If you are a fan of fantasy fiction in any way, I expect you will have heard of and read The Lord of the Rings before. If you have not read it before, all I can really say is that you should definitely read it as soon as possible.
As I sat to start writing this review, I realized that I really could not write the typical review of a book I love so much. So this will be a little different. Before I really start, however, I want to share a couple bits of information. One is important to note for the “reviews,” and the other is a little creepy but nevertheless interesting.
First up is the important bit. You may or may not be aware of this, but The Lord of the Rings is actually not a series of books. Tolkien wrote it as one book, but because of the publishing industry and such, they wanted to split up the books. Thus, we have The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King. They are three volumes of the same book, rather than three separate books in a series. I used to think that The Lord of the Rings was a series until I did some research into it in the last four years. This fact is often masked because most copies are printed separately (my own copies are as well), though I do know they sometimes combine them into one (my brother’s old copy is all three volumes in one huge book).
The next piece of information regards one of the feature poems in the book, particularly in an introductory capacity in The Fellowship of the Ring. In case you do not have a copy handy and need a refresher, this is the text of the poem:
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.
The numbers in this poem are three, seven, nine, and one. I do not know how Tolkien chose these numbers (apart from the One being the Master Ring), but there is something quite eerie about them. In digits, they are 3, 7, 9, and 1, which works out to be 1973 if you write them backwards from their order of appearance in the poem. For those who are not aware, J.R.R. Tolkien died in 1973. I do not know about you, but although this is a coincidence, I think it is quite the eerie one!
As I read this, I was thinking about what my favourite thing about The Fellowship of the Ring is. Honestly, I do not think that I can name just one thing. There are so many things I simply love about this book (and the other two volumes).
One thing that stands out to me is actually a few things rolled into one. How is that possible, you may ask? Well, I definitely notice the things that did not make it into the film version of this story. Specifically, I noticed the section on Tom Bombadil and the differences regarding the way in which Frodo left The Shire to go on the adventure.
I can see why they changed the way Frodo left, since in the book he stays in Hobbiton for quite a few years after Bilbo left. It makes sense to shorten things to get the movie moving along. However, I really wish they included the part with Tom Bombadil. I mean sure, it seems like a little “dip” or “diversion” in the story, but I think if you really read the material, you can see there is a lot of interesting information. I would actually be interested to know more about Tom Bombadil and his reaction to the Ring. I will have to buy a copy of The Adventures of Tom Bombadil. I have no idea what it includes, but I am confident it is good. Everything I have read from Tolkien is!
I think my favourite character introduction is in this one, though of course I have to refresh my memory with the other two volumes. The way Aragorn is introduced to the story is really good. Frankly, I think his character background is the most interesting to me. He is not my favourite character, though I think he would come in second.
The final thing I will mention in this post is perhaps my favourite poet from these books. Of course, it is also the most famous one, though I urge you to wait until you hear my explanation. For your convenience, I am including the text here:
“All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.”
I love the language of this text, the underlying meaning, and frankly everything else about this text. I know most people quote “Not all those who wander are lost” when they refer to this poem, and though I do like that line, it is not my favourite.
I particularly enjoy the first line “All that is gold does not glitter” and “From the ashes a fire shall be woken.” Part of the reason I like the first line is because it is a nod to Shakespeare, which actually occurs quite a bit throughout The Lord of the Rings, though most people might not know it. The ashes line reminds me of a phoenix, and the mood of that one just brings some hope to everything in my opinion.
I could go on and on about why I love The Fellowship of the Ring, but that would take forever. I invite you to comment below with the things you like about this book. If you have any questions about it, I will be happy to answer them! My post on The Two Towers will be live next Friday, so look forward to that.
Title: The Fellowship of the Ring
Author: J.R.R. Tolkien
Publisher: George Allen & Unwin (first)