Thursday, January 18, 2018

The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
J.R.R. Tolkien
Published 1954

This is my first time reading LOTR series, finally, after having first read The Hobbit many years ago. Since I did not know very much about the story, I was somewhat confused at the beginning and missed some of the most important details, like . . . why Frodo went on this adventure or journey in the first place! Eventually, I reviewed a synopsis to get answers. Everything is cleared up now, and I am up to speed.

Since it seems everyone knows the LOTR story well, I will not give my own summary. Instead, let me tell you how I read it: I found an audio version on YouTube and followed along in my own book. The narrator used dramatic voices, sounds, and music, and there were times I was scared out of my wits. I could not have accomplished that in my own head had I read the book alone; so the audio was definitely effective. I am not a fan of adventure or fantasy fiction, so this was the perfect way to read the book, making the story feel alive.

I have read articles or op-eds about why this is a preposterous way to read, and should not be considered reading by any measure, but I also have to admit that sometimes -- not often -- I read books with classical music playing quietly. Yes, it does enhance the emotional value of the story, especially Tolstoy, and I rather enjoy that; however, I understand how and why it may diminish or limit my own ability to imagine on an emotional level.

Nonetheless, I have to make an exception with this story, and I probably will continue doing it with the remainder of the series. So there!

Hildebrandt Bros.

Let's say you are like me, and you never read LOTR, and you are not confident you will like an adventure or fantasy story; well, this is more than an adventurous story. There is something bigger to tell in LOTR that makes it significant. What is it, I need to learn.

For example, as with most essentially written stories, The Fellowship of the Ring has goodness and righteousness verses wickedness and evil, light against darkness. There are many unique characters, each with special attributes and weaknesses - some wise, some brave, and some extremely loyal - sent to help the reluctant protagonist. Most importantly, the protagonist is being called to have courage, be valiant, and do what is right and necessary. He must rise to the occasion, knowing the forces against him are deadly. It is a frightful decision one has to make, which is how this first book of the trilogy ends.

The Fellowship of the Ring is full of conflict, uncertainty, fantasy, a little humor, loyalty, and companionship. I am ready to find out what happens in the next book, The Two Towers, and most of all, I am hoping to discover the underlying ideas in the story as I venture further into Middle-Earth.

11 comments:

  1. Reading LOTR for the first time...I'm jealous!! That's wonderful you are enjoying it so far. There are so many great themes in it, like you named, and it's amazing how Tolkien defined so much of the fantasy genre while going above and beyond it.

    And, I see nothing wrong with using audio and background music. The movie soundtrack is one of my favorites; in fact, I can't really separate it from the story now. :)

    Best wishes for the rest of your adventure! I think The Two Towers is the most exciting part.

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    1. Thank you, Marian. I do like the soundtrack, too. (I've just never seen the movies.)

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  2. I love this series SO MUCH. I thought I'd hate it but it was GOOD. I only read it to prove to myself I'd hate it but I accidentally ended up LOVING it.

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    1. Well, I guess I will learn soon what I think, too.

      Good to hear from you. Hope all is well w/ school.

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  3. I've never listened to LotR on audio, but I might like to sometime; I've listened to quite a few other audiobooks, sometimes with just the sound (for easier ones) or following along with the text.

    Looking forward to your thoughts on LotR. (It's really one book, but I shelved the volumes separately on GoodReads because I own them in that format).

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    1. There are quite a few different audio versions on Youtube. Some very professionally done, and others by avid fans.

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  4. I quite love this series and have read it about five times, but Fellowship was my least favourite so hopefully you're in for a treat with the last two. I loved the movies too, which is not usually the case with me when a book is adapted to a movie. And the way you read it, I think was just fine, especially if it helped you to enjoy it more!

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    1. Cleo, I did not know you loved the LoTR that much. Five times??

      And I'm encouraged b/c Marian already said TTT is her favorite, and now you say you like the last two better.

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  5. I'm with Cleo. I have read LOTR more times than I can count. I saw the movie 8 times in the movie theater. I have to say the movie was helpful because I could not imagine what the Nazgul and a balrog look like. The Fellowship was my favorite of the three. Not as interesting but I still enjoyed it and it was very helpful in learning the background of the characters it the Simarillion.

    I see nothing wrong with listening and reading at the same time. It's helpful for me when I'm reading French for pronunciation. Not that you are doing it for that reason. :)

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    1. Wow, you too?

      My kids have been watching the LoTR movies these last few nights, which I've never watched; but each time a new character comes up, they fill me in. It's interesting b/c in only reading it, I never imagined them the way they appear in film. I guess I just have a dull imagination when it comes to characters.

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    2. I just realized my last sentence did not make sense. I meant to write that the Simarillian is not as interesting as LOTR but it helps fill in a lot of background on the characters, such as the origins of the Elves, orcs, hobbits etc...in other words, it's worth a read.

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