50 books to read before you die discussion

The Fellowship of the Ring (The Lord of the Rings, #1)
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Book Discussions - 50 Books > The Fellowship of the Ring

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Mayra (kaligurl_7) | 371 comments We have a discussion thread for LOTR already, but since we are listing the books individually i figured i would have a thread for just the first book. Enjoy!

Happy Reading.


Fällënãngēlš | 3 comments LOL thanks!!!! I've always loved this book!!! One of my favourites!


Lisa (lisadannatt) | 743 comments It was Bilbo Baggins's eleventy- first birthday...
O I loved this!


Mayra (kaligurl_7) | 371 comments I tried to read it when the movie first came out and i just couldnt get into it. The Hobbit had taken me for ever to read. I finally read the Trilogy last year and realized i got through it because i had already seen the movies (although it had been a while) and that helped me follow the book and keep all my characters straight.


Lisa (lisadannatt) | 743 comments Lol.
I reread it before each movie. The characters still look different in my head


Mayra (kaligurl_7) | 371 comments i got the book set after the first movie, telling myself i would read them before two towers was out and it didnt happen.
Last year when i read them i watched each movie as i finished each book and i realised it had been a while. I really enjoyed the books but i really like watching Orlando Bloom. lol


Lisa (lisadannatt) | 743 comments Originally pictured Legolas with greenish skin and a bit odd looking.
I thought the hobbits were all well cast.


Lisa (lisadannatt) | 743 comments Have just picked up my copy...
Back to middle earth.


Mayra (kaligurl_7) | 371 comments i guess i already had movie legolas in my head when i read them.... i might skim through mine.... im still finishing up east of eden.


Longhare Content | 107 comments Lisa, Did you read The Hobbit before reading LOTR? I wonder if your greenish Legolas was influenced by the description of elves in TH--I don't remember them being greenish but they were certainly more, uh, earthy than Tolkien chose to portray them in the later books. (Certainly, Legolas is an upgrade from the drunken, loutish longshoremen of Mirkwood.) As I recall, the elves of TH were closer to the pre-LOTR concept of elf as fairy--think Tam Lin or Goblin Market. Tolkien ingeniously divided the generic fairy/goblin into two separate creatures, one a "mockery" of the other. Tolkien's goblins/orcs, pretty much lose all their fairy qualities, but you can still detect a bit of Mab or Titania in Galadriel.

Of the nine, I think Legolas was by far the best cast with OB, though it took a blond wig and blue contacts to make him look the part. I thought Bloom embodied the character better than the others, but that may have had a lot to do with Legolas and Gimli being supporting characters in the books (and more or less presented as is in the movies), whereas all the other characters had to be trimmed and modified in order to bring the total running length in at under a million hours.


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Lisa (lisadannatt) | 743 comments Longhare I have no idea. I read TH when I was 12. First read LOTR when I was 21. I had no conscious memory of those elves (maybe unconscious), I've never worked it out on subsequent reads either. A friend of mine had gorgeous drawings from The Silmarillion (which I've never read) and those elves were more ethereal. I think the elves in D&D may have had green skin but I stand to correction.
I agree OB was a great Legolas, manages to act as if he is not human.
If I see something on this reread I will tell you.

I have mixed feelings about the movies. I think LOTR would be better served as a series like Game of Thrones. To create a movie, so much detail and subtlety is lost: Tom Bombadill, Goldenberry, the old forest, what happens to the shire, the last battle... What heroism means...
Either a series or 6 movies...

My copy of LOTR looks like it too went questing. It came from England (got bent in my dad's bag; fell off the roof of the car(I left it there, drove off and saw it fall in my rear view mirror); was 'accidentally' dropped in the pool(my brother); spent a night in the freezer (my brother again) and was hidden in my cupboard whenever my aunt visited as she was known to take my fantasy novels as they were 'bad for me'. It has a earthy smell and my cat loves to head bomp it. Poor book.


Mayra (kaligurl_7) | 371 comments I agree Lisa, alot is left out. Maybe if they would have realised it was going to do so well they might have made it into more movies so they could have kept more of the story, like they are now doing with The Hobbit.

I read TH such a long time ago i dont remember it, the movies have been ver interesting.


Longhare Content | 107 comments My daughters (now in college) loved the movies, but they were never into the books the way I was. The one thing they missed--and my older kid was especially crushed--was Tom Bombadil. Which is interesting to me because the first million times or so that I read FR, that was the part I would have left out. Tom and his yellow boots were just too weird and embarrassing--he and Goldberry just didn't seem to fit with relative realism of the rest of the books, and those two were just so darn chipper. But when I read the book aloud to my kids, they loved Bombadil and couldn't get enough of him. I dug out my old copy of Tolkien's poetry collection, which has a lengthy poem all about Tom and Goldberry, and they ate it up. It certainly put a different light on that episode for me, and now it's one of my favorite parts of the book.

Lisa, your copy's epic quest made me laugh. That's why we love paperbacks!


message 14: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 4 comments Hey! I just started reading this book and I also coincidently just found your group, so that's perfect :)


Longhare Content | 107 comments Fun fact. Aragorn was originally conceived as a hobbit named Trotter (because he had no feet and had to wear prosthetic shoes, which of course made noise). As the story grew, so did Trotter. He just worked better as a man, but the name stuck until late in the game. You'll notice that as Aragorn gets closer to Gondor, he becomes more somber and king-y. I think he has a lot more personality in Bree (and loses it somewhere on the way to Rivendell), which makes sense because his first contact with the hobbits was initially "hobbit talk."


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Lisa (lisadannatt) | 743 comments Welcome Sarah


Mayra (kaligurl_7) | 371 comments Then you came to the right place sara, welcome! :)


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

Lisa (lisadannatt) | 743 comments So I'm three chapters in.
Some thoughts.

I loved Bilbo's gifts to his relatives, I wonder if the relatives were as tickled.
Gandalf sounds like Ian Mackellen, no matter what.
I've always been struck by Frodo and Sam's later journey and outcome, I wonder if their reasons play a part. Frodo must leave, however reluctantly and with trepidation. Sam, who is far less travelled and further from his comfort zone goes with, but he is excited, he's going to see Elves and Dragons and other things beyond the Shire. I think their attitudes affect our heroes greatly. Will be watching this.


message 19: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa (lisadannatt) | 743 comments So I'm three chapters in.
Some thoughts.

I loved Bilbo's gifts to his relatives, I wonder if the relatives were as tickled.
Gandalf sounds like Ian Mackellen, no matter what.
I've always been struck by Frodo and Sam's later journey and outcome, I wonder if their reasons play a part. Frodo must leave, however reluctantly and with trepidation. Sam, who is far less travelled and further from his comfort zone goes with, but he is excited, he's going to see Elves and Dragons and other things beyond the Shire. I think their attitudes affect our heroes greatly. Will be watching this.


Sophie | 181 comments Really interesting thought about Frodo and Sam's journey. As I just finished the 3rd book yesterday I can really relate to what your saying. I'm definitely going to re-read the trilogy sometime in my life but not quite immediatdely!


Longhare Content | 107 comments I also love Bilbo's gifting. Even if you never read The Hobbit, you still learn just about everything you need about Bilbo's personality from this passage. It is also funny that the hobbits seem to be technologically more advanced in some ways than the great civilizations to the east. Gondor and Rohan are still pretty medieval and even Saruman has only just gotten around to dynamite, where the Shire has umbrellas and wastepaper baskets and books and tobacco. Of course, Tolkien wasn't so sloppy as to give the Shire the printing press or assembly line (though Lobelia's umbrella is no lightweight parasol), but he does paint a picture of a secure and prosperous people who can concentrate on the development of common comforts, which stands in contrast to the warrior societies east of Bree. It's no wonder Aragorn and his kin hang out on the west coast.

Gandalf has sounded like Ian Mackellen longer than Ian Mackellen has. Michael Hordern (Rumpole) was a wonderful Gandalf, too, in the BBC radio version. Mackellen looks a great Gandalf as well.

There's a whole study in Frodo and Sam's relationship. It's based on a residual of feudalism and British class-ism. Sam's family, as longtime servants of the Bagginses, were part of the Bat End "household." There were longstanding obligations on both sides. Sam's attachment to his employer may seem a little weird to us, but Frodo is County and Sam stands in awe of him. Frodo is fond of his gardener. In literature, at least, men with country houses were often fond of their gardeners or their groundskeepers or butlers or valets--men they could talk to and share interests with, apart from the "upstairs" universe they belonged to. A familiarity could exist, but the formal relationship was always firmly in place. In this case, Frodo is Master or Mr. Frodo, and he is being attended by Sam, not accompanied by him. At least, at first. Yet, even at the start of the journey, there seems to be an intimacy between them that does not exist among Frodo and his cousins.

Not that Frodo isn't close to Merry and Pippin and Fatty Bolger. They tease and taunt Frodo and love him in ways that would have been taking liberties in Sam. But in the end, (view spoiler). I do think it's interesting that everybody thinks Frodo is the "best hobbit in the Shire," but they all seem to think he needs looking after. And, in fact, it's Merry who does all the plotting and planning and troubleshooting and taking the simple precaution of bringing money along. Sam brings the salt.


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Lisa (lisadannatt) | 743 comments I've read that too, about the class relationships. Yet I think they eventually transcend that. There's just something in the way the each see their quest, Sam's spin is consistently brighter.

Merry & Pippin are more serious than their on screen counterparts. Merry impresses as shrewd and mature. I think all four had to go on the quest. Each brought something (by this I mean something internal, not the salt:-))

Longhare, I liked your Aragorn fact.
Here's one for you: Tolkien was born in Bloemfontein in my country. Family left when he was 2. Lots of hoo-haa about how the story takes its routes from SA. I don't believe that(there's far more european routes) but how better to escape Bloemfontein than into middle earth?


message 23: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa (lisadannatt) | 743 comments I've read that too, about the class relationships. Yet I think they eventually transcend that. There's just something in the way the each see their quest, Sam's spin is consistently brighter.

Merry & Pippin are more serious than their on screen counterparts. Merry impresses as shrewd and mature. I think all four had to go on the quest. Each brought something (by this I mean something internal, not the salt:-))

Longhare, I liked your Aragorn fact.
Here's one for you: Tolkien was born in Bloemfontein in my country. Family left when he was 2. Lots of hoo-haa about how the story takes its routes from SA. I don't believe that(there's far more european routes) but how better to escape Bloemfontein than into middle earth?


Longhare Content | 107 comments (view spoiler)

I knew Tolkien had been born in SA, but I only recently learned that he was only 2 when his family left. I have always wondered if his or his parents experiences played into the book at all. I've never read anything about it. Must have been an interesting(!) time to be a missionary in Bloemfontein--they must have carried away a wealth of stories.


message 25: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 4 comments Ok, I'm about 1/2 way through The Fellowship, so I figured its time to add in my two cents :) First of all, my motivation behind picking up this book springs from my love of games like World of Warcraft, and the legendary hero Beowulf (my all-time favorite character in lit) so it's no surprise that this book stood out to me. But now that I have it, I'm kicking myself for not picking it up sooner! The landscapes are so vivid, and so far all of the characters are completely loveable! I did not read The Hobbit first, but I feel I have enough information off the bat to keep me from getting lost :) all I'm all, I'm excited to finish the series (which is saying something, as I've never finished a series before)


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Lisa (lisadannatt) | 743 comments Welcome Sarah.
I've never been convinced that you need to read The Hobbit first. I think it may have been written second (any thoughts).
Glad you're enjoying it.

I've just realized that Peter Jackson included The Old Forest in the 2nd Hobbit movie. His poetic license bugs me a bit.

If the old forest contains all the rage and despair of times past; then who or what is Tom Bombadill?
He understands and controls the forest. I'm not convinced that he is human. Some transcendental embodiment of all that was good from times gone before?
Goldberry seems to be some form of sprite or dryad.


Longhare Content | 107 comments The Hobbit was written many years before Tolkien began LOTR. It is a children's book. He had kids at the time, and he used to tell them stories he would make up. LOTR was conceived as a sequel to TH and it was supposed to continue in the same vein. Somewhere along the way, LOTR got out of control and took on a life of its own. The massive, high-toned epic is quite different from TH, and many readers are disappointed in the original work because of its relative simplicity. It isn't necessary to read TH to understand anything in LOTR, especially if you read the introductory passages that Tolkien included in FR to bring readers up to speed. But the Shire and Bilbo himself are enlarged greatly by having read TH. Besides, it's a terrific book all on its own and totally worth reading.

The Old Forest is a really old forest, which is reason enough for it to be full of mystery. It is better understood after reading the Fangorn chapters, but even then things only become more mysterious. I don't know about all that rage and despair of times past--sounds like Peter Jackson to me. Often in the movies he takes Tolkien's more difficult explanations and boils them down to something more cinematically digestible. There is malice in the forest, primarily generated by a really bad-tempered old tree. I don't think the forest is evil so much as irritable, but if you were a forest, wouldn't you be? Hobbits to the east of you, hobbits to the west, all that sprawl and tobacco plantations. When the forest pushed back against Buckland, it was seen as menacing--an old story, right? The genius of the Hedge is that the forest won't attack it, while a wall of stone--which you'd think would be a bit sturdier--might have turned out to be a feeble barrier.

Bombadil and Goldberry are elemental, not human but sentient. They are sort of like dryads/sprites, I think, except that instead of being spirits of a tree and a river, B&G seem to be embodiments of nature more generally. They are older than the elves, which makes them about as primal as middle earth gets.


Longhare Content | 107 comments Rereading these books is always a joy. Particularly entertaining are the Black Riders, furthest from their source of power, clopping around the Shire and having to ask directions. Okay, that's simplifying, and yes, they are terrifying and all. But not so debilitatingly terrifying that Farmer Maggot doesn't threaten to sick his dogs on them. Oh, the indignity of having an old gaffer tell you to take yourself off to Buckland, like you're just another weirdo.


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Lisa (lisadannatt) | 743 comments Longhare, I based my Old Forest comment on something Tom said, have now motored ahead and can't go back:-)

Was so excited yesterday. Fellowship was showing at an outside theater. Was all ready: tickets, blanket, picnic basket... And the the South Easter arrived and it was cancelled:-( As if a small gale would have stopped the Fellowship from questing!

There is something vaguely comical about the riders at first; something so evil being so limited.


message 30: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 4 comments My dog just got ahold of my Fellowship book this morning... Thankfully I was able to get the last few pages back together :)


Longhare Content | 107 comments It's always a good sign if your dog likes it.


Jennifer Cipri | 4 comments I'm only a quarter way in but I am fascinated by this Ring! For me it feels like a metaphor for ULTIMATE KNOWLEDGE. It is such a powerful thing that I get scared just reading about it. Tolkien is so good at creating a sense of DANGER. I just want Frodo to be safe!!!!!!


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Lisa (lisadannatt) | 743 comments I put this down for a bit. Have now reached Rivendell.
I love Tolkien's description of Arwen.
There's a richness and intricacy in the counsel at Rivendell. Now I'm heading South.
I've forgotten so much in 10 years...


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Lisa (lisadannatt) | 743 comments Longhare wrote: "Lisa, Did you read The Hobbit before reading LOTR? I wonder if your greenish Legolas was influenced by the description of elves in TH--I don't remember them being greenish but they were certainly m..."

Hi Longhare, I've just reread The Hobbit. You're right, the Mirkwood elves in TH are different from the LOTR Elves. Tolkien himself describes that they are less wise, more suspicious than the Rivendell elves. The also spend more time around the humans of the lake. Perhaps this can account for some of their loutish behavior?


message 35: by Buck (new) - rated it 4 stars

Buck (spectru) I moved this discussion of The Fellowship of the Rings back to our Monthly Group Reads so we can carry on from where we left off a couple of years ago.

I read this many many years ago. I'm thinking of rereading it. It certainly deserves it. I've placed a hold on the audio book at my library and I'm looking forward to it. I'm not a rereader. The only other trilogy I've reread is Asimov's Foundation trilogy and that too was after several decades.


message 36: by Buck (new) - rated it 4 stars

Buck (spectru) Disappointment. The audio books my library has are BBC re-enactments and NPR re-enactments. In these, each volume of the trilogy is unexpectedly short, the equivalent of a short novella. I have too many other books lined up to read, so I really wanted to do this as an audio book, but it looks like I probably won't be re-reading The Fellowship of the Rings this month.


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