I could not wait to delve into the Lord of the Rings trilogy, especially once I learnt that it was one of my good friend Yamini’s favourites. I have been wanting to begin the series ever since I read the delightful The Hobbit a couple of years ago. The only thing which has held me back from doing so is that the books were my late grandmother’s most treasured works of fiction, and I was worried that I might not enjoy them as much as she would like me to. Fear not – The Fellowship of the Ring is a firm favourite of mine, and I cannot wait to carry on with the rest of the series.
The premise of The Fellowship of the Ring is perhaps best exemplified with the use of the introductory poem to the volume:
“Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky,
Seven for the Dwarf-Lords in their halls of stone,
Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die,
One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne
In 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 them
In the Land of Mordor where the shadows lie.”
The ring – a magical object which makes the wear disappear – in question is in hobbit Bilbo Baggins’ possession. After Bilbo himself vanishes in fright, it passes to Frodo; he is tasked with keeping it away from the Enemy, who would receive ‘strength and knowledge’ from it: ‘And the world being after all full of strange creatures beyond count, these little people seemed of very little importance. But in the days of Bilbo, and of Frodo, his heir, they suddenly became, by no wish of their own, both important and renowned, and troubled the counsels of the Wise and the Great’.
The Fellowship of the Ring begins in an incredibly engaging manner, and Tolkien lures in his readers from the first. An imagined history, at once rich and mysterious, has been created for the mystical lands and the creatures which populate them: ‘The beginning of Hobbits,’ Tolkien tells us, ‘lies far back in the Elder Days that are now lost and forgotten’. The novel is also geographically strong from the first, and lavish illustrated maps of Mordor and beyond have been included.
I personally loved the initial description of the hobbits, those present-loving, party-going creatures: ‘They dressed in bright colours, being notably fond of yellow and green; but they seldom wore shoes, since their feet had tough leathery soles and were clad in a thick curling hair, much like the hair of their heads, which was commonly brown… [They were] as a rule good-natured rather than beautiful, broad, bright-eyed, red-cheeked, with mouths apt to laughter, and to eating and drinking… [They] liked to have booked filled with things that they already knew, set out fair and square with no contradictions’.
The Fellowship of the Ring – and I believe I will be able to say the same of its sequels – exudes brilliance. Tolkien is a fabulous writer with a wicked sense of humour. One can clearly see those elements of Tolkien’s world which were inspired by Norse mythology, something which he was fascinated by. The novel has many elements in common with The Hobbit, and I adored the parallels which he drew between the two. He recaptured the distinctive race of creatures and their homeland without sounding at all repetitive, which is a mean feat in a book of this length. If you have not read the Lord of the Rings trilogy before, I cannot recommend it enough.