Rural Roots (01:40)
Graham McTavish discusses Warwickshire's influence on Tolkien. Humphrey Carpenter discusses Tolkien's uniqueness and Oxford career.
Closing a Complex Narrative (02:51)
Graham McTavish discusses "The Return of the King's" opening at Minas Tirith. Experts discuss Tolkien's ability to create a strong sense of place.
Gandalf and Pippin meet Denethor. Experts discuss Tolkien's affinity for old literature and "The Lord of the Rings'" sense of melancholy.
Power and Representation (03:02)
Aaragon uses the palantir and decides to travel through the Paths of the Dead. Experts consider the effects of the palantir and what hobbits represent throughout Tolkien's works.
Aaragon leads a small party through the Paths of the Dead. Experts discuss Aaragon's claim to kingship and Tolkien's use of hobbits to introduce contemporary readers into an ancient world.
Éowyn and Faramir (03:14)
Experts discuss Éowyn's role in "The Return of the King," the narrative's return to the siege of Minas Tirith, and the power of Mordor.
Avoiding Allegory? (01:43)
Faramir is grievously wounded; Denethor attends him. Experts discuss Denethor's failings, and Tolkien's implications of the sin of despair.
Confrontations at the Siege of Minas Tirith (02:54)
The armies of Mordor arrive. Experts discuss Tolkien's ability to convey the complex atmosphere of battle and the juxtaposition of action and psychological drama.
Unexpected Help from Ghân-buri-Ghân (01:51)
The Lord of the Nazgûl confronts Gandalf; the riders of Rohan appear. Experts discuss the appearance of a new race in "The Return of the King."
Battle of Minas Tirith (03:47)
Éowyn and Mary engage the lord of the ringwraiths; ships from Umbar appear. Experts discuss Éowyn's attitude and actions and Tolkien's conveyance of a narrow victory.
Denethor's Narrow Vision (02:15)
Gandalf and Pippin witness Denethor jump on the funeral pyre with the palantir. Experts discuss the meaning behind Denethor's decision to commit suicide.
Aaragon reveals his true power. See "The Return of the King" illustrations. Experts discuss the allied forces' military strategy.
Attacking Mordor (02:39)
Gandalf and Aaragon take a small force to the Black Gate. Experts discuss the tactical implications for Sauron and "The Return of the King's" double structure.
Traveling Across Gorgoroth (03:37)
Sam rescues Frodo at Cirith Ungol and they set out for Mount Doom. Experts discuss the effects of the ring and the morality play exposed in Frodo's relationship with Gollum.
Frodo's Mercy (02:35)
Experts discuss Gollum's complexity, Frodo's struggles with the ring, and Tolkien's use of sympathy.
Quest Betrayal (01:29)
Experts discuss Frodo's decision to claim the ring and its implications for the reader.
Internal vs. External Power (03:04)
Gollum plunges into the fire with the ring; Sauron and the ringwraiths perish. Experts discuss Tolkien's use of themes.
Moral Economy (04:03)
Graham McTavish discusses Frodo's regrets. Experts discuss Tolkien's feelings toward success, the criticism of Frodo's failure, and Frodo's personal growth.
Tale Continues (03:25)
The fellowship journeys home after Aaragon's wedding, making several stops along the way. Experts discuss Tolkien's epilogue in "The Return of the King."
Tolkien's Dislike of Modernity (02:03)
Experts discuss the state of the shire at the end of "The Lord of the Rings" and Tolkien's perceptions of Sauron and Saruman.
Idea of Heaven (02:44)
Experts discuss Frodo's decision to go to the lands of Valar and consider Tolkien's complex narrative structure.
Power Beyond Modernity (02:34)
Experts reflect on Tolkien's depiction of will, choices, and love in his works. See "The Lord of the Rings" illustrations.
Credits: The Return of the King (00:55)
Credits: The Return of the King
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