All that is gold does not glitter, Not all those who wander are lost; The old that is strong does not wither, Deep roots are not reached by the frost. From the ashes a fire shall be woken, A light from the shadows shall spring; Renewed shall be blade that was broken, The crownless again shall be king.
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all and in the Darkness bind them
The Fellowship of the Ring/Lord of the Rings has been on my reading list for years of my life. Thanks to the Time’s Best 100 YA reading list I finallllyyy got around to starting the series. I do not consider any of Tolkien’s work to be YA, but it appears on Time’s list so someone does. Before starting the series I read The Hobbit and The Silmarillion. You do not have to read both books, but I strongly recommend reading The Hobbit first.
So what happens?
The Fellowship of the Ring picks up some years after The Hobbit. Bilbo returns as the main focus as the narrative shifts from him to Frodo. I cannot praise this exchange enough. I do not think I have read a series were the characters shifted so nicely. I may be bias in my judgement since I read The Hobbit right before starting this book.
In short, Bilbo is ready for retirement and hands of the ring to Frodo after a joint birthday bash. Bilbo struggles to let go of the ring, but manages to do so under the council of Gandalf. It is interesting to see how the ring has effected Bilbo and changed his life compared to the effect the ring has had on Gollum. Gandalf, our wizard friend from The Hobbit, ensures Frodo receives the ring and briefly explains the importance of destroying of the ring.
Frodo then sets out on a quest to destroy the ring with his hobbit friends Sam, Merry, and Pippin. As they start their adventure across Middle Earth it become clear the ring has its own set of dangers that Frodo and his pals did not understand.
By the end of the book, Frodo’s squad has grown and he is accompanied by Aragorn, Boromir, Legolas, Gimli, Merry, Pippin, Sam, and Gandalf. We gain information about the ring, lesser powerful rings, and start to get a sense people of power/knowledge are withholding information and getting antsy. The crew face challenges that they could have never imagined.
I enjoyed The Fellowship of the Ring, though I found it was a little slow. The Fellowship of the Ring is book one in a three book series, so I was not surprised in “the lack of action.” Every event and story told is most definitely laying the groundwork for what is to come.
I enjoyed the growing understanding of “we aren’t in the shire anymore” and the acceptance/acknowledgment of the coming evil. This is something that becomes more developed as the story progresses in The Two Towers and The Return of the King.
The Fellowship of the Ring does not lack in action, singing, or weirdness. After reading book one, I am starting to understand the love for the series and I most definitely appreciate JRRT talent for world building.
I am left with questions about who/what Tom Bombadil is. From my understanding he is the keeper of the old wood in which he and his wife live. He sings often and provides aid to the hobbits as they pass through his land. The interactions with Tom Bombadil are strange, I think there is some lore there I do not understand fully. After reading The Fellowship of the Ring, I feel more inclined to dive deeper in the lore of Tolkien’s universe to fully understand the backstory of “everything.”
If you have been putting off reading this series, do yourself a favor and jump in. You will not be able to gobble down The Fellowship of the Ring in one day, but you can read it in a few sittings. If you enjoy high fantasy books, The Fellowship of the Ring is for you. If you enjoy classical reads and books that have influenced oddles of authors, read The Fellowship of the Ring.
Have you read The Fellowship of the Ring or Lord of the Rings as a whole? Have you read anything similar you recommend?