Sunday, March 10, 2013

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

Rawr Reader,

    It's official, it's been a month since I posted my first book review! And also it's here! My spring break has finally arrived and what a perfect way to start it than by reviewing the first book of my favorite movie trilogy-- The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tokien. Sorry I wasn't able to post on the days I usually do; I got busy with family plans... So let's jump right in! Here is the synopsis not provided by Goodreads, the one there was incomplete so I had to type it out from the back of my book:

In ancient times the Rings of Power were crafted by the Elvensmiths, 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, still 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.

   This adventure by J.R.R. Tolkien is quite well-known. If you've never heard of these books or even the movies, then I'm glad that you found your way to this blog because you definitely need to know this about this trilogy. All of the adapted movies have been my favorite since elementary school and they're so fantastic that I don't care how long they are. I regretfully admit that I've only read The Hobbit by Tolkien and it's one of my favorite books, so I had no excuse that I hadn't read any of the Lord of the Rings books (especially if they've been my favorite movies for about a decade now). I've had this copy for years (hence why it looks so worn) and I got about half way through before stopping. I don't remember if it was because of school or I got bored (eek! I hope not), but I'm more determined now than then to finish the trilogy. I actually wanted to read the A Song of Fire and Ice series by George R. R. Martin since I've heard of many good things about it, but I felt like I was cheating on Tolkien's masterpiece. He deserved to be read first in my head, so that's my excuse for finally starting I guess. ^^
   P.S. Any LOTR buffs probably know that Tolkien never considered LotR as a trilogy but one novel, but for lack of a better word and since I don't want to write out "one long novel" a million times, I'll just say trilogy. :)

(safe for those who haven't read this book yet)
   This story is precious to me. (Hehe see what I did there?) Wowie this book is amazing! It's classified as an epic for a reason, it's filled with a ton of details, stories, legends, settings, histories, and people in the fantastic world of Middle-earth. Tolkien was afraid to leave anything out, though unlike in the hands of almost every other writer in history, it isn't a bad thing. This story follows Frodo Baggins on his quest to destroy the One Ring of Sauron.
   Let me start by saying how I remember why I stopped about half way through the first time I tried reading this, I got bored. There are two books in the Fellowship and the first book is taken place almost entirely in the Shire-- where Frodo Baggins and other hobbits primarily live. And the Shire is arguably one of the most boring settings in literature. That's really harsh, and probably too extreme to say, but I felt that Tolkien really wanted to delve into the culture of hobbits. I read a quote on Goodreads I believe it was, that stated how Tolkien believed hobbits to be a sort of manifestation of himself, if that's true I hate myself to think that the genius behind the creation of Middle-earth, could be so boring. Sorry if manifetation isn't the correct word, but I can't think of another word for it in the present. I'd say it started to pick up when Frodo and the other hobbits met Strider in Bree, and really became interesting when the Company finally left Rivendell on their quest.
   Frodo Baggins is probably one of my least favorite protagonists of all the characters I've read. He is the weakest, and if I were a friend of Bilbo's I'd ask him what he sees in Frodo that clearly I'm missing. He doesn't change at all, constantly arguing with himself what he should do, and depending so much on the other characters. I mean, c'mon, it took him months to finally leave the Shire. He's lucky that he had a popular cousin among non-hobbits because if I met him, I probably wouldn't help him. Tolkien makes all the other characters have more than one layer to them, and with Frodo it is just what I see on the page.
   For my more favored characters, I have to say it's between Samwise Gamgee and Boromir. Sam was my favorite for almost the entirety of the book until the end. Sam is loyal and has a caring heart for one who'd I say is the poor servant among the richer kings. That isn't even really an exaggeration, Frodo's rich and has many allies thanks to Bilbo, Pippin and Merry are his relatives and have a good name to them, Gimli is son of Gloin, and if you haven't read The Hobbit, well I'll just say he's got a lot of money to his name. Legolas is the son of the Elven king in Mirkwood, Aragorn is Isuldur's heir (Isuldur is the king who cut the Ring from Sauron's hand millenia ago), and then there's Gandalf. One of the five wizards in Middle-earth, though only three are introduced in the FotR. I'll just say this: He's the "servant of the Secret Fire, wielder of the flame of Anor." So then there's Sam, he doesn't have a lot to contribute to the Company since his day job is a gardener, but he has a loyal heart and he cares about Frodo a lot. (Not so much as the popular culture exaggerates, but like a brother or closer.) As for Boromir, I've seen the movie countless amount of times and he never stuck out to me. He was one of the fellowship, but it was more obligation to his country than anything more he wished to join the Company. While in the book it isn't very different, I guess Tolkien went more into the character and pressure of what the Ring could do for his country and with that I grew to love and respect him as much as Sam. And I almost teared at the end...
   I need to say this, the language in this trilogy is so unlike the language that Tolkien was accustomed to speaking. He was born in 1892 (100 years before me-- I think I was destined to love his books) and so the fact that he could establish a vernacular, let alone an entire Elvin language, to the world of Middle-earth shows how much of a talented writer he was. While I mentioned before how the beginning was slow when he talked about the Shire, it wasn't his language that was the problem. It was his attention to detail in setting and actions by everything that made the reader step into the world that I felt was overdone. However, from the first chapter until the end, I can't find any reason not to love this adventure; aside from Frodo. 
   And difficult as this is to say, I actually prefer the movie adaptation over the book. But the book is a close second (duh what else, Nicole?). :P  I love love love the book! My argument is that while the events of the story are pretty close to the book, from the Shire to Rivendell to Lothlórien (I just want to live there!), I found that the characters were more strongly characterized in the movies. I got more into the personalities and habits from the hobbits to the wizard Gandalf, and the special effects in scenery in all of the locations are stunning and really awe-inspiring, even with the movies being made over a decade ago. Also I find that it was more fast-paced, what took months for the characters in FofR to do, took about days to weeks if even that long, and this made the movies more intersting. If I may go off on tangent for a moment, I like the special effects of The Lord of the Rings trilogy a lot more than the more recent blockbuster The Hobbit. (Which is sort of funny, I like the Hobbit book better than the movie and the LotR movie better than the book...) But I digress, both amazing works of literature by the master himself!

I give this book 4.5/5 stars. Even though I'd hate to read the first book again, the Shire is important to the background of the story and I'd read this book multiple times despite it. And of course, recommend this book and/or movies to anyone and everyone. :)

Author's Quote:
“Not all those who wander are lost.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

If You'd Like to Check Out My Goodreads:

Next To Read:
Divergent by Veronica Roth

Gandalf's Spoilers:
(unsafe for those who haven't read this book yet, so don't read this section)
(LotR special edition: "You shall not pass!")   
  There isn't much to say about spoilers since I'm assuming you've seen or read the books (yes that's wrong to assume but I am), other than I was surprised about the ending. I was waiting for Boromir's departure from the group and demise. Sad but true, and the battle between Aragorn and all the Orcs. The ending was sort of weak for an epic of this magnitude in my opinion; and also another part of the movie they made better than the book.
  Also does anyone else wish that Tom Bombadil was put in the movie adaption? It makes sense why he wasn't, because then it would make the movie off-balance and for time constraints (even with it being a near three hour movie), but I would've really liked to have seen an actor play his role.

Until Next Time,
Nicole Ciel

No comments:

Post a Comment