Bookish Discussions

J.R.R Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings:


Rating: 4.5 stars | Read: 30 July – 9 August, 2018

‘The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair, and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater’

The Lord of the Rings is very special to me. I know the story like the back of my hand, but I’ve always put off reading the books. That’s due to three reasons: 1) I didn’t want the books to disappoint, 2) a lot happens, and I thought the books might drag, and 3) I hated The Hobbit. I also wanted to prolong my experience of the story; once they’re read, I’m not really living anything anew? But, alas, I have finally read them. If you didn’t know, The Lord of the Rings was never a trilogy. Instead, it’s a single novel consisting of six books plus appendices, that is sometimes published in three volumes. Therefore, I have combined all reviews into one. Let’s get into it…

First up was The Fellowship of the Ring, which is my favourite volume and movie of the series. It sets up the story beautifully, introducing the host of characters, their lifestyle and background, as well as contextual information. The narrative details the making of the rings, the previous owners, and everything in between. Tolkien is a keen writer, and will do his upmost to keep you informed. The story was just as whimsical, enchanting and endearing as the movie. It’s slow and simple, but teaches the reader of true loyalty, compassion and courage. Tolkien often went on for pages describing the scenery or the emotions of a character, which is something that usually annoys me, but I was swept away with his ethereal writing. I just couldn’t get enough of it.

The Two Towers came next, and it was just as brilliant as the first. I definitely feel like this was the filler novel; everything had been set up in the first novel, and everything was concluded in the next. This was more about the journeying, but I didn’t mind it at all. I still got to follow my favourite characters on their adventure, learning more about them and Middle-Earth. My only issue was the separation between Book Three and Book Four. Three was dedicated to Merry, Pippin & co. whereas Four was dedicated to Frodo and Sam. They were happening at the exact same time, but the separation made them feel like individual stories. It would have worked better if Tolkien integrated the story-lines, jumping from perspective to perspective. That way I wasn’t spending too long with one character.

The final volume, The Return of the King, was a fantastic conclusion to this story. Tolkien rounded everything up so nicely, leaving nothing to my imagination. The narrative may have ended but these characters continued to live on, and I knew the path they treaded. I felt satisfied with how Tolkien left things. My favourite part of this volume was the last 80 pages or so. After reading 950 pages of danger and death, Frodo & co. were finally happy. It was all I wished for throughout, so I appreciated that Tolkien wasn’t in a rush to end things. He took time to describe their happiness and their journey home, instead of wrapping it up when the ring got destroyed. Not only this, but the book ended a little differently to the movie, so I was able to experience something new with a story I know so well. A really lovely conclusion, if you ask me.

All in all, this is such a beautiful series and so unlike any other. The characters are like family to me, and the Shire like a home. The Fellowship’s perilous journey is also my journey, and I am with them every step of the way. Tolkien manages to draw you into the story completely: I am full of fear when the character are, and I can imagine the scenery of Rivendell, Bree and Rohan so vividly. The premise is something we can all admire: a small hobbit consciously making a big change in the world. The coming together of different people and races to defeat evil. The need to be compassionate. I would definitely recommend!

Have you read The Lord of the Rings? What do you think of it? I’d love to discuss it with you!

Thanks for reading, Lauren X


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