The Fellowship of The Ring Review

This is the first time that I have read this book, but since I've seen screen adaptations many times it felt like the first time you visit a friend's house. I felt like I was reuniting with old friends and still learning new things about them. I heard stories that I had not heard that brought more respect and love for these characters that I have long enjoyed.

I thoroughly enjoyed each chapter of this adventure. I appreciate that this story is lead first with heart of the characters and secondarily to serve the plot of the War for the One Ring.

Reading The Fellowship of the Ring I feel connected to all who have traveled those paths with the Company over the years. I have a new respect for the history behind this story and saw a number of new allusions to sci-fi works that followed this and was obviously influenced by the story that Tolkien was telling.

The Fellowship of the Ring tells the story of Frodo's inheritance of the One Ring and the beginning of his quest to destroy it. The relationships between those in the company are so telling though. Not only do you have the story of the burden of power and especially how power corrupts the hearts of men, but you see the stories of how individuals from waring races can become close friends. But the story that always touches my heart is the love and friendship between Sam and Frodo.

At the end of the story, it is Sam who really sees Frodo and understand his struggle. Without Sam, Frodo would have easily been able to evade the rest of the Company and slip away towards Mordor, but instead Sam refuses to abandon his friend.To me, this is such a beautiful depiction of what true friendship looks like: Frodo's desire to shield his friends from having to share the burden he carries and Sam's way of seeing that and still choosing to support his friend rather than protect himself.

Outside of the characters that touch my heart, there is much to be celebrated and from which to learn when it comes to reading Tolkien. There are subtle moments in Moria where Aragorn foreshadows Gandalf's fall. The epic world building of this vast land in unparalleled. Each chapter reads as it's own story of this epic journey. The book explores each of the cultures and worlds of each race through Middle Earth, at times the exposition and history can be a bit overwhelming. Exploring the dark depths of Moria or the beauty of Lórien would be one setting and culture enough for many books, but Fellowship includes those and many more. I expect to find that this is the weakest of the trilogy given the effort that Tolkien goes to to educate readers about the long history and culture of all the different people of Middle Earth.

The fact that each chapter sort of acts like it's own mini-story makes the pacing the book feel a bit odd. There is much time spent in the Shire enjoying the years after Bilbo's birthday party. Although I enjoyed the story of Bombadil, I'm not convinced it adds more to the story other than explaining that there are still some unexplainable things in this world that Tolkien is building. The fact that the real climax of this story is the crossing the bridge to Moria seems confusing when you realize there is still much story to follow that. It's surprising that little is done to lay the ground work for the future stories to come, other than the understanding that the Company will split and some will head towards Minas Tirith. But truly this is the story of the Company of how this diverse crew came together on this quest, how they forged friendship against all odds, how they each struggled against the power of The One Ring and ultimately how they fell apart.

Overall, this is a story that will live in my heart forever. I don't know when, but I'm confident I will once again tread this tough roads with the Company. There were a few weaknesses and slow points, but it's a classic for a reason.


Science Fiction Fantasy
Young Adult