The Fellowship of the Ring

[openbook booknumber=”0618002227″][rating:5/5]

A long time ago the Rings of Power were forged by the Elves and distributed amongst the leaders of Middle Earth. An evil Dark Lord named Sauron then forged the One Ring to rule them all and used it to gain completely dominion over the people of Middle Earth. He fell in a great battle and the Ring was taken from him and everyone thought it was lost forever. Then the events of The Hobbit occurred and the Ring passed by chance onto a Hobbit named Bilbo.

Now years have passed, the Dark Lord Sauron has been slowly regaining power and the fact that the One Ring has fallen into the hands of a Hobbit has become known to him. The Ring passes to Frodo, Bilbo’s cousin and heir. With the help of his friends Frodo must flee the Shire and manage to take the Ring to the Cracks of Doom, the only place the Ring can be destroyed, or risk having Sauron rise to power once again. With the help of the elves a Fellowship is formed to help Frodo with his quest to bear the Ring to its destruction. But, can this quest possibly succeed when so much depends on one so very small?

The morning came, pale and clammy. Frodo woke up first, and found that a tree-root had made a hole in his back, and that his neck was stiff. “Walking for pleasure! Why didn’t I drive?” he thought, as he usually did at the beginning of an expedition. “And all my beautiful feather beds are sold to the Sackville-Bagginses! These tree-roots would do them good.” He stretched. “Wake up, hobbits!” he cried. “It’s a beautiful morning.”
       “What’s beautiful about it?” said Pippin, peering over the edge of his blanket with one eye. “Sam! Get breakfast ready for half-past nine! Have you got the bath-water hot?”
       Sam jumped up, looking rather bleary. “No, sir, I haven’t, sir!” he said.
       Frodo stripped the blankets from Pippin and rolled him over, and then walked off to the edge of the wood.

I came to the start of this trilogy of books as a reader that had only ever seen them portrayed in movies. So to actually read them for the first time was absolutely amazing. For any fan of the movies I highly recommend it! The world is much richer and more vibrant, with greater nuance and detail, and just an all around more vivid and brighter world than the movies could ever hope to portray. They still did a great job though!

The characters were richly displayed and wonderfully drawn. The scenery and descriptions were like paintings with words, and the world as a whole was just unique and layered and believable. I loved reading about the mythology and history behind the story, as well as the built up languages and the songs and poetry that helped make it all have such a rich tapestry. Some people complain that it reads like a historical text and that it is dry and heavy instead of entertaining. I didn’t find that true at all for me, but then again I love to read history books so perhaps that’s saying something when I say I really loved this book!

Since this book was supposed to be just the first two parts of a very long book it didn’t follow the standard story arc and that ended up bothering me a bit. I’m used to a certain level of excitement and lead up to some sort of a climax to finish off the first book, but that didn’t end up happening. A lot of the deviations that the movie made makes sense in this light. They needed to make the movie have more of a traditional arc or risk not having people come back for the rest of the series. Tolkein never intended the books to be published separately and so his story reflected that. As a result, for me, the end of the book after the Fellowship left Moria really dragged out. I didn’t end up enjoying it as much as I had the earlier parts.

All in all though I really enjoyed The Fellowship of the Ring. I highly recommend it for fantasy fans and for anyone that is a big fan of the movies. Getting to read more about your favorite characters is just one small part of getting a peek at the mythology, poetry and language of Tolkein’s richly imagined world.

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