Review: The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien (Re-read)

Monday, March 8, 2010


Title: The Fellowship of the Ring
Author: J.R.R. Tolkien
Genre: Epic Fantasy
First Published: 1951
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Source: Personal Copy
Challenges: 100+ Reading Challenge, Gilmore Girls Reading Challenge, Flashback Challenge
458 pages




On the flap
The dark, fearsome Ringwraiths are searching for a hobbit. Frodo Baggins knows they are seeking him and the Ring he bears -- the Ring of Power that will enable evil Sauron to destroy all that is good in Middle-earth. Now it is up to Frodo and his faithful servant, Sam, with a small band of companions, to carry the Ring to the one place it can be destroyed -- Mount Doom, in the very center of Sauron's dark kingdom.

I am a little late getting this review set up, but better late than never! I read this book as part of the LOTR Read-Along, that is hosted @ A Striped Armchair, The Literary Omnivore, Shelf Love, and Just Add Books. I didn't get the mid-of-the-month post up, so I'll be mixing questions from the post with this review.

My opinion
Read about my expectations going into this book.

I can't stop exclaiming how much I love this series. No matter how many times I read this one, I still laugh at Pippin's self-important jokes and Sam's insistence on being by his master, even when he is not invited. Moreover, this book is not shrouded by the darkness that creep in, in the remaining two books, so one can be excused if he/she says this is funny!

If you’ve been with us since the beginning, how do you feel about the narrator compared to the narrator in The Hobbit?
This book's narration never once bugged me. I believe that's because this is written for an older audience than The Hobbit was geared towards. Hence, it was easier reading this one, since there were no distractions in the writing that diverted me from the focus of the story.

How’s your pace going? Is it smooth sailing or have you found passages that are difficult to get through?
I didn't find any difficulty weaving through the passages, though once in a while, I was guilty of scanning through a para or two where the skies and the greenery and the beauty of the damsels are described. (In my defense, I sort of already know what the paragraphs are extolling. :-) ) Overall though, my pace was pretty decent without any hitches or bumps!

If you’ve read this series before, is The Fellowship of the Ring, for the most part, as you remembered? If not, is it what you expected or something else? 
The Fellowship of the Ring is as I remembered it, except at one point - the scene at the Ford of Rivendell, where I confused the facts from the book and those shown in the movie. Glorfindel is the elf that rescues the group at the Ford in the book, whereas in the movie, it is Arwen (predictably to avoid introducing too many characters).

Are you using any of the extra features- maps and indexes, for instance- in your book?
I kept perusing the maps at many points. It's a little hard since the maps are part of regular pages in a Paperback, and not like any pull-out posters. I haven't really made much use of the index yet, except to study the Hobbit family tree, which, I should say is so complicated, it's funny that the Hobbits really remember it.

Do Books One and Two have significant differences to you?
I wouldn't really say differences, but I felt the demarcation between the two stronger than when I previously read it. The first part deals with the travel of the group to Rivendell and the various dangers they faced. Book 2 is when most of the characters that become household figures are actually introduced. This is when we get acquainted with the rest of the Fellowship. Moreover, Book One is lighter than Book Two, which marks the beginning of the journey and adventures of the Fellowship.

Who’s your favorite character so far into the novel?
That would be a contest between Pippin and Sam, but I think Pippin would win in the end. His jokes and light-heartedness are a constant delight to read amidst all the gloom. Sam's devotion to his master and his insistence on making Frodo comfortable are very endearing to read. His excitement on meeting the Elves for the first time, was so infectious!

What surprised you the most?
There weren't very many surprises that I came across, other than the realization that Glorfindel rather than Arwen was with the traveling group in the last leg before Rivendell. In addition, I had quite forgotten that Frodo sells his house at Bag End before embarking on his trip.

What was your favorite scene?
This has been a constant over the years - the Council of Elrond. I like how the different characters come together to explain their role in the story so far, and how Bilbo cheekily agrees to be the Ring-bearer! But what I like the most is the pages and pages of intense and fluid discussion among the characters, each person's nature very evident in their analyses and beliefs and also in their stance throughout. Even in the movie, this remains my favorite scene!

What did you think?
Have you read this book? I'd like to know what you thought about it. Please leave your review link in the comments, or a brief opinion, if you hadn't reviewed it.

Did you like it or you didn't?

9 comments:

Emidy said...

I haven't read this series! But I've seen the movies, of course. They were good, but I'm sure the books are even better.

Emidy
from Une Parole

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

I need to read this. Thanks for the review.

Aths said...

Emidy, the books are fabulous! I agree!

Juju, you should read this sometime!

dolcebellezza said...

I hope to be able to join in for The Return of The King. I've read the triology before, lots of times, but with Tolkein? There can never be too many times! I just ran out of hours in my day for Fellowship and Towers, but you inspired me to at least try for the last one.

Aths said...

dolcebellezza, ditto on that! With Tolkien, there is never too many times!! I sure hope you join us on The Return of the King!

Rachel said...

I am working my way through this series for the first time with my kids. I feel so slow-witted because the map/topological discussions really fry my brain. I like the plot, but I get hung up on the names/place names.

Aths said...

Rachel, haha, that definitely happened to me the first time too. But I loved having to look at the maps, I would try to imagine that I was physically present there too. :)

Lisa said...

I've never read any of this series but had to sit through the movies when my sons watch them. I can't help but think there must be something more to the books but I just can't seem to make myself find out!

Aths said...

Lisa, LOL! I didn't know the big deal over these books either till I watched the movies. Then, I used to be OCD about wanting to read books whose movies I've watched. That's how I got started on this series, and I was hooked. I hope you give it a try some time too. :)