I just finished The Two Towers, and I must say I’m not sure how I feel about Frodo’s death-that-isn’t-really-death. Poor Samwise Gangee (who is my favorite character, like a quarter inch above Aragorn) was completely distraught and convinced his master was actually dead, and I must say, despite knowing that Elijah Wood appears in all three movies, that I was a bit distressed myself. Once Sam learns that Frodo is simply stunned, not dead, however, I got kind of pissed off. How dare Tolkien play with my emotions in such a way! I’m a loyal reader, not some crazy groupie you tell lies to so she’ll get off your dick! Also, how dare you put poor Sam through that! He’s so loyal, and funny, and wise, and you made him think he was going to have to finish the quest on his own! How rude! More than my anger on my own behalf and on behalf of Sam, however, I was kind of annoyed as a reader. It’s a bit of a lazy way to inject some pathos into your story to make the reader think that a major, beloved character, is dead, never to return. It’s even lazier to kill that character off, and then decide that they aren’t really dead because you need them to wrap up some plotlines. And it’s kind of overused, as well—Rahvin kills Aviendha and Mat, but their deaths are undone by Rand; Harry Potter dies at the hand of Voldemort but comes back thanks to his own selflessness; Sleeping “I’ve-Got-More-Looks-Than-Brains” Beauty and Snow “I’m-Too-Beautiful-To-Die” White both appear to be dead at the apex of their stories, only to be revived by a kiss from a beautiful prince. Even Jesus isn’t really dead, and we all know that’s The Greatest Story Ever Sold™. Give me a break, get some new material. Like most things, however, a good thinking session on the elliptical gave me pause. Because while I think it’s overused, and sometimes seems like a blatant manipulation of my emotions as a reader (ahem, Wheel of Time); I sometimes like it. Obviously the Bible and various fairy tales wouldn’t be the same without them. I think Harry’s Jesusesque sacrifice and subsequent awakening was a perfect beginning of the end for Rowling’s series. Now, in fairness to Tolkien, I haven’t finished Return of the King yet, so I may still change my mind on his laziness/intentions as a writer in regards to Frodo’s fake death. I might have to post an apology to Tolkien in a few days when I officially finish the series. But for right now, he has a lot of work to do to impress me in Frodo’s case.