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The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King is a 2003 epic fantasy-drama film directed by Peter Jackson that is based on the second and third Volume of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord Of the Rings.thumb|300px|right


PLOT


The film begins in a flashback with a Stoor named Sméagol killing his relative Deagol to possess the One Ring. His possession eventually transformed him into the creature Gollum. Now present day, Gollum takes Frodo Baggings and Samwise Gamgee to Minas Morgul. Aragorn, Legoloas, Gimli, Gandalf,Theodin, Gamling and Eomir meet up with Merry, Pippin and Treebeard at Isengard, now under the Ents' control, where Gandalf concludes Saruman will pose no further threat. They also recover a palantir from the ruins. The group returns to Edoras, where Théoden holds a feast in celebration of the victory at Helm's Deep. Pippin's curiosity gets the better of him, and he looks into the palantír, where he sees a vision of a dead white tree; he is seen and mentally interrogated by Sauron, though Pippin tells him nothing regarding Frodo and the Ring. From this, Gandalf deduces Sauron is planning to attack Minas Tirith, and he rides off there with Pippin. In the meantime, Arwen, on her way to the Undying Lands, has a vision of her son by Aragorn and convinces Elrond to reforge the sword Narsil that cut the Ring from Sauron's finger at the Last Allience. Sam overhears Gollum's treacherous plans to murder them and take the Ring for himself, but Frodo does not believe him. Gollum plays on this, trying to turn Frodo and Sam against each other.

Gandalf and Pippin arrive at Minas Tirith to find the steward Denethor mourning his son Boromir, and Pippin swears loyalty to him, as Boromir had saved his life at Amon Hen. Gandalf warns Denethor that Sauron is now ready to strike and urges him to call Rohan for aid. Denethor declines, fearing Aragorn and Gandalf plan to depose him. That night, Gandalf and Pippin witness a pillar of green fire rise from Minas Morgul, where the Witch king of Angmar sends off his army, heralding the start of the war. Frodo, Sam and Gollum begin climbing the Cirith Ungol stairway. The Morgul army, led by the Nazgul, drives the Gondorians out of Osgiliath. Denethor orders his youngest (and least favored) son Faramir out on a suicide mission to reclaim the city. Faramir and his knights are apparently killed by the masses of Orcs waiting in the ruined city. Meanwhile, Gollum persuades Frodo that Sam wants the Ring for himself, and Frodo angrily tells Sam to go home. Back in Minas Tirith, Pippin has begun the long line of beacon signals to Edoras, where Théoden and Aragorn lead the Rohirrim to Dunharrow to prepare for battle. At Dunharrow, Legolas tells Gimli of the legend of the haunted mountain Dwimoberg, which overlooks the camp, as Éomer says, "that mountain is evil". Aragorn also meets Elrond, who informs him that Arwen is dying and her "fate is now tied to the fate of the Ring" and warns him they are outnumbered by Sauron's army. He also warns him of a fleet of Corsair Ships, that are approaching Minas Tirith secretly from the south. Elrond presents Aragorn with the newly reforged Anduril and tells him to brave the Paths of the dead, where he may acquire the help of the cursed Army of the Dead, who owe allegiance to the Heir of Isildur. Eowyn tries to convince him not to go, confessing her love for him, but Aragorn, who already loves Arwen, tells her to seek love with someone else and bids her goodbye. Along with Legolas and Gimli, Aragorn ventures into the Paths of the Dead and meets the Army of the Dead at Dunharrow. Aragorn gains the loyalty of the King of the Dead and his men by brandishing the sword Andúril, proving himself as the heir of Isildur. The trio then capture the ships of the Corsairs of Umbar, who had intended to launch a surprise attack on Minas Tirith. At Dunharrow, Théoden rides off to war with over 6,000 Riders, unaware Éowyn and Merry are part of the army too.

Sauron's armies begin the siege of Minas Tirith. The Witch-King and Gothmog lead the Orcs, while Gandalf leads the defenders. The Orcs launch catapults, destroying several of the buildings. The Gondorians return fire and destroy several of Sauron's catapults and siege towers. The Nazgul arrives at the battle and destroy several of Gondor's trebuchets and also kill several Gondorian soldiers. The Orcs take heavy casualties but manage to scale the walls. A fierce battle ensues on the defensive walls. The Orcs take down the gate at night fall, and thousands of Orcs swarm through. The Gondorians fight bravelly, but the attack is overwhelming, and they abandon the lower levels of the city. Denethor, meanwhile, has gone mad and prepares to burn Faramir and himself alive. Gandalf and Pippin ride to the rescue of Faramir. Just then, Theoden's army of 6,000 appears at the cracks of dawn. Theoden rallies his men, and they charge into the Orc armies. Gandalf and Pippin save Faramir, and Denethor commits suicide. The Orcs take heavy losses and are on the verge of defeat, but the Haradrim then arrives on the battlefield. The Orcs and the Haradrim charge the Rohirrim. Theoden rallies his army again, and then themselves charge. The Haradrim inflict serious losses on the Rohirrim, even though Eomer kills the Hardrim leader. As the battle rages, the Witch-King attacks Theoden and fatally wounds him. The Witch-King prepares to finish off Theoden, but Eowyn blocks his way. Eowyn duels with the Witch King and kills him with Merry's help. Despite the Witch-King's death, the Rohirrim are on the verge of defeat, until Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli arrive with the Army of the Dead. In the last stages of the battle, Aragorn and Gimli kill Gothmog and the Army of the Dead annihilate Sauron's forces, ending the Battle of the Pelennor Fields in a costly Gondorian/Rohirrim victory. Theoden then dies with Eowyn at his side. Aragorn frees the Army of the Dead and their souls go to the afterlife.

Meanwhile, Frodo is betrayed by Gollum, who flees and leaves Frodo to be attacked by a giant spider named Shelob. Shelob paralyzes Frodo, but Sam saves him in the nick of time and, thinking Frodo is dead, takes the Ring from him. An Orc battalion captures Frodo and reveals that he is alive as they take him to a nearby tower. Sam rescues Frodo from the tower, mostly empty following a fight among the Orc garrison over the mithril shirt, and they begin the journey to Mount Doom. Gandalf realises that over 10,000 Orcs stand on the road between Cirith Ungol and Mount Doom, that would make Frodo's journey impossible. Aragorn leads all the men who survived the battle to the Black Gate to distract Sauron and to call out his armies. Sam carries Frodo up to Mount Doom but Gollum reappears and attacks them, just as the Men of the west battle the orcs. Frodo, at the Crack of Doom, succumbs to the Ring's power and refuses to destroy it. Gollum, who had been following them, attacks Frodo and bites off his finger, seizing the Ring for himself. Frodo attacks him to get it back, and they both fall over the cliff; Frodo grabs the ledge just in time, but Gollum falls into the lava low, taking the Ring with him. Sauron is defeated once and for all, and the destruction of his form creates an immense shockwave that kills most of the Orcs; the rest perish as the whole of Mordor is wracked by intense earthquakes, leaving the Men of the West unharmed.

Frodo and Sam are stranded until Gandalf arrives with the Eagles, and they awake in Minas Tirith, finally reuniting with their friends. Aragorn is crowned King, heralding the new age of peace, and is reunited with Arwen. When Aragorn meets the Hobbits, who bow before him, he stops them and says, "You bow to no one". He and the surviving Free Peoples bow to the Hobbits in honour of their heroic deeds. The Hobbits return home to the Shire, where Sam marries his childhood sweetheart, Rosie Cotton. Frodo, however, has suffered too much in his quest to return to his old life, and leaves Middle-earth with Gandalf, Bilbo, Elrond, Celeborn and Galadriel at the Grey Heavens, leaving his account of the story to Sam. Frodo bids goodbye to his friends before boarding the ship, which sets sail for the Undying Lands. The three remaining Hobbits head back to the Shire and Sam is seen greeted by Rosie and his eldest daughter, Elanor. He says the film's final line: "Well, I'm back".

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