[J. R. R. Tolkien] The Lord of the Rings – The Fellowship of the Ring

The Lord of the Rings

  • Title: Part One – The Fellowship of the Ring
  • Author: J. R. R. Tolkien
  • Published: 1954
  • Publisher: HaeperCollinsPublishers
  • ISBN: 0-00-712970-X

Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky,
Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,
Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die,
One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them,
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.

Ring-verse from the book

The Lord of the Rings” is the book that defines the genre of fantasy novels. Any fantasy author is not free from the world of J. R. R. Tolkien’s – Dragons, Elves, dwarves, wizards, orcs, and of course hobbits -.

The whole story is technically a single volume, consisting of 6 books. But, in general, it is published in 3 volumes – 3 parts, two books per part. It is not very clear, honestly.

http://tolkiengateway.net/wiki/Ring_Verse

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

The Fellowship of the Ring” is the first part of the story. It deals with the background of the whole theme – how the rings were forged, how the master Ring was lost and found, how Bilbo and Frodo are connected to the Ring, and how to destroy or use the Ring. At the council of Elrond, the companions of the Ring were chosen. The fellowship represents each group, Aragorn and Boromir for men, Legolas for elves, Gimli for dwarves, Gandalf for wizard, and Frodo, Sam, Merry, and Pippin for hobbits.

Even though “The Lord of the Rings” follows the general pattern of the adventure novel, there are many distinct points to attract readers and make them think over. The mission is not fighting against the main villain or conquering the world with the legendary gifts from the past. It is the opposite. The mission is destroying the most powerful weapon. The strong heroes cannot overcome the lure of the Ring and will submit to its evil power. Only seemingly unimportant hobbits, who are not warriors, magicians, or kings with powers, might have a key to do the impossible mission.

“The Fellowship of the Ring” highlights the formation of the fellowship and its immediate breakup. It is strange and uncomfortable to see that the mighty fellowship is breaking down so quickly. But it might be the only way to move the plot till the end without losing the theme – destroying, not conquering -. It is the lonely journey of Frodo and his only companion, Sam. Other heroes will make heroic history with great battles and adventures but the main path to fight evil is narrow and hidden.

The whole story is magically interwoven to the description of “Middle Earth,” the world that many intellectual species (?) coexist. It is interesting to see how Tolkien portraits his nostalgic utopia through the world of hobbits. Hobbit’s world is based on an old – maybe never existed – nostalgic memory of small British country towns. Each town consists of a landlord (gentry class) and ordinary working-class people. Kings and aristocrats do not exist, but the social classes exist. That is why Sam calls Frodo “Mr. Frodo or Sir.”

The portraits of classes and races in the book are quite debatable, and I will mention this in the next review of parts two and three. Also, check the world of patriarchy. Everyone is referred to as “son of [the name of the father] ,” which adds an archaic tone to the general dialog but might not be quite comfortable for many of the readers.

Also check my review of the Movie version – [Movie] The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the RingĀ (2001)

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