Nepali Times
Under My Hat
The Return of the King


For those of you out there who watched the first two episodes of the Tolkien trilogy, it has befallen upon this humble servant to provide you eager beaver readers with an executive summary of the third installment: The Return of the King. This is to spare you the trouble of having to sit through another three torturous hours (there is an intermission) trying to pronounce the names of its hobbit, elf and swiftit protagonists.

So, without further ado, let us rejoin Gandalf and Pippin as they reach Minas Tirith in Gondor in time to meet Denethor, father of Boromir and Faramir who have just rendezvoused with Frodo in the company of Aragorn who looks into the planatir with Arwen's assistance to confront Sauron accompanied by an army of ghosts.

Are you still with me? Right, so Aragorn and his comrades reach Erech where he is proclaimed Heir of Isildur. Not to be outdone, Orcs, Trolls, Woses of Druadan Forest and the Lord of the Nazgul confront Eowyn, finding out in the process that he is actually a she. From hereon the plot thickens as platoons of Gondorians and Rohans arrive at the gates of Mordor on the flaming slopes of Sammath Naur as Frodo confronts Gollum (or is it the other way around?) at the Crack of Doom.

By this time in the movie, Gollum has run out of popcorn and is so hungry that he bites off Frodo's finger and swallows the ring by mistake. Thus ensues an epic struggle to employ laxatives and have the magic ring extirpated from Gollum's alimentary canal. Elrond, Celebron, Galadriel and Arwen all lend a hand, but to no avail. I don't want to give away the ending to those of you who haven't seen the movie yet, so let me just say that after three hours wandering aimlessly in Middle Earth, one would be excused if one didn't care how it ended.

The Return of the King was filmed in New Zealand, but we hear the producers are already working on a sequel to be filmed in Nepal with a fully local cast of characters. The shooting starts in spring. Here is a sneak preview of the fourth episode: A Kingdom in Regression.

Novice hobbits and trolls who left the Shire to pursue higher studies at the Mata Tirth Multiple Campus have been told by Gandalf and Pippin to burn some tyres on the streets to keep warm through a cruel winter. The Steward of Gondor suggests it may be a much better idea to just climb on top of the nearby social volcano, Mt Crack of Doom, so they can be warm and toasty. But the novice hobbits are trapped in between Gondor and Mordor at Ratna Park. Confused, they turn to the Republican Guards for inspiration against the demonic pressures of the Ring. Only by diverting the attention of Sauron and making him believe in the second coming of the Ringlord can the hobbits hope to convince the army of ghosts to join them against Saruman. The rebellion exacts a heavy toll, Hobbiton is destroyed and Barad-dur is about to be declared an autonomous region. But the ghosts arrive at the nick of time, preventing Gondor from also being transformed into Orodruin. Good sense prevails, international mediators arrive, peace and tranquility finally returns to the Shire.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)