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Monday, February 7, 2011

The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien


The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien 5 of 5 stars.

One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all and in the dark darkness bind them.

In ancient times the Rings of Power were crafted by the elven-smiths, and Sauron, the Dark Lord, forged the One Ring, filling it with his own power so that he could rule all others. But the One Ring was taken from him, and though he sought it throughout Middle-earth, it remained lost to him. After many ages, it fell by chance into the hands of the hobbit Bilbo Baggins.

From his fastness in the Dark Tower of Mordor, Sauron's power spread far and wide. He gathered all the Great Rings to him, but always he searched for the One Ring that would complete his dominion.

On Bilbo's eleventy-first birthday, he disappeared, bequeathing to his young cousin, Frodo, the Ruling Ring and a perilous quest: to journey across Middle-earth, deep into the shadow of the Dark Lord, and destroy the Ring by casting it into the Cracks of Doom.

The Lord of the Rings tells of the great quest undertaken by Frodo and the Fellowship of the Ring: Gandalf the Wizard; the hobbits Merry, Pippin, and Sam; Gimli the Dwarf;  Legolas the Elf; Boromir of Gondor; and a tall, mysterious stranger called Strider. (Book blurb)

I have finally read the first book in the series that inspired so much, from movies

to spin-off novels, roleplayers and dreamers. In no way can I say that I was disappointed. For a long time I have said that I like The Lord of the Rings, not because I had read it but because of what it was, what it repressented; epic fantasy, magical creatures, and, of course, Orlando Bloom played an elf in the movie! But now I have a new and genuine appreciation for the trilogy and the writer.

As I read, I tried to look not simply at the story itself, but at the writing. I tried to decipher what it was that made us all fall in love with Tolkien's work. Is it his musical tone? His vast knowledge and imagination? Probably some of both. But I also saw that he didn't steer away from the things we are so often told to avoid in our writing today. He used passive sentences. He always stayed true to the voice of the characters even if it meant veering slightly away from the "correct" formation of the prose. Some might say, but it is okay for Tolkien to do it. He is a linguist, he studies language, he knows it. I say, would he not want us to follow in his footsteps and to write as clearly as we possibly can what that little voice inside our head is saying, even if we fear that it might sound or look foolish?

Probably the most wonderful part of Tolkien's trilogy is the characters. They are so rich and full. There is nothing lacking in their personalities, their voices. They bring to mind a time that might once have been, might come to be. They aren't like the people in our lives today, but they are real enough to relate with, to laugh with, to wish beyond hope that you would just suddenly run into one of them on the street one day.

I also can't help but wonder about the characters in this book and to compare them with modern series that are often talked about with reference to The Lord of the Rings like (you had to know this was coming!) Christopher Paolini's Inheritance Cycle. In Tolkien's trilogy we find that while the women in the books are strong just like in Paolini's works, they are greatly outnumbered by the men. I wonder a bit if it might be the way views on women have changed in the last fifty years or if it was just a fluke.


As for the movie adaptation of Lord of the Rings I see it in a slightly different light now. I do still adore it, but there is so much missing. So much beautiful scenery (not that what was in the movie wasn't gorgeous!) so much information that could be useful to the viewer is missing.

All together, Tolkien has gained yet another devoted fan.

To order The Fellowship of the Ring from Amazon.com, please click here.

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I would greatly appreciate any comments on my review and would love to discuss any of these point (or some of your own!) below. This is my first time reviewing a classic and I hate to feel like I'm talking to myself!
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13 comments:

Melissa said...

This is a very good review. I understand all of your points. For me, though, the Lord of the rings series was very hard to get through (though I did read it when I was nine). I loved the story but I felt that tolkien could get too descriptive and would go off on odd tangents. My favorite book of his is definitely the Hobbit. I love that book. A lot. And that was a huge part of the reason I was so dissapointed with the LOTR trilogy.

Arya said...

Ahhh! I completely understand. I tried to read it when I was about that age as well and couldn't stand the descriptions, so I just put it back. Strangely enough that was my favorite part reading it this time around.

And you are the second person who has said that about the Hobbit! I'm planning on reading it after the trilogy. I can't wait now! (=

Nevey ♦ Berry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nevey ♦ Berry said...

I am going to cry; this is the best LOTR review ever.

I love his characters so much they are rich and diffrent in a way that made them togather whole as one.

The thing about strong female characters started with Tolkien and I think now wemen are not the very princess's style waiting for there prince to come. We just do it ourselves...

I adore the series :) ...

Arya said...

Thank you, Nevey! That mean alot coming from you! (; Your like the #1 Tolkien fan. hehe

I agree with you so much about both the characters and the strong women thing. What struck me, though, was that you don't really find many stories now that focus on the journey of eight all male characters. lol Not that there is ANYTHING at all wrong with that, its just not seen a lot in contemporary works.

Zach said...

Arya this was a FANTASTIC review! I have read the book and it is one of my favorite books of all time! I read The Hobbit before this one and got more insight on it. Anyways just wanted to let you know this was great and keep in touch!

Nevey ♦ Berry said...

Tolkien thoughts were pure as friendship is a real thing and he thought of his characters were pure unside there hearts even if shadows tries to hunter there souls; they still give there lives to protect the followship.

I hate the new ways of male/male and femal/female and TOlkien kept it as I love.

Yes, I am his 1#Fan because he tought me too many about friendship and hope.

R.I.P To the Master of purness J. R. R. Tolkien.

Nevey ♦ Berry said...

I also wants to say something about the prose; He is a linguist and he enjoied palying with words. He is an inspration.

*Now you will make me cry; because I always thought he was writing for me & his writing made me see my own voice and forgive my fears*...

You had my vote for being the best review of the month, not because you are my BFF but because I have seen a Tolkin's sparks between your lines...

Nevey ♦ Berry said...

I also wants to say something about the prose; He is a linguist and he enjoied palying with words. He is an inspration.

*Now you will make me cry; because I always thought he was writing for me & his writing made me see my own voice and forgive my fears*...

You had my vote for being the best review of the month, not because you are my BFF but because I have seen a Tolkin's sparks between your lines...

Arya said...

@Zach Thank you! (: I'm very glad you liked it. I'm dying to read the next two (+ The Hobbit) but my plan is to read 2-3 contemps (depending on my deadlines) and then read one classic. I'm alternating right now between LotR and other things like Gothics and Greek stories. Then I'll move on to Legend of the Seeker stuff. hehe (:

@Nevey Ohhh my gooodness!!! That is so sweet! Tolkien is indeed an inspiration and it is so great to find a writer that makes you feel like that.
And yes, I agree. I loved the gender dynamics in the book, though when I was a bit younger I would have never imagined I would. (I thought every single book had to have romance. And on like every other page. haha) But I do like the romance between Aragorn and Arwen. (At least in the movie.) I can't wait to see how it turns out in the books. Aragron is so bad-ass, and yet sweet at the same time... hehe

Nevey ♦ Berry said...

Thanks sweetie :) ; Tolkien is just wonderful...

I used to think so but modern books is not love only and there is a story inbetween the pages.

Aragorn is wonderful; I remember after LOTR was shown my whole class did not came in the next day because they were having a good Aragorn night. He is the dream king of any girl...

Melissa (My World...in words and pages) said...

Oh, I enjoyed the movie of this series. But I have not read the series yet. I need to get to it now. :) Thanks!!!

Padmé Arya Éowyn Istalrí Skywalker said...

I just saw the movie and loved it! :)

 
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