Jason Koivu's Reviews > The Fellowship of the Ring

The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien
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Oct 04, 13

bookshelves: favorites, fiction, fantasy
Read in January, 1983

Give me a few friends,
a stretch of pleasant hills and an ominous wood.
Let us romp in the remnants of innocence,
free of the fear pumping through the veins of the greater world.
Give me the first half dozen chapters of The Fellowship of the Ring and I will gladly make a little heaven on earth out of it.


After finishing The Hobbit as a young boy, I needed something else, something a little more mature to meet my growing needs. Lucky for me, Tolkien had done just that in the form of his epic The Lord of the Rings. Fellowship..., the first book in the trilogy, is my favorite of the three. I fell in love with the four little friends striking out on their own, having adventures and misadventures that, within the context of the beginning of this first book, haven't yet taken on the worldly importance they will later on. They skip along having a merry old time, stumbling into relatively minor troubles, all the while clueless that they possess the world's most powerful evil magic. I love that innocence. It reminds me of past days when my friends and I would grab stick-swords and hike through the woods, slashing at the trees that had become our goblin and ogre enemies. I could relate to the sense of foreboding Frodo and friends felt when finding themselves lost in a cold, eerie hallow with a creeping mist swirling about them. I knew exactly what it was like to run afoul of a truculent farmer and his vicious dogs. I could relate entirely to the first half of the first book, before the lords and wizards entered and it all became alien. Enjoyable as the journey to Mordor was, nothing could compare, no, nothing could even come close to touching my heart the way those first few chapters did.


Appendixy type reviews of Fellowship…-related items:

Peter Jackson's film version: I waited sooooo long for this. It was like waiting for the Red Sox to finally win the World Series. And when it finally happened, boy was it sweet! Back in the mid-to-late 90s I was working in Hollywood and so I would get the lowdown on what movies were in production and even pre-production. It must have been about '96 or '97 when I heard there was an interest in making a film version of The Lord of the Rings. I promptly went SQUEEEEE!!! and wet myself. Then I heard Jackson was the one who'd potentially be directing it. My glee was tempered. I'd seen and much admired his haunting Heavenly Creatures, but I also new him as more of a Heavy Metal Magazine, comic gore, sci-fi kinda guy, and I feared such a person getting their sticky mitts all over my precious. But anyway, so now recall that this was '97ish and that the first installment didn't come out until 2001. That is a loooong time to wait for something you want in the worst way. I'd grown up watching Ralph Bakshi's partially finished version and longed for a completed one. And now it was coming, but it was being delivered by an unreliable messenger. Tingling with mixed nerves, I sat in the theater waiting for Fellowship to begin, my heart still somber after 9/11. I wanted to feel good again. I really wanted this to be good. Cate Blanchett's androgynously husky voice rumbled through the darkness…."ooooh, this is going to be good" muttered my soul. And it was. From start to finish, I love this movie. Certainly it has its faults. I felt like Jackson, with all the money and technology at his disposal, still managed to make a scene or two here and there look like it was shot on a VHS camcorder. I'll never be completely happy with the casting. Some of the scenes that were cut from the book were my favorite (the Old Forest deletion is a crying shame) and that's unfortunate, but expected. All in all, my complaints are far outweighed by the laurels I could lay upon this…considering the grand scope, let's call it, this achievement.


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Quotes Jason Liked

J.R.R. Tolkien
“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.”
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring


Comments (showing 1-19 of 19) (19 new)

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message 1: by A.J. (new)

A.J. Maguire Honestly, I hated The Hobbit (Bilbo irritated me) but I loved the Lord of the Rings. Cause ... yeah ... I think it might have been an age thing.


Jason Koivu A.J. wrote: "Honestly, I hated The Hobbit (Bilbo irritated me) but I loved the Lord of the Rings. Cause ... yeah ... I think it might have been an age thing."

The Hobbit is intentionally more of a kids book. Even so, I agree, Bilbo was a bit of a puss. But I must admit Tolkien did a good job of creating a set-in-his-ways middle-aged country gent who wasn't looking for excitement: the ol' reluctant hero character. I appreciated Bilbo more the older I got. But at the time that I read Lotr in my early teens I was ready for a Frodo type character and more mature story.


message 3: by A.J. (new)

A.J. Maguire Oh, absolutely. I might try The Hobbit again one day, just to see if my opinion changes, but honestly ... I've got too many books I'm supposed to read first. (My To-be-read list on this site does not reflect the 4 boxes of books my friend gave me last summer.)


Jason Koivu Or just watch the movie when it comes out this December! :)


message 5: by A.J. (new)

A.J. Maguire Pffft. I'll probably watch the movie with my kiddo, but I'll still read the book again.


Jason Koivu A.J. wrote: "Pffft. I'll probably watch the movie with my kiddo, but I'll still read the book again."

Should I take it by your "Pffft" that you don't have high hopes for this movie? I thought Jackson did an admirable job in keeping with the books for the LOTR movies, and I watched them with a HIGHLY critical eye. Sure there were problems, but they turned out fairly good I thought.


message 7: by A.J. (new)

A.J. Maguire Oh, no. I'm sure the movie will be great. The "pfft" is because there's just no substitute for actually reading the book. :)


Jason Koivu A.J. wrote: "Oh, no. I'm sure the movie will be great. The "pfft" is because there's just no substitute for actually reading the book. :)"

Very true.


Mary JL AJ and Jason: I will echo your "Very True" that there is NO substitute for reading a book.

A good movie adaption can add to your enjoyment , but the books almost always has MORE.

And a bad movie....no, I can't go on. I HATE when some moviemaker takes a story I loves and ruins it! Then people don't read the book--they say, " I saw the movie"!

BOOKS FOREVER!!


Jason Koivu Mary JL wrote: "AJ and Jason: I will echo your "Very True" that there is NO substitute for reading a book.

A good movie adaption can add to your enjoyment , but the books almost always has MORE.

And a bad movie..."


Yes, books forever!!!


Casnewydd Hydra Who amongst us is lucky enough to have a a Samwise Gamgee in our lives?


Duffy Pratt No matter what, the publicity from being made into a movie increases the readership of a book. So even a bad movie is going to make new readers. Almost always, reading a book is better, but there are exceptions: The Godfather and Jaws are two notable exceptions. Schindler's List is a third.

There's a sophistication to the outcome in the Hobbit which is probably beyond the understanding of most kids who read it. I know that I didn't really get it when I was little. I haven't seen the movie yet, and I'm a little disturbed that Jackson has saw fit to turn it into three movies. As much as I like Middle Earth, I have my doubts about keeping up the pacing for what's probably going to end up being close to nine hours.


Jason Koivu Duffy wrote: "No matter what, the publicity from being made into a movie increases the readership of a book. So even a bad movie is going to make new readers. Almost always, reading a book is better, but there..."

I saw Jackson's first Hobbit movie. He's filling out the extra time by adding scenes not in the book. In some cases the additions are good, in others they are not.


William LOTR is still my favorite book (all three parts), but I do agree with your take on how part one, Fellowship, has so much to do with innocence and adventure.


Arah-Lynda Hands down the best review of The Fellowship of the Ring that I have read. Woot! Thank you for that.


Jason Koivu Arah-Lynda wrote: "Hands down the best review of The Fellowship of the Ring that I have read. Woot! Thank you for that."

Aw, you! Thanks! *blush*


message 17: by Jim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jim For many of your reasons, I like Fellowship the best. My life is not "bucolic" but IS mostly peaceful. I don't watch TV news, only listen to news on NPR, read the Economist, and turn the channel when confronted with misfortune-on-the-news.

The troubles involved with the Arab Spring and the more chronic Post-Colonial ones in Africa are distant enough to remain abstract, so my life is serene like Bilbo's before the dwarves came to town and like Frodo's before the Wraiths.

One "liberty" I can forgive Jackson for: Was it Merry (or Pippen?) who said, as they trooped over the pass, something like:

"Let's stop and eat".

Aragorn said, "we've HAD Breakfast":

"What about Second Breakfast? Elevenses? Lucheon? Afternoon Tea? Dinner? Supper?"

"I don't think he knows about 2nd Breakfast, Pip"

(I guess it was Pippen after all)

Wikipedia cites the Prologue, The Fellowship of the Ring:

"And laugh they did, and eat, and drink, often and heartily, being fond of simple jests at all times, and of six meals a day (when they could get them)."

What's an extra meal among friends?


message 18: by Joe (new) - rated it 5 stars

Joe Great review. I've read Fellowship four times, Towers twice and Return once and Hobbit once. Apparently I agree.

I thought the LOTR movies were very excellent. The only problem I had was the understandable omission of my favorite character, Tom Bombadil. I thought Jackson's 3 hour King Kong was horrible. I really liked The Hobbit but, like King Kong, it could have benefited a lot from a trim off the prolonged and irrelevant action/chase scenes where nothing happens.


Jason Koivu Joe wrote: "Great review. I've read Fellowship four times, Towers twice and Return once and Hobbit once. Apparently I agree.

I thought the LOTR movies were very excellent. The only problem I had was the un..."


I really regret the loss of the lead up to the Bombadil scenes. I love the Old Forest stuff, the encounter with the wights, etc. Their journey from The Shire to Bree alone would've made a great little movie.


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