The Fellowship of the Ring (The Lord of the Rings, #1)

ISBN: 0618346252
ISBN 13: 9780618346257
By: J.R.R. Tolkien

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About this book

Frodo 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 detroyed - in the very center of Sauron's dark kingdom.

Reader's Thoughts

Tina

Original post at One More PageWhen the first of the Lord of the Rings movie came out a little over ten (!!!) years ago, I admit that I only watched it for two reasons: (1) everyone in my senior high school class was watching it; and (2) all the girls in my class who has watched the movie were all raving about Legolas. I didn't care about the book (I can't even remember if I knew of the book back then), but I only watched it because I didn't want to be left out. I was sufficiently amazed by the movie (even if my dad slept halfway through it -- it was our "date"), and I was charmed by Legolas, but I didn't become one of the people who would watch it over and over and over again. In fact, when I tried watching it again while I was alone, I fell asleep! When I learned of the book, I knew that I wouldn't read it anytime soon because I wasn't a fantasy reader and I honestly thought watching the movie was enough.My stance on not reading the trilogy remained the same even as I was exploring fantasy and as I started blogging about books. I've heard so many things about it -- how it's so hard to read, how it can be boring and how it's not for everyone, so the part of me that gets intimidated by high fantasy decided to leave it alone. Until of course, it became our book of the month for my book club's discussion. Being a co-moderator of the book club, I felt like I had no choice but to read it.I don't think I need to recap what happened in this book for anyone because I feel that everyone knows about it already. (But if you really need to know it's this: Frodo Baggins inherits an evil ring of power from his uncle Frodo and he has to go to Mount Doom with friends and some people -- who and they eventually form a fellowship -- to destroy the ring before the bad guys get it.) So here's my big surprise with The Fellowship of the Ring : it wasn't such a hard read after all. Maybe if I attempted to read this back in high school or even in college, I wouldn't have liked it as much. But now...I actually found it quite easy to get into. Oh, the prologue is kind of boring, but after that? It was really kind of easy. I suppose I had the proper conditioning too, because I read Brandon Sanderson's Warbreaker the previous month (which is pretty high fantasy too) followed by George R.R. Martin's A Game of Thrones a few weeks later, which I read almost simultaneously with this book. I suppose this put me in the proper fantasy mindset, which perhaps helped it become easier for me to read. Sure, the hobbits and elves sang so many times in the book, and sure, Tolkien described the scenery in so much detail that it can be a bit boring at times...but overall? I thought The Fellowship of the Ring deserved all the praises that it has gotten ever since.I guess it helped that I already had the visualization of the movie while I read the book, so sometimes I can't help but smile whenever I remember Orlando Bloom as Legolas or Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn. I loved the Council of Elrond scene even if it was the longest chapter of the book, and I was excited to get to the Balrog scene with Gandalf shouting, "You cannot pass!" (the movie version seemed more kick-ass, though!). But overall, I realized how much I liked Frodo and Sam's friendship was written in this book. I never really cared for Sam in the movie (especially after it has been tainted so much because of their seemingly bromantic relationship), but in this book, I thought he was such a darling. Sam's loyalty was the highlight of this book, and I loved how he was so devoted to his friend in his simple minded ways. It totally changed everything for me when I rewatched the movie.As with A Game of Thrones, I felt a certain kind of accomplishment when I finished reading this book. LOL, I felt like I was such a cooler geek when I was done with this, but apparently, I think I need to read the other LOTR books before I can be certified. :P Which I really intend to do, especially because I really liked The Two Towers and the ending of The Fellowship of the Ring was kind of a cliffhanger.To sum it up: I get it. I get what makes this series so amazing -- or at least, a part of it, anyway. :) It helps that this appreciation was fueled by our book club's discussion afterwards. Look at us here:Goodreads - The Filipino Group Face-to-Face Discussion # 6: Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien (photo from Maria) The Fellowship of the Ring is definitely one of those books that one should read in their lifetime. I'm really glad this won as our book of the month last June. :)

Randy

Hate this cover art, hate the movies (PJ turned them into horror rather than moralistic epic fantasy), but this is my favorite series. I am currently telling everyone I have read them 11 times, but I am quite certain it is more, I just don't know how many more. Whenever I just feel really worn out and almost sick . . . I recoup my energies by being inspired again by Tolkien . . . usually every 2 or 3 years. These books have been a powerful influence in my life -- it so much easier to read a modern fantasy roller coaster adrenalin rush sugar high, "inject it right into the bloodstream, please" -- but Tolkien is a deep river. Please read this first major success in the fantasy genre, just don't expect Harry Potter, okay?

Kerstin

When we're talking about novels that for some reason happen to be overshadowed by their big-screen movie adaptations (granted, not many exist), then The Lord Of The Rings belongs into that category. I know that the Tolkien-purists might crucify me for saying this, but I'm saying it nonetheless. For me, watching these movies usually equals an exercise of little to medium effort; reading the book, I often found myself on the verge of frustration. And I'm not one with an attention span of a grapefruit. My problem is this - the text is too heavily loaded with superfluous exposition and details. I kept losing track of the new names and places that popped up on every fifth page or so. Alright, I get that we're dealing with a genius who's created a fictional universe intricate enough (and I bow down - the languages sound exquisite) to require its own encyclopedia, but for heaven's sake... crafting a story shouldn't be about how much background and side info can be shoved into it. Just because you have it, doesn't mean you have to flaunt it. Sometimes less is more approach works better. Offers the reader a bit of breathing room.The writing style is too dry. If we take the Harry Potter series for comparison (I'm aware that it's a crime to do that, but I'm doing it anyway), the fantasy world in there is lush and bubbling. And don't tell me that's because the Harry Potter books are children's books and The Lord Of The Rings isn't. It has Hobbits and Elves in it. And chattering trees.The characters in The Lord Of The Rings have always confused me somewhat. Nearly all of the primary archetypes are represented, but they don't seem to have that larger-than-life aura that many other characters have in other epic sagas. It is almost as if the weight of the Middle Earth suffocates them. They leave a lasting impression, yet don't seem to be very relatable. Boromir, the humanized knight, dies before I can really start to care about what he was going through. Aragorn's heroics remain too distant, and I can't quite identify with Frodo or Sam either, wonderful as they certainly are.I realize that my thoughts manifest themselves in more of a rant than an actual review, but if I could sum up how I feel about The Lord Of The Rings (at least the written version) - then this would be it. I struggle to reach a level on which I am able to thoroughly and comfortably enjoy this grand old battle between good and evil.Maybe it is my fault and I should try harder. Or maybe we're just not meant to love each and every classic. My boyfriend loves it though. He loves the whole trilogy. They are his favourite books. It takes him five years to read them, and he's a bank employee.

Julie

This is one of my favorite books ever, so I used it to cleanse myself after the debacle that was Eat, Pray, Love. And now I can review it.There are many praiseful things I can say about this book, but I'll try to keep it short. One of the sharpest things about this first installment of the Lord of the Rings trilogy is its ability to create terror and suspense without actually introducing us to the enemy, Sauron (or even Saruman, his wizard henchman, for more than a few pages at least). The evil that the fellowship fights is instead manifested through the feelings and experiences of our nine companions, and is perhaps more frightening than any graphic movie or novel. Tolkien takes this story beyond a simple good vs. evil tale most explicitly in this first book - we see evil that is older and markedly different than that of Sauron (barrow wights, for instance) and meet characters that don't fall sway to the power of the Ring (Tom Bombadil). We're given the perspective that, while this battle for Middle Earth is fundamentally important, that no matter what, the world will go on.And while we are introduced to a world so totally different from our own, we feel the parallels and lessons offered by Tolkien acutely. His ability to balance familiarity and epic so effortlessly will always blow me away.

Henna Chumber

Wow... J.R.R. Tolkien has invented a whole new world. It's excellent, the imagination and thought that has been put into it to tie it all together! I can't wait to read the two towers! No one else could have written these books in the same imaginative way! The only down side is that the vocabulary is a bit complex, however, as you go on through the book, it gets easier and more understandable! Fantastic read! I would definitely recommend it!This review has been critically analysed ;)

Chris

Do you have an old, worn piece of clothing? Perhaps that sweat shirt that you can’t wear anywhere except to bed or walking your dog? Perhaps it is an old blanket, a pair of shoes, maybe it’s a stuff animal. Regardless of what it is, every time you touch it or smell it, you feel peace, warmth, or perhaps, even home.Know what I’m talking about? Good, that’s how The Lord of the Rings feels to me. I don’t how many times I’ve read the trilogy itself, let alone each book. I do know that I had to buy another edition after I wore out my first. (Technically, if you count my borrowing my mother’s copies when I was kid, I’ve had three editions). To me the whole story is like that worn out piece of clothing.The Lord of the Rings starts with this book The Fellowship of the Ring. Even today, after I must have read the series at least twenty times, I opened the book, and I’m there. I’m in Middle Earth with Frodo and crew.This is strange because I know, on an intellectual level, that LOTR is not a perfect book or series. In fact, all the flaws are on heavy display in this first part. It’s true, that the story does meander. That the pacing at times is slow. It is also true that Terry Pratchett is correct when he says if you believe the LOTR is the best written book ever, you haven’t read enough (I’m paraphrasing that).And yet, it is one of three works I return to year after year.Because it is the THE LORD OF THE RINGS!At the very least, if you like fantasy literature, you should attempt to read this. Regardless of how one feels about Tolkien’s style, he is highly influential in fantasy literature. Some writers, such as Brooks and McKiernan, have “ripped off” the series. Other writers, such as Tad Williams and Marion Zimmer Bradley, have written in reaction to him.But influence doesn’t explain entirely the attraction of this work. And this is supposed to be a review of The Fellowship of the Ring, so I best start (and finish at this point) with it.The Fellowship sets the stage and is told in two parts. The first part of the book deals with the flight of Frodo and his friends to Rivendell. The second tells the story of the Nine Walkers as they set out to destroy the one Ring, a device of evil, a power that corrupts. The destruction of the Ring will stop the Dark Lord (No, not Voldemort. This is where Rowling got the idea), and save the land of Middle EarthThe heart of the story, the bulk of this book, is the friendship and courage of the Hobbits. It is the Hobbits that in many ways allow the reader access to the story. There is a very simple reason why.Hobbits are normal. True, they are normal in a big hairy feet kind of a way, but they are far closer to those of us in the real world then elves, dwarfs, wizards, or even, the men that inhabit Middle Earth.It is from Tolkien that most fantasy derives its treatment of elves. In The Fellowship the reader is introduced to a great many elves (most of who seem to have names starting with the later G). The reader is told a great many things about elves, like the fact that they can run on top of snow and have good eyesight, as well as living forever. Dwarves too have they strangeness, being long lived and short. Even the men, such as Strider and Boromir are different. Boromir is far closer to your everyday human than Strider, who lives long and has a rather interesting family tree. But even Boromir isn’t quite real.The Hobbits, despite their age and hairy feet, are. Frodo, Merry, Pippin, and Samwise are all templates of people the reader might know. I watched Errol Flynn’s Robin Hood at an extremely young age. Therefore, any being that uses a bow is the most awesome creature ever. I like elves. I could marry Legolas, even in his Orlando Bloom incarnation. Yet, I identify more with the Hobbits because they are not warriors. Because, outside of Frodo, they go on the quest for friendship. Not for glory or because the quest is the right thing to do, but because the quest is the right thing to do because of their friendship with Frodo. That is something wonderful. Too often in modern novels the quest is undertaken for an encompassing reason, a save the earth reason. And this is true of everyone who takes it up (outside of the odd twit who goes to get the guy to notice her), but Sam, Merry, and Pippin do it out of loyalty. A friend is in trouble and they want to help. It is this desire, this trait that makes people human. It is one of our most basic instincts, and it is not a bad one.The Hobbits are also attractive because they are little people in a big world and who doesn’t feel like that sometimes? Unlike The Hobbit, the superior tone of the narrator is not present. The Hobbits could quite easily be overwhelmed by what they encounter, but they are not. They plug away and keep going. There is something human about that. Not a Cunclucian against the waves type of feel, but a life feeling that one does get from the other characters. They are the everyday people in the quest. The everyday solider in the war.It is also important to remember that The Fellowship is in the tradition of a saga. While The Hobbit seems to be designed to be read aloud, LOTR seems to beg to be told over a fire with a tankard of ale in hand. The style resembles that of the Old Norse sagas and tales that Tolkien draws upon. There is no large of amount of hand wringing, or deep discussions of feelings. It is a quest, and it reads like one. While it is not necessary to have read these old sagas before starting The Fellowship, it does help, at least for older readers, to keep in mind this influence. Like the Old Norse legends, Tolkien seems to be dealing with the concept of Raganork. While the quest is one to save Middle Earth, it is also a quest with a coast. As the reader reads the book, sentences appear about how so and so will never be in X again. There is the leave taking of the elves. The idea seems not only to be the coming of the Age of Men, but also the presentation of a quieter, gentler end of the world. In some ways, The Fellowship prepares the reader for death in all its raiment’s.Despite this fading, the world seems real. Not only do the Hobbits, Strider, and Gimli believe in their world, but so does Tolkien, and he paints it so that the reader sees it as well. It is true that the beginning of The Fellowship is little more than a description of Hobbits, but after this, Tolkien world builds and does it extremely well. There are references that the characters know, but the reader doesn’t. Yet, this is done in such a way that the reader doesn’t feel stupid or left out. It is done as it would occur in reality. There is much to be said for this level of description. It’s more than Tolkien’s world building. In parts of the book there are wonderful sentences that convey want, loss, truth, and love – all in one sentence. Not only that, but in a sentence that works wonderfully well, that doesn’t bang itself over the head of the reader.It’s also true that in this book, there are not many women. In fact, there are two. And one of them doesn’t say anything. But the one who does. Galadriel rocks! And she has more than one of those wonderful sentences.The overwhelming theme of The Fellowship is, in fact, Fellowship. At the heart of this book is a wonderful portrait of friendship and sacrifice that moves the reader. It is a rebuke against the idea of a man or a people as an island.Amended 12/7/12 - Butterburr is the best barkeep!

Nikki

I've been meaning to reread Lord of the Rings for a while -- partly due to Diana Wynne Jones and Ursula Le Guin, partly due to my own studies, and partly because I want to read it, Jacqueline Carey's retelling, and Kirill Yeskov's book side by side to see the different ways the three of them build their worlds and their knowledge (or lack thereof) of mythologies. And then I had the wild idea, curled up in bed with The Fellowship of the Ring and the remnants of my flu, to try reading the whole book (i.e. what is erroneously called the trilogy) in twenty-four hours.Spoiler: I managed it, even with an awful lot of unintentional sleeping.I don't know that I got any revelations out of doing this, except that I really do enjoy Tolkien's writing. It is true, though, that every time I read Tolkien I get something new/different/extra out of it. I enjoyed every scrap of this, forcing myself to be patient even with the bits that seem like Tolkien was indulging himself -- I know people often skip the Tom Bombadil part, for example, but it really is important to the world and mythology he's building.In the case of The Fellowship of the Ring, I found it the slowest of the three volumes, this time, and actually I do believe it's the longest. Still, it's wonderful to watch the way Tolkien shifts tone: The Hobbit and this work smoothly together if put side-by-side in chronological order, but can you imagine the narration and voice of The Hobbit coming after Lord of the Rings? What a hideous mismatch that'd be. I'm interested to see what The Hobbit film does with this, though I suspect it won't be executed with Tolkien's care -- I'm sure the tone will match, but I don't think film can go about it in nearly the same way.Still have a massive fictional character crush on Aragorn, surpassed only by my crushes on Faramir and Eowyn...

Linda

(Update: Want to read the complete review? Visit the article in Counterpunch!)I'll admit this: the only reason why I read the LOTR Trilogy was because I was jealous. The year: 1972. It was a time of ridiculously insane fashion: hot pants, maxi-coats (and pads) and rough-woven cotton shirts, so scratchy they felt like the sartorial equivalent of surgical gauze with chunks of wood stuck between the weave. It was not for the faint-hearted.And of course, who was the most faint-hearted? Me. I was entering a new high school in a new town in a country I hadn't live in since I was eight. And since I didn't fit in (or so I thought) I was desperate for a new identity. Since my sister had squatter's rights on the cute/adorable/PYT persona, I was left with the one that I later discovered would make high school life a living hell: The Smart One.The only problem was, I wasn't that smart. Sure, I could work in references to Betty Friedan with only the vaguest notion about who she was, but when you're surrounded with a peer group who thinks the face of feminism is Marlo Thomas, it was easy, except for the one person who was the true intellectual: Colleen. Colleen represented everything I wasn't: a polite, wise-beyond-her-years semi-adolescent with perfect skin and hair, who sported a near genius-level intellect. Think of an Asian Susan Dey with actual musical talent and the potential to enter Berkeley at fifteen. And it didn't help to have a mother whose daily mantra was "why can't you be like Colleen?"So I was in love/hate over Colleen. If Colleen wore culottes, I wore culottes, only mine were eight sizes larger. If Colleen cut her bangs, so did I. The problem was, she had straight Japanese hair that tumbled dutifully back into place whenever she tossed her sylph-like neck. Me? Picture the hair of a young, chubby and half-Japanese Phyllis Diller but without the wigline.But the one thing that stood out most about Colleen was her and her equally intellectually superior friends' obsession with LOTR. She told me stories of their endless discussions of Middle Earth, Gandolf and the rest of the lot. Images of Colleen and her friends, looking semi-elvish, slipping from class to class, dodging dull students, dogged me in English class. They were ninth-grade gods. It wasn't until Colleen told me they left an inside joke about their instructor on the blackboard in *Elvish* in one of their gifted classes that I decided to take action: I got on my bike, went to the local K-Mart and bought the Trilogy. I started out strong: the hobbits I was comfortable with. Then came the Elves. Then the dwarfs, the Orcs, the whatevers. After the parade of names like Bombadil, Elendil, Everclear, I had the horrible realization that I was hopelessly lost. And it wasn't going to be easy to find my way back.But I was undeterred. I sloughed my way through Fellowship, then Two Towers and Return. I played little tricks to keep me interested: pretending I was one of the plucky hobbits, fantasizing myself as an Elven goddess--anything to keep me reading. It must have worked because I finished the damned set. But my plan didn't work. I was still me: I couldn't muster witticisms about Boromir to clueless classmates. I was still plump and my hair was as unruly as ever. Worse, my mother not only kept comparing me to Colleen, she started pulling out photos to illustrate her point. I shoved the books on the top shelf and tried not to think about being a Smart Kid ever again.But it was too late. I knew enough to be dangerous. I realized that even if I didn't like the books, I was familiar enough to make knowing comments about them to the right (i.e., AP-bound) clique. So I was accepted. Kinda.I still have the books. They're still sitting on my bookshelf, surviving countless moves and weedings. Still can't remember who Arwen is, though.

Joyzi

How can I not give this 5 stars? How can I not? It was really amazing and this book really defines what epic fantasy is! It was just great, the world (Middle earth), the characters (especially the hobbits) and the story itself. I have been a fan of the movie since I was in High School and I didn't even watch the Fellowship of the Rings first because I started with The Two Towers movie and then Return of the King and then The Fellowship (I sometimes watch movies this way). And even if a lot of my friends back then are hardcore Harry Potter movie fans (and I am also a hardcore HP fan) I always answer when ask what my favorite movie is, it's always Lord of the Rings (still it's my favorite movie I think). So, my love for Lord of the Rings was already there when I started reading this one. I didn't have the chance to read it before because the copy in our school library was really thick and heavy. I also can't find an e-book copy online but thanks to one of my friend here in goodreads I've got the chance to finally read it. I must say if you're really into fantasy you've got to read this. This has been the greatest fantasy book ever written and it has inspired J. K. Rowling, George Martin and a lot of authors and it is also the inspiration to a lot of computer games like Warcraft. So yeah read it if you have the time.The book was a little bit boring at first but once the characters were on Rivendell the pace will pick up. I also find the book better than the movie because I think Aragorn is more interesting in the book than in the movie. The story about the origin of the ring and the other rings are much clearly told. And a lot of the other parts that are missed out in the movie you can read in the book. My only complaint about the book is that it has a lot of song lyrics like I think for every chapter the hobbits or the elves will sing and it was just blah and then I skimmed reading those parts :). But, overall it's a great read can be a little bit purple prosey but it's tolerable and uhmm I just can't wait to read the next one.

midnightfaerie

Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien was so much more enchanting then I remember. It just goes to show how much our tastes can change along with how we view the world can alter as we get older. I really didn't like any of these books when I was a kid, but it was fantastic. I couldn't wait to finish it so I could watch the movie again, which I hadn't seen in years. I was impressed by how closely the movie followed this book, beside the leaving out of Tom Bombadil. The elves and Galadriel are still my favorite characters, there's just something about the way they hold themselves and how they perceive the world that's captivating. Not to mention their awesome magical abilities. I'm so glad I decided to read these again. Not only am I viewing them in an entirely different light, but I never knew/remembered how much poetry/prose/lyrics/whatever you want to call it is in this book! I'm so saddened when I hear that people skip over that stuff just so they can get to the "good" parts, never realizing much of it is, in fact, the "good stuff". It tells the history of the land, it helps us understand the characters and their motives better, and it's just really beautiful. It really adds to the story for me. I absolutely love it. The book wouldn't be half as good without it. Reading these books again also allows me to better understand fantasy book reviews, since a good 90% of them are compared to Lord of the Rings. Tokien has yet to fail at bringing me under his spell. With every battle, with every song, and with every scenery description, his loquaciousness pulls me in. I also challenge anyone to find a reason this can't be a classic. Besides the massive following, it is without a doubt, the cornerstone of its genre. Like I mentioned earlier, very few fantasy novels aren't compared to this trilogy at one time or another. It has the magic factor, longevity, and underlying themes. It has an original concept - the first story like this of it's kind. And it's had substantial influence in its genre for decades. It can't not be considered a classic. ClassicsDefined.com

Helen

A VERY IMPORTANT NOTE: I have the greatest respect for J R.R. Tolkien. He is a legend to all authors – Adult, YA, Middle Grade or otherwise. He stepped out of the box and filled blank pages with true imagination. The imagination and devoted research, and sheer, obsessive attention to detail put into this book, he has made Middle-Earth a world as complex and enormous as our own. Just saying.So, this might be the toughest review I have written up-to-date. So, I’d better start at the very beginning, when I first read the first part in the Lord of the Rings.I started this series in the hope to be influenced like so many other readers. To be taken away on the fantastical world of Middle-Earth. I honestly wanted to love it. What happened after the first 4 chapters? I fell asleep. Never had I been so board that I’ve actually fallen asleep. Then I skipped the last 200 or-so pages.THE END.That was my first try at LOTR: The Fellowship of the Ring. I didn’t rate it nor review it. I berried it deep from my memory and I never spoke about it ever again. But, later in my life, my life will once again intertwine with LOTR…My sister, for a thoughtful gift, gave me the whole trilogy, thinking that I’ve never read it and that I’m “missing out.” I wasn’t going to read it, but some of my friends encouraged me by saying stuff like, “it will be better” or “you might like it this time” or “if you get board; think about Orlando and Viggo.” (The last subjection actually helped a lot.)So now, here I am, after reading it once again, trying to say my feelings in the nicest way possible. • First off, I need to get this of my chest. Frodo; fall into Mount Doom you stupid Marie-Sue. There. I said it. And it felt GOOD.• Sam; you still rock.• It was so heavy and slow that it hurt me. • Don’t take this the wrong way, I love description. It is a beautiful thing in writing, to see threw the authors eyes and see, smell, hear, touch his/her world. But to go down as to describe every leaf, stick and pebble as to give me headaches? • The characters (except Sam) didn’t feel real. They didn’t jump off the page. Yes, we learn about their past but none of them have an individual voice. They all sounded like the same person. Despite all these defaults, I loved the world of Middle-Earth. It’s colour, it’s history, is very entertaining and beautifully crafted.(By the way, I love the new movie-covers. They are simply divine.)

adam

Read the review by Doc Opp; I think he covers it quite nicely. He explains how Tolkien was the forefather of fantasy writing, and why that makes his books important. He also shares his opinion that the historical importance sort of causes people to overlook that Tolkien couldn't write worth beans.Opp posits that perhaps it has something to do with the concept of heroism being different in Tolkien's days than it is now. I'm not sure I agree with that. I mean I agree that his characters are a study in perserverance without being able to really fight or do anything but perservere, I just don't know that I buy that it's a sign of the times. I think Tolkien was just boring.I don't disagree, also, that the Shannara series is essentially the same storyline with a better writer at the helm.My venom towards Tolkien is greater than Opp's perhaps because we read for different reasons. I have very little patience with writers who have great ideas or imaginations when it comes to the physical world, but can't get inside the head of a person to save their lives and thus can't tell a story. This sort of writer is often found in sci-fi/fantasy, because the genre is geared to reward the most innovative and plausible inventing of a future or past timescape.If guys like Opp were always doing the commentating I might not hate Tolkien with such a passion, but unfortunately the world is filled with people who don't read sci-fi but who recalled their lit teacher spoke Tolkien's name once and probably said something about how he was the father of modern fantasy, and those people went on to shout Tolkien's name from the rooftops to the extent that a movie even got made out of it. Now the movie I could actually stomach (a little) because Hollywood realized they couldn't completely bore the pants off of people and still make money. But I digress.I cannot conceive of any reason one would read these novels unless they were forced e.g. for a class. And even then, it'd better be a history class and not a writing class, unless the objective was to teach how not to write. There's no pace, no character development, the focus shifts between groups of characters ala Robert Jordan without any of Jordan's redeeming qualities (although Jordan certainly has faults as well).The most compelling reason to read these novels is so that you can rip someone a new one when they bring up Tolkien by making a point by point case where you describe all the things he does wrong.Let me put it this way, I have read some of the most God-awful books in my time. I mean when I was younger I would read a phone book if it was handy. But I could not finish the Fellowship of the Rings.Comparing Tolkien to Asimov is just...I mean that's like comparing me to Asimov. I have an imagination and so does Asimov, comparison ended. Asimov came up with a plausible future that was interesting, and then he wrote characters within that adventure that were compelling. Caves of Steel is brilliant because whatshisface the detective is sort of an everyman and Asimov deals with things such as embarrassment because your Dad's job doesn't rate you high enough to eat at the right hydroponics diner. I'm mangling things, but you get the point. Asimov may have been the best ever at having really cool ideas and not wasting them by forgetting to write about people.I hate Tolkien, I blame him for his vacuous and enraging fan base, I blame him for every author that followed him that spent 5 hours describing a blade of grass, I hate him for taking a genre that I like and making me want to vomit on it, even if he was the first. It makes me want to burn my entire fantasy bookshelf down to the ground.That's my review.

Jessica

I first read this book after stumbling upon my father's copy. I hadn't enjoyed it (at the time, Tolkien seemed a little too long-winded for my taste); however, when five years later I requested the full set of Harry Potter novels (whatever had been out at the time), my Mother bypassed Rowling and bought my a full set of Tolkien instead... and I have been in love ever since.I once read a quote about J.R.R. Tolkien, which asked increduously: "How did one man, in the course of a single lifetime, become the literary equivalent of a people?" I very much took that to heart: the extensive research, love for archaic word-forms and languages, the spell-weaving of this master novelist are without equal. Yes, the book can be difficult, obtuse and thick at the beginning, but I prefer to think of it as a mining project: you must first get throught the hard layers before you can find a single diamond. And I assure you, there are masses of diamonds in this trilogy.

Bryce

I consider the Lord of the Rings trilogy the best fantasy, and perhaps the best fiction, ever written. Middle Earth is a beautiful, rich, complete land to which Narnia pales by comparison (don't get me wrong, I very much like Narnia, too).The beginning of the quest, which starts innocently but dives into a much larger, darker world than its protagonist, Frodo Baggins, could have ever imagined, is absolutely spellbinding. A small portion of the near-infinite background is revealed and armed with a shallow knowledge of the lore of the One Ring, Frodo embarks on a mission deeper and more dangerous and impactful than he could ever possibly have fathomed.The depth and beauty of Tolkien's work stems from his obsession with language and how world events impact its evolution. To create this book and its wealth, Tolkien developed 14 complete languages, all of which can be learned and spoken, written, and read. He created the lore and legend that each population clung to for their heritage. The relationships, distrusts, friendships, and animosities between the races stem from ancient and powerful roots. The detail of the world before the series lends it a believability that is virtually unparalleled even in many nonfiction works.I've read this series 4 or 5 times, which is something I have not done with any other work, aside from formative Christian religious texts. No one book is complete without the other two, so I consider them all to be the same book, divided into several parts--so as to allow for the faint of heart to enter Middle Earth in safer, smaller pieces.

Fred D

What can I say about The Lord of the Rings? I could go on and on forever. It is my #1 favorite book of fiction of all that I've ever read in my entire life. I am going to review each book separately, but much of what I have to say here applies to all 3 of the books. LOTR is so incredibly EPIC! The scope of the story expands as it progresses to enormous proportions. Tolkien uses a very sophisticated "old" style of writing which at first I found intimidating but eventually I got used to and which now I find very beautiful and poetic. His descriptions of the people, places, cultures, languages, history, and events of Middle Earth are just so incredibly rich and detailed, it is fascinating to me to learn about them as I read. I find the characters to be very interesting, to the point where I have grown to deeply love them and sympathize with them. LOTR addresses all sorts of universal themes and concepts that teach us his view of the human condition. It explores friendship, loyalty, bravery, greed, faith, and many more. Indeed, I consider LOTR to be the closest thing I've ever read to my concept of the "ultimate" or "ideal story". I have read LOTR multiple times and I imagine I'll read it many more times. I first read it in college for an English class. I had wanted to read it for years prior to that but I was intimidated by it so I didn't until college.I admit LOTR has its flaws. There are spots where the story drags, such as the many pages where he describes the characters marching endless miles through forests or swamps or mountains without much happening. Sometimes I wonder, "why is he talking about this? Why doesn't he just jump ahead to the good stuff?". One can argue that he introduces too many characters and that some of them are not developed enough. Some would say some of the characters are too 2-dimentional, and that everything is too black and white from a moral standpoint. I admit those shortcomings, but in the end none of them matter much to me. In spite of all those imperfections, the book is still a work of genius that is unmatched by anything else I've ever read. The story is so big and powerful it just blows me away and leaves me in awe.Fellowship is perhaps my second-favorite of the 3 books, after Return of the King. I absolutely love the first few chapters. You learn so much about the history of the Ring and of Middle-Earth. The Ring is shrouded in mystery at first and as the mysteries are revealed, the terrible state things are in is realized. A really cool ominous feeling of foreboding sets in that grabs you and pulls you in so that you have to keep reading. The meeting with Strider in Bree, the encounter with the Ringwraiths at Weathertop, the Council of Elrond, and the encounter with the Balrog in Moria are some of the most dramatic, exciting events of the whole series. The only complaints I have with Fellowship is that it suffers the most of all 3 books from what I described earlier: there are definitely a few slow parts where the pace of the story really drags. Fellowship is one of the ultimate Road Trip Stories, much like Star Wars: a New Hope, or Wizard of Oz. One or two characters start out on a journey, and they meet people along the way who join them. Along the way they become close devoted friends as they go through adventures together.

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