien’s fantasy world of Middle Earth may be just beginning. For those who’ve already read the books or seen the movies what life lessons have you learned on the road to Mordor? What are some of your favorite lines, scenes, or characters? Leave your comments in the section below.