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

34Frodo Baggins knew the Ringwraiths were searching for him – and the Ring of Power he bore that would enable Sauron to destroy all that was good in Middle-earth. Now it was up to Frodo and his faithful servant Sam to carry the Ring to where it could be destroyed – in the very center of Sauron’s dark kingdom. (synopsis from Goodreads)

Rating: 8.5/10

I can’t believe it took me this long to finally read this book. Seriously, what is wrong with me. Anyway, after reading this first book in the trilogy I can now say that I understand why Tolkien has remained popular to this day and has become the basis of all the fantasy that we read today. That man knew had to write an exciting and adventurous story that all generations can enjoy. While obviously written toward a more adult audience than The Hobbit was, it can still be enjoyed by both young and old. It has a little less of the that oral story-telling feeling to it, but it’s still there. I still got that feeling that someone was telling me a tale from long ago which made it both charming and exciting.

I also have to say that I like Frodo much more in the book than in the movie. I also thought that Frodo was a little whiny and lacked the inner strength that I like to see in my fantasy heroes, but book Frodo is very different. While hesitant to go on this journey (who wouldn’t be) he does it anyway for the good of the world. He is also very kind to his friends and always worries about putting his friends in danger. This worry often leads him to attempt sneaking off in the dead of night to take on this burden alone to keep his friends out of danger. Of course, this loyalty and care that he has for his friends makes it so his friends refuse to let him carry this burden alone. It’s an admirable trait in Frodo that I’ve come to appreciate.

The only thing that really bothers about this book, and this series in general, is the complete lack of women. Granted, it’s not a big surprise considering when this novel was first written, but still. I’ve gotten so used to reading books with at least one badass female character that it’s weird to read one that has absolutely none. Arwen is basically just mentioned and sits by a fireplace. I don’t think she actually says anything. In this case, the movies are misleading as to the importance of Arwen in the story as it seems to not be a major part in the books. However, I had heard that this was case from some friends that had read the series, so it didn’t come as a surprise.

This book is so packed with adventure that I now understand why the movies were so long. I never understood why, since the books aren’t very lengthy, why the movies were all close to 3 hours long, but I understand now. J.R.R Tolkien’s writing style lends itself to including a lot of action in very little space, so despite the fact the books are actually shorter than some of the modern fantasy we see today, a lot of stuff happens and most of it is important. Well, except for the parts where he tends to go on a little long about the wildlife, but don’t let those moments deter you from further reading!

I can see why this series has captured the hearts of people for generations, as it has captured mine. Will I read this book 20 times? Not likely. But I will most likely read it again in the future. It’s a story that never really gets old and will continue to inspire writers and captivate readers for years, even decades, to come.

 

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