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An epic journey
Aug 02, 2004 01:20 PM 2905 Views
(Updated Aug 02, 2004 01:20 PM)



For those who have noticed my MS Id and wondered... yes it is an elvish rendition of my real name Aditi. Now that you are informed you can be of no doubt that the review is slightly biased and definitely complimentary, but I would still urge you to read on without any prejudice.

'The Lord of the Rings' as a brand name has been very successful in the past three years. However, as a book and as literature, the book has been revered for more than 30 years now. In fact it was mandatory high school reading in the United States. What makes LOTR (excuse me.. but it?s easier) a hallmark in English literature??... well... the answer is a mix of many things....

About the book

LOTR is a timeless tale. It has survived two generations and shows no signs of letting up. In fact the interest has now been revived and resurged. The book is a monument to one man's genius. He has created a rich, varied and wonderful universe of his own in these books and has layered it with such infinite care that to wade through the history of middle earth is very akin to wading through our own. All timelines are perfect, all events and characters fit seamlessly in the picture and it is impossible to find too many glitches in either plotline, characterization or event portrayal.

Tolkien uses beautiful language throughout. His prose runs effortlessly through the mind and even his poems and songs form not distractions but integral parts of the story. His descriptions of scenery, of suffering, of simple joy and even of jealousy and rage are so human and simplistic that one can hardly question his deep understanding of all his characters.

While reading the book, one can actually feel the passion gone into writing it. The care and labour gone into constructing plots, characters and dialogue. The book is a hallmark of craftsmanship and great literature.

About the story

LOTR has a simple story. Its strength lies in the fact that it is so stirringly human.

The book is actually a compilation of six separate books segregated under three titles, 'The Fellowship of the Ring', 'The Two Towers' and 'The Return of the King'. The three separate books deserve separate reviews, but due to time and space constraint, this is the best I can do.

Middle Earth, forms the background of this epic story. Tolkien not only creates a new universe but provides information on its creation, mythology, history, races, politics and all the trivia you could possibly ever need. There are many races of people in middle earth. The book however has been written through the eyes of the 'hobbits'. These are small folk, (about 3-4 ft), a lil on the plump side, but very hardy and amazingly gracious in their nature. In the book, there are wizards and kings, elves and dwarves, orcs and evil lords!

LOTR begins in a small place in middle earth called the Shire and starts with the passing on of a very powerful ring to a small, unassuming and extremely sweet hobbit, Frodo Baggins. Gandalf, who is a wizard and a Maia, recognizes the ring for what it really is, the One Ring, which is coveted by Sauron the evil lord, in order to gain power over the entire Middle Earth. all the wise people decide that it is best if this ring is destroyed and the only way to perform that task is to take it to the heart of Sauron's territory and throw it into the very fire where it was cast, in Mount Doom.

Frodo, very courageously takes on the task with the help of his trusted friend Samwise Gamgee.

The book thus becomes an epic journey. With Frodo forming a fellowship with representatives of all races and starting out to Mount Doom. Tolkien relishes recounting the adventure, and on the way, enriches the experience by shedding more light on the ways and customs of Middle Earth.

The book handles all subjects beautifully, there are stirring descriptions of unrequited love, true love, true friendship, kinship, harmony, as well as struggle and fighting for survival. One moment in the book stands out as very tender, at almost the very end, when Frodo and Sam have almost reached mount doom and Frodo is exhausted, Sam understands what it is to truly love a friend, and takes his master on his shoulders and carries him to the very edge. None of the readers can ever forget that.

About the author

Tolkien stands out as a literary genius. People might accuse him of writing too much fantasy and not being rooted in reality, but then again that's the kind of person he was. He was also a linguist, and in the course of this book you will realise that he has actually invented two languages, complete with script and vocabulary.

He apparently undertook this book, because he believed that the British had very little mythology compared to the elaborate and rich stories of the Greeks and the Indians. That's the kind of man he was, eccentric maybe, but a genius.


This is an intimidating book. Very big, about 750+ pages long. Also, the writing style is very different from modern writing. The pace is slow, very slow. Tolkien believes in minute descriptions, which can be frustrating if you prefer faster paced novels. There is no suspense or mystery to the story, (you know the end from the very beginning), this is a simple tale of courage, of love and of friendship. A simple tale of good versus evil.

I do recommend this book very strongly, but only to those with a strong affinity for language, for simple stories, for people who love a good fantasy yarn and are fascinated by mythology.

For the others, I recommend the three movies, Peter Jackson did an amazhing job on them!... but then again, that's another review. Hope you lasted this one. Thanks for the opportunity.


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Lord of the Rings, The - J.R.R. Tolkien