J.R.R. Tolkien's The Fellowship of the Ring is the first novel of the three-part masterpiece, The Lord of The Rings.
I once read, from somewhere I can't seem to remember, that "the English speaking world is divided in two -- those who have read The Lord of the Rings and those who will read the Lord of the Rings," or some rendition of that.
I find this quote interesting because it applied so perfectly to me. I spent over 20 full years without knowing anything about the books, save their existence, and now -- now it's all I can think about.
The Fellowship of the Ring is geared towards a mature audience. Tolkien's way with words is lurid and astounding. The wordsmith is able to captivate his readers with the most vivid descriptions imaginable. Never before have I been so engaged in a story.
Let's talk about why.
The epic begins with Bilbo Baggins, the loveable furry-footed protagonist of Tolkien's The Hobbit, retiring from his normal life. Bilbo, thirsty for adventure after many years of mediocrity, leaves the Shire in hopes of satisfying this thirst.
Prior to his departure, Bilbo speaks with his long-time friend and colleague, Gandalf the Grey. As you will remember (if you've read The Hobbit), Bilbo stumbled across a ring of great power on his journey through the Misty Mountains.
Well, Gandalf, being suspicious of the ring, urges Bilbo to leave it behind as well. Bilbo reluctantly agrees.
The ring is then left to Bilbo's heir and nephew, Frodo Baggins -- and here we have our new hero.
After many years had passed, Gandalf had completed some research about Frodo's ring and rushed to the Shire to identify it. Just as he suspected -- Frodo's ring was of the primary ring of magic that once belonged to an ancient and dark warlord known as Sauron.
Sauron assembles dark forces in an attempt to take back the ring. Middle-Earth is geared for war.
Frodo and three other hobbits (Sam, Pippin and Merry), try to distract this new evil from learning about the Shire and, like Bilbo, leave their peaceful homeland behind.
The company is scouted, followed and harassed by a group of nine dark riders.
Seeking refuge at an inn, the meet a man named Strider. Strider joins their company and offers guidance, protection and wisdom.
The company ventures forth -- up mountains, through the mines of Moria and across great forests.
Eventually, they meet Elrond, a high-elf with council over many leagues. With Elrond's instruction, they form the fellowship.
The fellowship consists of Frodo, Sam, Pippin, Merry, Gandalf, Strider, Boromir, Legolas and Gimli.
These nine heroes travel far, in hopes of reaching the Cracks of Doom in Mordor, where they can destroy the ring once and for all.
I am not going to ruin any surprises for you, but let's just say that the fellowship faces many obstacles throughout their journey, making the book an addicting read.
This story does have a lot of downtime, however, it never loses it's grasp of the reader. I one hundred per cent recommend this book to any and all.
So, which part of the division are you? The part that has read or the part that will read?
Look forward to a review of the next book in the series, The Two Towers, in the coming weeks.