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

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The Fellowship of the Ring
“When Mr Bilbo Baggins of Bag End announced that he would shortly be celebrating his eleventy-first birthday with a party of special magnificence, there was much talk and excitement in Hobbiton.”

The first of the epic trilogy in The Lord of the Rings.

The Fellowship of the Ring was J.R.R. Tolkien’s second novel. Published in 1954, it was an instant success, as fans had begged Tolkien for a sequel to The Hobbit since it was first released. Famous writers such as C.S. Lewis and W. H. Auden praised the work as the finest of their generation.

The first book in The Lord of the Rings series, but the second work in the Middle-Earth universe overall, it quickly became a bestseller. In 2001, Peter Jackson released the movie The Fellowship of the Ring, starring many famous actors such as Elijah Wood, Sean Bean, and Ian McKellen.


Summary

The story starts many decades after The Hobbit ends, as Bilbo Baggins celebrates his 111th birthday. As the Dark Lord Sauron begins to move in from the east, he remains blissfully unaware that the golden ring he found all those years ago is, in fact, the One Ring of legend. All of that soon becomes apparent when Gandalf shows up. Elderly and weak, Bilbo is forced to give the ring to his nephew Frodo to destroy. And so begins the adventure of the Fellowship; Frodo, Sam, Merry, and Pippin. They come up against Ringwraiths and Orcs, fallen kings and forest elves as they journey to the very heart of Sauron’s realm of Mordor. But with evil lurking at every corner and with Gandalf missing and Gollum closing in, will they ever succeed?



Commentary

The Fellowship of the Ring is the perfect introduction for the battle of Middle Earth.

Praise

  • Tolkien manages to reach a level of tension never before seen. As they begin their quest, it becomes immediately apparent that dark forces are closing in, and not everyone will survive. The elves are desperate, the dwarves broken, and the wizards are weak. The reader is constantly wondering what will happen next.
  • As fantastical the story is, there still remains some truth about the world as we know it. The Fellowship learns courage and none more so than Frodo and Sam. It’s an inspirational development that also teaches the reader a thing or two about life that they’ll never forget.
  • It’s diverse. I don’t just mean there are hobbits, elves and dwarves. I mean that within those species, there are subspecies and more subspecies. Each race has it’s own unique culture and language. Even Middle Earth itself is full of rich history. Most fantasy novels today rarely have such a thorough background.

Critique

  • It has a slow start. And by slow, I mean a snail on top of a tortoise on top of an ice glacier slow. The first few dozen pages are boring and dull and it takes a while for the plot to really start. Given that Tolkien himself wanted this entire series to be in one single book, it’s not surprising. But it does get better, eventually, so try to keep reading because you won’t regret it!
  • If you’re not a fan of musicals like myself, then you’re really going to hate this point. They sing. Constantly. Every single character sings. And the songs are incredibly long and don’t always make sense so feel free to skip a few verses. If you do like musicals, then you can just ignore this paragraph.
  • The line between good guys and bad guys can be a little vague. And not in the ‘there is grey as well as black and white’ type of good vagueness either. It can take you a while to figure out who Sauron actually is and what he wants. The good guys are a little more obvious in that regard, but still, don’t feel too surprised if you find it confusing halfway through. It’ll eventually sort itself out.


Recommendations

Overall, I’d give J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring a three out of five. As the father of fantasy, this novel most certainly does not disappoint.

I’d recommend this novel to fantasy lovers or to those who have read The Hobbit. For those of you who don’t like fantasy or just couldn’t care less either way, chances are, you’ll be bored after the first chapter.


3/5 Rating




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