[Read ePUB] The Fellowship of the RingAuthor J.R.R. Tolkien – Circuitwiringdiagram.co

I refuse to write a review for one of the best books ever written Asking a serious fantasy fan to write a review for Lord of the Rings is like asking a Christian to write a review for The Bible So instead I will supply you with this graph: I’m not going to write a normal review; it’s almost impossible for a fantasy fan to do so in this case Instead I’m going to give you a series of ten points to explain exactly why I love this particular book Take from it what you will There will be spoilers Here goes: 1 The wizards! “Do not meddle in the affairs of wizards, for they are subtle and quick to anger.” Now I do love wizards Who doesn’t? The wisdom of Gandalf is unmatched He is, in effect, the leader of the forces of light He is the commander in chief, the battle general and the tactician He organises everything From Aragorn’s coming, to the hobbits bearing the ring, Gandalf is behind it all He has walked middle earth for thousands of years He has seen it all And he understands the perilous nature of the quest better than most He is the grand optimist, the man who sees the best in people He should have been the leader of the Isatri He was the most pure He is nothing like the changeable leader of his order Contrastingly, Saruman is the realist He is neither light nor dark, but a being who can adapt to the circumstance He saw only defeat for man, so he turned his cloak and helped to usher in the doom of middle earth His mind was poisoned by the palantir, Sauron fed of his ambition and bent him to his will Something Saruman didn’t fully conceive He considered himself the equal of Sauron In reality, if Sauron had regained the ring, he would have crushed Saruman like a bug And if Saruman had gained the ring first, things would have become much different It would have been a war between the two, one that would have unforeseen circumstances 2 A desperate quest The quest itself, the sending of just nine people to destroy the conduit of darkness, speaks of desperation The elves are not what they once were in the first age Their power has diminished: their people are leaving these lands They do not have the power to stand against the tide The Dwarves are shattered and broken Their leadership in Erabor has their own problems to deal with They, too, face invasion And men, men, are weak Well at least according to Elrond So sending of a small party of mighty heroes, and a few untested hobbits, is a back door attempt of destroying the evil that infests middle earth And I love it Have you ever read about a quest so unlikely and so improbable? “I will take the Ring, he said, though I do not know the way.” 3 A Hidden KingOther than the obvious wizard, the agile elvish prince, the stalwart dwarf lord, the fellowship has a secret weapon Aragorn, the heir to Isildur, has finally come forth “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.”He alone has the power to unite the failing world of men Only he can save the white tree of Gondor and insure that men do not fall into darkness And the darkness, it genuinely fears him He is the last hope of men: he is their salvation His ancient ancestor Isildur struck the ring from the hand of evil; thus, Sauron fears his coming However, he ispowerful than Isildur He has lived amongst the elves, and he has learnt how his ancestor failed to crush the darkness in his vain weakness Aragorn will not make the same mistake He will do better 4.Loyalty The party itself, the Fellowship of the Ring, are bound together with a mutual goal But it’sthan that; they are dependent on each other Each has skills the others could never possess And each brings with him the hope of a people Simply put, these heroes cannot fail Middle earth depends on them They are the best of their races, the most representative of their cultures, and their participation speaks of a will to conquer the shadow that approaches It speaks of commitment 5.Finding your courageNot all the party have been fully tested With them travel four young hobbits, the most unlikely of companions for such a journey They are the overlooked, the forgotten about, the race that is casually discarded and considered insignificant in the wider world And perhaps this has been the downfall of society in middle earth previously The forces of darkness exploit everything they can get their hands on, from giant spiders to rampaging trolls, from dragons to orcs, from men of the east to the undead, Sauron tries to wield it all This is something the forces of good have not fully considered until recently Within the bosom of the hobbit beats a strong heart of fortitude and resilience “My dear Frodo!’ exclaimed Gandalf ‘Hobbits really are amazing creatures, as I have said before You can learn all that there is to know about their ways in a month, and yet after a hundred years they can still surprise you at a pinch.” They carry with them the key to destroying the dark Bilbo showed them how he could resist the ring The hobbits are an almost incorruptible race, and because of this they are Sauron’s doom It is something he has overlooked “It would be the death of you to come with me, Sam, said Frodo, and I could not have borne that.Not as certain as being left behind, said Sam.But I am going to Mordor.I know that well enough, Mr Frodo Of course you are And I'm coming with you.” 6.The Rich History Middle earth didn’t pop up overnight This word has been around for thousands of years Such can be seen from the ruined statues and monuments that dot the landscape, to mentions of historic battles and finally to kings long since departed This is a world that has seen a lot This moment in the third age, which is arguable the most important series of events this world will ever see, is merely the surface Go read The Silmarillion Go see how old and beautiful this world is I could lose myself in Middleearth And this book carries with it all the baggage of what came before It’s extraordinary 7.The Diverse Languages and RacesAnd with this history comes the language of the people The elves, the men, the dwarves and Sauron’s creatures of darkness all come with their own developed languages This isn’t some random phrases stuck in the book, which you may see with other fantasy novels, but actually fully developed languages They have their own grammatical forms, syntax styles and sound qualities that reflect the speaker The languages are real Naturally, the elvish language is a personal favourite of mine: 8.The Power of RedemptionIt is easy to judge Boromir of Gondor He tried to take the ring from Frodo, though for all his misguidedness, he was trying to do right by his people He naively believed, due to his farther Denethor, that the ring could be wielded against the evil So when a young hobbit is trying to destroy his people’s supposed salvation, he strikes.Until that moment he doesn’t fully understand the evil it holds, until his desire for it twists his heart and turns him violent But, afterwards, after he sees what he has become, his willpower does prevail: he understands He later dies defending the Fellowship of the Ring, a bloody end, but one that saves his honour 9 The Forces of Darkness One evil binds them all Sauron tried to make himself the ultimate tyrant, and claim dominion over all lands: he wanted to be the de facto ruler of middle earth He failed Those that followed his initial claim are forever left in the dark Their souls are black, their hearts corrupt: their bodies noThe Nazgul have become the living dead; they are complex figure, driven by hate and a will no longer their own These men have become something else Do they wish to rest? I do not know Do they wish to carry out their master’s work or are they driven by his domination? I do not know Orcs are mere tools for the darkness, the Nazgul are something much darker They are the perfect harbingers of their lord 10 The Elves The elves are my favourite part of middle earth I should have been born an elf I would love to spend a few years in Rivendell, especially in Elrond’s library relaxing by the waterfalls reading the histories of middle earth Doesn’t that just sound like so much fun? The best thing about reading fantasy like this is the pure escapism it provides, the worse thing is realising how shit the “real world” is in comparison To quote another fine author of fantasy, and to conclude this review, I will simply repeat these words: They can keep their heaven When I die, I’d sooner go to middle Earth You can connect with me on social media via My Linktree. Authors who inspire a movement are usually misunderstood, especially by those they have inspired, and Tolkien is no exception, but one of the biggest misconceptions about Tolkien is the idea that he is somehow an 'innovator of fantasy' He did add a number of techniques to the repertoire of epic fantasy writers, and these have been dutifully followed by his many imitators, but for the most part, these techniques are littlethan bad habits.Many have called Tolkien by such epithets as 'The Father of Fantasy', but anyone who makes this claim simply does not know of the depth and history of the fantasy genre For those who are familiar with the great and influential fantastical authors, from Ovid and Ariosto to Eddison and Dunsany to R.E Howard and Fritz Leiber, it is clear that, long before Tolkien, fantasy was already a complex, wellestablished, and even a respected literary genre.Eddison's work contains an invented world, a carefullyconstructed (and wellresearched) archaic language, a powerful and unearthly queen, and a central character who is conflicted and lost between the forces of nobility and darkness Poul Anderson's The Broken Sword , which came out the same year as The Fellowship of the Ring, has distant, haughty elves, deepdelving dwarves, a broken sword which must be reforged, an epic war between the armies of light and darkness, another central character trapped between those extremes, and an interweaving of Christian and Pagan worldviews.So, if these aspects are not unique to Tolkien, then what does set him apart? Though Dunsany, Eddison, and Anderson all present worlds where light and dark come into conflict, they present these conflicts with a subtle and often ironic touch, recognizing that morality is a dangerous thing to present in absolutes Tolkien (or C.S Lewis), on the other hand, has no problem in depicting evil as evil, good as good, and the only place they meet is in the temptation of an honest heart, as in Gollum's caseand even then, he is not like Eddison's Lord Gro or Anderson's Scafloc, characters who live under an alternative view of the world, but instead fluctuates between the highs and lows of Tolkien's dualistic morality.It is a dangerous message to make evil an external, irrational thing, to define it as 'the unknown that opposes us', because it invites the reader to overlay their own morality upon the world, which is precisely what most modern fantasy authors tend to do, following Tolkien's example Whether it's Goodkind's Libertarianism or John Norman's sex slave fetish, its very easy to simply create a magical allegory to make one side 'right' and the other side 'wrong', and you never have to develop a dramatic narrative that actually explores the soundness of those ideas Make the good guys dress in bright robes or silvery maile and the bad guys in black, spiky armor, and a lot of people will never notice that all the 'good guys' are White, upper class men, while all the 'bad guys' are 'brutish foreigners', and that both sides are killing each other and trying to rule their little corner of the world.In Tolkien's case, his moral view was a very specific evocation of the ideal of 'Merrie England', which is an attempt by certain stodgy old Tories (like Tolkien) to rewrite history so that the nobility were all good and righteous leaders, the farmers were all happy in their 'proper place' (working a simple patch of dirt), while both industrialized cultures and the 'primitives' who resided to the South and East were 'the enemy' bent on despoiling the 'natural beauty of England' (despite the fact that the isles had been flattened, deforested, and partitioned a thousand years before).Though Tom Bombadil remains as a strangely incoherent reminder of the moral and social complexity of the fantasy tradition upon which Tolkien draws, he did his best to scrub the rest clean, spending years of his life trying to fit Catholic philosophywholly into his Pagan adventure realm But then, that's often how we think of Tolkien: bent over his desk, spending long hours researching, notetaking, compiling, and playing with language Even those who admit that Tolkien demonstrates certain racist, sexist, and classicist leanings (as, indeed, do many great authors) still praise the complexity of his 'world building'.And any student of the great Epics, like the Norse Eddas, the Bible, or the Shahnameh can see what Tolkien is trying to achieve with his worldbuilding: those books presented grand stories, but were also about depicting a vast world of philosophy, history, myth, geography, morality and culture They were encyclopedic texts, intended to instruct their people on everything important in life, and they are extraordinarily valuable to students of anthropology and history, because even the smallest detail can reveal something about the world which the book describes.So, Tolkien fills his books with troop movements, dull songs, lines of lineage, and references to his own madeup history, mythology, and language He has numerous brieflymentioned side characters and events because organic texts like the epics, which were formed slowly, over time and compiled from many sources often contained such digressions He creates characters who have similar nameswhich is normally a stupid thing to do, as an author, because it is so confusingbut he’s trying to represent a hereditary tradition of prefixes and suffixes and shared names, which many great families of history had So Tolkien certainly had a purpose in what he did, but was it a purpose that served the story he was trying to tell?Simply copying the form of reality is not what makes good art Art is meaningfulit is directed It is not just a list of detailseverything within is carefully chosen by the author to make up a good story The addition of detail is not the same as adding depth, especially since Tolkien’s world is not based on some outside systemit is whatever he says it is It’s all arbitrary, which is why the only thing that grants a character, scene, or detail purpose is the meaning behind it Without that meaning, then what Tolkien is doing is just a very elaborate thought exercise Now, it’s certainly true that many people have been fascinated with studying it, but that’s equally true of many thought exercises, such as the rules and background of the Pokemon card game, or crossword puzzles.Ostensibly, Scrabble supposedly is a game for people who love wordsand yet, top Scrabble players sit an memorize lists of words whose meaning they will never learn Likewise, many literary fandom games become littlethan word searches: find this reference, connect that name to this characterbut which have no meaning or purpose outside of that The point of literary criticism is always to lead us back to human thought and ideas, to looking at how we think and express ourselves If a detail in a work cannot lead us back to ourselves, then it is nothan an arbitrary piece of chaff.The popularity of Tolkien’s work made it acceptable for other authors to do the same thing, to the point that whenever I hear a book lauded for the ‘depth of its world building’, I expect to find a mess of obsessive detailing, of piling on so many inconsequential facts and figures that the characters and stories get buried under the scree, as if the author secretly hopes that by spending most of the chapter describing the hero’s cuirass, we'll forget that he’s a bland archetype who only succeeds through happy coincidence and deus ex machina against an enemy with no internal structure or motivation.When QuillerCouch said authors should ‘murder their darlings’, this is what he meant: just because you have hobbies and opinions does not mean you should fill your novel with them Anything which does not materially contribute to the story, characters, and artistry of a work can safely be left out Tolkien's embarrassment of detail also produced a huge inflation in the acceptable length of fantasy books, leading to the meandering, unending series that fill bookstore shelves today.Now, there are several notable critics who have lamented the unfortunate effect that Tolkien’s work has had on the genre, such as in Moorcock’s Epic Pooh and Mieville’s diatribe about every modern fantasy author being forced to come to terms with the old don's influence I agree with their deconstructions, but for me, Tolkien isn’t some special author, some ‘fantasy granddad’ looming over all He’s just a bump in the road, one author amongst many in a genre that stretches back thousands of years into our very ideas of myth and identity, and not one of theinteresting onesHis ideas weren’t unique, and while his approach may have been unusual, it was only because he spent a lifetime trying obsessively to make something artificial seemnatural, despite the fact that the point of fantasy (and fiction in general) is to explore the artificial, the human side of the equation, to look at the world through the biased lens of our eye and to represent some odd facet of the human condition Unfortunately, Tolkien’s characters, structure, and morality are all too flat to suggest much, no matter how many fauxorganic details he surrounds them with.My Fantasy Book Suggestions As a single lady myself, I also love to put a ring on it And shoutout to my homegurl Sauron!!! you go girl take over middle earth! Reach for the stars! With that balrog on your side you can do anything!That main dude Frodo tho reminds me of dat boi Harry besides what does he need the ring for??Anyways I gotta give it a low rating cuz theres 2 much frodo, not enough orcs A review of Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring, by SauronHello You may remember me as the title character of the Lord of Rings I go by a lot of names: Dark Lord of Mordor, Sorcerer, Red Eye, Dark Power, Lord of Baraddûr, Ringmaker and Base Master of Treachery (I use that one in my band) I actually object to Tolkien's chosen name of Sauron, which I understand originates from an adjective that means foul, putrid in his crappy invented language What can I say, the showers in Mordor are sketchy at best On weekends, my poker buddies call me Sauron the Destroyer of Nacho Platters Because Tolkien intentionally failed to give a proper description of me in his books, allow me to give you an idea I have a bit of a dark look My quest for world domination having been thwarted, I watch a lot of TV these days My body is roughly equivalent to the The Situation on Jersey Shore Oh, no I don't watch that, but the Witchking of Angmar is obsessed He won't shut up about Snowcone or some bimbo on that show I'm missing a finger, which while preventing me from raining down carnage on Middle Earth, allows me to collect decent EI Plus the best lawyer in Mordor got me covered under the dismemberment clause on my insurance, so I'm riding the double dip gravy train Much has been written about my terrible Lidless Red Eye, blah blah blah It freaked out that little twat Frodo pretty good I'll have you know that conjunctivitis is no laughing matter Having to keep it open 24/7 to look for hoodlums skulking around Mordor is murder on my hydration The Nazgul have enough lift and aim to get up there to toss a bucket of Visine at it, but it's just temporary relief Regardless, I'm stillof a looker than your precious King Elessar or Aragorn or whatever he's calling himself these days He's never met a brooding look he didn't like Buy a razor Get a real job.Someone sent me Peter Jackson's movies in the mail The package had no return address but it was postmarked Hobbiton, where ever the hell that is As I watch these movies over and over (I never even finished the books) I was reminded of all my mistakesPerhaps a ring was not a good choice Some buddies have suggested that maybe I shouldn't have tied all of my terrible powers to something as easy to misplace as the One Ring In retrospect, I should have forged The One Gas Station Bathroom Key Chain of Power It would have been a lot harder to tief I even could have pimped it out by making it from an Ent branch or Saruman's foot, for all the good that old fart did me Maybe a ring would have been just fine if it had been a toe ring Then it wouldn't glow in the dark like a target for every freaking Man on the battlefield I heard that the guy who beat me was named Isildur!!?? WTF Maybe I could have worn tougher gloves, I don't know Perhaps the door to the Fires of Mount Doom should have had a better lock ADT could have hooked me up with motion detectors but I hear that even cats can set those off They claim they can calibrate them but I'm not so sure The Urukhai are always jumping up on the table, so they would set it off for sure Maybe just the alarm that goes off if something hits the lava, like pool alarms for kid Although I guess it would have been too late by then My preccciioouussss! Learn some balance ahole.Frodo That little prick I'd rather not discuss how my quest for utter dominion was defeated by something I could poop out unnoticed.I'm getting off track I'm supposed to discuss the events of the first book, the Fellowship of the Ring Good times! I was on a comeback! Then the withered up senior citizen Gandalf had to go to the library and do a little research and figure out that my Ring was not some cracker jack prize My Ringwraiths tried to track down the Ring but apparently taking it away from children was too difficult If I had put the Nazgûl on fell beasts rather than bloody horses from the start I might have tracked down Frodo (prick) and his three buddies in the bloody woods Don't horses have a good sense of smell!? Anyways, the fell beasts would have at least avoided drowning in a river Sweet Mary Then those Elves suggest a damn fellowship Could you have come up with a lamer group name?? Why not call it the Loose Association of People Who Share Common Beliefs or Activities…of the Ring That Balrog almost did me the biggest favour, he was always one of my peeps You shall not pass!! What a line Gandy! How cow I heard that one took like 15 takes because Pippin kept making everyone laugh by adding in the word gas Fool of a Took!Anyways, by the end of the Fellowship of the Ring, I still had a fighting chance Great book Anyways, The Two Towers won't be as fun to review Sh*t hits the fan (A note from Sauron's agent: full credit for the idea of this review goes to Kemper and his awesome review of Drood) “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.” As someone who’ve readthan three hundred fantasy novels, it may come as a surprise to many people that this is, in fact, the first time I managed to finish reading The Fellowship of the Ring Honestly, there’s nothing new I can offer here; for several decades, there have been many analysts and heavy devout of The Lords of the Rings, MiddleEarth, and pretty much everything related to Tolkien My knowledge of MiddleEarth contained only what I’ve read from The Great Tales of MiddleEarth, Silmarillion, this book, and from watching the movie adaptations of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogy Matched to these experts, my knowledge is just a drop in a sea of diligence What I will write here, instead, is my personal experience; mainly on why it took me this long to finally finish reading this legendary novel for the very first time, and how much I disagree with the illusionary ‘required’ reading surrounding this series.Picture: The One Ring by Donato GiancolaFor many readers, The Lord of the Rings is responsible for being their gateway into the fantasy genre; for me, it was the one that pushed me away for years The last time I pushed myself to read The Fellowship of the Ring was all the way back in 2012 when The Hobbit movie came out; I DNFed it because I was mindlessly bored, and before that, I have tried reading this book so many times but ended up DNF it every time Frodo met Tom Bombadil Now now, don’t unleash your Gurthang on me yet, let’s put things into perspective first Same with many readers, I absolutely love The Lord of the Rings movie—extended, of course—adaptations; it probably will always be my favorite fantasy movies of all time I have watched it so many times that I lost count now; last year I rewatched the trilogy only to find myself in awe by everything about it, again I personally think the movies did a great job of rearranging/cutting content for watching enjoyment; in comparison to the novels, they are also so muchfastpaced relatively Obviously, it’s not fair to compare them like that because they’re different mediums of entertainment; movies will always be fasterpaced than the books However, try putting yourself in the shoe of someone who wasn’t keen on reading novels—I haven’t found my gateway into fantasy novels yet back then—and have known about the main plot of the series from watching the movies so many times, being put into reading The Fellowship of the Ring that’s verbose; it was the opposite of enjoyment, it was boredom Back then, I found that the forming of the Fellowship of the Ring brotherhood and their adventure took way too long to reach because I’m muchused to the pacing of the movies.Picture: The Fellowship in Hollin by Donato GiancolaThen, I kept hearing from many fanatics that “you’re not a fantasy reader/fans unless you’ve read and loved The Lord of the Rings!” and not gonna lie, it pushed me off the genre for years; I thought reading epic fantasy novels wasn’t for me because of this statement I will disagree with this notion that you’re required to read a specific series to be considered as a fantasy reader Not only this is incredibly disrespectful to countless fantasy authors and readers, but it also speaks heavily of elitism and childish behavior that the world seriously doesn’t need If you want to feel superior or powerful for having read this series and be condescending towards other people, you should raise your hand to your back and pat your asses three times, because what you just pat is what you’ve become There’s an unlimited number of amazing fantasy books out now in the whole world, it’s outrageous to gatekeep a gate that doesn’t exist just because they don’t follow your Tolkienism I love sushi, do I have to fish and eat the first fish that popularized sushi as a popular food so that I can be considered as someone who loves eating sushi? What if I had listened to this garbage statement back then? What if I had completely given up back then because of my sour experiences with this book and the fandom? I would be missing on so many grand and unforgettable adventures I received from reading other fantasy books It may be shocking, but The Lord of the Rings isn’t the only available fantasy books to read.There is no ‘required’ reading—other than to read ANY fantasy book—to become a fan of a fantasy; it is an illusion made up by elitists who should not be listened to Also, this is kinda related, I consider Malazan Book of the Fallen one of my favorite series of all time For years, I’ve been hearing many angry complaints towards Malazan fanatics, and to be fair, some of them can indeed be annoying when they keep on recommending the series even when the series doesn’t fit the reader’s request for a recommendation This situation, however, is not exclusive to this series Any popular and famous series will always have a large fandom filled with passionate readers that’s sometimes transformed into fanatics I’ve had my share of dispute and grievances with some Malazan fans due to their seniority, elitist, and spoilers galore that ended up taking me a long time to plunge myself into the series Unfortunately, speaking from my experience, the same can be said for those who worshipped The Lord of the Rings and Tolkien, maybe even much worse due to their tendency for gatekeeping “Deserves it! I daresay he does Many that live deserve death And some that die deserve life Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement For even the very wise cannot see all ends.” This rambling has gone on much longer than I expected now, and I haven’t even begun talking about what I loved and disliked about The Fellowship of the Ring That being said, because The Lord of the Rings is technically one big tome divided into three, I prefer doing a full spoilerfree review on The Lord of the Rings when I have finished reading The Two Towers and The Return of the King as well For now, let me just briefly say that I enjoyed reading The Fellowship of the Ring so muchnow than all of my previous attempts With relatively many fantasy books read now, I was able to tolerate Tolkien’s verbose writing style If you’re one of those who struggle through reading this book, my advice—if you want to push yourself—is to persevere until Frodo reached the village of Bree and meet Strider In my opinion, this was the checkpoint where the novel started being engaging Before that, even reading it now, many parts felt super sluggish; Tom Bombadilo’s singing and sections were pure nonsense that I wouldn’t mind skipping There aren’t enough praises I can give to Tolkien for the depth of his worldbuilding (remember, this was publishedthan 60 years ago) and creating some of the most iconic scenes in the fantasy genre that led to a myriad of beautiful fan art like this:Picture: The Shadow and the Flame by Anato FinnstarkAnd speaking of iconic scenes, what we read in The Fellowship of the Ring is merely a small taster of what’s to come in The Two Towers and The Return of the King Although I’m not a huge fan of Tolkien’s prose—the singing was a bit too much, and he uses thirdperson omniscient narrative which I’m not too keen of—there’s this sense of being transported into another world by reading his writing Plus, let’s not forget that he wrote some of the most memorable quote; this one is timeless: “I wish it need not have happened in my time, said Frodo.So do I, said Gandalf, and so do all who live to see such times But that is not for them to decide All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” I am not denying the importance of Tolkien’s role in the fantasy genre; it would be insane to deny that The Fellowship of the Ring and the next two parts of The Lords of the Rings were and still some of the most important fantasy novels that shaped and made the fantasy genre popular However, I personally wouldn’t recommend this series as a fantasygateway series for people who are looking to get into reading adult fantasy for the first time Same with all books I reviewed, my rating is based on reading enjoyment, not on a technicality, achievement, or any other external factors Unlike the existence of The One Ring to Rule Them All, there isn’t one fantasy series to rule them all as a foolproof recommendation This is also what makes fantasy fantastical and wonderful; it’s truly a favorite genre of mine that is filled with boundless and infinite imaginations Instead of banishing fantasy readers for not reading/loving The Lord of the Rings, I definitely prefer to welcome them with recommending other fantasy books that, in my opinion, would work for themLet’s do better “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.” You can order the book from: Book Depository (Free shipping)You can find this and the rest of my reviews at Novel NotionsSpecial thanks to my Patrons on Patreon for giving me extra support towards my passion for reading and reviewing!My Patrons: Alfred, Devin, Hamad, Joie, Mike, Miracle, Nicholas. I wasn't really cool back in high school I never made out with girls under the bleachers, or smoked under the bleachers, or did any of the other things under the bleachers that I am lead to believe the popular kids did Instead, I maintained a low profile and waited for the teenage years that wilderness of strangled thinking to end.In high school, as today, I harbored geekish obsessions, had a wandering imagination, and nurtured an appreciation for minutiate In other words, I should have been J.R.R Tolkien's core audience For whatever reason perhaps intuition that I didn't need to dig my social hole any deeper I never read The Lord of the Rings when most people first come upon The Lord of the Rings Actually, I was barely cognizant of LOTR until college, when the movies were released I absolutely loved Peter Jackson's film trilogy During law school, I left a legal writing final halfway through in order to see Return of the King on opening day Despite this, I never desired to read the source material From talking to my friends, who were Tolkien enthusiasts (nerds), I assumed I wouldn't like the books They seemed too talky, dense, and plodding Finally, one fair summer night on my patio, my friend Jon and I were drinking beer and talking about The Lord of the Rings and how it was funny we could do this openly and still have significant others of the opposite sex (I believe my wife was inside at the time, deciding what she would take in the divorce) Somehow, in a Miller Light and bratwurst haze, Jon got me to commit to giving LOTR a try Then, I did a keg stand with Jon's homemade beer This is how I read Now, having finished Fellowship of the Ring, I have new appreciation for what Peter Jackson accomplished Yeah, he made it into an action film, but that's the medium of film; there needs to be action He did a fine job of taking Tolkien's essence and goosing it (Sometimes he goosed the action too much, but we can discuss Legolas surfing on his shield at Helm's Deep another day) It was this love of the film that, interestingly, made me hesitant to read the books Folks who love Tolkien love Tolkien with a vengeance If it isn't obvious already, I don't have that underlying feeling I understand, theoretically, Tolkien's achievement, but I'm not going to pretend to know all the references religious, mythic, and linguistic used as ingredients What I do know is that, at its heart, LOTR is an archetypal hero's journey It begins with an orphan of average abilities, who has a task thrust upon him This forces the hero to leave home and enter the wider world In the world he must pass tests, learn lessons, and eventually accomplish his task Once that is done, the hero can return home; however, he is forever changed, and the home to which he returns is different.The hero in LOTR is Frodo Baggins, a hobbit Now, a hobbit is well, they're short, but they're not dwarves That's the important thing to remember Hobbits are like potsmoking liberal arts majors They like to hang around, eat, smoke, drink, and talk Frodo's uncle, Bilbo, is a rare hobbit who has gone out and had adventures He also has a magic ring, which he gives to Frodo This ringwell it's evil I could explain , and Tolkien certainly does, but suffice it to say the ring is a Macguffin It's like Marcellus Wallace's suitcase in Pulp Fiction: it drives the plot, and that's all you need to know (This being Tolkien, though, you are certainly able to learn much, much, much ) Bilbo and Frodo's friend, the wizard Gandalf, tells Frodo that he must take the ring to the Cracks of Doom to destroy it, lest the Dark Shadow Sauron get his figurative hands upon it With this, the journey starts Frodo is joined by three other hobbits: Sam (the loyal one); Pippin (the scared one); and Merry (the one portrayed by Lost's Dominic Monaghan) After some brushes with the Nine Riders/the Nazgul/the Ring Wraiths (Tolkien has a very Russian way of making up a name, and then making up two or three or four synonyms, which makes things a little confusing), the hobbits meet up with Aragorn/Strider who leads them to Rivendell, where the elves live under Elrond There is a counsel, the Fellowship is joined by Boromir (a man), Legolas (an elf) and Gimli (a dwarf) It all sounds like the setup for a very complicated joke But rest assured, the fate of MiddleEarth is at stake (Though that does not stop the characters from stopping repeatedly for long meals; apparently, the Fellowship is comprised of foodies and gourmands) It's important to note what this book is not: it is not an actionpacked adventure Mostly, it is people walking through this makebelieve world, talking about the past, and worrying about the future There is a battle in the mountains of Moria that lasts for two pages; other than that, there are only scattered paragraphs when people are running, swords are unsheathed, and the stakes are raised If swords and arrows are what you seek, just stick to the films Moreover, you aren't going to find complex characterizations The good guys are varing shades of good, and the bad guys are really bad About the only conflicted characters are Boromir, who is conflicted for five sentences or so, and Gollum, the strungout ringaddict So what is the book? Well, it's a place you visit Anyone who knows me knows that I am a Nyquill connoisseur (or addict, take your pick) I often need something to calm my overactive mind before I can get to sleep Instead of the Quill, for the past weeks, I used Fellowship This is a compliment Tolkien's world is so immersive, so fully realized with its varied races, songs, languages, and lore that whenever you open the covers it's a sublime escape You are in an ancient land filled with a rich and ancient history, and a wonderfully described topography Sure, the shadow of war hangs over MiddleEarth, but there is no tension If you feel like Frodo is in mortal danger, and might not accomplish his task, you're probably six years old and having the story read aloud Reading Fellowship was simply comforting I wouldn't mind a kindly wizard giving me sage advice: Many that live deserve death And some that die deserve life Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgment For even the very wise cannot see all ends.And I also wouldn't mind going on a little hike through the forest, and maybe hanging out with some elves:Away high in the East swung Remmirath, the Netted Stars, and slowly above the mists red Borgil rose, glowing like a jewel of fire Then by some shift of airs all the mist was drawn away like a veil, and there leaned up, as he climbed over the rim of the world, the Swordsman of the Sky, Menelvagor with his shining belt The Elves burst into song Suddenly, under teh trees a fire sprang with light 'Come!' the Elves called to the hobbits 'Come! Now is the time for speech and merriment!'At the south end of the greensward there was an opening There the greenfloor ran on into the wood, and formed a wide space like a hall, roofed by the boughs of trees Their great trunks ran like pillars down each side In the middle there was a woodfire blazing, and upon the treepillars torches with lights of gold and silver were burning steadily The Elves sat round the fire upon the grass or upon the sawn rings of old trunks Some went to and fro bearing cups and pouring drink; others brought food on heaped plates and dishes.Frodo's journey is secondary to Tolkien's creation of MiddleEarth And the genius of MiddleEarth is that it goes beyond the pages With its allusions to a long history filled with famous leaders and famous events and famous battles, your imagination is ignited Upon finishing the first book, I saw how LOTR became a place of refuge for the outcasts and iconoclasts of our world Like comic books, it is a place of escape, where the everyday order is turned upside down: the stakes are high, the heroes short, the beer is plentiful, and girls a distant afterthought. One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all and in the darkeness bind themIn 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 Middleearth, it remained lost to him After many ages it fell into the hands of Bilbo Baggins, as told in The HobbitIn 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 Middleearth to the Cracks of Doom, there to destroy the Ring and foil the Dark Lord in his evil purpose Click here to watch a video review of this book on my channel, From Beginning to Bookend From the valleys of the Shire to the summit of Amon Hen, The Fellowship of the Ring is an extraordinary adventure of endearing characters defying impossible odds. 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 Life is, indeed, a box of chocolates No matter how much we prepare for it, we will never be ready Truth be told, no one ever is — such is the mystery that life has to offer, as we don't get to choose our own time, so to speak 'I wish it need not have happened in my time,' said Frodo 'So do I,' said Gandalf, 'and so do all who live to see such times But that is not for them to decide All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.' Sometimes, the image that we conjure for ourselves doesn't necessarily match or mirror life itself At those times, we often feel inadequate, overwhelmed, and beaten, yet we continue living even though we've suffered enough, our own grief is too great to bear, and that our losses cannot truly be mended Many that live deserve death And some that die deserve life Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement For even the very wise cannot see all ends However, beyond these conditions, we rise above them, grow beyond them Humans always have the capacity to change the world for the better if possible or even change oneself if one so ever desires it — with the intensity of our spirit matching the fervour of our heart 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 We tell ourselves that the magic is in the journey and not in the destination Perchance, the allegory of this book reflects that of life — generally, morally, historically, and even spiritually It might also allude to Galadriel's Mirror showing things that were, and things that are, and things that yet may be Whatever interpretation you might have for this timeless magnum opus, the burden is laid upon you, for the Shadow will always grow and succumbing to the One Ring's call will always bring forth utter destruction lest we learn the simplest and most significant lesson of them all Three Rings for the Elvenkings under the sky,Seven for the Dwarflords in their halls of stone,Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die,One for the Dark Lord on his dark throneIn 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 themIn the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie All I know is that we are put here in this world to play a part that we have yet to see Some of us might be a Frodo — for we bear a burden too great; or even a Sam who doesn't even know what he truly wants but perceives that he has a purpose that lies beyond the Shire and that he has to see it through to the end We might even be a Merry or Pippin who will stick to you through thick and thin – to the bitter end And you can trust us to keep any secret of yours – closer than you keep it yourself Mayhap, a Gandalf, a servant of the Secret Fire, a wielder of the Flame of Anor, telling others to flee and holding his ground to fight the Flame of Udûn Much like the Fellowship, there will always be someone who will be there to help you bear the burden, whatever what that might be When night is about you, always remember that courage will always be found in the most unlikely places and that hope is but a chink in the curtain that lets the light through Audiobook rating (narrated by Rob Inglis):Narrative voice style ★★★Vocal characterisation ★★★½Inflexion intonation ★★★Voice quality ★★★Audiobook verdict ★★★ (Good performance overall)