Long Live the King
I love this book. Tolkien imagined an incredible world and he made us fall in love with these unlikely heroes.
The story is masterfully told. It's easy to tell as the story culminates in this climax how any other turn of events would not have worked. Every event even the mistakes had to happen in exactly the way that they did. It is in looking back on the events on the previous two books from the perspective on this one that you really appreciate the masterful tapestry that Tolkien has woven.
If you want a good answer to "why not just take the Great Eagles?" without reading the whole book I recommend this video from In Deep Geek.
"Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines, it'll shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something."
The first book focuses on the battles and preparations happening but really it becomes the story of Merry and Pippin finding meaning for themselves and longing to be reunited. Do you have best friends that have remained even though life has taken you to different places? If so, I'd be surprised if you didn't see yourself in their stories. They long for meaning and glory. They are nostalgic for the days before and they worry about their friends.
Of course, the real love story of this book is Sam and Frodo. The story focuses on Sam as they struggle to make it to Mount Doom. His love for his master drives him to persevere. Even when Frodo loses all hope and will to go on, Sam refuses to give in with reprieve. Sam's superhuman heart doesn't even seem over the top when paired with his lack of confidence in himself.When they finally make it back to the Shire, it is Sam's endurance that fights for his home. He is rewarded for it, indeed but the quality is still rare.He always refuses to give up. He will not let evil overcome his friends or take over his home. I admire the way that he continues to fight to eradicate the darkness in their world. My wish for all of us is that we have the rare gift of a friend as loving as Samwise Gamgee.
Overall, this was a total win for me. It reminded me that it is up to all of us to do what we can to fight the darkness. Even the least likely can change the course of history for all of us. If you are lucky enough to have the love of a true friend you should cherish that for it's more valuable than all of Smaug's gold.
'Well, here at last, dear friends, on the shores of the Sea comes the end of our fellowship in Middle-earth. Go in peace! I will not say: do not weep; for not all tears are an evil.'