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.
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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!