By: J. Marchant
Favorite Chapter: Farewell to Lorien
Favorite Characters: Aragorn, Merry, Galadriel, Legolas, and Boromir
Favorite Moment: The Fellowship receiving gifts in Farewell to Lorien
I’ll start by saying, it’s no secret how avid a fan I am of The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, in both film and book format. If you were to watch the films, then try and read the Tolkein version of the story, the first thing you are going to notice is how much information is immediately thrown at you. In chapters such as Concerning Hobbits and Concerning Pipeweed, it almost feels like a dictionary for hobbits in the world of Middle Earth. It’s not exciting or busy in the strictess of senses, but engaged me none the less. The world Tolkein creates is so detailed and intricate, it’s hard not to imagine the world exactly as he creates it. Again, as you know, I am quite a fan of history and how things came to be what they are today, which is why the journey of The Lord of the Rings intrigues me. On first read, you won’t catch 75% of the information the author presents you, as there is a lot to intake, but you will get a sense of the magic within Middle Earth, not only the wizardry magic one might see from the character of Gandalf, but also the magic in each of the characters, their backgrounds, race, homes, how they live, what they live for, etc. It’s pure genius and always stays close to my heart. Another thing that could bog ones mind is the sheer amount of characters this book presents. Excluding the nine members of the Fellowship, characters come and go as our heroes travel this journey and though each one doesn’t get quite the treatment Frodo or Aragorn receive, their is beauty to be taken from the role in the book. Examples of this include Glorfindel in his courageous Flight to the Fjord or Haldir, proud elf of Lothlorien, even Arwen, of whom is barely mentioned in book one, yet is widely expanded through the tale of her anscestor Luthien. While some of the characters will be expanded on in both The Two Towers and The Return of the King (including its appendices), I enjoy hearing these small tales and revelling in these small characters who, though don’t inspire a great deal of reading time, play an integral part of our companions journey, and help our Fellowship both physically as well as shape the characters they are to become in the end.
Though I have rattled on about what some find as negatives of the book, let’s get into why this trilogy is a classic. Journey, journey, journey… There are so many physical and mental journeys that take place within The Lord of the Rings, it’s hard not to fall completely in love with one of our main troop. Frodo is a tricky character of whom I quite enjoy in the book, but really dislike in the film adaptations. The Frodo we come to know in the book is much more heroic and strong, while I agree with the decisions made in the film to give other characters (ie Arwen in Flight to the Fjord) a bigger or more pivotal role, it’s hard to see Frodo shown in a weaker light. In this, I have come to love both versions for what they are, two completely different mediums from two completely different peoples vision. Many have trouble with this, separating films and books, while I have been disappointed with retellings in the past, I was extremely pleased with both verisons. Sam is a character who I think the exact opposite of, in the film he shines as the friend, protector, and life force of Frodo, while the book one only slightly touches on these aspects of the character. Again, we will see much more from Sam in books two and three, but it’s still hard not to picture that courageous hobbit we all love from Peter Jackson. Merry and Pippin are more pivotal in the books, while remaining a bit of a comedic relief at times, mostly referring to Pippin. I love how proud and upright the character of Merry is in Fellowship, he seemed the most regal of the group, which really drew me to his character.
In getting to the human members of the fellowship, I really enjoyed both the characters of Aragorn and Boromir. The latter is especially exaggerated in the film as far as his treachorous nature. While I know this makes for a much more exciting story, it’s hard to see his character fall suit to one bad aspect. I love Sean Bean and his character in the film, he played the vulnerability and intensity quite well, I just love the nobility in his character. Aragorn is as steadfast in the films as he is in the original material. He is strong, proud, yet unwilling to accept his destiny. I really enjoy his journey most of all, to see someone struggle and fight tooth and nail (figuritively speaking) to remain no more than what he is, a ranger in love with an elf, yet completely dive into this fellowship when Middle Earth needs him most of all. His songs of Arwen’s anscestors fortelling their fate, should she choose it, I find consistently beautiful. This idea that someone would give up everything, their family, their immortality, for one thing.. love, it’s epic in every sense of the word. I was extremely excited to see this aspect of the story expanded upon in the Jackson’s Fellowship.
That leaves us with the wizard, the elf, and a very proud dwarf. Gandalf is just that, Gandalf. He is the driving force of the story and literally gives all for the destruction of the ring. It killed me to see him fall in Khazad-dum, but was equally as heartfelt to see his return in book two. Legolas to me is intriguing and stands out because he is the elf in which we delve the deepest. We again don’t go far into his history or his motivations for helping Frodo, but it’s those elvish qualities that keep me interested. He is again a very noble and strong character, to see him walk across the misty mountains as the rest of the fellowship have been drenched in snow is extremely fascinating. His eye sight, speed, nimble qualities, immortality all peak my interest and really help me pay close attention to his characters information. It does have a lot to do with the race I find intriguing, but also his unlikely friendship with Gimli. Two characters, sans the ring, would have went on hating one another for centuries. This is their journey, to realize that no one race or species is better than another, each has their good qualities as well as their flaws, it is people who make themselves good or bad. I love Gimli blindfolded in the Lorien and his one request to Galadriel. A dwarf, who would ask not for treasure, but for one strand of hair from the woman he believes to be the fairest of Middle Earth. I think it’s great to see the hints at their relationship beyond the book. It mentions them riding together or going off alone quite a bit towards the end, though it doesn’t go into detail on what is said or done, the readers are offered enough information to gather their own thoughts.
Last, but certainly not least, is my man Tom Bombadil, stealth bad ass as I like to call him. I completely agree with this character being left out of the movies, frankly he had no place and would have slowed down the story of an already long movie, BUT I have to admit I love his portions of the book.
As chapters go, while I really enjoy the early stuff with the hobbits I think once we hit Bree and get into a Knife in the Dark and Flight to the Fjord the story really takes off. The Council of Elrond and Many Meetings are two absolute favorites and truly show how epic the story of this series is. I mean the sheer amount of important characters met in these two chapters is astonishing! Of course the chapters with the fellowship confined in Moria are heart wrenching and captivating, fighting goblins, losing Gandalf, just another set of impeccably written chapters. For some reason though, the chapters of Lothlorien to Farewell are my absolute favorite, something about these characters really settling into themselves and pushing to this safe haven really captivate my attention. The character of Galadriel is important, though not hugely talked about throughout the books and I feel one of the weakest of the film. CATE BLANCHETT as the most beautiful woman of Middle Earth??? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?? BUT anywhoo, I really enjoy the characters and stories within these chapters, there is something safe about them, for the characters and myself as I read this journey and I always come back to them. Farewell to Lorien is probably my absolute one favorite chapter and to see it in the extended edition of the film is just another reason why that version of Fellowship is my absolute favorite of the film series. The final two chapters serve as a nice set up for book 2 and I can’t wait for you to read it!
Alright, alright, I have babbled more than enough. I love it!
Book Rating: 9.5/10