Friday, February 21, 2014

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien

   The Fellowship of the Ring is Tolkien’s first installment in the epic fantasy trilogy, “The Lord of the Rings,” describing a classic battle between good and evil.  For centuries, the One Ring has fallen entirely from all knowledge, following the defeat of the Dark Lord Sauron.  Now two millennia later, Sauron begins to rise again, while the ring has fallen into the hands of Frodo Baggins, bequeathed to him by his uncle Bilbo Baggins, the hobbit who stole “my precious” from the creature Gollum.  All is cheery in the beloved Shire, but a darkness creeps upon the land from the South, from Mordor.  Frodo must travel to the Cracks of Doom to destroy the One Ring from whence it came to ensure the safety of all and the final destruction of the Dark Lord. A quest of innumerable proportions lies before Frodo, for such a small creature as a hobbit.  Along the way, Frodo and his companions will encounter deadly danger and excitement at every turn.  The ring has lived on, but will the world?

   Having seen Peter Jackson’s film adaptation of the Fellowship of the Ring before reading the book, I was quite familiar with the story, but I was able to glean much more from reading.  The book is incredibly descriptive and detailed, fully immersing the reader in Tolkien’s fantastical world, Middle-earth, a world he devoted most of his career to creating.  As such, Tolkien’s work is impressive: he created numerous languages, maps, species, and histories of Middle-earth.  He was a major pioneer in high fantasy writing, his name recognized nearly universally, and led the way for many fantasy writers following him, including: J.K. Rowling and her series “Harry Potter,” Christopher Paolini and his “Inheritance Cycle” series, and even “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” by Rick Riordan.  
    The popularity of this book is outspoken, as is the entire series as evinced by its 150 million copies sales estimate.  Overall, this book is fantastic and I greatly enjoyed it, although it is dense, somewhat difficult to start, and can take a long time to read.  As fantasy, this book is perhaps one of the best I have ever read, as it creates an amazing, quite indescribable world.  The characters and plot are deep, interconnected, with many surprises; all are developed and thought out extraordinary well, yet still leaves much to the imagination, and for readers to discover for themselves.  If you have an affinity for fantasy, this is the book for you.  If you’re interested, you’ll just have to read it.  

Also discover: The Hobbit, The Two Towers, The Return of the King, and The Silmarillion

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