Book Review: The Fellowship of the Ring

September 18, 2012 Whitney Review 4 Comments

Book Review: The Fellowship of the RingThe Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien
Series: Lord of the Rings #1
Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt on September 15, 1999
Genres: Fantasy
Source: Bought

One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them

In 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, it remained lost to him. After many ages it fell into the hands of Bilbo Baggins, as told in The Hobbit.

In a sleepy village in the Shire, young Frodo Baggins finds himself faced with an immense task, as his elderly cousin Bilbo entrusts the Ring to his care. Frodo must leave his home and make a perilous journey across Middle-earth to the Cracks of Doom, there to destroy the Ring and foil the Dark Lord in his evil purpose.

Book One:
We begin in Hobbiton, in preparation for Bilbo’s eleventy-first birthday, exhibiting all that is good, clean (and a little odd) in other words what is worth fighting for — a very clever and fun opening to a novel.  Although the night slowly becomes dark from there.  After Bilbo’s sudden disappearance and Frodo’s inheritance of The One Ring all goes to hell in a hand basket (not to meantion the Saksville-Baggins).

Unlike the movie, where Frodo and his band of happy hobbits set out almost instantly after Bilbo’s journey to see mountains again, Mr. Frodo takes his good sweet time leaving the Shire, and it is no wonder the black riders were so close on their tail. The book started out very promising, with Hobbit conspiracies and close calls with the Ring Wraiths almost appearing like “The Hook” ghost story.

Unfortunately, they meet Tom Bombadil, who if found in this century would be seen as a little flamboyant.  Anyway, I could have done without his over exuberance and long-winded songs, and made the book seem twice as long.  It was akin to the boredom of reading the same sentence over and over and over again and made me question whether I should move on.  But bumbling Bombadil finally leaves the story and Frodo, Sam, Pippin and Merry enter Bree.

In Bree, dark, mysterious and hunky Strider enters the picture and puts the Hobbit and their ale in their place and makes the novel more complex.  Once Strider volunteers his time (and tax deduction) to the Hobbit’s quest and smartens them up a bit with his Ranger skills and shows off with his bilingual elfish sexiness.

Anyway… the first part concludes with Frodo putting on his bling again (some Hobbits never learn)  and was attacked by one of the Ring Wraiths and forces his friends to save him from his own stupidity.  He mutters a few words, drowns the black riders in the ford and in drama queen style, faints.

End Scene.

Book Two:
So we leave off with Frodo’s dramatic exit and magically wakes up in Rivendale.  Here we are introduced to a whole new set of characters;  Elves are pretty bad-ass, Elrond and Arwen are pretty go with the flow, although Elrond is the big man on campus.  I almost forgot Legoas (shame on me)  he thinks before he speaks, nimble on his feet and freak’n awesome with a bow!  Gimli the Dwarf, has a chip on his shoulders (maybe a Napoleon complex?) and carries a huge ax to off set it.  I had forgotten what a jack-ass Boromir was, “bring the Ring to Gondor, Don’t destroy the Ring, Bring the Ring to Gondor, Frodo, give me the Ring.”  I had forgotten how prominent his greed was from the get-go so I was releaved when the orcs knocked him off.  (book two) Aragorn is the strong silent type, who would be very disappointed to go on Ancestry. com and learn he is Isoldur’s heir.  Gandolf, is the wised Grandfather that everyone respects.  So the last five mentioned, and four hobbits who are made of stronger stuff head off to Mordor like a group of boy scouts.

Roadside Stop #1 Moria
After a failed attempt at the Misty Mountains, they enter the Mines of Moria, where they battle sea creatures, orcs and its dramatic conclusion is Gandolf falling off a cliff attempting to save the company from a balrog,  some people just have to play the hero.

Roadside Stop #2 Lothlorien
The company apparently isn’t good enough to view the beauty of entering the forest as they are all blindfolded.  Galdriel is super creepy and don’t understand why her costume isn’t included under the “scary section” in Halloween stores nationwide.  She is kind of obsessed with her appearance and power if acquired the Ring, making Frodo more aware of his task’s urgency.  She calms down enough to give them gifts of parting or “I’m sorry I was a bitch” tokens.

Roadside stop #3 Parth Galen
Boromir finally gives into his temptations and asks Frodo for the Ring playing ring-around-the-roses trying to get the thing from the hobbit but of course all comes to not.  Frodo realized he has made a grave mistake and Sam head off to Mordor or bust with creepy-eyed Golum on their tail.  The Fellowship is broken.

Tolkien is a master of words, his imagination takes the reader into Middle Earth, forgetting about the Earth they are actually in — he is just that good.  His descriptions are beautiful and effortless, if I could only visit Lothlorian once, if only for a second I could die happy.  Anyway,  Tolkien’s characters develop like a ripe piece of fruit ready for the taking, being so diverse and plotted, there is nothing else like it, even fifty plus years later.  The first installment of a fantastic trilogy is amazing.


4 responses to “Book Review: The Fellowship of the Ring

  1. Aww, I actually really like Tom Bombadil. Though I confess I generally skip over ALL of the songs and poetry when I read LOTR.

    But in other news, I was thinking of you just the other night because I finally saw the version of Emma that your avatar comes from.

    • I have a feeling Tom Bombadil is a take it or leave it character, I can see why people like him, but he is too eccentric for me.

      I'm completely flattered that you thought of little old me the other night, I hope you enjoyed Emma as much as I did!

  2. I plan to read The Hobbit for the first time before the end of this year. I have to admit that I am slightly intimidated by how dense Tolkein's tales are, but I'm determined to get through. 🙂

    • I plan on reading The Hobbit sometime this year too, I tried reading it in high school and at the time felt Tolkien's work was dense as well. Now, after reading LOTR I have a completely new outlook on the author and hope my opinion will change for The Hobbit.

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