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Heartwarming / The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

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The Fellowship reunited.

  • At the beginning, Sam insists on taking out a lembas wafer for Frodo before they start the day's trek. Frodo questions about him, and Sam tries to brush it off as not being hungry. Frodo answers with a simple "Sam..." that indicates very clearly that he knows his friend isn't taking care of himself.
  • After Aragorn is crowned as the King of Gondor, he moves through the crowd, reunites with Arwen and finally arrives at where the four hobbits are standing. They begin to bow to him, but Aragorn looks at them and says:
    Aragorn: My bow to no one.
    • And then he kneels to them. The camera pans out and shows the entire audience moving to bow to them (as the king does...).Peter Jackson has said that this is his favourite scene out of the entire trilogy.
  • Samwise Gamgee's finest hour: At the end of the journey, at the base of Mount Doom, hungry, thirsty, wounded and exhausted by a quest so long and hard they cannot even really remember a time before it, Frodo and Sam are literally dragging themselves up the rocky slope until Frodo just can't go on anymore. Sam knows that he cannot pick up the burden of the Ring from Frodo and destroy it himself for he would fall under its spell, so he does what only a real friend would do: He, although if anything even more tired and damaged than him, picks Frodo up and carries him to the top of the mountain. He ain't heavy, he's my brother indeed.
    Sam: Then let us be rid of it... once and for all! Come on, Mr. Frodo. I can't carry it for you... but I can carry you!
  • After Frodo and Sam escape Mt. Doom. These two brave hobbits are finally free of their mission, but only for a few minutes that will seemingly be their last. So what do they do? They remember the simple life of the Shire and cling to one another.
    Frodo: It's's done.
    Sam: Yes, Mr. Frodo. It's over now.
    Frodo [closing his eyes]: I can see the Shire...the Party tree...Gandalf's fireworks.
    Sam (wistfully): Rosie Cotton dancing...she had ribbons in her hair...if ever I was to marry someone, it would have been her. (Begins to cry) It would have been her.
    Frodo opens his eyes and sits up to hugs Sam.
    Frodo: I'm glad to be with you, Samwise at the end of all things.
    • It gets better; in a previous scene, it was Sam who was reminiscing about the Shire...but Frodo couldn't, because the Ring weighed so heavily on his mind. Now that the Ring is destroyed, Frodo can remember the Shire.
    • Before that scene, Sam and Frodo are escaping from the eruption of Mount Doom, and pushes Frodo onto a large rock in order to save him first. After all that Frodo did beforehand in the Crack of Doom, Sam still cares more about his life than he does his own. Scene for you
  • As Sauron screeches, the Ring having been destroyed by Frodo, Sam, and Gollum, the Fellowship show mixtures of awe, joy, and relief. And then the camera cuts to Gandalf, who only seems to have a half smile, but his eyes are visibly tearing up. He's quite visibly overjoyed and so proud of Frodo and Sam, that Ian McKellan could not express with a facial expression alone.
    • Followed by Merry shouting Frodo's name as a victory cry.
  • Théoden speaking to Éowyn before he left to battle when she asked what other duty he would have her do.
    Théoden: Duty? No... I would have you smile again, not grieve for those whose time has come. You shall live to see these days renewed. No more despair.
  • When Aragorn was reunited with Arwen and the kiss that followed.
    • Made doubly heartwarming since all the romantic scenes previously have been this very idealized, courtly sort of love; then at the end Aragorn is like, "screw it" and snogs Arwen's brains out.
    • Elrond's happy yet sad expression as he sees his daughter happy with Aragorn, despite knowing she will eventually die and separated from him.
  • Gandalf has been berating Pippin ever since Pip picked up the Palantir. As they stand on a balcony looking out past Osgiliath towards Mordor, Minas Morgul fires a column of white-green light into the sky, signalling the start of Mordor's invasion. Newly minted Citadel Guard Pip is terrified. Gandalf instantly comforts his very young friend.
  • When they light the watchtowers.
  • Also when the riders of Rohan are waiting at the battle of Pellenor Fields, and Théoden gives that speech and rides along with his sword as the riders shout, and Éowyn and Merry shout and raise their swords.
  • Rohan gets another good one with their timely rescue of Gondor. The King's speech to his men... "Fear no darkness! Spears shall be shaken! Shields will be splintered! It is a sword day! A red day! ERE THE SUN RISES!" The glorious charge, a hell-bent, screw-it-all charge into an army of orcs that are quite prepared for it, is a beautiful statement of human courage.
  • "End? No, the journey doesn't end here. Death is just another path, one that we all must take. The gray rain-curtain of this world rolls back, and all turns to silver glass, and then you see it...The White Shores, and beyond, a far green country under a swift sunrise." And just like that, all the darkness and despair goes away for a little while. Moreso when you have read The Silmarillion and understand that Gandalf is talking about Valinor. Similar in a manner to the passage of the good thief in Jesus's Passion, Gandalf is telling Pippin that, were he to fall in battle, he knows that he will enter into the Undying Lands.
  • At The Black Gate:
    Aragorn: Sons of Gondor, of Rohan, my brothers! I see in your eyes the same fear that would take the heart of me. A day may come when the courage of men fails! When we forsake our friends and break all bonds of fellowship - but it is not this day. An hour of woes and shattered shields, when the age of men comes crashing down! But it is not this day! This day we fight! By all that you hold dear on this good Earth, I bid you stand, Men of the West!"
    • Another one occurs mere moments later. It's heartwarming enough to hear Aragorn say "For Frodo" and then charge... Then it's made ten times more so by having Merry and Pippin be the first ones who follow.
  • The bonding between Merry and Éowyn. "Whatever happens, stay with me. I will look after you."
    Éowyn: Ride with me.
    Merry: My lady.
  • After the Battle of the Pellenor Fields, Pippin finally locates Merry amidst the debris, after they had been separated for the first time in as long as they can remember. The other hobbit says five simple words. Cue the (happy) teardrops.
    • Crosses into Tear Jerker territory even more when, in the extended edition, it's shown that Pippin has been desperately calling for Merry for hours, but didn't give up hope.
  • The moment toward the end when the hobbits are back in the Green Dragon tavern. They don't even need to say anything to each other; after all they've been through, they just clink their tankards together and have a pint.
    • Samwise Gamgee is a hero amongst men, dwarves, elves and hobbits, he's faced immortal demi-gods with nothing but an empty stomach, an enchanted knife, and a magic lantern... and he'll be damned if he ain't going to work up the courage to ask a girl out! And then, the amusement of the other three that turns into joy for their friend. CMoA, CMoF and CMoH all at once.
  • Frodo wakes up in Gondor...and Gandalf, the mentor he thought died and whose memory he has been mourning for the past two movies, is there for him.
    • When the rest of the remaining Fellowship enters the room to see Frodo. They are all either laughing or crying in joy, something they hadn't done together in a long time. After everything each of them had been through, they are finally reunited.
      • And at the very, very end of that particular reunion — the last person to enter is Sam, who's meekly, shyly coming in, almost unnoticed by the others. But Frodo sees him hovering by the door, and just looks at him and smiles... and Sam smiles back.
  • The dying words of King Théoden to Éowyn.
    Éowyn: I'm going to save you.
    Theoden: You already did... Éowyn... my body is broken... you have to let me go. I go to my fathers, in whose mighty company I shall not now feel ashamed.
    • And there's the Meaningful Echo of his words when Gandalf freed him from Saruman's control.
    • Theoden has another wonderful moment when he confronts Saruman and Gríma Wormtongue at Isengard. He looks up at Wormtongue—a traitor who had helped to drive him mad and send his nephew into exile—and offers him forgiveness. A touching moment of compassion from a usually stern king.
      Theoden: Grima! You need not follow him! You were not always as you are now. (he smiles) You were once a man of Rohan. Come down.
  • Stoic elf-king Elrond breaking down and deciding to help, and accept, both Men as a whole and Aragorn in particular when his prim, proper, always in her place daughter Arwen utters one simple word, "Ada." What makes it even more heartwarming (and tearjerking at the same time) is that 'ada' is informal... she wasn't saying 'Father', she was calling him 'Daddy'. Goes to show that even a gorgeous millennia-old Elf princess can still need her dad.
  • For that matter, Arwen deciding to cling to the world of life and accept her own death at the same time when she catches the glimpse of her curly-haired, blue-eyed son jumping into the arms of an older Aragorn.
  • After the Battle of Pellenor Fields, Aragorn releases the Army of the Dead from their curse of undeath. The looks on their faces as eons of anguish melt away is priceless.
  • Aragorn tries to give Legolas & Gimli the slip as he departs Dunharrow for the Paths of the Dead. It goes pretty much exactly how you'd expect.
    Gimli: Just where do you think you're off to?
    Aragorn: Not this time. This time you must stay, Gimli.
    [Gimli hmmms with a bemused expression that says "Oh really?" as Legolas approaches with Arod in tow]
    Legolas: Have you learnt nothing of the stubborness of dwarves?
    Gimli: You might as well accept it. We're going with you, laddie.
    [Aragorn sighs and smiles with an air of resignation and gratitude]
  • In the extended edition, when the Mouth of Sauron is taunting most of the Fellowship by implying that Frodo had been tortured to death, all their reactions are both heartwarming and tear-inducing. Merry and Pippin desperately start yelling, Gandalf visibly has tears in his eyes, Gimli has to be held back by Legolas—who also looks like he wants to murder the Mouth of Sauron. And Aragorn silently and calmly rides his horse forward. The Mouth of Sauron taunts him for a moment... and Aragorn whips out his sword and whacks his head off, before insisting that he doesn't believe that Frodo is dead.
  • Bilbo's final line in the trilogy': "I think I'm quite ready for another adventure!" Made all the more touching when Elrond, who took care of Bilbo during his stay in Rivendell, escorts the wizened Hobbit onto the ship.
  • Many scenes involving Faramir, such as the sequence from the Extended Edition when Aragorn is healing Éowyn, and it ends with Faramir gazing at her in wonder. Another is when he comforts Éowyn, and the look on her face suggests that she has finally found a man who truly understands and appreciates her. (Knowing Éowyn's fate from the book helps; she no longer feels she has anything to prove because of him.) His gentle "I do not believe this darkness will endure" melted hearts all over the world, as did Éowyn's happy expression.
    • Éowyn and Faramir's encounter is near-parallel to Aragorn's meeting with Arwen in the novels, which is extra heartfelt considering Éowyn having to come to terms with the fact that she'll always be second-best for Aragorn's affections. Faramir on the other hand looks at Eowyn the way Aragorn looks at Arwen.
  • It's only a small thing, but very powerful. In the Extended Edition, Éomer and Éowyn share a very painful scene in which Éomer, having seen the combat that Éowyn so desires to take part in, rebukes her harshly. This is practically their only scene together in the entire trilogy and it seems to paint a very cold relationship between the two. Later on, however, Éomer spots Éowyn laying wounded, seemingly dead, after killing the Witch King. He immediately drops everything and runs to her, howling with inarticulate grief. We then see her being tended to by Aragorn in the Houses of Healing and Éomer is right by her side. This proud, powerful warrior, who is now King of Rohan, looks like a scared six-year-old at the very notion of his sister being wounded. Actions speak louder than words; Éomer loves his sister.
  • After a traumatic encounter with Shelob, we see an exhausted Frodo limping towards Cirith Ungol. He can barely hold his weight, opting instead to lean against the rocks and murmuring "I'm so sorry, Sam ... so sorry..." before he collapses. Instead of landing on cold, hard rock, he finds himself transported to Lothlorien once more, where Galadriel awaits him. She gently reminds him of his task before offering him a hand. With steely determination, Frodo takes it, prompting Galadriel to give him an approving smile as she hoists him up.
    • Just the fact that Galadriel felt Frodo's darkest hour all the way from Lothlorien and decided to give him a boost. Despite the fact that her race has long since washed their hands of the affairs of Men, Galadriel knows that not all hope is lost, so long as Frodo still has the determination to see his quest through. And he does.
  • Frodo and Sam reuniting in Cirith Ungol. As soon as Frodo sees Sam, he spills out an apology he's clearly been wanting to make desperately since Shelob's lair, and Sam immediately forgives Frodo for sending him away. He doesn't say anything, but his smile says it all.
  • The Award-Bait Song "Into The West" by Annie Lennox is a CMOH for Awesome Music, basically a song about adventurers/warriors who have gone through harrowing experiences and finally get to rest. It fits not only with the story and characters, but also in a meta example for the whole production crew; It's been an experience of truly epic proportions spanning several years of nonstop production, and they can all finally take a real rest and look back on experiences that brought them together. There's a reason they won an Oscar for this one.
    What can you see,
    On the horizon,
    Why do the white gulls call,
    Across the sea,
    A pale moon rises,
    The ships have come to carry you home.
    • What's even better is that an orchestral version of the song plays at two points during the film itself: When Gandalf gives his "death is not the end" speech to Pippin, and when Sam literally picks up Frodo and carries him up Mount Doom.
  • As the Ring falls into the Crack of Doom, Frodo is left hanging from the edge. Sam tries to reach to pull him up, but his hands are slippery with blood. Frodo looks up at him with despair on his face, looking very much like he's about let himself fall. But Sam is having none of it:
    Sam: Don't you let go! Don't let go! REACH!
    • And with that, Frodo grabs Sam's hand and is pulled to safety. It's very much a Call-Back to the CMoH at the end of Fellowship, when it's Sam that grabs Frodo's hand to be pulled to safety from the deeps of the Anduin.
  • When Frodo gets on the ship to the West, his friends are weeping. Then, after a whole trilogy of looking terrified, incredibly sad, or increasingly crazed, he smiles back at them. And they smile again as well. Best of all, even after the return from Mordor Frodo has looked nothing but worn out by his ordeal—pale, weak, hollow due to the physical, mental, and emotional anguish he'd gone through. But in this moment, when he's getting on the ship and looks back to give that smile, suddenly thanks to the lighting and the makeup job he looks as he did in the beginning...way back at the start of the movies, when he was still carefree and innocent. It's a real Tears of Joy moment. You get the feeling that after all the crap that Frodo went through, he's finally going to be able to move on and heal.
  • When Elrond presents Anduril to Aragorn. On the surface it seems like just an info dump about the Army of the Dead, and Aragorn getting his Awesome Sword, but if you're familiar with Tolkien's work, you know the back story; for most of Aragorn's life, Elrond has been a father figure/mentor. Taking that into account, listen to Elrond's speech: "Become who you were born to be!" As if to say, "This is your destiny. Stop running from it. You are ready for this!"
  • The final scene in the trilogy may also be the most touching. Sam returns to Hobbiton having said goodbye to Frodo, looking to still be as sad as when it happened. Just as he's coming up to his house, his daughter runs out and dashes to hug her father. Sam proudly holds her in his arms as his wife, Rosie, comes out with their baby with a smile on her face as the two kiss. Frodo's last message to him, combined with the accomponying music, may be the Heartwarming Moment for the entire series:
    Frodo: My dear Sam; you cannot always be torn in two. You will have to be one and whole for many years. You have so much to enjoy and to be, and to do. Your part in this story will go on.
    Sam: Well...I'm back.
  • Among the moment of awesome that is Sauron's defeat and the collapse of his tower, Merry is the only one to look at the situation like, "Frodo did it!" and shout out his name rather than everyone else having the looks of, "Sauron is dying!" Which is then promptly ruined when he sees Mt. Doom explode.
  • Pippin's smile when Faramir confirms that Frodo and Sam are alive.
  • Gimli despairing about dying next to an Elf and Legolas responding about how about dying next to a friend.
  • In a bit of Fridge Heartwarming, there's no indication that any of the four hobbits had been declared dead or their properties dispersed, unlike what happened with Bilbo's previous absence. The Shire's residents remember that mix-up, and made sure to wait a good, long time for this new batch of wanderers to return. Most touchingly of all, Rosie Cotton waited.

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