Title: The Fellowship of the Ring
Author: J. R. R. Tolkien
Page Count/Review Word Count: 566
The Fellowship of the Ring is where it all began, at least when it comes to the Lord of the Rings trilogy – The Hobbit is actually the perfect introduction to Tolkien’s work, but Fellowship is where it all kicks off for real. Now, I usually try to avoid going into the story line too much, because I don’t want to accidentally spoil it for you, but I have 566 words to fill and so it can’t hurt to quickly touch on it.
Basically, in this book, the fellowship is formed and a party of adventurers sets out to destroy the One Ring, a magical ring that renders its wearer invisible but which comes with all sorts of adverse side effects. Along their way, they have to deal with everything from goblins to Balrogs, and suffice to say that whilst there are plenty of friendly faces along the way, they also have their fair share of enemies, some of which (like the Nazgul) have supernatural powers that it’s difficult to face.
The Fellowship of the Ring is notable, in fact, because it’s really the only book in the trilogy which focuses on an individual party – in The Two Towers, they get separated, and in The Return of the King, we mostly see large-scale warfare. It’s an interesting approach, but I’ve always been a fan of party-based fantasy novels in particular, which is probably why I prefer The Fellowship of the Ring to any of Tolkien’s other works, at least in this series.
Tolkien has a way with words which is simultaneously incredible and infuriating – he can often be difficult to understand, because at an intellectual level, it’s often difficult just to process the sentences. Take my advice and stick with it – it’s worth it. If necessary, think about breaking up your reading by doing 50-100 pages at a time and then switching out to another book. I didn’t have to do that for Fellowship because I loved it, but I did resort to it before I reached the end of the trilogy.
Despite the difficulty that it poses to some readers, it’s still worth sticking with this and getting through it – it’s an iconic piece of literature, and one which will be enjoyed for generations to come. By not reading it, you’re missing out on a piece of our shared culture, and that would be a shame – The Fellowship of the Ring, and its sequels, are so iconic that they spawned a new generation of writers, including a certain George R. R. Martin.
You see, nobody else can write like Tolkien – in fact, his style is so unique to him that I’m pretty sure I could recognise a sample of his writing even if the character names and any other identifiable information was erased from it and it was compared to some work by his contemporaries, and his imitators. He’s such a badass that writing an incredible trilogy just wasn’t enough – he also had to create languages, histories and timelines for the entire world that he’d created. Somehow, just knowing that that background information is there and that you can read more about if you want to ends up making the whole book feel much more realistic, if fantasy can be realistic.