Saturday, January 12, 2013

The Fellowship of the Ring -- Book One

{The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien, Part 1}

   The first time I read The Lord of the Rings in full was when I was thirteen, and I look on it as a turning point in reading with me. My favorite of the three books is The Fellowship of the Ring, where stress is more scarce and comic relief is high.   
   Frodo Baggins, a worthy fifty-one-year-old Hobbit from the Shire and the heir to Bilbo Baggins, has found through the aid of Gandalf the Grey that in his keeping lies the One Ring of Sauron, the evil Dark Lord of Mordor. It is the same ring that Bilbo acquired in Gollum's cave under the Misty Mountains, and for which Sauron is searching urgently. Frodo must flee to Rivendell with the Ring or die. Yet on his tail ride nine black horsemen--the Nazgul, the Ringwraiths who Sauron corrupted. The plot is superbly original and one of the reasons that Tolkien is one of my greatest inspirations.
   And as for inspiration from John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, I've found another source. You may remember that I said in my review of The Hobbit that Tolkien didn't have the best way of individualizing people. I was getting a bit queasy about saying that, because I kept thinking of ways he characterized his creations. And now I find myself almost completely wrong: instead of shouting out from the rooftop, "Balin is kind! Thorin is arrogant!" Tolkien creates a past which molds his characters. When they have a tame past, he utilizes subtle words and actions to let his characters show who they are; but consider Aragorn, the mysterious Ranger. Tolkien shows again through words and actions that Aragorn is cautious, wise, and a fountain of knowledge--but all of these came from a past fraught with danger. The romance in his life is a further cause for him to pursue his rightful inheritance--the throne of Gondor--but this pursuit has been a source for many toils, and his eighty-seven-year-old heart is weary. This is one thing that writers can learn from Tolkien. As for the other main characters, Frodo is a poetical and unHobbitlike person whose keeping of the Ring has kept him perpetually youthful. Samwise "Sam" Gamgee uses rather ungrammatical sentences, recites poems with his hands held behind his back like a schoolboy, and is the most loyal heart you will find on Middle-Earth. Meriadoc "Merry" Brandybuck is a comic yet half-sensible Hobbit not yet "come of age"; and Peregrin "Pippin" Took is completely comic, with almost no sense, and about the same age as Merry.
   Can I just say that the plot, the characters, and the writing are all amazing? That wouldn't be a very comprehensive book review I guess. But Tolkien's metaphors and personification, and his masterful use of several different languages (most of which he made up!), are one of the things I drool over when I read his books. Why can I not do this? He could see them clearly now: they appeared to have cast aside their hoods and black cloaks, and they were robed in white and grey. Swords were naked in their pale hands; helms were on their heads. Their cold eyes glittered, and they called to him with fell voices. That is not even the best sample of his writing! 
   In short, I wholeheartedly recommend The Fellowship of the Ring: Book One. This is only the review of Book One (for those of you who thought I was mistaken in the plot) because I haven't read both halves since last year, and I wanted my ideas to be as fresh as possible. I almost faked and did a review of the entire first part, but decided not to. For those of you who are wondering about the morality of this book, I say it's excellent. If you're concerned about the elements of magic, there are a few points, but this is Middle-Earth, not our earth, where magic is useable. Of course, if it's not something that your family agrees with, then I can't recommend it (although I absolutely adore this trilogy). Whatever age audience is old enough to fully understand it is old enough to read The Lord of the Rings, but I didn't get through it until I was thirteen (I had only tried once or twice before, possibly as much as two or three years earlier). Thus, teenagers may be the best chance you have at getting anyone to read it, or in reading it yourselves. I hope that, if you haven't read it before, this review whets your appetite a little!

   On another note, I was going to try to write this as a single paragraph, but it was not working! Does anyone think that single paragraph book reviews would be better? I know that they would surely take less time to read. If you think that this is a good idea, please leave a comment and I'll try my best to learn how to do it.


  1. i like longer book reviews.... most books have too much to be said about them to be contained in a paragraph! and like you... I just adore Lord of the Rings. so, so beautiful.

    1. I'm glad you like longer book reviews, because even the paragraph that I tried to write was about half as long as this review! The length of one or two of the sentences was somewhat frightening.


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