Book Review: The Fellowship of The Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien

Hands up if you’ve never heard of The Lord of the Rings. OK, anybody who put their hands up, keep reading as you’re in for a treat. Anybody who didn’t put their hands up, also keep reading as you’re the only normal people here!! The Fellowship of The Ring is the first in the three The Lord of the Ring books and it starts off strongly.

The Fellowship of the RIng book review
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An introduction to The Lord of the Rings

Back in 1954, J.R.R. Tolkien had a fantasy book published theta feature over 1,000 pages to a reading environment that people just didn’t think was ready for such a vast nerdy world. However, the book quickly became a huge success, gaining traction for its incredible world-building, wonderful imagination and incredible sense of depth and immersion that J.R.R. Tolkien has embedded into it. Nearly 70 years on from this date, The Lord of the Rings is considered the grandfather of fantasy and has influenced almost every single form of fantasy media there is and is widely considered not just one of the greatest fantasy novels of all time but also possibly one of the greatest novels in any genre.

According to Wikipedia, the book was printed in three sections from 1954 to 1956, dubbed The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers and The Return of the King for economic reasons. However, since then it has been published as one book as Tolkien originally intended multiple times and also as one of, if not the, most successful movie trilogy of all time in the noughties. Therefore, when I put a poll out on my Instagram as to whether I should review The Fellowship of the Ring next or Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, two of the biggest book series there has ever been, there was little surprise that it was quite close. However, The Fellowship of the Ring edged it out, so here we are.

Plot – 5/5

The Fellowship of the Ring begins our journey with The Lord of the Rings. It introduces us to The Hobbits, Frodo Baggins, Gandalf the Grey and many more of the companions who will accompany Frodo on his journey. Without too many spoilers, Frodo is told that he must take the one ring to Mordor and destroy it because some very evil people are looking for it and it will give them immense power. A fairly simple premise that I’m sure you’ll notice, has been slightly replicated in many storylines since. Frodo and his companions then set out on an epic journey that sees them come across plenty of dangers, new cultures, incredible worlds and fascinating people.

The Lord of the Rings series’ general plot is one of the most well-known within pop culture. However, this first book focuses a lot on introductions to new cultures, new races. You see, Hobbits don’t ever leave The Shire, they’re content in their own little world and so never see the need to leave their little hamlet. So when Frodo and his companions leave The Shire and delve out into this world, many of the things they come across they’ve only heard of in legends before.

You can truly see Tolkien’s incredible imagination when it comes to the plot of this first novel. His ability to summon these fully-fledged worlds, to invent these poems, ways of speaking and utterly believable alternative cultures is what makes this book stand the test of time in a genre filled with some of the most imaginative minds in literature.

Characters – 4.5/5

Back in 1953, writing such an in-depth look into fantasy and one that features such a diverse selection of brand new creatures, species and races was a brave move. However, combining Hobbits, wizards, humans, elves and dwarves and making them all become one unit was a real talent. Sometimes you find yourself so lost in the incredible environment Tolkien has placed you in that you forget just how much you’re loving the characters who are in said environment.

Tolkien builds a bond between this “Fellowship”. One that makes you genuinely care for some and one that makes you genuinely dislike others. When betrayal is had, you feel betrayed; when happiness is felt, you smile yourself. Despite possibly not intending it, through the arduous perils this group of heroes goes through, Tolkien has created a band of people that you can’t help but route for throughout this first novel.

Are all of the characters as fully fleshed out as one another? No. Are they all likeable in their own way? No. Some of the characters, especially if you look at this first novel alone are a little weak and you feel will grow as the series goes on. However, based on them in this novel alone, they’re not great. I don’t want to name names as I want you to be able to form your own opinion of each character.

The Fellowship of the Ring summary – 5/5

The Fellowship of the Ring allows you to jump into The Lord of the Rings series without dedicating yourself to over 1,000 pages. This first novel gives you a wonderful taste into what to expect from the rest of the series: incredible world-building, deep cultures, tense plot points and one of the most epic fantasy series of all time.

How does one recommend The Lord of the Rings to anybody? If you’ve not read it, it is likely because you either have no interest in fantasy, have seen the films and don’t feel the need to read the books (you definitely still should) or you have already read it and agree with everybody else that it’s one of the greatest works of fiction ever written. I say read The Fellowship of the Ring – if you don’t like it, then The Lord of the Rings is not for you.

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