Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

The Lord of the Rings #1-3

The Lord of the Rings

Rate this book
The 50th anniversary one-volume edition of J.R.R. Tolkien's epic 
"An extraordinary work -- pure excitement." -- New York Times Book Review

One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them

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 by chance into the hands of the hobbit Bilbo Baggins.

From Sauron's fastness in the Dark Tower of Mordor, his power spread far and wide. Sauron gathered all the Great Rings, but always he searched for the One Ring that would complete his dominion.

When Bilbo reached his eleventy-first birthday he disappeared, bequeathing to his young cousin Frodo the Ruling Ring and a perilous quest: to journey across Middle-earth, deep into the shadow of the Dark Lord, and destroy the Ring by casting it into the Cracks of Doom.

The Lord of the Rings tells of the great quest undertaken by Frodo and the Fellowship of the Ring: Gandalf the Wizard; the hobbits Merry, Pippin, and Sam; Gimli the Dwarf; Legolas the Elf; Boromir of Gondor; and a tall, mysterious stranger called Strider.

1178 pages, Paperback

First published October 20, 1955

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

J.R.R. Tolkien

516 books68.9k followers
John Ronald Reuel Tolkien: writer, artist, scholar, linguist. Known to millions around the world as the author of The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien spent most of his life teaching at the University of Oxford where he was a distinguished academic in the fields of Old and Middle English and Old Norse. His creativity, confined to his spare time, found its outlet in fantasy works, stories for children, poetry, illustration and invented languages and alphabets.

Tolkien’s most popular works, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings are set in Middle-earth, an imagined world with strangely familiar settings inhabited by ancient and extraordinary peoples. Through this secondary world Tolkien writes perceptively of universal human concerns – love and loss, courage and betrayal, humility and pride – giving his books a wide and enduring appeal.

Tolkien was an accomplished amateur artist who painted for pleasure and relaxation. He excelled at landscapes and often drew inspiration from his own stories. He illustrated many scenes from The Silmarillion, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, sometimes drawing or painting as he was writing in order to visualize the imagined scene more clearly.

Tolkien was a professor at the Universities of Leeds and Oxford for almost forty years, teaching Old and Middle English, as well as Old Norse and Gothic. His illuminating lectures on works such as the Old English epic poem, Beowulf, illustrate his deep knowledge of ancient languages and at the same time provide new insights into peoples and legends from a remote past.

Tolkien was born in Bloemfontein, South Africa, in 1892 to English parents. He came to England aged three and was brought up in and around Birmingham. He graduated from the University of Oxford in 1915 and saw active service in France during the First World War before being invalided home. After the war he pursued an academic career teaching Old and Middle English. Alongside his professional work, he invented his own languages and began to create what he called a mythology for England; it was this ‘legendarium’ that he would work on throughout his life. But his literary work did not start and end with Middle-earth, he also wrote poetry, children’s stories and fairy tales for adults. He died in 1973 and is buried in Oxford where he spent most of his adult life.

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
438,885 (66%)
4 stars
147,232 (22%)
3 stars
50,240 (7%)
2 stars
12,849 (1%)
1 star
6,761 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 14,127 reviews
Profile Image for Brad.
Author 2 books1,712 followers
July 29, 2010
Twenty-five years ago I'd have given The Lord of the Rings my highest possible praise. I came to Tolkien's masterpiece on my own, and that meant much to me at twelve. The only books that had been reached by me alone were books on mythology and horror. Everything else I read, from DH Lawrence to Hemingway to Dickens to Shakespeare (and this also included Dracula and Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde because they were "true" classics), was suggested and sanctioned by my mother (for which I will always owe her deeply).

But The Lord of the Rings was mine and mine alone.

It is easy to forget that The Lord of the Rings was not a pop culture phenomenon in the seventies and early eighties. It was a fringe book (at least in North America), something that was not yet considered a part of the canon, something that was not a name on every boy's lips (even if they were just getting to know D&D) let alone every child's lips. Sure it was respected and loved by those who knew it, but knowing it was not a foregone conclusion as it is today, and its audience was almost completely genre oriented. In my little community (my school and the blocks surrounding my home), I was the first kid to read it.

And that first reading was a revelation. Sure I'd read The Hobbit, but that didn't prepare me for the breadth and depth of The Lord of the Rings. Middle Earth in its grandest incarnation.

To create a fantasy world is one thing, but to breathe life into ages of that world, to keep all the pieces together with such magnificent detail and rigour, to create character after believable character and make us care about most of them, even poor Smeagol/Gollum, that is a literary labour of Hercules. And by pulling it off, Tolkien created the single most important manifestation of Fantasy that has ever and will ever be written. The Lord of the Rings has rightly been named a classic. It is part of the canon, and it deserves its place. It is entertaining, it is weighty, and it is loved by nearly all.

Aye...and there's the rub.

Its indisputable greatness has made it indisputable.

It has become dogma among fanboys and fangirls that the bastions of The Lord of the Rings are unassailable. Criticize Tolkien's work -- academically or otherwise -- and you put yourself in almost as much danger as a chatty atheist trying to engage in a theological discussion in a coliseum full of Jehovah's Witnesses (how many of those folks will make it into the afterlife? Isn't there a limit?).

Feminist critics point out the lack of women in The Lord of the Rings, and that those women who are present fulfill only the narrowest stereotypes. Éowyn's strength is dependent upon adopting male gender qualities, a typical stereotype of "powerful women in fantasy," and she is alone amongst the Rohirrim as a woman who can and will fight. All other women in her culture are present as a reason to fight rather than as integral parts of the struggle. Arwen's place (in the books, at least) as a maiden waiting for the hand of her king takes the "reason to fight" to even greater heights. And the only powerful female, Galadriel as the terrible, beautiful elven Queen, is too far removed from mortality and reality to be anything more than a mid-tale deus ex machina, thereby removing her from the realm of women and men and making her a pseudo-god whose power is allowed only because it is arcane and mysterious.

Post-Colonial critics have latched onto the racism inherent in The Lord of the Rings, pointing out the hierarchies between the races: from the "superiority" of the elves, to the "chosen" role of "European" Men of the West under the leadership of Aragorn, to the lesser races of Dwarves and Hobbits (the former are "lesser" because they are "too greedy" and the latter are "lesser" because they are children). Post-Colonialists look to the "orientalization" of Sauron's forces and the configuration of evil as an inherent quality of Orcs and "the dark folk." They point out Tolkien's family's history as a cog in the mechanism of English Imperialism, and his own birth in one of the most blatantly racist colonies of all, South Africa (while he did leave at three years old, his family's presence there at all suggests that some of the classic colonial opinions about the colonized "dark races" helped form the man who wrote these books), as possible reasons for this racism.

These criticisms further suggest, at least to me, that the archetypal source of all fantasy's entrenched racism -- even those books being written today -- is The Lord of the Rings. Those fantasy authors who have followed Tolkien consistently and inescapably embrace his configuration of the races (yes, even those like R.A. Salvatore who try and fail to derail this configuration) and the concepts of good and evil that go along with them, which leads to the stagnation and diminishment of their genre.

The fact is that these flaws do exist in The Lord of the Rings. They are present. They are easy to find. But few of Tolkien's rabid fans want to hear about them.

And even when the criticism is not necessarily suggesting a flaw in Tolkien's work but merely the presence of some subtext, the dogmatists react with rage and condemnation. A fine example of this is when Queer and Gender theorists point to the overwhelming relationships between men, and how the relationship between Frodo and Sam is homosocial, at least, and possibly even homosexual. The only true intimacy in the book occurs between the men, after all, and to ignore that fact is to ignore one of key components of why The Lord of the Rings is so emotionally satisfying, especially to young men.

Even faced with these ideas supported by convincing arguments, however, many fans either strive for ignorance or attack the messenger. This may have much to do with the worry -- unreasonable though it is -- that to admit that a flaw or something uncomfortable exists in any of these books, which so many people love so deeply, is to accept that The Lord of the Rings is neither great nor worthy of love.

But this is not the case.

I love The Lord of the Rings even though I subscribe completely to the post-colonial criticism, and see the merits in both the feminine and queer criticisms, not to mention the countless other criticisms and subtexts that are floating around.

The books are racist; they are sexist. They are not perfect. And I must criticize the elements of The Lord of the Rings that make me uncomfortable and deserve no praise. But my complaints and the complaints of critics make Tolkien's achievement no less great.

Tolkien created the most magnificent imaginary world ever conceived, and, for good or ill, Fantasy would be nothing today were it not for him. The Lord of the Rings is a triumph on countless levels, but it is not the word of God, nor should it be elevated to such heights.

I love The Lord of the Rings, but I love it with reservations. I love it because of its place in my personal mythology, its genuine originality, its creativity, its power, but I love it with my mind open to its flaws, and I refuse to make excuses for Tolkien or his work.

Twenty-five years ago I'd have given The Lord of the Rings my highest possible praise. Not today. But I am still willing to admit my love.
Profile Image for mark monday.
1,677 reviews5,258 followers
January 9, 2013
not a review and there probably won't be one any time soon. i also won't be climbing Mount Everest in the near future. but here are some cool illustrations that i found and want to share.











World of the Ring by Jian Guo
Profile Image for Manny.
Author 30 books14k followers
April 2, 2009
Considering that The Lord of the Rings is one of the most popular books of the last century, it's surprising to see how few reviews there are here. I get the impression that many people feel guilty about liking it. It's a phase you go through, and the less said about it, the better. I think this is unfair to the book, which, I am prepared to argue, is a whole lot better than it's generally made out to be; I don't think its huge success is just evidence that people have no taste. It's something that can be read at more than one level, and, before dismissing it, let's take a look at what those levels might be.

On the surface, it's a heroic fantasy novel, and quite a good one. It's a gripping, well-realized story, with an interesting fantasy world as background. Under the surface story, it's also clear that there's a moral discourse. It's not an allegory; as Tolkien points out in the foreword, he hated allegory, and we certainly don't have an in-your-face piece of Christian apology by numbers. None the less, the author has constructed some inspiring and thought-provoking symbols. The Ring confers great power, but the only way to defeat Sauron is to refuse that power, and destroy it, even at great personal cost. Frodo's self-sacrifice is quite moving. I also think that Gandalf is an unusually interesting Christ-figure; sufficiently so that many people refuse even to accept him as one, though, at least to me, the argument on that point seems convincing. He comes from Valinor, obviously the Heavenly Realm, to help the Free Peoples of the West. A central part of his message is the importance of mercy, as, in particular, shown by the memorable scene near the beginning, when he rebukes Frodo for wishing that Bilbo had killed Sméagol when he had the opportunity. As we discover, Sméagol is finally the one person who can destroy the Ring. And let's not miss the obvious point that Gandalf is killed, and then returns reborn in a new shape. I find him vastly more sympathetic than C.S. Lewis's bland Aslan, and he is the book's most memorable character.

But I don't think the morality play is the real kernel either. What makes LOTR a unique book, and one of the most ambitious experiments in literary history, is Tolkien's use of names. All authors knows how important names are, and use them to suggest character; though when you think about what is going on, it is rather surprising how much can be conveyed just by a name. Proust has a couple of long discussions about this, describing in great detail how the narrator's initial mental pictures of Balbec, Venice and the Guermantes family come just from the sounds of their names. Tolkien goes much further. Most of his names are based on a family of invented languages, linked by a vast complex of legends and histories, the greater part of which are invisible to the reader and only surface occasionally.

The astonishing thing is that the technique actually works. The interrelations between all the invented names and languages make Middle-Earth feel real, in a way no other fantasy world ever has. When some readers complain that characters and locations are hastily sketched, I feel they are missing the point. Tolkien was a philologist. He loved languages, words and names, and tracing back what the relationships between them say about their history. In LOTR, he's able to convey some of that love of language to his readers. You have to read the book more than once, but after a while it all comes together. To give just a few obvious examples, you see how "hobbit" is a debased form of the word holbytla ("hole-dweller") in the Old Norse-like language of Rohan, how the "mor" in "Moria" is the same as the one in "Mordor" and "morgul", and how Arwen Undómiel's name expresses her unearthly beauty partly through the element it shares with her ancestor Lúthien Tinúviel. There are literally hundred more things like this, most of which one perceives on a partly unconscious level. The adolescent readers who are typically captivated by LOTR are at a stage of their linguistic development when they are very sensitive to nuances of language, and programmed to pick them up; I can't help thinking that they are intuitively seeing things that more sophisticated readers may miss.

Perhaps the simplest way to demonstrate the magnitude of Tolkien's achievement is the fact that it's proven impossible to copy it; none of the other fantasy novels I've seen have come anywhere close. Tolkein's names lend reality to his world, because he put so much energy into the linguistic back-story, and before that worked for decades as a philologist. Basically, he was an extremely talented person who spent his whole life training to write The Lord of the Rings. In principle, I suppose other authors could have done the same thing. In practice, you have to be a very unusual person to want to live that kind of life.

Writing this down reminds me of one of the Sufi stories in The Pleasantries of the Incredible Mullah Nasrudin. The guy is invited to a posh house, and sees this incredibly beautiful, smooth lawn. It's like a billiard table. "I love your lawn!" he says. "What's the secret?"

"Oh," his host says, "It's easy. Just seed, water, mow and roll regularly, and anyone can do it!"

"Ah yes!" says the visitor, "And about how long before it looks like that?"

"Hm, I don't know," says the host. "Maybe... 800 years?"
Profile Image for Mario the lone bookwolf.
805 reviews3,850 followers
November 19, 2022
The total ringasm united

All reviews of the whole series combined for your convenience and to help me lazy procrastinator create another review copy and paste style

The fellowship of the ring

Founding a genre like a boss

Stealing everything possible from mythology and the, maybe sometimes a tiny bit boring, old, classics.
The beloved tradition of using others' ideas to create something new is big here, especially because Tolkien had the perfect background to milk everything from wherever he could find inspirations, from ancient to medieval and, at the time, modern works. It would especially be interesting to read or reread LotR with a focus on how he let the classics mutate to new forms, transformed oldfashioned tropes to fit for a modern audience, and especially made it a compelling, well written, and suspenseful pageturner. Don´t be angry, good old classics, it´s not your fault, your poor creators just had no creative writing courses available or were hunted by the inquisition, or it were total monopolies to that their works were the only ones available, and thereby never cared about royalties, book signing tours, or target audiences.

Black, white, and the most important grey
The pure, camouflages fascistic, evil, is of course as noir as possible, but especially the sexy seductiveness of the mind penetrating psi magic of the distilled badassery, is one of the main driving engines of the groundbreaking epic journey, because good old almightiness totally corrupts. It´s just normal that everyone is struggling with the whispering of the dark side with all its attractive options and the real life implications of this are, well, terrible, frustrating, and daunting. Throw money at close to everyone and she/he will get corrupted, especially if the alternative is to get eaten by orcs while the family is raped by Uruk hais and Balrogs.

Establishing cliffhangery ends of single parts
One just can´t stop, this damn, evil tendency of the genre to stop at the most suspenseful part and let the reader hanging to wait for felt eternities. As if Sauron wasn´t bad enough, this vicious cycle continues with each new, far too multi k page series and eats away the lives of poor, innocent humans, not to speak of their tormented souls that can´t find peace over these nauseating periods of despair and regret to have been relapsing. Again! I´m not sure if Tolkien should be praised or damned for having laid the foundations for things like Sandersons´, Jordans´, Eriksons´, etc. amazingly exhausting and immersive monster series. I´m ashamed to admit it, but I have the whole, good old second hand paperback, Wheel of time series ‚(and the new ones) lying around and I am afraid to restart reading the whole thing (not just the first few parts like a few years ago), because I fear that it could trigger reading and rereading other series and finally Wheel of time again until 2027 or something, not just having lost contact to reality (not much difference to the present reality https://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=...
), but, much more problematic, to all other genres for half a decade or something. Thanks for that, J.R.R!

Being attacked by the bigoted academic society of the time
That´s just ridiculous, Tolkien had to hide and vindicate his amazing work, because it wasn´t highbrow enough for his snobbish, elitist, and old, boring, so called quality literature prone, colleagues and a bigoted, conservative society that wasn´t ready for something new. Better stay with theater texts as books or whatever can be used for patriotic „our writer“ idiocy. Just bad luck that there aren´t enough good, if any, old writers for each country to fuel feelings of literary supremacy. However, it´s one more of these examples of how parochial even seemingly well educated and sophisticated people can be as soon as it comes to close to their cognitive dissonances and socioeconomic status hierarchy overkill.

Putting in meta, connotations, and social criticism
Tolkien was heavily influenced and inspired by war, and the atrocities humans so much love to do to each other until nasty nukes eliminated the option of more WW action, and put the real life implications everywhere in his work. Not just in the form of the big, bad government cooperating with war industry, propaganda machines, and black magic, but with

Corrupted blood
The banality of evil, the attractiveness of the dark side is, as mentioned in „Black, white, and…“ above, is one of the driving forces of the saga and without Tolkiens´experiences, it might have stayed much more superficial and have never reached that deep level of human soul and psyche vivisection. The same with love, without his lifelong, deep bound to this adored wife, he wasn´t allowed to see until reaching full age, the importance of emotions maybe wouldn´t have unfolded and played such an essential role in the work. Expanding this whole, philosophical, psychological somewhat assumptions to his profession as a philologist and, for the standards of the time, mad professor, would go a bit too far, but let´s just say that his expertise might have helped him create both Silmarillion and Lord of the Rings.

Is it outdated?
Very objective thing, even if not including the sociocultural, immense literary impact, Tolkien invested a bit more than the usual fantasy writer in her/his third or fourth series with a new one each new year. Just take the mentioned Silmarillion, the immense details of the world, all the links to the cultural heritage, and the sheer scale and size, and, on top of that, close to everyone agrees that it´s a timeless, genre founding, ingenious masterpiece that will stand the test of not just time, but eternity. Sure, it´s not as accessible as the average, new, overhyped world bestseller, but that´s the same as with Lem, Lovecraft, etc., authors just were used to write in that wacky, overcomplicated, intricate, and difficult to digest language, because they were no narcissistic, lazy, self aggrandizing, god complexed hedonists. I won´t excuse for that, I´m one myself and have N word privileges.

Comparing and contrasting fantasy with other genres
Horror, Sci-Fi, or crime had no similar big bangs (fringe theory, by the way, to provoke and insult even more additional people than with just the human degeneration gag above lol) but different founders, prodigies, and subgenres, while fantasy was, stayed, and will be very genre compliant, not to say a bit inflexible in contrast to other genres with much vaster differences, especially sci fi, my bread and peanut butter. So one could say that close to every, no matter if grimdark, YA, high, epic, romantic, etc. fantasy, is always quite the same with some variations of magic systems, the balance of focus on protagonists or antagonists, tone, and the rare establishment of the one or other sub sub genre.

The endless evolution
Close to all human mythology, faith, myths, etc. is fantasy and I see one of its biggest potentials in a fusion to science fantasy, because it opens up all options including any horror or psychothriller crime plot. Without Tolkien, this amazing development couldn´t have taken place
so soon and it would have probably needed much longer to establish the (I´m a sci-fi head, sorry) second best genre to subjugate and enslave them all.

The two towers

Bromancing to Mordor while Middle Earth falls to pieces

Split personality overkill
Golluming through life is a hard task, especially if it´s that freaking long. Too many different psychological, sociological, etc implications to name them all, but poor Smeagols' quest towards looking freaking emo zombie style could easily be seen as the decision between happiness and sadness, the seductive potential of power, or simply the easygoing simplicity of evil. It could also be seen as the perverting energy of power, with the good old saying that total perversion totally corrupts, that good people get nasty as soon as they get money, influence, or a fancy invisible mindpenetrating bling bling, that would also be a fantastic bluetooth fingerset to always stay in touch with your evil overlord.

Planning and preparation is everything
After everything has been established in the first part, the whole scenery can lift off, get far darker and hopeless, introduce new friends, foes, and people not sure which to choose, and in general create the outline for the genre itself. I assume that the mysticism, nerdgasms, and glorification around Tolkiens´ work and its immense impact make it (subjectively for me too, not even mentioning the nostalgic touch) one of the most fertile cornerstones of the maybe biggest popular fictional genre.

new brand of evil with a touch of übersoldier breeding program
Another milestone, leads to even more suspense and includes the always and forever important rule of warfare of pimping ones´ killer machines to let them Chuck the heck out of every enemy. At least until automatization and robotization of warfare sets in and lets each soft bloodbag fall into pieces miles away from the unbeatable killer machines. Except the fantasy fractions have magic and mind controlling psi-powers. However, this dynamic leads to an even more suspenseful and action loaded plot than just one evil fraction united in darkening the world forever.

A full picture of the world.
Now the reader can enjoy so many different settings, cultures, traditions, and even a bit of political power balance, that it feels kind of relaxing to switch to Sam and Frodo from time to time for some good, old fight for survival without complicated following the big picture actions.
It may be appropriate to read the Silmarillion too to get even more out of this. It´s as difficult to read as the classics that inspired Tolkien and that were adapted by him, but directly linked to the backstory and history of the actions, so maybe the better and not as dry alternative. Still just something for the really hardcore fangirl/boy enthusiasts out there.

No banality of evil
Nearly all antagonists have no grey areas, no moral dilemmas, no option to change towards the better, and that may be one of the biggest differences in contrast to modern fantasy, where these eclectic evildoers often have backstory, tragedy, depth, etc. explaining what made them the creatures they are. Not giving excuses for what they do, but making them feel more human/inhuman if they´re fantasy creatures (bad wordplay), and their actions comprehensible and not just evil. In the good old times, it was clear which was the team to promote, but meanwhile, it has become a tricky, ethical dilemma with far too many implications, innuendos, and stuff.

Preparing for the endfight
As in many great series, everything is interconnected and the whole thing accelerates towards a great cliffhanger, letting one ask what might both meta and personally happen to all those freaking fascinating fantasy fighters. Classy “ buy the next part to know how it will go on“ dynamic, something that has stolen estimated hundreds of millions of days of lifetime of poor, addicted, fantasy readers.
Must read the Wheel of time series….
Thanks for that, JRR!

Establishing fantasy supertropes
Na matter if it are the fractions, superhuman elves, monster orcs, grumpy dwarfs, wise wizards, brave halflings, etc, the heroes journey, the switching between fast and slow pace, the cuts between meta fights, battles and the preparation of these and the personal, emotional scenes and the big, epic scenes including all characters, Tolkien defined the genre in a way maybe nobody else may ever have the influence to do. He not just inspired so many great fantasy authors, but indirectly helped creating so many sub-genres that are more and more expanding to subsubs, and I can remember hearing rumors about something like a subsubsub somewhere in the regions of dark science fantasy, but I don´t really trust the alien succubus who whispered it in my ear and assume that it was just a cheap trick to get me laid where she wanted me to go for a quest. But not again, honey!

The Return of the King

I´ll just wear the ring one more, last, short time, and then really go to rehab

Letting the established storylines collide in an epic culmination
That´s what most fantasy, no matter if high, science, or dark, series keep doing, no matter if it are 3, 5, or 10 parts. Tolkien accelerates the story engine towards an end that has already been prepared and enabled in the first 2 parts of the series, letting it feel like one, big piece. Another genre milestone that escalates to ridiculous lengths and perfection in many fantasy series and makes them so addictive.

The big longtime impact is uncomparable to other genres
Of course, sci fi and horror have their prodigies and milestones too, but they can go and splitter in many different subgenres, focus on psychological elements with characterization, or just epic battle and splatter, but fantasy is extremely genre standard focused regarding what to deliver and hasn´t that much room for experiments, kind of traditional in what it should deliver. And Tolkien set the standards for it, showed how to do it, and helped to inspire the production of dozens of great series, hundreds of average ones, and an innumerable amount of fanfiction. Of course, his inspiration came from the millennia of storytelling that formed the works he took for his reinterpretations, so any aspiring fantasy author could see her/himself as an ancestor of a tradition to not just pass the stories themselves. But the much more important part, the ability to tell them, to use tropes and creative writing to hypnotize readers and eat away their lifetime with multi k behemoths of fantasy series.

Bromance gets tragic
The, some may say a bit too intense gaytrix style, Frodo Sam relationships gets tragic, because as so often with substance abuse, both body and soul get ruined by it and the ones who suffer are family and friends. One could go one more meta step and say that it´s not just addiction, but ideological contamination too, that extremism and faith poison the minds of normally friendly people who carry their toxicity home and make living together hell. Because, all in all, it´s

Fascism crushed by united, different fractions that understand that they´re just powerful together as one population of Middle earth, no matter how small and hairy or angular eared they may be.
Another heavy one, the ending can be seen in many different ways, from just a megalomaniac battle overkill to the deeper meanings of the journeys that make the victory of the good ones possible. Or that everyday people don´t understand the power they could have if they would work together against a dictatorship, economic inequality, and grievances. Or that the evil is still lurking in everyone and that it takes a permanent struggle to keep the peace by controlling the inner demons. Endless interpretations until eternity beyond the straight road to Aman.

Tropes show how literature is conceptualized and created and which mixture of elements makes works and genres unique:
Profile Image for Sean Barrs .
1,119 reviews44.8k followers
April 1, 2018
Writing a review of this masterpiece is impossible. I can’t do it.

There’s too much to talk about and I love it far too much to articulate my thoughts in a normal way. So instead I’ve picked one element of each book that I liked the most (taken from my list of ten on each review) and added them here. It’s the best I can do, though I know many goodreads users share my difficulty when reviewing this book.

Anyway, here’s my top three:

1.Finding your courage- The Fellowship of the Ring

Not all the party have been fully tested. With them travel four young hobbits, the most unlikely of companions for such a journey. They are the overlooked, the forgotten about, the race that is casually discarded and considered insignificant in the wider world. And perhaps this has been the downfall of society in middle earth previously. The forces of darkness exploit everything they can get their hands on, from giant spiders to rampaging trolls, from dragons to orcs, from men of the east to the undead, Sauron tries to wield it all. This is something the forces of good have not fully considered until recently. Within the bosom of the hobbit beats a strong heart of fortitude and resilience.

“My dear Frodo!’ exclaimed Gandalf. ‘Hobbits really are amazing creatures, as I have said before. You can learn all that there is to know about their ways in a month, and yet after a hundred years they can still surprise you at a pinch.”

They carry with them the key to destroying the dark. Bilbo showed them how he could resist the ring. The hobbits are an almost incorruptible race, and because of this they are Sauron’s doom. It is something he has overlooked.

“It would be the death of you to come with me, Sam," said Frodo, "and I could not have borne that."

"Not as certain as being left behind," said Sam.

"But I am going to Mordor."

"I know that well enough, Mr. Frodo. Of course you are. And I'm coming with you.”


2. Gandalf the White - The Two Towers

“Do I not say truly, Gandalf,' said Aragorn at last, 'that you could go whithersoever you wished quicker than I? And this I also say: you are our captain and our banner. The Dark Lord has Nine. But we have One, mightier than they: the White Rider. He has passed through the fire and the abyss, and they shall fear him. We will go where he leads.

Gandalf the Grey was charming and quirky; he was everybody’s friend and advisor. But he was also a great wonderer and a great quester. He was an unearther of dark secrets and mysteries. And Middle-Earth no longer needs such a figure, darkness is now on her doorstep; it is no longer hidden. So Middle-Earth needs a man (or Istari) with far sight that can unite the scattered forces of Rohan and manipulate events in order to ensure that the King does, indeed, return. It needs a methodical man of great wisdom and intelligence; it needs a stagiest: it needs a new white wizard now that Saruman has changed his colours. And he has come.


3.Girl Power!-The Return of the King

“What do you fear, lady?" [Aragorn] asked.
"A cage," [Éowyn] said. "To stay behind bars, until use and old age accept them, and all chance of doing great deeds is gone beyond recall or desire.”

There have not been many moments for women to show their strength in this story. Arwen’s moment in the films was non-existent in the book. Frodo was saved on the river by an Elf-lord called Glorfindel. So when Eowen battled the Witch King, it is the first major moment Tolkien gave to a female hero. In a vastly male dominated genre, it was great to read this scene. If I have one criticism of Tolkien, it’s that we didn’t see more of such things.


And here's a gif I like:

Profile Image for Lisa of Troy.
432 reviews4,234 followers
May 21, 2023
This is the story of Frodo who goes on an impossible quest to destroy a very powerful and magical ring. Along the way, Frodo travels with various characters, and they find themselves constantly in peril.

This book was very challenging for a variety of reasons. It has a completely different world with completely new beings (hobbits, etc.) while the book flows as if you know all about these creatures. Additionally, it was so different from reality that it was difficult to visualize. This was one of the rare instances where I feel that the movie was better than the book. The quest is extremely long, and it kept reiterating the fact that they are taking on a quest that might not be successful. Although it served as a good reminder to really challenge oneself, it was very repetitive, and my patience was wearing thin in a 1,000+ page book. It also was extremely slow going in places (more than 100 pages just to leave to go on the adventure). Personally, I felt that it was such a chore to read this book, and it derailed my entire reading plan for 2020. The Hobbit was much shorter and straight to the point.

That being said, Tolkien created entire worlds. That creativity has laid the foundation for so many other authors and stories. This book has inspired people to dream dreams. It just didn't inspire me. However, I feel that I would be remiss if I didn't note that the impact this book has had in the world and on arts/literature even in the present year. I could reread a page or two, but I would not want to read this book again.

The ending....after 1,000+ pages, it seemed very abrupt. And I was left thinking, "Um why didn't they just do that in the beginning to destroy the ring?!"

Connect With Me!
Blog Twitter BookTube Facebook Insta
Profile Image for Fergus, Quondam Happy Face.
1,029 reviews17.7k followers
September 22, 2023
When my parents wanted to wash their hands of me and thereafter treat me with a distanced forbearance - as I sweated it out in a nearby hospital and resisted my coming of age - it seemed the whole world had ganged up on me, though of course it hadn't.

Freaky behaviour must bear its downside.

The Daemon of Self-Pity, though, had begun to DEVOUR me, spitting out tiny bone fragments at the everyday world. Self-inflation precipitates deflation, but - bipolar as I had suddenly become - I dumbly balked at any correction.

I requested that Dad bring me my cigarettes - I had become hooked in that grim place, for I had tried ‘em just to have company in the desperate smoke haze of their common rooms - and asked him to visit me each night. He complied, as I was close to his office, and regularly, too, God bless him.

But with the drugs I received I didn’t know if I was punched, bored or reamed. It was unspeakable horror.

The worst part is that the shrinks started taking any and all diversions away from me, along with my books. Dreams were verboten.

This was one of ‘em: the Bantam Paperbacks three-volume set, a common sight in the sixties, after word of it got out. Tolkien mania was at its zenith, but I had barely cracked open the first one.

But of COURSE I read ‘em all, immediately upon release from Lord Sauron's ward from hell - but through a dense cover of numbing neuroleptic thunderclouds.

But they said it ALL. All three of these books. By throwing the Ring into Mount Doom, we give up the Siege against Reason (our diseased and Irrational Self-Justification).

Alas, we're not much to write home about.

So can Frodo LIVE again?


He now has a New Life in Faith!

He's now free at least from his self-inflicted psychiatric armlock over the Ring of Power with the Gollum in that mountainside cave. His "precious" was not worth the bother in retrospect.

Power only corrupts.

Though he wondered at first how the Lord scraped his remains from Mount Doom's volcanic express lane to hell - and though his shocked brain neurons now misfire erratically - he started to sing:

I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain -
I’ve seen sunny days I thought would never end; but

There were lonely times when I could not find a friend.

No one gets that Hell is real.

Frodo does...

And I do.

And, because of that -

I've finally relinquished the Ring.

I’m healed.

And glad of it... My life is now Brand New.

For without standing up to my own self-pitying hurt, my heart was hollow.

But, now, if I throw my heart into the fire, it will be returned to me a hundredfold.

Crowned with abundant Life.
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,564 reviews47 followers
August 23, 2021
(Book 494 From 1001 Books) - The Lord of The Rings (The Lord of the Rings #1-3), J.R.R. (John Ronald Reuel) Tolkien

The Lord of the Rings is an epic high fantasy novel written by English author and scholar J. R. R. Tolkien.

The story began as a sequel to Tolkien's 1937 fantasy novel The Hobbit, but eventually developed into a much larger work.

Written in stages between 1937 and 1949, The Lord of the Rings is one of the best-selling novels ever written, with over 150 million copies sold.

The title of the novel refers to the story's main antagonist, the Dark Lord Sauron, who had in an earlier age created the One Ring to rule the other Rings of Power as the ultimate weapon in his campaign to conquer and rule all of Middle-earth. (Nineteen of these rings were made. These were grouped into three rings for the Elves, seven rings for the Dwarves, and nine rings for men. One additional ring, the One Ring, was forged by Sauron himself at Mount Doom.).

From quiet beginnings in the Shire, a hobbit land not unlike the English countryside, the story ranges across Middle-earth, following the course of the War of the Ring through the eyes of its characters, not only the hobbits Frodo Baggins, Samwise "Sam" Gamgee, Meriadoc "Merry" Brandybuck and Peregrin "Pippin" Took, but also the hobbits' chief allies and travelling companions: the Men, Aragorn son of Arathorn, a Ranger of the North, and Boromir, a Captain of Gondor; Gimli son of Glóin, a Dwarf warrior; Legolas Greenleaf, an Elven prince; and Gandalf, a wizard. ....

عنوانهای چاپ شده در ایران: «ارباب حلقه‌ ها»؛ «فرمانروای حلقه ها»؛ «سرور حلقه ها»؛ «خداوندگار حلقه ها»؛ «سالار انگشتریها»؛ نویسنده: جی.آر.آر تالکین؛ انتشاراتیها (روزنه، نگاه، حوض نقره، فروغ آزادی) ادبیات انگلستان؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش: یکی از روزهای ماه دسامبر سال 2002میلادی

عنوان: فرماندوای حلقه ها؛ نویسنده: جی.آر.آر (جان رونالد روئر) تالکین؛ مترجم: رضا علیزاده؛ تهران، روزنه، 1381؛ سه کتاب در سه جلد؛ جلد نخست: یاران حلقه؛ جلد دوم: دو برج ؛ جلد سوم: بازگشت شاه؛ موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان انگلیسی - سده 20م

عنوان: خداوندگار حلقه ها؛ نویسنده: جی.آر.آر (جان رونالد روئر) تالکین؛ مترجم: تبسم آتشین جان؛ تهران، حوض نقره، 1381؛ سه کتاب در شش جلد؛ جلد نخست: رهروان حلقه؛

عنوان: سالار انگشتریها؛ نویسنده: جی.آر.آر (جان رونالد روئر) تالکین؛ مترجم: ماه منیر فتحی؛ تبریز، فروغ آزادی، 1381؛ سه کتاب؛ کتاب نخست دوستی انگشتری (یاران حلقه)؛ کتاب دوم دوتا برج (دو برج)؛ کتاب سوم بازگشت پادشاه؛

رمانی به سبک خیال‌پردازی حماسی؛ به قلم «جی.آر.آر تالکین»؛ نویسنده و زبان‌شناس «بریتانیا» است؛ این داستان سه گانه؛ پیگیری اثر پیشین «تالکین»، با عنوان «هابیت» هستند؛ که در همین ژانر نگاشته شده بود؛ «تالکین» کتاب را در دوازده سال؛ از سال 1937میلادی تا سال1949میلادی، که بیشتر آن در زمان جنگ جهانی دوم بوده، نگاشته اند؛ اگرچه کتاب در بین خوانشگران، به شکل یک سه‌ گانه جا افتاده است، اما در ابتدا بنا بود، این اثر جلد نخستش کتاب «سیلماریلیون» باشد، که نویسنده به دلایل اقتصادی، تصمیم به حذف آن گرفت، و کتاب «ارباب حلقه‌ ها» را در سال 1954میلادی تا سال 1955میلادی در سه جلد منتشر کرد

داستان در سرزمینی خیالی، به نام «سرزمین میانی»، که در زبان «الفی» به نام «آردا» شناخته می‌شود؛ در جریان است؛ از شخصیت‌های نام آشنای داستان، می‌توان به «آراگورن»، و «سائورون»، اشاره کرد؛ «آراگورن» پسر «آراتورن»، که از نژاد «نومه نور» است، وارث پادشاهی فراموش شده ی «الندیل»، و «ایزیلدور»، در «سرزمین میانه» است؛ «آراگورن» پس از نابود شدن «سائورون»، به عنوان پادشاه «اله سار» تاجگذاری کرد، و صلح را به ارمغان آورد؛ ارباب تاریکی یا «سائورون»، شخصیت منفی و اصلی اثر، کسی است که حلقه ی یکتای قدرت را، برای کنترل نوزده حلقه ی دیگر؛ ساخته‌ است؛ و برای همین است که «ارباب حلقه‌ ها» خوانده می‌شود؛ «سائورون» خود یکی از خدمت‌گزاران ارباب تاریکی پیشین «مورگوت (ملکور)» بوده، که از شخصیت‌های مهم کتاب دیگر «تالکین»، با عنوان «سیلماریلیون» است؛ کتاب «سیلماریون» سرآغازی بر تاریخ، و چگونگی ساخت «سرزمین میانی» است؛ سه گانه ی «ارباب حلقه‌ ها» در «ایران»؛ نخستین بار توسط جناب «رضا علیزاده» ترجمه شد، و در سال 1382هجری خورشیدی توسط انتشارات «روزنه» به چاپ رسید؛ هر سه کتاب دارای نقشه‌ هایی از «سرزمین میانه» هستند؛ همچنین در ابتدای کتاب نخست، و در پایان کتاب سوم، مترجم داده هایی در مورد داستان، و «سرزمین میانه»، و نژادهای ساکن آن، زبانشان، کتابتشان و...؛ آورده‌ اند

تاریخ نخستین خوانش 11/09/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ 31/05/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Manny.
Author 30 books14k followers
June 19, 2013

Look at thisss, hobbitses! Not bought at flea market for ten francses. Catalogue says worth seven hundred dollarses. Oh yes, Not knows about bookses, gollum. But can't touch, can't read, she says too valuable. Going to eat fish instead, but nice birthday present, oh yes precious.
Profile Image for Michael Finocchiaro.
Author 3 books5,636 followers
December 19, 2020
One of the greatest trilogies of all time and certainly the measuring stick to which all subsequent fantasy-style writing is compared, The Lord of the Rings trilogy still stands at the top of the stack. Its realism, the characters and monsters, the storyline, the epic battles, and the quest motif are all drawn with incredible care by Tolkien in his chef-d'oeuvre. My favorite was The The Two Towers but all three are stunning. This edition, despite the awful cover art, contains all three books and the original appendices from The Return of the King. The one issue I have with this one is that the map of Middle Earth that should open The Two Towers is back in the appendices and relatively hard to find. It is also a rather large book and thus unwieldy for public transport commuting.

I wanted to use this review to address a few overall themes of LOTR: symbolism, ecology, sexuality.

As for symbolism, as described in Tolkien, Tolkien's politics are not mapped onto the characters of Middle Earth in any obvious way. The symbols he uses go back before the Germanic invasions of Britain around 1000 because his goal is precisely to recreate the mythology that existed in England, Scotland and Wales before this period of instability and wanton destruction. His theory was that there were shards of that previous system of beliefs, fears, mythologies that survived in story form in the Arthurian tales, in Beowolf, in Gawain, and other Old English remnants. Most of the transmission was done orally, so when that generation disappeared after Norman invasions of the 11c (1066 - Battle of Hastings) for the most part, collective memory subsumed some of these images. Tolkien's idea was to extract these and try to revive the uber-myths that they derived from. He was a philologue, meaning that he studies in-depth the origins of the English language and chaired the Philology Department at Oxford for decades. Old English and its offspring Middle English owed their origins to various Nordic tongues (Old Norse, Old Icelandic) and eventually, the invading Norsemen brought their culture and religion and especially their languate ultimately fusing all of these into what became the Modern English that I am writing in now. In fact, Tolkien's translation of Beowolf is still a reference for scholars of Old English even today. All that to say that in reading the oldest extant myths in the "Old" languages, Tolkien got a sense that there was something important that was hidden just beneath the surface, and he spent nearly his entire life as a linguistic speleologue trying to find it - sort of a human Dorin mining Moria to find the original stories. The Elves represent the very first humanoids to arrive in England whereas the Dwarves represent the various invasions from Norway, Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Iceland before 1000. Men are those who populated the Middle Ages and Hobbits are sort of the archetype of the middle-class, landed but non-aristocratic gentry in the villages of England.

Perhaps the one place where political events in Tolkien's own life affect the narrative is in the episode at the very end of The Scouring of the Shire. Here we see History catch up with the Idyllic and somewhat isolated Shire where violence (the sad, pathetic revenge of Saruman on Bilbo and Frodo for having thwarted his plans) rages across the land, nature is destroyed, and industrialization arises. This represents the Industrial Revolution but also the coming of age for Tolkien himself in WWI and, I would argue, the bombing of Oxford during the Battle of Britain during WWII that he experienced first-hand as well. It is interesting that this is included as a coda after the main action of the epic is already concluded, as if he had this one other thing to say before sending Gandalf, Frodo and Bilbo off to Grey Haven with the Elves, thus definitively ending the pre-Modern Middle Earth (and by extension Medieval and Revolutionary Europe) and entering into the Modern/Industrial Age.

I wrote quite a lot about Tolkien's sensibility to nature in my previous LOTR reviews (see below), but I wanted to reiterate that in these books, nature itself is a character in the saga. When Tolkien talks about flowers or herbs, his descriptions are lush in detail and even anthropomorphic as it comes to trees (Ents for example). Indeed, recalling what I said above about his pining for an England before the agricultural and industrial revolutions when the great primitive forests still covered England and all of Europe, he bemoans the loss of this environment time and time again. Most poignantly, I think, with Treebeard's sad resignation at the definitive disappearance of Entmaidens which spells certain death for his species. Sam is able to bear the destruction of Hobbiton to a degree, but when he sees the Party Tree under which Bilbo gave his Farewell Speech destroyed and lying dead on the ground, something breaks inside of him.

Nature in LOTR is a living, breathing thing and critical to the success of the mission: without the Ents, the Battle of Isengard would certainly have not been such a definitive defeat for Sarumon (another reason why he attacked not only Hobbits but trees as well in his Scouring of the Shire). The loss of communication between Man and Forest is one of the reasons for the breakdown in relationships between Rohan and Gondor as well as that between Elves and Men, thus the marriages of Faramir and Eowyn and Aragorn and Arwen are so important for reforging those bonds and replanting the forests that were impacted by the war. Once communication has been reestablished and the forests resume their role in connecting communities, peace can once again attempt to thrive.

Lastly, I would point out that this sense of the importance of ecology has completely disappeared from fantasy (and its modern derivation of dystopias) literature (at least as far as I have read). The stories of Harry Potter, Hunger Games, the Grishaverse, and so on have pushed trees and nature into a Hollywood backdrop for the most part. This is rather unfortunate because that means that the generations after LOTR did not really have a solid basis of awareness about man's intimate connection to nature making it easier to deny the grim reality of climate change and ecological destruction since it is seen as superficially unrelated to their daily lives. Fortunately, the tide seems to be turning as evidenced by the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction given to Richard Ford's excellent The Overstory.

The last theme I wanted to touch on briefly was sexuality. For the most part, the world of Middle Earth is asexual. The relationships between the paired characters, say, Sam and Frodo and Legolas and Gimli, are those of deep, intimate but strictly non-sexual friendships. In the case of Sam and Frodo, I suppose that it could be argued that Sam sometimes has a man-crush on Frodo, but it is not truly reciprocated nor acted on other than their relationship involving more hugs and handholding than other friendships in the book.

As for the Elves, we have several gorgeous women Elves: Arwen and Galadriel, but both are asexual (at least until Arwen weds Aragorn) despite provoking deep reverence in Merry, it remains platonic and more of a one-sided infatuation. There is little mention of rape in LOTR even during the war, this book having originally being intended as a sequel to the child-focused The Hobbit, or There and Back Again, perhaps that plus the natural British tendency to whitewash unsightly behavior was at play.

For the most part, women play a secondary or tertiary role in LOTR. At one point, Galadriel could become a supremely powerful figure, but she renounces it in The Two Towers after looking into her Mirror and seeing the consequences. The notable exception to this is, of course, Eowyn who revendicates her status of independence from her 'cage' and who slays the King of the Nazgûl in revenge of the death of her father and both protecting Merry and saving the outcome of the battle for the good guys with her immortal: "For no man am I!" speech. That being said, she is obliged to give up her love for Aragorn and settle for Faramir, who fortunately has a good heart and seems to truly love her at first sight. What I am getting at is that Eowyn escapes her fate as a non-actor in history with her act in the battlefield, but does not escape her destiny becoming a wife to a man at the end. Perhaps in that sense, Galadriel does remain a heroic figure, if more passive than Eowyn, she retains her total independence and a modicum of power, being one of the last two Ring holders with Gandalf.

Gandalf's lack of sexuality is interesting. Perhaps folks were put off by the adage that one must never delve into the affairs of wizards because they are of short and violent humor. In any case, he is clearly not homosexual (unlike his distant cousin Dumbledore according to Rowling (https://www.nbcnews.com/think/opinion...)). He is more an archetype of the Catholic God the Father than the sex-hound Jove.

Suite et fin
Well, I hope you appreciated these thoughts about LOTR and that it will encourage you to reread this classic and be more environmentally-aware going forward. Long live Middle Earth!

Fino's Tolkien Reviews:
The Hobbit
The Fellowship of the Ring (LOTR 1)
The Two Towers (LOTR 2)
The Return of the King (LOTR 3)
Lord of the Rings 1-3 - General Comments and Observations
Raymond Edward's Tolkien biography
Profile Image for Leo ..
Author 2 books382 followers
August 3, 2020
The true source of the fantasy fiction genre. Tolkien has spawned so many fantasy writers since The Lord Of The Rings went into print. I love all the earlier ones too like Verne and Carrol and CS Lewis but The Hobbit and The Lord Of The Rings its like an institution.🐯👍

Who else, besides me, has the notion that the real hero in the Lord Of The Rings story is Sam? Sam is the typical accidental hero. He is the girl or boy next door, the ordinary folk. Sam is you and me and represents the courage we all have inside of us. He shows that when the going gets tough and the shit hits the fan it is the most unlikely of us that step up. Hero's are not always musclebound hunks. Not always the James Bond type character or the brilliant lawyer bringing justice to the deserving. Almost all of the time the hero is the one that does the things that go unnoticed, uncelebrated. There is a hero in all of us whether we know it or not.🐯👍

A Hobbit finds himself on a quest that will change his life

An adventure full, of peril and strife

An ancient evil is rising, to come forth again

Like a dark cancer, enveloping, causing suffering and pain

A gold ring will help Frodo on his way, make him invisible to all near by

But give away his location, as Sauron see's him, from most high

Like the all seeing eye of Lucifer, the eye from the skies

And Frodo is in extreme danger, as a dark army begins to rise

Strider, and Legolas, and Gimley will aid him and Samwise Gamgee

And Meriadoc Brandybuck, and Peregrin Took, and Gandalf, to complete the band of brothers, a family

Gollum, the sinister one, the gold ring an obsession

Gollum wants it back, from Fodo's possession

A tale of great adventure, fantasy of the highest esteem

Tolkien was a master, to me, that's all he has ever been. 👍🐯
Profile Image for Luffy (Oda's Version).
765 reviews757 followers
March 6, 2021
The Fellowship of the Ring begins with the Shire and winds its way through the barren lands that lie on the way to Mordor. I tried to read this part of the book once, but DNF it then. Then I picked up the trilogy bound in one volume and went through it fairly steadily.

I've read that Tolkien wasn't as original as first claimed. There is a book called The Broken Sword that has parallels with LotR. Nevertheless Tolkien take on traditional myths was unique and groundbreaking. The Eddas, the Welsh myths, and Norse myths all are the foundation for this great story.

This was a reread and was a satisfactory one because I wanted to reach my favorite parts. I looked forward to read Tom Bombadil's part again. Did it. Then the Rivendell parts, ditto. Slowly I wound my way, sometimes following Sam and Frodo, sometimes Aragorn. Gandalf appears relatively scantily towards the third book. I had a lot of fun reading LoTR, and I've not yet deleted it from my Ereader because I'm tempted to reread it soon. Five well deserved stars, indeed.
Profile Image for J.G. Keely.
546 reviews10.2k followers
July 3, 2017
Authors who inspire a movement are usually misunderstood, especially by those they have inspired, and Tolkien is no exception, but one of the biggest misconceptions about Tolkien is the idea that he is somehow an 'innovator of fantasy'. He did add a number of techniques to the repertoire of epic fantasy writers, and these have been dutifully followed by his many imitators, but for the most part, these techniques are little more than bad habits.

Many have called Tolkien by such epithets as 'The Father of Fantasy', but anyone who makes this claim simply does not know of the depth and history of the fantasy genre. For those who are familiar with the great and influential fantastical authors, from Ovid and Ariosto to Eddison and Dunsany to R.E. Howard and Fritz Leiber, it is clear that, long before Tolkien, fantasy was already a complex, well-established, and even a respected literary genre.

Eddison's work contains an invented world, a carefully-constructed (and well-researched) archaic language, a powerful and unearthly queen, and a central character who is conflicted and lost between the forces of nobility and darkness. Poul Anderson's The Broken Sword , which came out the same year as The Fellowship of the Ring, has distant, haughty elves, deep-delving dwarves, a broken sword which must be reforged, an epic war between the armies of light and darkness, another central character trapped between those extremes, and an interweaving of Christian and Pagan worldviews.

So, if these aspects are not unique to Tolkien, then what does set him apart? Though Dunsany, Eddison, and Anderson all present worlds where light and dark come into conflict, they present these conflicts with a subtle and often ironic touch, recognizing that morality is a dangerous thing to present in absolutes. Tolkien (or C.S. Lewis), on the other hand, has no problem in depicting evil as evil, good as good, and the only place they meet is in the temptation of an honest heart, as in Gollum's case--and even then, he is not like Eddison's Lord Gro or Anderson's Scafloc, characters who live under an alternative view of the world, but instead fluctuates between the highs and lows of Tolkien's dualistic morality.

It is a dangerous message to make evil an external, irrational thing, to define it as 'the unknown that opposes us', because it invites the reader to overlay their own morality upon the world, which is precisely what most modern fantasy authors tend to do, following Tolkien's example. Whether it's Goodkind's Libertarianism or John Norman's sex slave fetish, its very easy to simply create a magical allegory to make one side 'right' and the other side 'wrong', and you never have to develop a dramatic narrative that actually explores the soundness of those ideas. Make the good guys dress in bright robes or silvery maile and the bad guys in black, spiky armor, and a lot of people will never notice that all the 'good guys' are White, upper class men, while all the 'bad guys' are 'brutish foreigners', and that both sides are killing each other and trying to rule their little corner of the world.

In Tolkien's case, his moral view was a very specific evocation of the ideal of 'Merrie England', which is an attempt by certain stodgy old Tories (like Tolkien) to rewrite history so that the nobility were all good and righteous leaders, the farmers were all happy in their 'proper place' (working a simple patch of dirt), while both industrialized cultures and the 'primitives' who resided to the South and East were 'the enemy' bent on despoiling the 'natural beauty of England' (despite the fact that the isles had been flattened, deforested, and partitioned a thousand years before).

Though Tom Bombadil remains as a strangely incoherent reminder of the moral and social complexity of the fantasy tradition upon which Tolkien draws, he did his best to scrub the rest clean, spending years of his life trying to fit Catholic philosophy more wholly into his Pagan adventure realm. But then, that's often how we think of Tolkien: bent over his desk, spending long hours researching, note-taking, compiling, and playing with language. Even those who admit that Tolkien demonstrates certain racist, sexist, and classicist leanings (as, indeed, do many great authors) still praise the complexity of his 'world building'.

And any student of the great Epics, like the Norse Eddas, the Bible, or the Shahnameh can see what Tolkien is trying to achieve with his worldbuilding: those books presented grand stories, but were also about depicting a vast world of philosophy, history, myth, geography, morality and culture. They were encyclopedic texts, intended to instruct their people on everything important in life, and they are extraordinarily valuable to students of anthropology and history, because even the smallest detail can reveal something about the world which the book describes.

So, Tolkien fills his books with troop movements, dull songs, lines of lineage, and references to his own made-up history, mythology, and language. He has numerous briefly-mentioned side characters and events because organic texts like the epics, which were formed slowly, over time and compiled from many sources often contained such digressions. He creates characters who have similar names--which is normally a stupid thing to do, as an author, because it is so confusing--but he’s trying to represent a hereditary tradition of prefixes and suffixes and shared names, which many great families of history had. So Tolkien certainly had a purpose in what he did, but was it a purpose that served the story he was trying to tell?

Simply copying the form of reality is not what makes good art. Art is meaningful--it is directed. It is not just a list of details--everything within is carefully chosen by the author to make up a good story. The addition of detail is not the same as adding depth, especially since Tolkien’s world is not based on some outside system--it is whatever he says it is. It’s all arbitrary, which is why the only thing that grants a character, scene, or detail purpose is the meaning behind it. Without that meaning, then what Tolkien is doing is just a very elaborate thought exercise. Now, it’s certainly true that many people have been fascinated with studying it, but that’s equally true of many thought exercises, such as the rules and background of the Pokemon card game, or crossword puzzles.

Ostensibly, Scrabble supposedly is a game for people who love words--and yet, top Scrabble players sit an memorize lists of words whose meaning they will never learn. Likewise, many literary fandom games become little more than word searches: find this reference, connect that name to this character--but which have no meaning or purpose outside of that. The point of literary criticism is always to lead us back to human thought and ideas, to looking at how we think and express ourselves. If a detail in a work cannot lead us back to ourselves, then it is no more than an arbitrary piece of chaff.

The popularity of Tolkien’s work made it acceptable for other authors to do the same thing, to the point that whenever I hear a book lauded for the ‘depth of its world building’, I expect to find a mess of obsessive detailing, of piling on so many inconsequential facts and figures that the characters and stories get buried under the scree, as if the author secretly hopes that by spending most of the chapter describing the hero’s cuirass, we'll forget that he’s a bland archetype who only succeeds through happy coincidence and deus ex machina against an enemy with no internal structure or motivation.

When Quiller-Couch said authors should ‘murder their darlings’, this is what he meant: just because you have hobbies and opinions does not mean you should fill your novel with them. Anything which does not materially contribute to the story, characters, and artistry of a work can safely be left out. Tolkien's embarrassment of detail also produced a huge inflation in the acceptable length of fantasy books, leading to the meandering, unending series that fill bookstore shelves today.

Now, there are several notable critics who have lamented the unfortunate effect that Tolkien’s work has had on the genre, such as in Moorcock’s Epic Pooh and Mieville’s diatribe about every modern fantasy author being forced to come to terms with the old don's influence. I agree with their deconstructions, but for me, Tolkien isn’t some special author, some ‘fantasy granddad’ looming over all. He’s just a bump in the road, one author amongst many in a genre that stretches back thousands of years into our very ideas of myth and identity, and not one of the more interesting ones

His ideas weren’t unique, and while his approach may have been unusual, it was only because he spent a lifetime obsessively trying to make something artificial seem more natural, despite the fact that the point of fantasy (and fiction in general) is to explore the artificial, the human side of the equation, to look at the world through the biased lens of our eye and to represent some odd facet of the human condition. Unfortunately, Tolkien’s characters, structure, and morality are all too flat to suggest much, no matter how many faux-organic details he surrounds them with.

My Fantasy Book Suggestions
Profile Image for Markus.
476 reviews1,562 followers
January 31, 2016
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.

Three thousand years after the defeat of the Dark Lord Sauron before the slopes of Mount Doom, a magic ring falls into the care of Frodo Baggins, a young hobbit from the Shire. Aided by his gardener Samwise Gamgee and the mysterious wizard Gandalf the Grey, he takes the ring on a journey to Rivendell, a hidden refuge of the Elves. But evil stirs in the fell lands of Mordor, and black riders scour the countryside in search of their master’s most prized possession…

Thus begins the most legendary saga in the history of fantasy.

"It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to."

I’ll kick off this review by telling a little story. A story starting, as the stories often do, with 'once upon a time'...

Once upon a time, there was a little boy who have never read a fantasy book. Thinking back on it, it does seem like an awfully sorry state of affairs. He was a devoted reader already as a quite small child, but he mostly read children’s books like The Hardy Boys and other juvenile and boyish stories like them. The one day he discovered this huge brick called The Lord of the Rings, and started reading it. It would change his life forever. There were other books at the time, for instance the immensely popular Harry Potter series, which was being published back then, but none of them could ever hope to compare to what was now the little boy’s favourite book.

The little boy grew into adolescence. He read other books, few of them fantasy. He discovered a passion for history, and started reading that. He read classics and sci-fi and mysteries and even religious texts. He read books considered by some as among the best books ever. And none of them could ever hope to compare to what was still the boy’s favourite book.

Later that little boy would grow up to become a man (though he probably never will grow up completely, mind you). And he started reading fantasy again. A Song of Ice and Fire was one of the first attempts, and it quickly turned into a favourite. But compared to The Lord of the Rings? Nothing. It was followed by tons of other fantasy series, among them Narnia, The Inheritance Cycle, Shannara and so on. And he loved them all. But every once in a while, he had to go back to this huge brick to remember that there existed something even better.

"Where now the horse and the rider? Where is the horn that was blowing?
Where is the helm and the hauberk, and the bright hair flowing?
Where is the hand on the harpstring, and the red fire glowing?
Where is the spring and the harvest and the tall corn growing?
They have passed like rain on the mountain, like a wind in the meadow;
The days have gone down in the West behind the hills into shadow."

I have been struggling for years to describe The Lord of the Rings. How do you actually describe the book you both love more than any other, and also consider the best book ever written from a more or less objective point of view?

I recently dumped into the word sublime, which I’ve only heard used on a few occasions before. I knew what it meant, but not the exact definition. So I checked.

- Of high spiritual, moral, or intellectual worth.
- Not to be excelled; supreme.
- Inspiring awe; impressive.
- An ultimate example.

And that is pretty much exactly how I would describe it. Sublime it is. I realised that I would never come closer to an actual description of The Lord of the Rings. This is to me not only the main pillar on which the fantasy genre stands, but the ultimate masterpiece of literature.

I’ll use a far-fetched example to make my love for this book sound totally crazy put my love for this book in perspective: if I had to choose between reading this book once and having unlimited access to all the other books ever released, then I would choose this. No contest even.

I am so very grateful to have been given the chance to come along on the journey of the Fellowship of the Ring. To visit so many wonderful places in a land of myths and magic. To meet so many fascinating men, elves, dwarves and other legendary peoples and creatures...

Are there any negative things to mention? No. In my mind there are none at all, but I’ll say this: Tolkien’s characters are not the best I have encountered, and the storyline of this book is not perfect. That’s the closest you’ll ever come to witness me criticizing this wondrous gem, and the only things you’ll ever hear from me about it except for fanatical ravings and unsolicited praise.

I sit beside the fire and think
of people long ago
and people who will see a world
that I shall never know.

But all the while I sit and think
of times there were before,
I listen for returning feet
and voices at the door.

If perfection exists and is obtainable, then Tolkien’s worldbuilding is perfect. There is nothing in either fantasy or any other genre to match it. It certainly surpassed all the magical worlds that had come before it, and none created since that time have been able to surpass it in turn. Writers like Robert Jordan and George R.R. Martin have made their attempts, and now we’re talking about more of my all-time favourite fantasy worlds and series, but in my eyes, none of them have even come close.

I have had tons of delightful experiences while venturing into magnificent worlds of fantasy, in Westeros and Narnia and so many others. But Middle-Earth is like a fictional home. I seem to have left behind parts of my heart and soul by the waterfalls of Rivendell, the ancient trees of Fangorn forest, the plains of Rohan and the marble walls of Minas Tirith. And I do not regret that for one second.

Most of my standards for comparison also derive from this tome. I have yet to encounter a mentor character in fantasy who can compare to Gandalf, or a fictional love story that can compare to the tale of Aragorn and Arwen. I have yet to encounter a setting as detailed or writing as flawlessly eloquent as this. And those are only a few examples of aspects in which I consider The Lord of the Rings to be superior to all others.

These musings can only begin to describe how much this book means to me. It sparked my passion for reading at a young age. It made me love the fantasy genre and all that came with it. It made me start creating worlds of my own, and in the end find one in particular that I liked so much I started writing stories set in it. Why, it even made me intrigued by poetry eventually. But I have yet to read anything by any famous poet that can match Tolkien’s utterly incredible poems.

On my third and fourth and fifth reads of this book, I started looking beyond the immediately visible. And I found something more to admire: the man himself. John Ronald Reuel Tolkien went on to become my most important role model, and despite having been gone from this world for forty years, he’s been heavily influencing my personal opinions and choices for more than a decade. And not only literarily, but historically, politically and philosophically as well.

This book is definitely the one single object that’s had the most impact on me, and it’s meant a lot more to me than one should think any object could be capable of. But then again it’s not really an object after all. It is so much more. A legend trapped in words on pieces of paper. A magical gateway to the most amazing world you’ll ever see.

This is to me the apex of human creativity and imagination. The very best form of art a human mind can produce.

There have been many books that I have cherished through the years, and I expect there will be many more to come. But The Lord of the Rings will always be the one I treasure the most of them all.

It has changed me forever. As it once changed the world forever.

"I amar prestar aen, han mathon ne nen, han mathon ne chae a han noston ned 'wilith."

So that's all I have to say for now. I'm afraid this was not so much an actual review as simply a story about my experience with and passion for this book. If you've been patient enough to read to the very end, I thank you for your attention. I'll leave you with the most beautiful passage Tolkien ever wrote, and my favourite literary quote of all time...








Profile Image for Adrian.
570 reviews209 followers
March 30, 2019
Lord of the Rings

I have read LotR many times over the years, in fact it is I think the book I have read the most in this world, which i suppose makes it my favourite book, albeit closely followed by half a dozen others (shout if you want to know or take a gander at my favourites shelf).
I have always enjoyed it, understatement, but for some reason this re-read is more special than ever. I had almost forgotten how much was different from the films, and despite having read LotR once before since the films, I seem to be getting more from the book this time than ever before.

The Fellowship of The Ring 5 stars ⭐️

As part of a buddy read, I have just completed the first book of the trilogy, and have given it 5 ⭐️. As anyone who actually reads my reviews will know, I very rarely need to use spoilers as I leave other people to read the book themselves, so you will find no or few spoilers in this review. The (first) book weaves an amazing tale with incredible characters in a well constructed world. The characters and situations make you smile, laugh and even cry as the journey begins, the Fellowship is put together and at the close of this book, so cruelly broken. Having somehow forgotten the differences to the film, I thoroughly enjoyed the differences, especially Tom Bombardil and the river daughter, and surprisingly I enjoyed all the poems, some brought tears to my eyes, is it the first time I have really read them ??

February 2019 brings...

The Two Towers 5 stars ⭐️

And so here we are 20th Feb 2019 and I've finished Book 2. I must admit I had wondered if after such a gap from reading LotR and watching the films so many times if I would enjoy the book(s) as much, I think I can now 2/3rds of the way through safely say that somehow the film experience has made me love the book more (if that is possible).
Again I think the book well outshines the film although the people I see inhabiting the characters are those from the films. There are again differences which , yes, once again I prefer in the book; the way the film is split up so we follow both parts of the journey (understandably) is not as good if one is reading all of LotR as following the Aragorn/Legolas/Gimli side first and then the Frodo/Sam side second; also Various other small differences occur but I will leave you to discover.
Suffice to say the story continues apace and one falls in love with the characters even more. One is there fighting alongside them or willing them on when the going gets tough. The poems and rhymes again were a revelation to me and made the story even more enchanting, enthralling and yes again emotional. It is slightly unsettling to be sitting on one's sofa on a Wednesday afternoon, fire lit, surrounded by ones three cats, sipping from a giant mug of coffee and finding tears streaming down ones face as you attempt to read what has become of the valiant loyal Sam or how Gandalf was returned to Middle Earth as the leader of his order. Most unsettling, hmm is it age ??
And now I must again wait until next month to start book 3, such willpower ha ha.

The Return of the King 5 stars ⭐️ (just)

So here we are in March and the final book of the trilogy, and what an epic finale it is. Again different to the film, but yet again immeasurably superior.
I put "just" in my marking of 5 stars and I think it is only just a five star read. Nothing is really "wrong" with this book, it just isn't as good ad the previous 2 in my opinion. Yes the battles are more epic, the journeys are more dangerous, the stakes are even higher (the safety of the the world) and the finale in Mordor is unbelievably dramatic but for some reason, despite being truly emotional about many scenes, yes there were tears rolling down my face, I still felt it was for some reason just not quite as good.
That said it was still amazing writing, both tense and dramatic, with pure poetry scenes littered throughout the book (Faramir and Eowyn in the House of Healing) (the decision by Arwen Evenstar to accept a mortal life with Aragon) (Sam's determination to get to the top of Mount Doom) and enough cliffhangers to last a lifetime.

Overall 5 stars ⭐️

"Here ends this tale, and with the passing of Arwen Evenstar, no more is said of the days of old. "

And so for this year and maybe the next few, I come to the end of this unbelievably emotional reunion with my favourite book. I think it reaffirms my view that the films are good, but the book is another level and just truly awesome. I look forward to both discovering even more in my next read and being reduced to an emotional wreck yet again.
Profile Image for Nataliya Yaneva.
165 reviews330 followers
September 8, 2018
Bulgarian review below/Ревюто на български е по-долу
The pilgrimage of Frodo, Sam and their fellows lasted for a year, and it happened so that it took me nearly as long to see them home to the Shire. Well, people say good things happen slowly, so I don’t regret the journey one bit.

Something crosses my mind that Terry Pratchett has shared in ‘A Slip of the Keyboard‘. He was 12 or 13 when he read ‘The Lord of the Rings’ for the first time. His parents left him at some neighbors’ house to babysit their children while all the adults went visit somebody. To pass the time Terry (who as all boys wasn’t very keen on reading) got absorbed in the ‘LoTR’ and suddenly the Shire had spread out in his imagination and the edges of the shabby carpet turned in the Shire’s borders and beyond them adventures were awaiting. So, Terry Pratchett read all night long and for the whole next day too. He read the novel for 26 hours (with some small breaks, of course – the bladder of a 12-year-old is not a water-skin after all). In the years to come he continued to reread the book each year. This is how it goes, brilliant minds resonate in accord.

When I was almost finished with the novel I realized that ‘The Lord of the Rings’ is actually an allegory of the human life. There is a spirit of idyll in the Shire, days are lazy and sometimes tinted with mischievousness, and Gandalf’s visits are sheer feasts – that looks very much like childhood perhaps. Then you step outside the hobbit hole and the limits of the known and you plunge into adventures – you had been yearning so much to lose those familiar faces for a while and see if some glorious song might be sung for you too. The journey starts jolly, one repast follows another (the food in the first part is indeed quite abundant – Tolkien himself says that ‘If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world’), you sing songs, admire everything new and your eyes are as big as pancakes as you try to perceive all novelties that happen to you – I suppose that’s the period of youth. After that though you slowly realize that you carry a truly heavy burden on your shoulders, that you have responsibilities and failure means too much, it means the world. Songs are noticeably fewer, you sing once in a blue moon and it’s only to give yourself courage and to remember the past when things used to be simple, and not to enjoy yourself. And like in life there are glimpses of hope, but also precipitous collapses in pitch-dark depths, you are sometimes alone among the multitude and sometimes there is a friend to lend you a helping hand, and you put one foot in front of the other and keep going because you know that nobody is going to wage that battle for you. And you rely on the flickering hope that one day you could sigh ‘I’m finally back’.

There is some very sweet melancholy seeped through Tolkien’s world or at least I felt it that way. The verdure and meadows in the Shire, to fight for the world, but also for your tiny homeland, though it will never be the same, to do all you are capable of for what you know is good and right

Choose a dauntless pony (let his name be Bill for example) or a proud steed as Shadowfax and ride through the Middle-earth. There be wonders.

Who can say where the road goes?
Where the day flows?
Only Time


Около година продължи странстването на Фродо, Сам и техните (за)другари, така се случи, че кажи-речи толкова ми отне и на мен, за да ги изпратя обратно до Графството. Е, хубавите неща нали ставали бавно, та никак не съжалявам.

Подсещам се нещо, което Тери Пратчет споделя в A Slip of the Keyboard . Бил на 12-13, когато прочел „Властелинът на пръстените“ за пръв път. Родителите му го оставили у някакви съседи да бави децата им, докато всички възрастни отишли някъде на гости. Тери (който като всяко хлапе от мъжки пол тогава хич не бил по четенето), уж да минава времето, се захласнал във „Властелина“ и изведнъж във въображението му вече се било ширнало Хобитово, а краищата на протъркания килим в стаята били границите на Графството, отвъд които чакали приключения. Та така, Тери Пратчет чел цяла нощ, а след това и през целия следващ ден. Прочел романа за 26 часа (с малки почивки, разбира се – все пак пикочният мехур на едно 12-годишно дете не е мях). След това в продължение на години го препрочитал по веднъж годишно. Така е то, умовете на гениалните хора резонират в съзвучие.

Към края на романа осъзнах, че „Властелинът на пръстените“ е всъщност алегория на човешкия живот. В Графството витае дух на идилия, дните са изпълнени къде с леност, къде с някоя лудория, а идването на Гандалф е същински празник – нещо като детството може би. По-нататък прекрачваш прага на хòбитовата дупка и изобщо границите на познатото и се впускаш в приключения – ей, така си жадувал да се отърсиш от тези познати лица и да видиш може ли някоя и друга славна песен да се съчини и за теб. Пътуването започва бодро, още не си станал от трапезата и сядаш на нова (наистина в първата част хапването е доста на корем – ненапразно и самият Толкин твърди ‘If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world’), пееш песни, любуваш се на новите неща и очите ти са грамадни като палачинки в стремежа ти да обемеш всичкото това ново, което ти се случва – т��ва ще да е периодът на младостта. По-нататък обаче постепенно осъзнаваш, че на плещите си носиш истински тежко бреме, че имаш отговорности, че провалът вече означава твърде много, означава всичко. Песните вече са осезаемо по-малко, пееш си от дъжд на вятър и то по-скоро за кураж и за да си спомниш миналото, когато нещата бяха простички, а не за да се веселиш. И тъй както в живота има моменти на надежда, но има и стремглави пропадания в непрогледни глъбини, понякога си сам сред гмежта, а понякога има приятел, който да ти подаде ръка, и правиш крачка след крачка, и продължаваш, защото знаеш, че тази битка е твоя и няма кой да я води вместо теб. И се осланяш на мъждукащото упование, че един ден ще можеш въздъхвайки да кажеш „Е, върнах се“.

Някаква много сладка тъга е пропита в Толкиновия свят или поне аз така го усетих. Зеленината и ливадите на Графството, да се пребориш за света, но и за малкото си родно кътче, макар че никога вече няма да е същото, да направиш каквото е по силите ти за това, което знаеш, че е правилно

Изберете си едно сърцато пони (да се казва примерно Бил) или пък горд жребец като Сенкогрив и препускайте из Средната земя. Очакват ви чудеса.

Who can say where the road goes?
Where the day flows?
Only Time
Profile Image for Henk.
875 reviews
September 3, 2021
I loved returning to Middle-Earth <3
Everything is so lovingly crafted in The Lord of the Rings and has such background and history, like a perfect clockwork.
Some random observations per book below, if one has never read the books or seen the movie don't dive in.

- Interesting how the prologue is an info dump on hobbits and smoking, far from a traditional setup of a large adventure
- The last prologue says a lot about the fourth age, and sons of characters we well known from LotR

Book 1:
- How old do hobbits become normally that 33 is the threshold of adulthood?
- 22 september is Bilbo/Frodo day!
- If that’s queer, we could do with a bit more queerness in this parts 😂
- Gandalf has a blue hat?
- I don’t know half of you half as much as I should like, and I like less than half of you half as much as you deserve - #burn
- The Not In My Time speech 💕
- Sauron believed that the elves had destroyed his ring? Then he would have been dead, wouldn’t he?
- Gildor the vague, not providing an escort despite of mortal danger...
- How does Frodo’s new house have three baths?
- The moving trees of the old wood seem to foreshadow the Ents later on
- The venture into the Old Forest feels very much like the The Hobbit, or There and Back Again
- The singing in the audiobook is so weird to hear
- Tom Bombadil talking about himself in third person 😅
- Pippin being an idiot already comes back in the Prancing Pony

Book 2:
- Glory and crumpets, bless Sam his sayings
- Everything starts of good when someone gets power, and then... - Gandalf
- Just change your means - Saruman
- Gandalf fangirling about his horse
- One does not simply walk into Mordor is something missing in the book to give Boromir a bit of spice
- Elrond not pressing the departure of Pippin to the Shire 🤦🏻‍♂️
- Love Moria, very well paced, and the out-of-time depiction of Lothlorien made me fall in love with Elves
- Sam his dedication to Frodo is the emotional highlight of the book
- So much songs, like a musical (which strangely enough bombed)
- The feeling of decline is interesting compared to the modern belief in progress

Book 3:
- But when the great fall, the less must lead. Aragorn his self doubt is quite interesting.
- Aragorn’s and Eomer their banter in chapter 2 gives me “You hang up first” vibes
- I talk a lot to myself since it is easier to talk to the smartest one in the company - Gandalf being humble
- Eowyn being thirsty for Aragorn near instantly...
- The Helmsdeep battle in the movie was much more epic than in the book
- Theoden against Saruman: I will have peace with you after you’re hung from a gibbet #wow
- The treacherous are ever distrustful
- Forgive you? First tell me what you’ve done - Gandalf to Pippin

Book 4:
- Frodo his “all my choice have turned out ill” in the first chapter mirrors that sentiment of Aragorn at the start of book 3
- Faramir dissing his brother subtly
- Sam’s and Frodo’s goodbye is so emotional, as is him protecting him while sleeping
- Well the end is a cliffhanger if ever there was one

Book 5:
- Pippin being a “young” hobbit: 29? You are quite old. Wow, child of Minas Tirith, at least Pippin didn’t die at the ripe age of childbirth
- Oké the summoning of the dead in the movie is much more dramatic and well done than in the book
- The true abusive father: Denethor
- The West has failed. Well that’s a bit extreme Denethor
- Who covered for Eowyn back home in Rohan?
- Merry his sentiment “Why did I decided to go?” is very relatable
- Too late was worse than never
- Fell is J.R.R. Tolkien his favorite word, that much is sure
- The heathen kings, an interesting concept without a pope or some kind of organized religion
- Blind in your obedience- Gandalf doesn’t suffer fools or order is order defences
- Only 7.000 in the army send towards the black gate

Book 6:
- It was Frodo, he was naked 😏
- Orcs are their own worst enemies once again
- If Sam had kept stewardship of the ring everything would have ended much more smoothly
- They woke together, hand in hand - I’m serious, Sam his dedication is the single most emotional thing in this book
- Filthy shriekers, orcs have nice nick-names for Nazgul
- You are beautiful - subtle, Faramir, subtle
- Sam’s girl is sassy

- Honestly maybe my favourite part, seeing how Tolkien thought of almost literally everything while writing this humongous book.
Profile Image for preoccupiedbybooks.
465 reviews1,113 followers
September 18, 2020
For some reason I only marked, 'The fellowship of the ring' as read, when I actually devoured the whole of 'The Lord Of The Rings' in one go!

I read this a loong time ago, when the films came out but I remember loving it. A lot.
Amazing book, amazing films, a wonderful distraction from my finals at uni back in the day 😂
Profile Image for Kristin Little.
61 reviews13 followers
May 27, 2007
Save time... watch the movies. This book can appeal only to a linguist. The underlying story is great, but it is buried under an avalance of horribly annoying songs and poems that do nothing to advance the story. They just take up space. I diligently read every last one, hoping that they held some deep meaning in relation to the story, but if there is one, it is so obscure that it serves no purpose. Also, the book is all about walking. Yes, I know they are on an epic quest, and there has to be soul-searching, etc., but the amount of detail regarding the walking is a snoozer! 45 pages of walking and 3 pages for a huge battle. AUGH! I know that this is a masterpiece, and I agree that the plot line is a beautiful tale of good and evil and power and corruption. However, reading this series was a drudgery. The only really good part that you miss in the movies is when the hobits return to the Shire in the last three chapters of The Return of the King. If you want a Tolkien fix, I'd reccommend The Hobbit.
Profile Image for Fernando.
684 reviews1,128 followers
November 10, 2022
"Un Anillo para gobernarlos a todos. Un Anillo para encontrarlos, un Anillo para atraerlos a todos y atarlos a las tinieblas en la Tierra de Mordor donde se extienden las Sombras."

Realmente es admirable lo que han logrado autores como J.R.R. Tolkien así también como H.P. Lovecraft, George R.R. Martin, C.S. Lewis o J.K Rowling.
El hecho de que estos escritores puedan crear todo un universo entero, una mitología de personajes, lugares e historias es algo realmente poderoso y muy difícil de imitar y considero que son autores tocados por la genialidad y difícilmente puedan ser igualados en la literatura.
Lo que J.R.R. Tolkien ha hecho creando esta historia del Señor de los Anillos es épico y genial.
Por primera vez decidí apartarme de la literatura clásica o tradicional para adentrarme en este mundo mágico creado por este prolífico escritor inglés.
Hace mucho tiempo me había comprado una hermosa caja con los tres libros y sentía que era el momento de darle una oportunidad y aunque había visto las películas a las cuales tengo en dvd no recordaba muy bien el desarrollo de la historia, razón por lo cual decidí leer la trilogía.
Independientemente de su fantástica mente capaz de crear todo el mundo de paisajes, historia y personajes de la Tierra Media, me resisto a creer que Tolkien no se haya inspirado en distintos libros clásicos de la literatura universal (aunque esta es mi postura personal, no la que realmente haya sucedido) puesto que en muchos casos las similitudes son llamativas y saliéndome del análisis de esta grandiosa trilogía que para mí no es necesario ya que se solventa por sí misma; me gustaría señalar algunas cosas que pude descubrir mientras la leía.
Investigando un poco me entero de que su inspiración tal vez se inició en "El anillo de los Nibelungos", obra maestra del compositor Richard Wagner, así también como el poema épico "Beowulf", la epopeya finesa "Kalevala" y toda la mitología nórdica.
Yo por mi parte encuentro que algunos capítulos en los que Tolkien describe las batallas a las que deben enfrentarse Aragorn, Gandalf, Boromir, Théoden e incluso los hobbits, (tomemos por ejemplo el caso del capítulo "El abismo de Helm" de "Las dos torres"), poseen componentes que aluden a la “Ilíada” o la “Odisea” de Homero como también a “Ivanhoe” de Sir Walter Scott, los caballeros templarios y todo lo inherente a la época medieval, más precisamente en lo que a descripción de las batallas respecta.
Incluso podría decir que las novelas de caballería clásica -sea “Don Quijote de la Mancha”, el “Orlando Furioso” y hasta me atrevería a nombrar el “Amadis de Gaula”- son una referencia clara cuando el autor describe físicamente a Aragorn o al rey Théoden y a sus acciones en batalla.
Es más, encuentro algunos diálogos profundamente shakesperianos.
Algo similar sucede en el viaje que inician Frodo y Sam hacia los dominios de Mordor, ya que la descripción gráfica, desoladora y verdaderamente terrorífica que Tolkien hace de la Ciénaga de los muertos previo a las puertas de Mordor es digno del "Infierno" de "La divina comedia" de Dante Alighieri por los escalofríos que produce leer ese pasaje.
En otro momento de la novela, en la lucha entre Sam y Ella-Laraña, cuando Sam le clava la espada élfica de Frodo, Dardo, en el vientre me llevó a ese instante épico en el que el capitán Ahab le clava el arpón a Moby Dick antes de ser engullido por la ballena blanca en el mar.
Y el viaje de Aragorn por el Sendero de los Muertos inexorablemente remite al descenso de Eneas a los infiernos en la “Eneida” de Virgilio.
Repito que lo que escribo en esta reseña es mi visión personal de lo leído y de ningún modo afirmo que Tolkien haya tenido tales inspiraciones. Usualmente cuando leo, suelo realizar todo tipo de asociaciones literarias que van surgiendo en mi cabeza.
Lo que me ha dejado muy impresionado también es la concepción de Tolkien de toda la mitología, de los nombres de los personajes que estimo ha partido de la mitología nórdica, de crear un nuevo lenguaje, el élfico y de la invención de los distintos pueblos, ciudadelas, la Comarca y muchas locaciones más.
Es realmente brillante. No hay otra manera de describir semejante poderío imaginativo y conceptual, aunque hay que entender que Tolkien invirtió toda su vida en el desarrollo de este universo.
Me llevo la más grata impresión de la lectura de esta trilogía y siento que me pude dar un gusto que a veces los puristas lectores de clásicos tratan de esconder.
Siempre digo que en literatura hay que tratar de leerlo todo y los mundos de J.R.R. Tolkien son una buena oportunidad para hacerlo.
Profile Image for Trish.
2,016 reviews3,435 followers
May 17, 2019
I will write three separate reviews and combine them here as I think all three books cover so much that I need to put my thoughts down.

So here is my review-within-a-review for
The Fellowship of the Ring:

I read this the first time as a young teen but really didn't appreciate it much. I came to know about Hobbits through school mates who kept talking abpout the then upcoming first movie by Peter Jackson. I went to watch it but was unimpressed, almost bored even (until the last quarter at least). I loved the mythology but little else. Nevertheless, I got the book (and went to the trouble of finding and buying a special edition which was not easy back then). I read it but most went over my head.
Today I want to spank myself (and not in a good way) for ever thinking like that. Because if you know the book, and maybe The Hobbit as well, you can see just how much of a fan Peter Jackson is. Sooo many details only insiders will recognize. And the book is a thing to behold. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

This first part introduces us to the world of Middle-Earth (Arda). There, elves, trolls, hobbits, goblins, orks, giant eagles and wolves, but also more sinister things dwell. And wizards, though I think that name is misleading here. Great evil has this world seen in the past and while it was defeated, it is on the rise again as these things are wont to do. Sauron is the name of the great evil here and a long time ago he forged a ring of power to bind all other rings as well as people of Middle-Earth. And just like a certain dark wizard of a more modern tale, he poured his soul into this master ring so it didn't matter when his body got destroyed thousands of years before the events of this first book. But this ring has been found now - by one of the most innocent creatures in this world, of all things.
The alliance that failed to vanquish evil from the world thousands of years ago is now represented in the titular fellowship comprising of a dwarf, an elf, two men, a wizard and four hobbits. And they march to destroy the ring - and thus evil - before Sauron can restore himself to his full power again.
Their quest leads them through forests, over mountains, on streams and through mines. But that is not the most important part, actually.

Most important is the fact that Tolkien was a wordsmith. He was not only a scholar at one of THE most famous universities in the world; he was not only fluent in several languages; he was not only keen on any mythology you can think of. He combined all of that in his writing. Apparently, he didn't write it to get published, thinking nobody would be interested, and thus wrote to his heart's content.
He included songs and poems, stating more than once that true magic lies in both (as is represented by the elves for example). His nature descriptions are not only sweeping and vivid, but also utterly beautiful. His dialogues, while being quite wordy, are fluent and artistic.
He INVENTED several languages for this book - complete with grammar and all. Linguists have marvelled over Tolkien's affinity and mastery for generations and I feel the same. Many authors use made-up languages but not a single one of them actually sat down and drew up one as whole as Tolkien did.

Thus, Tolkien has truly created an entire world, complete with art, history, mythology, geography (look at those gorgeous maps), politics, different peoples, languages ...

The only thing he didn't manage to convey as wonderfully as Peter Jackson with his films was the action. At least not here in the first book. It is suspenseful, but the impact of the encounter with the Balrog for example was much more touching and shocking in the movie (at least to me). The same goes for Arwen and Frodo being chased by the Black Riders until they cross the stream around Rivendell.
Maybe it's because he was fed up with war (he fought in WW1) or maybe he wanted to hold back and then hit the reader with full force in the end battle. Or he just didn't have the same concept of action as most of us do nowadays. I'm not quite sure. Nevertheless, one feels the pathos (look up the original word and its meaning), one believes the characters when they act out of integrity and honour and never once thinks it's pretentious of them (again, the Boromir-scene in the movie makes me cry, the one in the book didn't).

I've re-watched the (extended version of the) first movie and I've noticed sooo many details I had missed before, it was astonishing. The tale (in any medium) is packed with details enriching both the world and the reader's/viewer's experience on a level unmatched and I'm more than happy that Peter Jackson was able to translate that so wonderfully onto the screen (it doesn't happen often).

Here is my review-within-a-review for
The Two Towers:

This second book had fewer songs and poems and yes, I missed them. Oh, there are some, like the funny songs of Sméagol/Gollum or some of Sam's rhymes, but it's not the same as the elaborate songs of the elves.

In this second part of the trilogy, the fellowship has broken up. Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas are persuing the Uruk'hai and orks that have taken Merry and Pippin while Frodo and Sam are trying to find their way to Mordor. The former soon meet the horse lords of Rohan and find out that a lost friend has returned while the latter encounter Sméagol/Gollum and let themselves be guided by him. Whether or not that is a good idea remains to be seen.
Moreover, Saruman is showing his true (multi) colours and thus sends an army to destroy Rohan and its inhabitants. But he didn't count on Merry and Pippin making some new friends in Fangorn forest and then there are also the Rohirrim, the formidable cavalry of the horse lords.

This second volume certainly saw more action. However, much like in the first book, many of those scenes were handled slightly better in the movie (I shall re-watch the second one tomorrow or the day after).
What the book has that the movie simply couldn't have, is a certain depth.
All the history of the last big battle against Sauron and what happened to the alliance of elves and men back then, the people of the south and their tendency to immediately follow Sauron, the proud but hopeless people of Gondor that we glimpse through Boromir's brother Faramir, ... there is sooo much to tell and not enough time or not enough pages to do so. However, Tolkien letting some characters tell of their experiences or their ancestors' experiences was a brilliant way of including the history of Middle-Earth that has passed into legends. And since every creature experiences history differently, we get a multi-faceted look through different eyes of different corners of the world.

Most interesting to me were the Ents. Not just Treebeard but the others, too, especially the mysterious loss of the Ent-Wives. There are one or two possibilities what Treebeard means when he says "we lost them" and it was fun for me as a reader to dwell on what the most likely story was. Not to mention that I love trees and everything green and the message of the Ents' struggle through time is clear enough (especially nowadays what with the even more apparent results of climate change). However, it was also extremely satisfying to see them fighting back and kicking ass.
Nevertheless, here, too, there was a scene I preferred in the movie as that one conveyed an additional message seen throughout Peter Jackson's trilogy: that nobody can just sit this one out, that all people/races must come together, work together, if they want evil to be defeated. We are seeing it with the elves and the tree shepherds aren't any different.

As I mentioned in the beginning of this mini-review, this second volume had a bit less of Tolkien's wordshmithery, his awesome poems and songs. Instead, we got more fast-paced action sequences that were also slightly better done than the ones in the first book. But never fear, the writing style is still gorgeous and the descriptions astonishingly vivid and colourful, opening up distant corners we hadn't been to yet and introducing even weirder creatures of Middle-Earth than we've seen so far.

So here is my review-within-a-review for
The Return of the King:

The conclusion of the trilogy has us follow Gimli, Legolas and Aragorn as they lead the realms of men against the Army of Darkness while we also still follow Sam and Frodo (yes, surprise, he's not dead after all ;P) on their way to Mount Doom to destroy the One Ring.
As such, we see Saruman imprisoned by Treebeard and his Ents, we learn of and see in action the Army of the Dead, we still shudder because of a certain giant spider, fret over Boromir's little brother and we wait for Gollum to make a comeback to get is prrrrrreciouzzzzzz. Most of all, though, we see a massive clash of forces and have the privilege of seeing some truly delightful characters beat the living shit out of the bad guys (Eowyn, anyone?) before evil is conquered and the Hobbits get an adventure in the Shire that people who have only seen the movie will never know about (and which was pretty epic).
In the end, we get to say goodbye to all these lovely creatures we've journeyed together with, that we've laughed and cried with, whom we care about and kept our fingers crossed for. For, sadly, the age of magic is over and the age of man is upon us. And no, I don't like it one bit.

Tolkien ramped up the action for this one the most. The satisfying conclusion to all the build-up and while I still think that the movie managed to make me gasp more, he turned out to be wonderfully skilled in describing honourable sacrifices as much as impressive sword fights. My favourite is, of course, Eowyn taking out the Witch-King of Angmar. Granted, that, too, was done better in the movie (), just like the succession of Rohan's rulers was better in the movie. While I always try to factor in the time any given book was written in and the environment in which the respective author grew up in, I know from other material, material written before LOTR, that Tolkien could do better female characters so Eowyn and Arwen felt like a waste (especially when compared with how wonderfully Peter Jackson had done them). Still, it's not exactly awful - you could say this is nitpicking on the highest level. *lol*

The writing style never wavered, never got any less impressive and awe-inspiring than in the previous chapters. One of the most amazing things is that I really got the impression of having been on a journey for a year or more with these people, so much has happened and so realistically did Tolkien portray the events as much as the sceneries.
Moreover, here, we had more songs and poems again and the magic they envoked was palpable for me as a reader once more. The heaviness of the Mordor chapters was immediately lifted when Sam would start up a tune or a rhyme so Tolkien was right about the magic.

We all know that this story isn't about Frodo. On the surface some might presume so, but they'd be utterly wrong. Anyone can see clear as day that it's Sam's story. But for those who needed a moment longer, I shall simply quote the author and indeed the character himself:
“Come, Mr. Frodo!' he cried. 'I can't carry it for you, but I can carry you.”

Makes me cry EVERY.DAMN.TIME.

So yes, this is as epic as it comes advertised and I don't think anyone could doubt why it had such an influence on the writers and readers and movie / TV show creators of this world.

I shall re-watch this last movie, too, of course and am already looking forward to discovering yet more details I couldn't know about the very first time I saw the movie. I already learned a bit of trivia that astonished me (like the fact that I discovered only now that Aunt Zelda of the new Sabrina series is Eowyn! or that that actress only got the role after Elsa from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade declined the role - I can so NOT picture that woman as Eowyn)! You see: lots to see, every time and I'm glad we, as readers (but in this case also as watchers) have such impressive realms to dwell in and so many lessons to learn there, too.

This concludes a re-read of epic proportions and I'm glad I let myself be persuaded to do it as I had indeed forgotten most of what made the books be different and I have to (still shamefacedly) admit that my much younger self absolutely did not appreciate the richness portrayed in the author's linguistic craftmanship as much as I should have back then.

Edit: I've re-watched the last movie today and have to point out once again how much I love that Peter Jackson makes Faramir give up whatever position he might have gotten in Gondor in favour of following his wife because SHE is a ruler. Just like I love that Theoden came up with the idea of making Eowyn his heir and no Eomer in between, simply because she was the right choice.
Profile Image for Lisa.
991 reviews3,320 followers
April 6, 2019
It remains the best of its genre, no matter how many fantasy worlds have emerged since!

Funnily, many of my students come and talk to me about the specific edition they have at home and how it was handed to them, by a father or mother who insisted they read through the first 50 pages before giving up.

We have copies in German, Swedish and English at home, published between the 1980s and now, but I know there is an older version somewhere in the wider family collection, the one my father read when he was young. Finding evidence of former Lord Of The Rings reading stories is magical in itself, a ritualistic passing on of the passion for that One Ring and its fate from generation to generation.

Post-Tolkien readers share that special fellowship that comes from holding your breath with Frodo and Sam, from suffering with Gandalf and cursing Saruman, from swinging a weapon with the united forces of an entire fairytale up against Mordor.

Of course we also share the gain and loss of Arwen's choice!

Forever magic...
Profile Image for Dolly.
33 reviews42 followers
July 18, 2008
I read Lord of the Rings first when I was about eleven or so, and then stayed up all night at a hip boy/girl party in the bathroom with Nathan O. ... talking about ents and elves and whether Tom Bombadil was God. Yes, I was a geeky child. However, all these years later, the story has stuck with me.

First a warning: Don't read Tolkien if you don't appreciate true-omnicient-narrator-style epics. Tolkien isn't a master character builder: he leaves all that to the reader's imagination. The agony in the Aragorn/Arwen romance -- so blatant and operatic in the movies -- was a longing look on Strider's face at Rivendell, an odd comment from Bilbo, and a short no-nonsense Appendix. As with many of the themes in this work, the romance and deep character relationships must be picked from between the lines.

And there is so much between the lines here. The world of Middle-earth lives, utterly lives. Instead of tugging on what-ifs, this fantasy forces readers to imagine. Tolkien's work is the fullest realization of literary world building ever penned.

It is also sophisticated writing, drawing on older forms (epic, romance, tragedy). Tolkien doesn't waste time writing snappy dialogue: the story is too epic to dwindle to individual persons. However, voice shifts subtly depending on point of view: chapters dealing with hobbits contain much more dialogue and detail; chapters dealing with Rohirrim have a poetic rhythm reminiscent of extant Middle English works; chapters dealing with elves are magic and blurry and hard to wrap a mind around. These shifts in style, far from being a novice writer's oops, are intentional and serve as mass characterisation of races and groups. So, what Tolkien foregoes in terms of dialogue he replaces with style and action: a classic example of show not tell.

Having just spouted all that praise, I have to admit that all the criticisms are true: the story does resound with Luddite anti-industrial metaphors, overt Christian themes of salvation and spirit, a structural decision to include songs that doesn't quite work, and fantasy tropes that are now cliche ... now that everyone else has copied them, that is. The thing to remember is that this book started the genre: everything fantasy, from Philip Pullman to George RR Martin, exists in the shadow of this opus.

So, no, it isn't a popcorn read. Get over it. If you invest the time and spirit to read this work, you will be glad you did.
Profile Image for Elle (ellexamines).
1,095 reviews17.7k followers
November 25, 2019
I know I read this series at the tender age of eight, when I was very impressionable and very eager to get obsessed with anything. But I think these are better than we give them credit for.

Not to show up and act like J.R.R. Tolkein was some misunderstood genius. But it’s fascinating to me that this book was foundational to modern high fantasy, a genre which I think plays a lot with cruelty: the brutal world, the betrayal of friends. Tolkein’s novels do not revolve around complex moral codes; they do not question whether there is good and evil, or who is who. The fundamental hero of this story is love.

It's no accident that the hero of this series is the most underestimated of all people: a Hobbit. There are the godly elves, but this series focuses on men's capacity to fail and triumph. The outsiders save the world.

I think, all the time, about the fact that were it not for one moment of pity Frodo takes, on someone who he knows will try to hurt him, this entire story would have been different—would have ended on a far, far darker note.

(On weekends, I also take time to think very deeply about Sam’s role in the series, and the fact that his love and loyalty saves Frodo and, by extent, the world. Within this narrative love saves the world.)

The biggest flaw is that Tolkein could not edit to save his life. I will not elaborate on that beyond to say he would dedicate at least five pages to explaining the concept. I’m going to keep it very, very real: my love for this comes partially from just how much I adore the movie adaptations. This is genuinely the #1 series in the world where I think the movie adaptation is superior in quality to the books. I’ve watched them so many times. I think every time I watch them I end up adding a few sentences to this review because I’m full of Thoughts and Tenderness. The movies are my favorite and always worth a watch.

also, if you’ve gotten this far, feel free to go watch this video series on why the Hobbit movies didn't work. it sparks the reviewer inside me
Profile Image for Nandakishore Mridula.
1,255 reviews2,298 followers
January 31, 2016
When a book defines a genre
There is nothing you can say anymore,
That will add or detract from the volumes and volumes
Of all that has been said before:
So a book review I'm not attempting,
Though the GR site is sorely tempting;
Just paying my respects from the bottom of my heart
And raising my hat to the Master of the Art.
Profile Image for Amanda NEVER MANDY.
466 reviews99 followers
October 5, 2018
Every reading journey has a beginning, even if that beginning comes across as lame as hell in the retelling. My beginning with this particular book occurred on a wedding anniversary date. I was a few cran and vodkas over the limit and had decided that a nice leisurely stroll through the bookstore would help clear my head before venturing on to our next destination, the grocery store. Yes, you read that right. My anniversary date celebration consisted of booze, books and groceries. I’m pretty sure if you google anniversary gifts by year for the modern working couple with children you will see this exact scenario listed under year sixteen. If it isn’t there I vote it should be because silver hollowware, who actually wants that?


When I happened upon this ginormous book in all of its leather bound glory I knew that I had to possess it. I realized that buying it would force me to read it sooner than later and it was a book that had lived on my mental to-read list for a very long time. What I didn’t consider was the size of the book and how difficult it would be for me to lug it around everywhere I went. Sober me would have thought of this and went for the story broken out across three books instead of one. Tipsy me saw the fancy binding, smelled the pages and could care less about my future suffering. I saw my precious and nothing was going to stop me from making it my own, especially not commonsense.

My reading stretched on for weeks on end and every day the book got heavier and more cumbersome (if you aren’t singing 7M3 right now then you can’t call yourself my friend). A few chapters in and I decided to get a tote to make my traveling easier and to protect my precious from rain, stains and torn pages. I was Frodo and the tote became my Sam. Without my durable new friend I would have been miserable and it would have taken me a hell of a lot longer to finish one of the best stories I have read in a while. I also wouldn’t have been able to enjoy the characters I had fallen hard for in all of the various locations I was able to visit because of it. Exciting locations such as the doctor’s waiting room and a hotel room in Texas, to name a few.

Five stars to a book that taught me to appreciate epic journeys and all of the friends you might find along the way and zero stars to a specific edition of that same book that taught me not to visit the bookstore under the influence of alcohol. (Just kidding, the book is gorgeous and it makes a great new addition to my real bookshelf.)
Profile Image for Brett C.
805 reviews181 followers
August 3, 2021
There's not really much to say other than EPIC. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this for the first time. I've seen the Peter Jackson trilogy and really enjoyed those as well. But this time it was fun to read the original story. J.R.R. Tolkien created so much in the Middle-earth realm and the LOTR books only capture a small portion. I feel he truly created a genre and set the standard for epic fantasy.

The movies obviously left material out for time and added some for creativity along the way. In my opinion both are strong. This edition had appendices innthe back to help with time lines, back story, and touched on a lot of the mythos based in Tolkien's world. He created so much that The Hobbit and The Silmarillion are recommended reads to further explore this genre. Thanks!
Profile Image for Werner.
Author 3 books598 followers
September 18, 2020
Note, Sept. 18, 2020: I just edited this review again, to delete the word "trilogy" since a reader made a comment objecting to it. (Strictly speaking, Tolkien did envision the LOTR books as a single long novel --which, in terms of plot structure, it actually is-- not a trilogy in the usual sense. It's just published in three volumes because its sheer length makes it unwieldy in one.)

Note, March 11, 2019: I just edited this review to insert an accidentally omitted word.

Actually, I read Tolkien's masterful Middle Earth fantasy corpus, beginning with The Hobbit in the early 70's and finishing the Lord of the Rings almost a decade later, before this anniversary edition came out. (I also read all four books to my wife in the early 80's; she loved them too!)

This body of work is, of course, the genre-defining classic of modern fantasy --especially epic, or "high" fantasy -- which popularized the genre as the publishing market force it is today, exerted enormous influence over practically all subsequent fantasy authors (including R. A. Salvatore and Terry Brooks), and set the conventions readers would come to expect: a pre-technological setting, an epochal struggle between good and evil whose outcome is determined by magical factors, and a demand for personal moral growth on the part of the characters thrust into a pivotal role in that struggle. And Tolkien's depictions of wizards, elves, dwarfs, dragons, etc. became the template for all subsequent portrayals of these creatures.

Part of the success of Tolkien's work derives from the breath- taking scope of his world-building, which reflects his day jobs as a philologist and medievalist; he created entire languages and folklores for his "Middle Earth," as well as a detailed, millenia-spanning history. But more importantly, as a devout Catholic, he embodied his deeply Christian world-view in the writing: his fantasy world (though he doesn't employ the kind of explicit Christian symbolism that C. S. Lewis does) is the scene of conflict between good and evil with world-altering significance, under a superintending Providence, in which the individual moral choices of both the high and the lowly have significance, and temptation is an ever-present danger.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 14,127 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.