On July 29th, 1954, J.R.R. Tolkien published the first volume of The
Lord of the Rings, which not only defined a genre but elevated Tolkien to Fantasy Fiction Overlord of the literature world. In appreciation of this world-renowned author and his genius, I present a modern review of The Fellowship of the Ring.
Having not read any of Tolkien’s books in the past, watched any of the movies (uncanny, I know), or even been interested in the fantasy genre to begin with, I thought I’d be able to give a fresh perspective on this ‘legendary’ book. I tried to be as unbiased as possible, only to find that my opinions align heavily with popular belief: This book is amazing.
With so many different aspects of the volume to consider, I won’t be able to hit upon all of them (which only gives you more reason to pick up this book whether it’s your first time or your fifth), but I will try my best.
My first pull into the story were the characters. Complex, unusual, and full of follies, I could relate, love, and hate each to a degree. I only mention the word hate because I believe for the first half the novel, Frodo is a bit of a fool–which Gandalf confirms later on–but he redeems himself at the end of the novel. Each character has such endearing qualities that I think I’m on the journey with them (I’m that Hobbit in the back slowing everyone down).
The lore and languages of Middle Earth is another phenomenal aspect. To have such rich history, so many different tongues encompassed within one saga that was created by only one mortal man, is amazing in my eyes. J.R.R. Tolkien is one of the most prolific creators of languages, having constructed over 20 known languages (source). The sheer intensity of his involvement in the creation of this parallel world is enough to persuade you to read it.
The only (semi-) negatives I could place on the book were the descriptions of the lands and the writing style itself. The landscape descriptions got quite confusing and slowed down my reading pace but at the same time it wasn’t a negative because of Tolkien’s ability to imagine an entirely new world. With that in mind, I was willing enough to push through the slower parts where the woods and mountains are being described. Now about the writing–I’m neutral about at best. It is really simple writing, but the poetry and songs interwoven throughout the text is what makes The Fellowship of the Ring. such a great read. The songs and lore tie in so beautifully that I find myself reading them aloud because that’s the only way to appreciate it.
What I recommend for you, my curious reader, is to pick up The Fellowship of the Ring, then pick up the next two because you’re not going to want this tantalizing journey to end.