Mini Classic Review: The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien

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The first part of J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic adventure THE LORD OF THE RINGS

In a sleepy village in the Shire, a young hobbit is entrusted with an immense task. He must make a perilous journey across Middle-earth to the Cracks of Doom, there to destroy the Ruling Ring of Power — the only thing that prevents the Dark Lord’s evil dominion.

Thus begins J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic tale, which continues in The Two Towers and The Return of the King.

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The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair, and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater.

The Lord of the Rings is a key fantasy series that every fantasy fan has been told to read at some point in their life. I certainly have anyway, by many, many people. And I fully intended to read the books by now — at least the first one — but it was also just so intimidating! J.R.R. Tolkien has created a universe with a 6,000 year history, with thousands of characters, stories, cultures, and more. Starting the first book in this series took a lot, but I’m so glad I took the plunge and finally read The Fellowship of the Ring.

The first novel follows a young Hobbit named Frodo Baggins, the adopted heir of Bilbo, who is gifted a magic ring on Bilbo’s birthday before the older Hobbit disappears. The great wizard Gandalf cautions Frodo about this ring and Frodo spends years hiding it, until he receives word that dark forces are after the ring and him. Together with his friends, Sam, Merry and Pippin, Frodo goes on the run to find Gandalf and learn more about the power of the ring — but not far behind are the forces of the evil Lord Sauron. When the group find their way to Rivendell, the capital of the Elves, Frodo, his old friends, and some new friends are sent on a quest: to find a way to destroy the ring before Sauron can get his hands on it again — for if Sauron gets control of it, he will become unstoppable.

I knew I would enjoy this book when I finally read it, but I was still surprised by how much I ended up loving it! Tolkien has really created an incredible world here — and I could definitely see the influence in other authors’ fantasy books reading this one. It’s undoubtable that authors have been inspired by The Lord of the Rings because it really is the staple of fantasy novels.

Frodo was an interesting character. He was quite passive and a bit useless, so it was surprising that he’s been made the hero of this tale — although I’m sure his bravery will continue to grow in the coming books. I just found it amusing when so many of the other characters are active participants in the book and Frodo sort of follows along and doesn’t make many decisions. In fact, Sam is much more active and braver than Frodo! Sam was actually my favourite character — he is so shy and sweet, and at first you think he’s a bit cowardly, but he’s actually so courageous. I honestly think Sam should be the Ring Bearer because he would get the ring to Mount Doom in a week. 😅

I also really loved Aragorn and Gandalf, and I’m so intrigued by the relationship between Legolas and Gimli. Aragorn is very intense and kingly, and carries the weight of the world on his shoulders. His ancestor, Ilsildur, was responsible for destroying the ring and he became corrupted by it, so Aragorn blames himself for the choices of his family and joins Frodo on his journey to make reparations. Gandalf is loveable and funny, and so wise. He cares deeply for Frodo and seems to be one of the only characters who does not underestimate Hobbits. Legolas, an Elf, and Gimli, a Dwarf, are originally enemies — as Elves and Dwarves have been at war and despise each other — but very soon they grow to admire one another and become fast friends.

The plot of the novel is quite slow and not too much happens. A big portion of the novel is Frodo and his friends travelling to Rivendell — then there’s the council of Elrond, travelling to Moria, and the breaking of the fellowship. But it’s a long novel and there’s a lot to keep the reader occupied.

If you’ve been wanting to read The Lord of the Rings but like me have always been a bit intimidated, consider this your sign to finally read it! The Fellowship of the Ring is an amazing novel and a staple of fantasy that must be read.

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