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

The Fellowship of the Ring

One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all and in the darkeness bind themIn 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,...

Title:The Fellowship of the Ring
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Edition Language:English

The Fellowship of the Ring Reviews

  • Jason Koivu

    Give me a few friends,

    a stretch of pleasant hills and an ominous wood.

    Let us romp in the remnants of innocence,

    free of the fear coursing through the veins of the greater world.

    Give me the first half dozen chapters of

    and I will gladly make a little heaven on earth out of it.

    After finishing

    as a young boy, I needed something else, something a little more mature to meet my growing needs. Lucky for me, Tolkien had done just that in the form of his epic trilogy

    Give me a few friends,

    a stretch of pleasant hills and an ominous wood.

    Let us romp in the remnants of innocence,

    free of the fear coursing through the veins of the greater world.

    Give me the first half dozen chapters of

    and I will gladly make a little heaven on earth out of it.

    After finishing

    as a young boy, I needed something else, something a little more mature to meet my growing needs. Lucky for me, Tolkien had done just that in the form of his epic trilogy The Lord of the Rings.

    , the first book in the trilogy, is my favorite of the three. I fell in love with the four little friends striking out on their own, having adventures and misadventures that, within the context of the beginning of this first book, haven't yet taken on the worldly importance they will later on.

    My two favorite chapters are "The Old Forest" and "Fog on the Barrow-Downs" and it's probably because both contain a genuinely scary, Halloween-when-you-still-believe-in-boogiemen atmosphere. In fact, atmosphere is a particularly operative term here. Tolkien made me feel the suffocation of the ancient forest with it's mysterious gnarled trees. The ghosty fog upon the eerie downs evoked apparitions, the stuff of nightmare.

    The challenges and foes the four little hobbits face in these chapters are not on a grand scale - they're not even germane to the book's overall plot - but jeez louise, there's some scary-ass moments in there. Watching the boys handle these situations is just good, fun adventure material.

    Frodo, Sam, Merry, and Pippin skip along having a merry old time, stumbling into relatively minor troubles, all the while clueless that they possess the world's most powerful evil magic. I love that innocence. It reminds me of past days when my friends and I would grab stick-swords and hike through the woods, slashing at the trees that had become our goblin and ogre enemies. I could relate to the sense of foreboding Frodo and friends felt when finding themselves lost in a cold, eerie hallow with a creeping mist swirling about them. Growing up in the country, I knew exactly what it was like to run afoul of a truculent farmer and his vicious dogs. I could relate entirely to the first half of the first book, before the lords and wizards entered and it all became alien. Enjoyable as the journey to Mordor was, nothing could compare, no, nothing could even come close to touching my heart the way those first few chapters did.

    However, we must all eventually move on from the safety of home.

    film version: I waited sooooo long for this. It was like waiting for the Red Sox to finally win the World Series. And when it finally happened, boy was it sweet! Back in the mid-to-late 90s I was working in Hollywood and so I would get the lowdown on what movies were in production and even pre-production. It must have been about '96 or '97 when I heard there was an interest in making a film version of

    . I promptly went SQUEEEEE!!! and wet myself. Then I heard Jackson was the one who'd potentially be directing it. My glee was tempered. I'd seen and much admired his haunting Heavenly Creatures, but I also new him as more of a Heavy Metal Magazine, comic gore, sci-fi kinda guy, and I feared such a person getting their sticky mitts all over my precious. But anyway, so now recall that this was '97ish and that the first installment didn't come out until 2001. That is a loooong time to wait for something you want in the worst way. I'd grown up watching

    partially finished version and longed for a completed one. And now it was coming, but it was being delivered by an unreliable messenger. Tingling with mixed nerves, I sat in the theater waiting for Fellowship to begin, my heart still somber after 9/11. I wanted to feel good again. I really wanted this to be good. Cate Blanchett's androgynously husky voice rumbled through the darkness…."ooooh, this is going to be good" muttered my soul. And it was. From start to finish, I love this movie. Certainly it has its faults. I felt like Jackson, with all the money and technology at his disposal, still managed to make a scene or two here and there look like it was shot on a VHS camcorder. I'll never be completely happy with the casting. Some of the scenes that were cut from the book were my favorite (the Old Forest deletion is a crying shame) and that's unfortunate, but expected. All in all, my complaints are far outweighed by the laurels I could lay upon this…considering the grand scope, let's call it, this achievement.

  • J.G. Keely

    Authors who inspire a movement are usually misunderstood, especially by those they have inspired, and Tolkien is no exception, but one of the biggest misconceptions about Tolkien is the idea that he is somehow an 'innovator of fantasy'. He did add a number of techniques to the repertoire of epic fantasy writers, and these have been dutifully followed by his many imitators, but for the most part, these techniques are little more than bad habits.

    Many have called Tolkien by such epithets as 'The Fa

    Authors who inspire a movement are usually misunderstood, especially by those they have inspired, and Tolkien is no exception, but one of the biggest misconceptions about Tolkien is the idea that he is somehow an 'innovator of fantasy'. He did add a number of techniques to the repertoire of epic fantasy writers, and these have been dutifully followed by his many imitators, but for the most part, these techniques are little more than bad habits.

    Many have called Tolkien by such epithets as 'The Father of Fantasy', but anyone who makes this claim simply does not know of the depth and history of the fantasy genre. For those who are familiar with the great and influential fantastical authors, from

    and

    to

    and

    to

    and

    , it is clear that, long before Tolkien, fantasy was already a complex, well-established, and even a respected literary genre.

    contains an invented world, a carefully-constructed (and well-researched) archaic language, a powerful and unearthly queen, and a central character who is conflicted and lost between the forces of nobility and darkness. Poul Anderson's

    , which came out the same year as The Fellowship of the Ring, has distant, haughty elves, deep-delving dwarves, a broken sword which must be reforged, an epic war between the armies of light and darkness, another central character trapped between those extremes, and an interweaving of Christian and Pagan worldviews.

    So, if these aspects are not unique to Tolkien, then what does set him apart? Though Dunsany, Eddison, and Anderson all present worlds where light and dark come into conflict, they present these conflicts with a subtle and often ironic touch, recognizing that morality is a dangerous thing to present in absolutes. Tolkien (or

    ), on the other hand, has no problem in depicting evil as evil, good as good, and the only place they meet is in the temptation of an honest heart, as in Gollum's case--and even then, he is not like Eddison's Lord Gro or Anderson's Scafloc, characters who live under an alternative view of the world, but instead fluctuates between the highs and lows of Tolkien's dualistic morality.

    It is a dangerous message to make evil an external, irrational thing, to define it as 'the unknown that opposes us', because it invites the reader to overlay their own morality upon the world, which is precisely what most modern fantasy authors tend to do, following Tolkien's example. Whether it's

    or John Norman's

    , its very easy to simply create a magical allegory to make one side 'right' and the other side 'wrong', and you never have to develop a dramatic narrative that actually explores the soundness of those ideas. Make the good guys dress in bright robes or silvery maile and the bad guys in black, spiky armor, and a lot of people will never notice that all the 'good guys' are White, upper class men, while all the 'bad guys' are 'brutish foreigners', and that both sides are killing each other and trying to rule their little corner of the world.

    In Tolkien's case, his moral view was a very specific evocation of the ideal of

    , which is an attempt by certain stodgy old Tories (like Tolkien) to rewrite history so that the nobility were all good and righteous leaders, the farmers were all happy in their 'proper place' (working a simple patch of dirt), while both industrialized cultures and the 'primitives' who resided to the South and East were 'the enemy' bent on despoiling the 'natural beauty of England' (despite the fact that the isles had been flattened, deforested, and partitioned a thousand years before).

    Though Tom Bombadil remains as a strangely incoherent reminder of the moral and social complexity of the fantasy tradition upon which Tolkien draws, he did his best to scrub the rest clean, spending years of his life

    more wholly into his Pagan adventure realm. But then, that's often how we think of Tolkien: bent over his desk, spending long hours researching, note-taking, compiling, and playing with language. Even those who admit that Tolkien demonstrates certain racist, sexist, and classicist leanings (as, indeed, do many great authors) still praise the complexity of his 'world building'.

    And any student of the great Epics, like the Norse Eddas, the Bible, or the Shahnameh can see what Tolkien is trying to achieve with his worldbuilding: those books presented grand stories, but were also about depicting a vast world of philosophy, history, myth, geography, morality and culture. They were encyclopedic texts, intended to instruct their people on everything important in life, and they are extraordinarily valuable to students of anthropology and history, because even the smallest detail can reveal something about the world which the book describes.

    So, Tolkien fills his books with troop movements, dull songs, lines of lineage, and references to his own made-up history, mythology, and language. He has numerous briefly-mentioned side characters and events because organic texts like the epics, which were formed slowly, over time and compiled from many sources often contained such digressions. He creates characters who have similar names--which is normally a stupid thing to do, as an author, because it is so confusing--but he’s trying to represent a hereditary tradition of prefixes and suffixes and shared names, which many great families of history had. So Tolkien certainly had a purpose in what he did, but was it a purpose that served the story he was trying to tell?

    Simply copying the form of reality is

    . Art is meaningful--it is directed. It is not just a list of details--everything within is carefully chosen by the author to make up a good story. The addition of detail is not the same as adding depth, especially since Tolkien’s world is not based on some outside system--it is whatever he says it is. It’s all arbitrary, which is why the only thing that grants a character, scene, or detail purpose is the meaning behind it. Without that meaning, then what Tolkien is doing is just a very elaborate thought exercise. Now, it’s certainly true that many people have been

    with studying it, but that’s equally true of many thought exercises, such as the rules and background of the Pokemon card game, or crossword puzzles.

    Ostensibly, Scrabble supposedly is a game for people who love words--and yet, top Scrabble players sit an memorize lists of words whose meaning they will never learn. Likewise, many literary fandom games become little more than word searches: find this reference, connect that name to this character--but which have no meaning or purpose outside of that. The point of literary criticism is always to lead us back to human thought and ideas, to looking at how we think and express ourselves. If a detail in a work cannot lead us back to ourselves, then it is no more than an arbitrary piece of chaff.

    The popularity of Tolkien’s work made it acceptable for other authors to do the same thing, to the point that whenever I hear a book lauded for the ‘depth of its world building’, I expect to find a mess of obsessive detailing, of piling on so many inconsequential facts and figures that the characters and stories get buried under the scree, as if the author secretly hopes that by spending most of the chapter describing the hero’s cuirass, we'll forget that he’s a bland archetype who only succeeds through happy coincidence and

    against an enemy with no internal structure or motivation.

    When Quiller-Couch said authors should ‘murder their darlings’, this is what he meant: just because you have hobbies and opinions does not mean you should fill your novel with them. Anything which does not materially contribute to the story, characters, and artistry of a work can safely be left out. Tolkien's embarrassment of detail also produced a huge inflation in the acceptable length of fantasy books, leading to the meandering, unending series that fill bookstore shelves today.

    Now, there are several notable critics who have lamented the unfortunate effect that Tolkien’s work has had on the genre, such as in Moorcock’s

    and Mieville’s

    about every modern fantasy author being forced to come to terms with the old don's influence. I agree with their deconstructions, but for me, Tolkien isn’t some special author, some ‘fantasy granddad’ looming over all. He’s just a bump in the road, one author amongst many in a genre that stretches back thousands of years into our very ideas of myth and identity, and not one of the more interesting ones

    His ideas weren’t unique, and while his approach may have been unusual, it was only because he spent a lifetime trying obsessively to make something artificial seem more natural, despite the fact that the point of fantasy (and fiction in general) is to explore the artificial, the human side of the equation, to look at the world through the biased lens of our eye and to represent some odd facet of the human condition. Unfortunately, Tolkien’s characters, structure, and morality are all too flat to suggest much, no matter how many faux-organic details he surrounds them with.

  • Matt

    I wasn't really "cool" back in high school. I never made out with girls under the bleachers, or smoked under the bleachers, or did any of the other things under the bleachers that - I am lead to believe - the popular kids did. Instead, I maintained a low profile and waited for the teenage years - that wilderness of strangled thinking - to end.

    In high school, as today, I harbored geekish obsessions, had a wandering imagination, and nurtured an appreciation for minutiate. In other words, I should

    I wasn't really "cool" back in high school. I never made out with girls under the bleachers, or smoked under the bleachers, or did any of the other things under the bleachers that - I am lead to believe - the popular kids did. Instead, I maintained a low profile and waited for the teenage years - that wilderness of strangled thinking - to end.

    In high school, as today, I harbored geekish obsessions, had a wandering imagination, and nurtured an appreciation for minutiate. In other words, I should have been J.R.R. Tolkien's core audience. For whatever reason - perhaps intuition that I didn't need to dig my social hole any deeper - I never read

    when most people first come upon

    .

    Actually, I was barely cognizant of LOTR until college, when the movies were released. I absolutely loved Peter Jackson's film trilogy. During law school, I left a legal writing final halfway through in order to see

    on opening day. Despite this, I never desired to read the source material. From talking to my friends, who were Tolkien enthusiasts ("nerds"), I assumed I wouldn't like the books. They seemed too talky, dense, and plodding.

    Finally, one fair summer night on my patio, my friend Jon and I were drinking beer and talking about

    and how it was funny we could do this openly and still have significant others of the opposite sex. (I believe my wife was inside at the time, deciding what she would take in the divorce). Somehow, in a Miller Light and bratwurst haze, Jon got me to commit to giving LOTR a try. Then, I did a keg stand with Jon's homemade beer. This is how I read.

    Now, having finished

    , I have new appreciation for what Peter Jackson accomplished. Yeah, he made it into an action film, but that's the medium of film; there needs to be action. He did a fine job of taking Tolkien's essence and goosing it. (Sometimes he goosed the action too much, but we can discuss Legolas surfing on his shield at Helm's Deep another day). It was this love of the film that, interestingly, made me hesitant to read the books.

    Folks who love Tolkien love Tolkien with a vengeance. If it isn't obvious already, I don't have that underlying feeling. I understand, theoretically, Tolkien's achievement, but I'm not going to pretend to know all the references - religious, mythic, and linguistic - used as ingredients.

    What I do know is that, at its heart, LOTR is an archetypal hero's journey. It begins with an orphan of average abilities, who has a task thrust upon him. This forces the hero to leave home and enter the wider world. In the world he must pass tests, learn lessons, and eventually accomplish his task. Once that is done, the hero can return home; however, he is forever changed, and the home to which he returns is different.

    The hero in LOTR is Frodo Baggins, a hobbit. Now, a hobbit is - well, they're short, but they're not dwarves. That's the important thing to remember. Hobbits are like pot-smoking liberal arts majors. They like to hang around, eat, smoke, drink, and talk. Frodo's uncle, Bilbo, is a rare hobbit who has gone out and had adventures. He also has a magic ring, which he gives to Frodo.

    This ring...well it's evil. I could explain more, and Tolkien certainly does, but suffice it to say the ring is a Macguffin. It's like Marcellus Wallace's suitcase in

    : it drives the plot, and that's all you need to know. (This being Tolkien, though, you are certainly able to learn much, much, much more).

    Bilbo and Frodo's friend, the wizard Gandalf, tells Frodo that he must take the ring to the Cracks of Doom to destroy it, lest the Dark Shadow Sauron get his figurative hands upon it. With this, the journey starts. Frodo is joined by three other hobbits: Sam (the loyal one); Pippin (the scared one); and Merry (the one portrayed by

    's Dominic Monaghan). After some brushes with the Nine Riders/the Nazgul/the Ring Wraiths (Tolkien has a very Russian way of making up a name, and then making up two or three or four synonyms, which makes things a little confusing), the hobbits meet up with Aragorn/Strider who leads them to Rivendell, where the elves live under Elrond. There is a counsel, the Fellowship is joined by Boromir (a man), Legolas (an elf) and Gimli (a dwarf). It all sounds like the set-up for a very complicated joke. But rest assured, the fate of Middle-Earth is at stake. (Though that does not stop the characters from stopping repeatedly for long meals; apparently, the Fellowship is comprised of foodies and gourmands).

    It's important to note what this book is not: it is not an action-packed adventure. Mostly, it is people walking through this make-believe world, talking about the past, and worrying about the future. There is a battle in the mountains of Moria that lasts for two pages; other than that, there are only scattered paragraphs when people are running, swords are unsheathed, and the stakes are raised. If swords and arrows are what you seek, just stick to the films. Moreover, you aren't going to find complex characterizations. The good guys are varing shades of good, and the bad guys are really bad. About the only conflicted characters are Boromir, who is conflicted for five sentences or so, and Gollum, the strung-out ring-addict.

    So what is the book? Well, it's a place you visit.

    Anyone who knows me knows that I am a Nyquill connoisseur (or addict, take your pick). I often need something to calm my overactive mind before I can get to sleep. Instead of the Quill, for the past weeks, I used

    .

    This is a compliment.

    Tolkien's world is so immersive, so fully realized - with its varied races, songs, languages, and lore - that whenever you open the covers it's a sublime escape. You are in an ancient land filled with a rich and ancient history, and a wonderfully described topography. Sure, the shadow of war hangs over Middle-Earth, but there is no tension. If you feel like Frodo is in mortal danger, and might not accomplish his task, you're probably six years old and having the story read aloud.

    Reading

    was simply comforting. I wouldn't mind a kindly wizard giving me sage advice:

    And I also wouldn't mind going on a little hike through the forest, and maybe hanging out with some elves:

    Frodo's journey is secondary to Tolkien's creation of Middle-Earth. And the genius of Middle-Earth is that it goes beyond the pages. With its allusions to a long history filled with famous leaders and famous events and famous battles, your imagination is ignited.

    Upon finishing the first book, I saw how LOTR became a place of refuge for the outcasts and iconoclasts of our world. Like comic books, it is a place of escape, where the everyday order is turned upside down: the stakes are high, the heroes short, the beer is plentiful, and girls a distant afterthought.

  • Kane

    Hello. You may remember me as the title character of the Lord of Rings. I go by a lot of names: Dark Lord of Mordor, Sorcerer, Red Eye, Dark Power, Lord of Barad-dûr, Ring-maker and Base Master of Treachery (I use that one in my band). I actually object to Tolkien's chosen name of Sauron, which I understand originates from an adjective that means "foul, putrid" in his crappy invented language. What can I say, the showers in Mordor a

    Hello. You may remember me as the title character of the Lord of Rings. I go by a lot of names: Dark Lord of Mordor, Sorcerer, Red Eye, Dark Power, Lord of Barad-dûr, Ring-maker and Base Master of Treachery (I use that one in my band). I actually object to Tolkien's chosen name of Sauron, which I understand originates from an adjective that means "foul, putrid" in his crappy invented language. What can I say, the showers in Mordor are sketchy at best. On weekends, my poker buddies call me Sauron the Destroyer of Nacho Platters.

    Because Tolkien intentionally failed to give a proper description of me in his books, allow me to give you an idea. I have a bit of a dark look. My quest for world domination having been thwarted, I watch a lot of TV these days. My body is roughly equivalent to the "The Situation" on Jersey Shore. Oh, no I don't watch that, but the Witch-king of Angmar is obsessed. He won't shut up about Snowcone or some bimbo on that show. I'm missing a finger, which while preventing me from raining down carnage on Middle Earth, allows me to collect decent EI. Plus the best lawyer in Mordor got me covered under the dismemberment clause on my insurance, so I'm riding the double dip gravy train. Much has been written about my terrible Lidless Red Eye, blah blah blah. It freaked out that little twat Frodo pretty good. I'll have you know that conjunctivitis is no laughing matter. Having to keep it open 24/7 to look for hoodlums skulking around Mordor is murder on my hydration. The Nazgul have enough lift and aim to get up there to toss a bucket of Visine at it, but it's just temporary relief. Regardless, I'm still more of a looker than your precious King Elessar or Aragorn or whatever he's calling himself these days. He's never met a brooding look he didn't like. Buy a razor. Get a real job.

    Someone sent me Peter Jackson's movies in the mail. The package had no return address but it was postmarked "Hobbiton", where ever the hell that is. As I watch these movies over and over (I never even finished the books) I was reminded of all my mistakes...

    Perhaps a ring was not a good choice. Some buddies have suggested that maybe I shouldn't have tied all of my terrible powers to something as easy to misplace as the One Ring. In retrospect, I should have forged The One Gas Station Bathroom Key Chain of Power. It would have been a lot harder to tief. I even could have pimped it out by making it from an Ent branch or Saruman's foot, for all the good that old fart did me. Maybe a ring would have been just fine if it had been a toe ring. Then it wouldn't glow in the dark like a target for every freaking Man on the battlefield. I heard that the guy who beat me was named "Isildur"!!?? WTF. Maybe I could have worn tougher gloves, I don't know. Perhaps the door to the Fires of Mount Doom should have had a better lock. ADT could have hooked me up with motion detectors but I hear that even cats can set those off. They claim they can calibrate them but I'm not so sure. The Uruk-hai are always jumping up on the table, so they would set it off for sure. Maybe just the alarm that goes off if something hits the lava, like pool alarms for kid. Although I guess it would have been too late by then. "My preccciioouussss!". Learn some balance a-hole.

    Frodo. That little prick. I'd rather not discuss how my quest for utter dominion was defeated by something I could poop out unnoticed.

    I'm getting off track. I'm supposed to discuss the events of the first book, the Fellowship of the Ring. Good times! I was on a comeback! Then the withered up senior citizen Gandalf had to go to the library and do a little research and figure out that my Ring was not some cracker jack prize. My Ringwraiths tried to track down the Ring but apparently taking it away from children was too difficult. If I had put the Nazgûl on fell beasts rather than bloody horses from the start I might have tracked down Frodo (prick) and his three buddies in the bloody woods. Don't horses have a good sense of smell!? Anyways, the fell beasts would have at least avoided drowning in a river. Sweet Mary. Then those Elves suggest a damn "fellowship". Could you have come up with a lamer group name?? Why not call it the "Loose Association of People Who Share Common Beliefs or Activities…of the Ring". That Balrog almost did me the biggest favour, he was always one of my peeps. "You shall not pass!!" What a line Gandy! How cow. I heard that one took like 15 takes because Pippin kept making everyone laugh by adding in the word "gas". Fool of a Took!

    Anyways, by the end of the Fellowship of the Ring, I still had a fighting chance. Great book. Anyways, The Two Towers won't be as fun to review. Sh*t hits the fan.

    (A note from Sauron's agent: full credit for the idea of this review goes to Kemper and

    )

  • Lyndz

    I refuse to write a review for one of the best books ever written. Asking a serious fantasy fan to write a review for Lord of the Rings is like asking a Christian to write a review for The Bible.

    So instead I will supply you with this graph:

  • Ana

    No words need be said.

    (Whoever made this gif should be knighted).

  • Bookdragon Sean

    I’m not going to write a normal review; it’s almost impossible for a fantasy fan to do so in this case. Instead I’m going to give you a series of ten points to explain exactly why I love this particular book. Take from it what you will. There will be spoilers. Here goes:

    Now I do love wizards. Who doesn’t? The wisdom of Gandalf is unmatched. He is, in effect, the leader of the forces of light. He

    I’m not going to write a normal review; it’s almost impossible for a fantasy fan to do so in this case. Instead I’m going to give you a series of ten points to explain exactly why I love this particular book. Take from it what you will. There will be spoilers. Here goes:

    Now I do love wizards. Who doesn’t? The wisdom of Gandalf is unmatched. He is, in effect, the leader of the forces of light. He is the commander in chief, the battle general and the tactician. He organises everything. From Aragorn’s coming, to the hobbits bearing the ring, Gandalf is behind it all. He has walked middle earth for thousands of years. He has seen it all. And he understands the perilous nature of the quest better than most. He is the grand optimist, the man who sees the best in people. He should have been the leader of the Isatri. He was the most pure. He is nothing like the changeable leader of his order.

    Contrastingly, Saruman is the realist. He is neither light nor dark, but a being who can adapt to the circumstance. He saw only defeat for man, so he turned his cloak and helped to usher in the doom of middle earth. His mind was poisoned by the palantir, Sauron fed of his ambition and bent him to his will. Something Saruman didn’t fully conceive. He considered himself the equal of Sauron. In reality, if Sauron had regained the ring, he would have crushed Saruman like a bug. And if Saruman had gained the ring first, things would have become much different. It would have been a war between the two, one that would have unforeseen circumstances.

    The quest itself, the sending of just nine people to destroy the conduit of darkness, speaks of desperation. The elves are not what they once were in the first age. Their power has diminished: their people are leaving these lands. They do not have the power to stand against the tide. The Dwarves are shattered and broken. Their leadership in Erabor has their own problems to deal with. They, too, face invasion. And men, men, are weak. Well at least according to Elrond. So sending of a small party of mighty heroes, and a few untested hobbits, is a back door attempt of destroying the evil that infests middle earth. And I love it. Have you ever read about a quest so unlikely and so improbable?

    Other than the obvious wizard, the agile elvish prince, the stalwart dwarf lord, the fellowship has a secret weapon. Aragorn, the heir to Isildur, has finally come forth.

    He alone has the power to unite the failing world of men. Only he can save the white tree of Gondor and insure that men do not fall into darkness. And the darkness, it genuinely fears him. He is the last hope of men: he is their salvation. His ancient ancestor Isildur struck the ring from the hand of evil; thus, Sauron fears his coming. However, he is more powerful than Isildur. He has lived amongst the elves, and he has learnt how his ancestor failed to crush the darkness in his vain weakness. Aragorn will not make the same mistake. He will do better.

    The party itself, the Fellowship of the Ring, are bound together with a mutual goal. But it’s more than that; they are dependent on each other. Each has skills the others could never possess. And each brings with him the hope of a people. Simply put, these heroes cannot fail. Middle earth depends on them. They are the best of their races, the most representative of their cultures, and their participation speaks of a will to conquer the shadow that approaches. It speaks of commitment.

    Not all the party have been fully tested. With them travel four young hobbits, the most unlikely of companions for such a journey. They are the overlooked, the forgotten about, the race that is casually discarded and considered insignificant in the wider world. And perhaps this has been the downfall of society in middle earth previously. The forces of darkness exploit everything they can get their hands on, from giant spiders to rampaging trolls, from dragons to orcs, from men of the east to the undead, Sauron tries to wield it all. This is something the forces of good have not fully considered until recently. Within the bosom of the hobbit beats a strong heart of fortitude and resilience.

    They carry with them the key to destroying the dark. Bilbo showed them how he could resist the ring. The hobbits are an

    incorruptible race, and because of this they are Sauron’s doom. It is something he has overlooked.

    Middle earth didn’t pop up overnight. This word has been around for thousands of years. Such can be seen from the ruined statues and monuments that dot the landscape, to mentions of historic battles and finally to kings long since departed. This is a world that has seen a lot. This moment in the third age, which is arguable the most important series of events this world will ever see, is merely the surface. Go read

    Go see how old and beautiful this world is. I could lose myself in Middle-earth. And this book carries with it all the baggage of what came before. It’s extraordinary.

    And with this history comes the language of the people. The elves, the men, the dwarves and Sauron’s creatures of darkness all come with their own developed languages. This isn’t some random phrases stuck in the book, which you may see with other fantasy novels, but actually fully developed languages. They have their own grammatical forms, syntax styles and sound qualities that reflect the speaker. The languages are real. Naturally, the elvish language is a personal favourite of mine:

    It is easy to judge Boromir of Gondor. He tried to take the ring from Frodo, though for all his misguidedness, he was trying to do right by his people. He naively believed, due to his farther Denethor, that the ring could be wielded against the evil. So when a young hobbit is trying to destroy his people’s supposed salvation, he strikes.Until that moment he doesn’t fully understand the evil it holds, until his desire for it twists his heart and turns him violent. But, afterwards, after he sees what he has become, his willpower does prevail: he understands. He later dies defending the Fellowship of the Ring, a bloody end, but one that saves his honour.

    One evil binds them all. Sauron tried to make himself the ultimate tyrant, and claim dominion over all lands: he wanted to be the de facto ruler of middle earth. He failed. Those that followed his initial claim are forever left in the dark. Their souls are black, their hearts corrupt: their bodies no more. The Nazgul have become the living dead; they are complex figure, driven by hate and a will no longer their own. These men have become something else. Do they wish to rest? I do not know. Do they wish to carry out their master’s work or are they driven by his domination? I do not know. Orcs are mere tools for the darkness, the Nazgul are something much darker. They are the perfect harbingers of their lord.

    The elves are my favourite part of middle earth. I should have been born an elf. I would love to spend a few years in Rivendell, especially in Elrond’s library relaxing by the waterfalls reading the histories of middle earth. Doesn’t that just sound like so much fun? The best thing about reading fantasy like this is the pure escapism it provides, the worse thing is realising how shit the “real world” is in comparison.

    To quote another fine author of fantasy, and to conclude this review, I will simply repeat these words:

  • Alejandro

    What started up as an adventure oriented for children turned into an epic fantasy...

    ...

    epic fantasy book, anything else in the genre after this, born here, any other author writing in this field, began here, and even impacted in many other genres and formats.

    Certainly, in

    , there are dangers, there is death, so thinking about it as a children’s tale is a much debated issue, but it’s clear

    What started up as an adventure oriented for children turned into an epic fantasy...

    ...

    epic fantasy book, anything else in the genre after this, born here, any other author writing in this field, began here, and even impacted in many other genres and formats.

    Certainly, in

    , there are dangers, there is death, so thinking about it as a children’s tale is a much debated issue, but it’s clear that Tolkien’s intention was to present a light-hearted adventure.

    However, due some communication’s troubles between Tolkien and the publishing house, making him to think that they weren’t enjoying the proposed sequel to

    , the story got bigger, larger, darker...

    ...and redefined the conception of epic fantasy in literarure.

    Even Tolkien needed to re-write the chapter in

    involving Bilbo, Gollum and the One Ring, since the story known as

    became something that even the very Tolkien didn’t foreseen before.

    So, what began as a small hobbit living in a hole that found a tiny ring in his journey, turned into a visceral war involving the whole Middle-Earth.

    I have a theory about the One Ring.

    And don’t worry, it’s not a spoiler.

    As I quoted (in this part of the review) Tolkien, may nothing is evil in the beginning, not even Sauron was evil in his own beginning, but...

    ...there is one thing in the Middle-Earth that it was evil since its own beginning...

    ...the One Ring!

    The One Ring was evil in its own beginning.

    The One Ring was in the hand of Sauron, then it passed to Isildur, a man, but it was soon lost and ended in the hands of Déagol, a hobbit, to fall right away in the possession of Sméagol, another hobbit, having it for so many time that Sméagol lost his own identity turning to be Gollum, scary, nasty, treacherous and dangerous but still a hobbit, then enter Bilbo, yet another hobbit, and finally gets into the picture, Frodo, yes, another hobbit.

    Do you see the pattern? (Because to me it wasn’t that hard!)

    Hobbit, hobbit, hobbit, hobbit.

    It’s said that people (all kind of people: Elves, Dwarves, Men, etc...) are obsessed with the One Ring.

    But to me, it’s clear that the One Ring is “obsessed” with the Hobbits!!!

    Sauron may be the Lord of the Rings, but it has been stated that the One Ring has a mind-like on its own. It’s not like a

    ’s Power Ring able to talk and having a computer-like library to access inside, even the feature to fly on its own to search the next suitable user. The One Ring can’t talk, can’t move or fly on its own, but still is a magic ring alright (or “alwrong” since it’s unquestionable wicked (hey! No only Tolkien can invent words!) and it’s clear that its purpose is to bind all people into darkness, into evil.

    Sauron may have plans for the One Ring, but it’s likely that the One Ring has its own plans, its own designs, not to rebel, not to stand against its master, but to fulfill its basic purpose since it may notice a small flaw in Sauron’s plans.

    Sauron wants to turn into evil the whole Middle-Earth’s population: Elves are wise and powerful but still they have already fell into darkness in some numbers (no wonder why they’re starting an exodus from the Middle-Earth). Dwarves are greedy and violent, they’re easy targets for darkness. Men? Don’t make me laugh! We are the most susceptible species for darkness of all, nothing to worry about for the One Ring.

    However, Sauron didn’t even know the existence (for not saying clearly not knowing the location) of the Shire. Therefore, it’s evident that the hobbits aren’t in the plans of Sauron. You can say that it’s because he didn’t know about them or simply because he didn’t consider them worthy to send any troops there.

    But the One Ring knows. In some way, it knows about the Hobbits.

    And the One Ring has

    purpose...

    The One Ring is thorough about its purpose. It is obsessed about its one single purpose in the Middle-Earth. It has to bind

    people into darkness, into evil. Not matter how tactically valuable or how ridiculous irrelevant. The One Ring isn’t in position to question the one single purpose that it was imprinted downright on its metal, its whole body, its entire “soul”.

    You may think that the One Ring was lost, that it was wandering, but no...

    ...the One Ring was precisely where it wants to be! It found the Hobbits!

    Yes, the Hobbits in a quick glance, they aren’t something to be worry about when you’re planning to dominate Middle-Earth. Clearly, it was Sauron’s point of view. You can’t blame him. I don’t think any military leader in his position would consider relevant to invest time and effort with the Shire.

    the One Ring thinks otherwise.

    If the other races have to fall into darkness, into evil, then the Hobbits must be as well.

    The Shire is an oasis of peace, of light, of goodwill, of laughing, of dancing, of enjoying the basic pleasures of a more simple life...

    ...and the One Ring can’t tolerate that!!! It’s revolted by the very existence of such a good place inhabited by such merry species. Everybody, everywhere and everything must fall into its dark bind, into evil!!!

    If Hobbits fall into darkness, into evil, then and only then, Sauron’s plans would be truly accomplished and the One Ring’s purpose, fulfilled.

    I am not a rookie with

    since I watched all the movies, but certainly I knew that eventually I will read the books. While I am aware of what would happen here and in the next books, I still enjoyed plenty enough the reading, since I was able to notice the “little differences” here and there, between the original writing and the modern film adaptations.

    Some time ago, I read

    and now I have read the first book,

    , but an important thing to have in mind is that hardly it’s a “first” book per se, but the first

    of

    book titled:

    , since I can’t blame other readers if they weren’t satisfied with the development made in this first part.

    Characters took an “eternity” to begin a journey, to take a decision, to do anything. The few action moments are overly seldom spread and too quick developed, so you don’t get a real sense of being reading something in the epic fantasy genre. Even some scenes aren’t presented in “real time” but they are told after the things happened, stealing almost all thrill from them. Some random characters without any real utility in the story. An overwhelming telling of the vast background history of the Middle-Earth. And “finally”, you won’t get an ending here, this isn’t really a whole book, but the first part of a novel.

    So, if you can have all that in mind, knowing that you will have to read other two parts to get the whole story, and trusting that you will get ample amounts of actions later, maybe, just maybe, you would be forgiving enough to enjoy the wonderful writing using words in such clever way, along with the majesty of the expansion of such rich literary universe.

    Keep up, my fellow readers! The journey is just beginning!

  • Khanh (the meanie)

    Never have I been so sad to give a low rating to such a revered book. I'm so sorry. I can't tell you how sorry I am.

    Again, I'm so sorry, but I found this book unbelievably dull. I really am so, so sorry. I'm desperately sad about this. This series has been such a foundation for modern-day fantasy that I'm incredibly disappointed in myself for not liking this. I have always wanted to be a Tolkien fangirl. I've always wanted to learn Elvish and get completely offended à la

    but I ca

    Never have I been so sad to give a low rating to such a revered book. I'm so sorry. I can't tell you how sorry I am.

    Again, I'm so sorry, but I found this book unbelievably dull. I really am so, so sorry. I'm desperately sad about this. This series has been such a foundation for modern-day fantasy that I'm incredibly disappointed in myself for not liking this. I have always wanted to be a Tolkien fangirl. I've always wanted to learn Elvish and get completely offended à la

    but I can't. I just can't.

    I want so desperately to love Tolkien, but it just ain't happening.

    I've been trying this book for 17 years. Tolkien and I have a sad history. I've always been a book lover, when I was young, I would persist through any book, no matter how trying. The Hobbit was the first book that made me fall asleep. It's memorable to me because that's the first time, and only the second time it's ever happened. The other book that made me fall asleep? You guessed it.

    .

    I tried

    in 10th grade. I couldn't get past Bilbo's birthday party.

    I tried it again almost 10 years ago when I was stuck in bed for several days due to, oh, a giant surgical wound in my neck. My doctor said I had to stay in bed for a few days. So, I reasoned, what better way than to resume my attempt at reading one of the greatest literary classics of all time than whole having no other option?

    Audiobook it was! I didn't last past Tom Bombadil before I decided, fuck this, I'm going to head to the gym with a bloody bandage on my neck. True story. I got a lot of really weird looks. My doctor gave me a prescription for Vicodin because he was concerned the pain would be too much to bear. Apparently, I didn't even need the Vicodin because that pedophile Tom Bombadil put me right to sleep.

    Seriously, were it not for the fact that

    It was so unbelievably dull. There were parts, that to a Tolkien amateur like me, didn't have a whit of relevance or anything interesting to add to the plot (

    ). Seriously, what the fuck is up with the farmer and Tom Bombadil?

    The plot was all sorts of disjointed. Some parts just didn't make any sense.

    In context, sometimes they don't really make any sense. All the poems and songs are in there to sound pretty, and frankly, they bored the fuck out of me.

    For instance, in the middle of a serious dinner party where the company is just trying to decide what to do about the ring (surely a simple task), all of a sudden little Frodo stands up and solemnly announces.

    I was like

    Where did that come from? It makes absolutely no sense in the context of the scene. Oh, sure, it's an inside thing on how Aragorn was the secret king, but nobody knew that! Everyone, elf, hobbit, dwarf, (and me) would have thought he was completely high on some elven grass.

    I think he has been an inspiration to generations of writers, artists, hell, gamers. My beloved World of Warcraft game featured elves, pretty much every fantasy book we have these days have been inspired in one way or another by Tolkien. Again, he was an amazing linguist, his work developing the Elvish tongue, among others, as well as his efforts in developing the rich, fantastic history of the world within his books is not to be disregarded by any means.

    But again, he is a linguist. He is a scholar. He may be the most brilliant one of those in the world, an inspiration to generations, but for me, personally, his writing is not to my tastes.

    But damn, the movies were amazing!

  • Voldemort

    As a single lady myself, I also love to put a ring on it. And shoutout to my homegurl Sauron!!! you go girl take over middle earth! Reach for the stars! With that balrog on your side you can do anything!

    That main dude Frodo tho... reminds me of dat boi Harry... besides what does he need the ring for??

    Anyways I gotta give it a low rating cuz theres 2 much frodo, not enough orcs


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