Thursday, August 14, 2014
Book Review: The Lord of the Rings
"J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings trilogy is a genuine masterpiece. The most widely read and influential fantasy epic of all time, it is also quite simply one of the most memorable and beloved tales ever told. Originally published in 1954, The Lord of the Rings set the framework upon which all epic/quest fantasy since has been built. Through the urgings of the enigmatic wizard Gandalf, young hobbit Frodo Baggins embarks on an urgent, incredibly treacherous journey to destroy the One Ring. This ring -- created and then lost by the Dark Lord, Sauron, centuries earlier -- is a weapon of evil, one that Sauron desperately wants returned to him. With the power of the ring once again his own, the Dark Lord will unleash his wrath upon all of Middle-earth. The only way to prevent this horrible fate from becoming reality is to return the Ring to Mordor, the only place it can be destroyed. Unfortunately for our heroes, Mordor is also Sauron's lair. The Lord of the Rings trilogy is essential reading not only for fans of fantasy but for lovers of classic literature as well..."
My Thoughts: I don't even know where to start. This is a story that I had only heard snippets about until I got to college. There, a friend showed me the movies and I fell in love. But no matter how much I loved it I felt like a pretender because I had never read the books. Every once in a while I would think about reading it, but wanted to have enough time to give them my full attention. Well now I did it and I am so glad.
This story covers so many story lines that I could talk for hours about it. Everyone has there favorite characters, their favorite stories, and their favorite moments. For Brett, he loves Boromir but hates Merry and Pippen. He loves the Battle of Helmsdeep, but thinks the Ents are stupid. Going into these books I was pretty traditional, loving Aragorn (check out this pin I found!) and Sam but not really getting the point of some of the other characters, like Denethor in the grander scheme. Now I can honestly say that I have no character I don't like. There are still favorites (I mean how can Aragorn not be at the top of the list?) but some others are stealing the show. I love Eowyn and Faramir, both individually and as their stories come together. I love the relationship between Aragorn and Bilbo, and Aragorn and his fellow Rangers that is removed from the movies. Characters and relationships just get to me.
The thing I think I love the most is Tolkien's writing. The level of skill here just amazes me. He takes so much mythology and folklore, combines it with religion, throws in some complex characters and stories lines, and manages to keep track of everything so nicely that it all gets resolved. There is nothing I appreciate more than an author that can finish a story leaving me satisfied. I finished the end of The Return of the King as I was riding the bus home from work and it was all I could do not to have a visible emotional reaction. I felt the same way I felt after finishing The Counte of Monte Cristo, satisfied by a piece of literature in a way that cements it into a special place in my mind. A piece of literature that will forever be on my bookshelf.