Everyone (or maybe just me!) has exceptions to personality traits. Some people may be introverted, except when they are playing a musical instrument. Some may lack interest in learning, except when the topic is History. I wouldn’t usually say I am too stubborn when it comes to reading, I love learning about a large range of topics and I love a good story – EXCEPT, when it comes to Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings. I made a decision from a very young age that I was not interested, and I would NOT read these books.
Well, here I am writing a Lord of the Rings book review, which shows just how time changes. Personally, I think that is exactly what has changed – time. I wouldn’t say I am a changed person because I took the leap and read this book, I still refuse to read or watch Harry Potter because, to be honest, I have no interest in doing so. The only reason I began reading the Lord of the Rings is that times changed, and I had Jack forcing me. Now I am finished them, I am grateful that Jack made me do so because I was missing out on Tolkien’s story that is so different from anything I had read before.
So – what have I learnt from this experience of, I guess some could say, reading out of my comfort zone? I feel like now I have conquered the ‘stupidly large book’ that I used to see in the library and in shops, and the journey saw me so deeply invested in the story of the Company, I am willing to open my mind to reading out of my comfort zone. I will not read Harry Potter, but I am willing to read further than my stereotypical genre and I am looking forward to doing so.
Without further ado, my friends, whether you want to know whether you should start this adventure into Lord of the Rings (this post contains SPOILERS so continue with caution); whether you have watched the films and wonder whether to invest the time into reading the books; or if you are just keen to know my thoughts – here is:
The Lord of the Rings: A Book Review (The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers and The Return of the King)
I began ‘The Fellowship of the Ring’ with no background knowledge, except that there was a ring, Hobbits and that Gandalf said, ‘YOU SHALL NOT PASS!’. Therefore, I spent some time reading the information Tolkien had left on what a hobbit is etc…, at the beginning of the book. I will admit I made it a fair way through, although I got bored and skipped most of it – not what I would call a good start.
Bilbo was always the character to me, maybe I will need to go back and read ‘The Hobbit’, that I never seemed to get much of an opinion of. This may be because his main part was at the beginning, and I was still having a mental battle with myself to read the book. To be truthful, for a character that is so involved in the comings of this story, his involvement was little and, therefore, I wanted to write this little paragraph on him because I don’t think he will appear very much further on!
Entering this world, with no prior knowledge, can at times be quite overwhelming although nothing little than impressive. Tolkien really did think of everything, from languages, a calendar to the history and maps. This, along with the descriptions, (that at times were a little heavy for me) allowed you to enter this world as if it was your own and helped you to invest in the happenings of it. Once I finished ‘The Return of the King’, I was sat there a bit shocked that it was over and that I had nothing left to read, I turned to the appendix to discover the journey was not yet over! If you have watched the films, (Jack) and are looking for a reason to read the books, (Jack) then the appendix is a perfect reason. The fact that after writing Tolkien made the decision to keep the story going through the appendix is something I haven’t before experienced throughout my reading years, and I am very impressed. He tied those loose ends, I know what happens to each of the members of the Company and it left me feeling content.
Now, I’m fairly sure from the reaction Jack (who has only watched the films) gave me when I told him I had just met Strider, that he must be quite physically impressive in the films. I was shocked about the role this dark hooded man was about to play in the rest of the story, I assumed from the beginning that he would end up being their downfall later. However, Strider quickly became Aragorn and he quickly became someone VERY important in the story of The Lord of the Rings. Although, his, almost ‘magical’, powers nearing the end of The Return of the King was questioned by me, and I was slightly confused how he suddenly had this capability. Shouldn’t it have been used on Boromir!?
The fact that Jack told me that Sean Bean played Boromir in the films should have given away what was bound to happen, yet I was still as shocked as I remained to be when one of the Company died, when Boromir passed from an Orc attack. I believe he is the only member of the Company that actually dies in battle. SPEAKING OF WHICH…
I was nearly in tears when Pippin was crushed, at the battle on the Slag-hills, and he just suddenly DIES. I was like WHAT and ran straight to my mum who was like ‘I was waiting for that to happen’. So, I surely thought he was really gone and I was so disappointed.
In The Return of the Kings, Pippin and Merry both suddenly meet with Kings who highly appoint them. I quite liked the fact that
I LOVED SMEAGOL. I really, REALLY, wished that Smeagol stayed Smeagol and didn’t go back to Gollum. I truly thought he was going to play a large and positive part, and I guess I got half of that right. I will admit that I was surprised when Gollum betrays Sam and Frodo, with his partnership with Shelob. (who I am still like ‘what the hell’ at) I also did NOT expect Gollum to come in at the end and be like ‘WHAT’S UP’. I was so invested in the story and shocked that Frodo had acted in such a way that everything seemed to happen so fast and suddenly BAM everything is over. So I was half right, although I still wish I had the other part right too.
Another unexpected move, which full props to Tolkien, is the perspective of Frodo and Sam’s adventure to turn to Sam. I LOVED this and you really get to see the way Sam goes from ‘Frodo’s partner’ to ‘Sam-wise’ a hobbit great on his own account. The battle between his purpose and his master is interesting and from this
Whilst making your way through The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers and The Return of the King, you forget the sense of time and how much time actually passes. You don’t respect the amount of time that these characters spent walking, which is A LOT. Once again, reading the appendix allowed me to appreciate this more.
Before I move to the closing of the adventure for Company, I feel like I need to address the role of Gandalf. Firstly, what a guy – not even death can stop him! I was sceptical when he fell into the darkness, during The Fellowship of the Ring, however, I did not expect the whole ‘Gandalf the Grey’ to become ‘Gandalf the White’! You never seem to learn very much about Gandalf, but his importance arises from his great actions.
Now, the end of the story. I was NOT, from early stages, expecting Frodo, Sam-wise, Merry and Pippin to return to the Shire in such a state. There was, however, a hint when they passed Saruman on their journey home. We also start seeing that Frodo is not going to heal back to his older self, and his shoulder injury begins to take hold of him. The Shire is a fine end to the adventure and successfully set the scene for the future of the hobbits. I will say it again, READ THE APPENDIX, it has information on, for example, how Sam becomes the Mayor of the Shire 7 times! You go
Now, this review has mainly consisted of what I enjoyed about The Lord of the Rings, which I will say is a lot. Something I did not like, potentially due to not really truly understanding, is how Bilbo and Frodo choose to pass over to the ‘Grey Havens’ with the Three Keepers. Maybe it might be useful if someone explains it to me, however, I can’t seem to gage the situation very well. I understand that it is them ‘passing’, and at least Bilbo reached his 130th birthday and beat Old Nook, but I with myself like how it happened. Maybe I remain in denial that the characters slowly one by one passed into the ‘Grey Havens’ instead of surviving forever in my head. If anyone wants to explain the details – feel free!
And there we have it. It may not be in the style of a typical book review, but then again, The Lord of the Rings is no typical story. It feels like there was a place in my world for this story, and it has now been filled. I wasn’t sad that I had finished, as Tolkien did such a great job of dealing with loose ends. I wasn’t left on a cliff-hanger like many authors choose to do, I was left content and happy that Jack had forced The Fellowship of the Ring on me.
No, I don’t want to watch the Lord of the Rings films. I have an idea, in my head, of what everything and everyone looks like. I don’t really want to ruin that. However, Jack is quite keen on me Bilbo was, so I cracked him a deal. He reads a book, we watch the film. Considering I don’t think Jack has read a book since he was about 12, I think the images I have developed from Tolkien’s writing will stay with me for a while.
I hope you enjoyed reading my review and opinions on the adventure of The Lord of the Rings, and please feel free to leave any of yours below in a comment. I haven’t written anything like this before, but as I said previously, The Lord of the Rings isn’t like anything I have ever read before – and probably never will be.
Till next time my friends!