Notes on Return of the King Themes

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Return of the King Topic Tracking: Metamorphoses

Book 5, Chapter 1

Metamorphoses 1: Pippin undergoes a drastic change from the beginning of The Lord of the Rings to the end. He goes from being an adventure-seeking boy to being a war-tested adult. He looks into the palantir and is frightened. He is so moved by duty that he pledges his service to Denethor in guilt for the death of his son Boromir. A young Hobbit from the shire somehow becomes a guard in the chief city of Gondor.

Book 5, Chapter 2

Metamorphoses 2: Merry develops in parallel to Pippin. He pledges his service to Theoden and becomes very fond of the king. Aragorn slowly become more regal. His men follow as his power and prestige increases with each day. Eowyn wants to follow him, but cannot. This causes her heart to become dark and forlorn.

Book 5, Chapter 4

Metamorphoses 3: By excluding his niece and Merry from the war, he forces them both to change. Their outward loyalty and intense sense of duty must search for new ways to satisfy itself. Merry is taken up by a rider who is willing to bear the Hobbit all the way to Minas Tirith. Merry blindly goes to war, with no clue of how he will carry himself and without questioning the motivation of the rider.

Book 5, Chapter 5

Metamorphoses 4: Denethor gets steadily more unstable as Gondor falls around him. He risks his son's life without hesitating, against the good advice of the city council members. When his son is badly wounded, instead of sending for healers, he enters the family tombs and prepares for both of them to be burned alive on pyres.

Book 5, Chapter 7

Metamorphoses 5: Eowyn and Merry each attain a true moment of glory. Merry wounds the leader of the armies of Mordor and Eowyn strikes him down. Both become heroes in this desperate moment. Aragorn returns not as a ranger, but as a powerful king leading the army that delivers the decisive blow to the enemy forces.

Book 5, Chapter 8

Metamorphoses 6: Aragorn fulfills yet another position in the world. He goes from being warrior to king to healer. He is the only one who can help heal the dark wounds received by Faramir, Merry and Eowyn. He raises each one of them from their considerable sacrifice and then leaves the city to sleep.

Book 6, Chapter 1

Metamorphoses 7: The ring has immense powers of manipulation and change. Despite these powers, Sam resists the temptation of evil and returns to rescue his friend. Sam, however, does not remain unchanged. He develops from servant to strong companion. As Frodo gets weaker, Sam must get stronger with each day. As Frodo falls to the darkness of the ring, Sam must resist it.

Book 6, Chapter 3

Metamorphoses 8: In the final moments of the quest, the ring shows its true power. Frodo fails at the last step when he gives in to the temptation of the ring. He becomes proto-Gollum and is released from this torture only when the real Gollum appears and robs him of the ring. Gollum changes from villain to savior of the world as he plunges accidentally to his death.

Book 6, Chapter 4

Metamorphoses 9: Within a very short amount of time, Frodo and Sam go from doomed on the edge of a crumbling mountain to exulted in front of an assembled army. They are honored as they should be for such momentous risks and triumphs. They transform from wayward travelers into heroes.

Book 6, Chapter 5

Metamorphoses 10: The machines of war slowly change into armies of builders and engineers as the world recovers from the scourge of Mordor. Warriors become peacemakers. The companions, who traveled and fought for months on end, find some final moments of peace as they linger together in a single place.

Book 6, Chapter 6

Metamorphoses 11: As the group dwindles from its greatest number to its original few they come upon Saruman. Saruman changed from a good wizard into a very powerful servant of evil and now he travels the world as a beggar.

Book 6, Chapter 8

Metamorphoses 12: The Shire, a peaceful and loosely organized place, swiftly turns into an entity of force and action with the leadership of the four companions. They lead the Shire to overcome its worst adversary ever. This change, however, is only temporary, for the Shire reverts quickly to its slow and peaceful pace.

Book 6, Chapter 9

Metamorphoses 13: Through his long quest and journey home, Frodo has changed more than anybody else. The Hobbit who was once adventurous and cheery has become quiet and tired no matter what the occasion. He has bouts with illness that come from his dark wound from the Nazgul and the destruction of the ring. Because of his fundamental change, Frodo will never be happy. The elves take him with them across the sea as a reward for such a personal sacrifice.

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