Fred D's Reviews > The Fellowship of the Ring

The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien
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's review
Dec 20, 2007

it was amazing
bookshelves: fantasy
Recommended for: Anybody
Read in January, 1991

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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