The Fellowship of the Ring by JRR Tolkien
Following up with my review of JRR Tolkien’s The Hobbit, I have finished reading The Fellowship of the Ring. I’m glad to be going through all of these books finally. Check out my review of The Hobbit here.
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Title: The Fellowship of the Ring
Author: JRR Toklien
Genre: Fantasy, Classic, Fiction, Adventure
Published: September 15, 1999 by Mariner Books
In ancient times the Rings of Power were crafted by the Elven-smiths, 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, 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.
About: JRR Tolkien
John Ronald Reuel Tolkien (1892-1973) was a major scholar of the English language, specialising in Old and Middle English. Twice Professor of Anglo-Saxon (Old English) at the University of Oxford, he also wrote a number of stories, including most famously The Hobbit (1937) and The Lord of the Rings (1954-1955), which are set in a pre-historic era in an invented version of our world which he called by the Middle English name of Middle-earth. This was peopled by Men (and women), Elves, Dwarves, Trolls, Orcs (or Goblins) and of course Hobbits. He has regularly been condemned by the Eng. Lit. establishment, with honourable exceptions, but loved by literally millions of readers worldwide.
In the 1960s he was taken up by many members of the nascent “counter-culture” largely because of his concern with environmental issues. In 1997 he came top of three British polls, organised respectively by Channel 4 / Waterstone’s, the Folio Society, and SFX, the UK’s leading science fiction media magazine, amongst discerning readers asked to vote for the greatest book of the 20th century. Please note also that his name is spelt Tolkien (there is no “Tolkein”).
It was nice to see how well The Hobbit actually set the stage for The Fellowship of the Ring. It’s a classic story, but to be fair, not much happens in the first book. I know we have to consider the fact that this book was written long ago. However, there was too much nonsensical set-up (not even really build-up) in this story, and it never really comes to a worthy climax.
I love the characters in The Fellowship. Here, we see more diversity in cast compared to The Hobbit. We see more hobbits, men, and elves (and only a couple of dwarves). It’s nice to see the cast rounded out, and I appreciated that everyone seemed to get fair consideration and development.
The pacing was horrible. I’m familiar with the movie, which I can see was a really fair adaptation. It made the changes necessary for this book, in terms of pacing. For starters, nearly nothing happens in the first half of the book. Frodo’s travels from The Shire to The Pony inn in Bree took nearly 200 pages. That was 200 pages in which next to nothing happened, aside from Bilbo’s birthday right at the beginning, and Frodo encountering Tom Bombadil. It was awful. Tolkien spends way too much time describing the landscape and the characters’ actions, but doesn’t include very much action or emotional reflection. It’s a strange always-moving-forward-but-not-really-getting-anywhere pace. And then the second half of the book, in which all of the action occurs, was way too short.
It was alright. The pacing was terrible, but I love the story and the characters too much to be too hard on this book.
I give The Fellowship of the Ring 3.5/5 stars.
Let’s talk about it
Have you read The Fellowship of the Ring or seen the movie? What did you think about the story? If you’ve read the book, how did you feel about the pacing and writing style? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.