I don't have my copy anymore, so I couldn't tell, sorry *grondy.
I guess I'll just have to buy a new copy... I think I'll follow *Plastic in never opening it. Cos the one I had (up until yesterday, see explanation elsewhere) has loose pages, cover is torn, things like that. But it's still readable. And I'm very careful with it. (well, I was...) :)
I too was totally convinced that Gandalf was dead, but I kept on reading, couldn't stop, cos I wanted to be sure that he didn't appear again. When Aragorn & co saw that white figure in Fangorn, I didn't even think it could be Gandalf. I was so happy I started to sing and laugh when I found out it was him! (I remember my parents looking rather weird when I did. haha) But the fact that he is on the cover of RotK does spoil it. You have to be totally convinced that he is dead and will not appear again before you get to the bit in Fangorn where he suddenly does appear again. Otherwise the whole thrill of "meeting" him again is gone... That would suck... :(
And Grondy's right. Lots of good people do die in the battles. Just a great bit of luck that only one of the Fellowship died I guess. Though some of them were close quite some times, especially Gandalf and Frodo. I don't think it is unrealistic, you just take it for granted. I did... I didn't question it, but now that you mention it... Just part of the story... :)
Denial is not a river in Africa.