“Three Rings for the Elven-Kings under the sky, Seven for the Dwarf-Lords in their halls of stone, Nine for the Mortal Men doomed to die, One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne, In the Land of Mordor where the shadows lie, One ring to rule them all, one ring to find them One ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.In the Land of Mordor where the shadows lie.”
The Fellowship of the Ring is the first volume of J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic novel The Lord of the Rings. Most of us already know the story thanks to the big screen adaptation that came out fifteen years ago, but just in case there’s anyone here who has actively avoided it, here is a short summary:
It is on Bilbo Baggins’ 111th birthday that everything changes for his nephew Frodo. Bilbo has thrown a party and magically disappeared after giving a speech; he’s ready for another adventure. His house and all its contents, he leaves to Frodo, but among his belongings there is a mysterious ring. It is only after intensive research that Gandalf the wizard discovers that it is the One Ring that belonged to the Dark Lord, Sauron. It cannot stay in the Shire, for Sauron’s forces have gathered together to take over Middle-Earth, and it is now up to Frodo and his friends to embark on a long journey to decide what to do with the ring and, if necessary, destroy it once and for all.
Home is behind, the world ahead, And there are many paths to tread Through shadows to the edge of night, Until the stars are all alight.
This is a long book. And I don’t mean long as in it-has-a-lot-of-pages-long. I mean, the story feels like it goes on and on for days. The characters start walking and it rains, but they don’t stop walking, and it snows, but they don’t stop walking, and then they get to the house of someone, and they stay there for a few days, and then they start walking again. And I must say I love that. You see, this book takes you on the journey. Tolkien’s narration and descriptions are so detailed and so vivid, that you actually feel like you’re part of the group. You’re in the middle of the forest, right there next to Frodo, Sam, Merry and Pippin; you visit old Tom Bombadil and eat at his table (he’s a lovely character who didn’t make it to the movies); you sit there and listen to the Elven stories, and you know that the journey’s just begun.
“So do all who live to see such ties. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
My undying love for Tolkien is no secret. Even if I haven’t read all his works, yet, my reviews of The Silmarillion and The Hobbit make it clear why I think his books are so relevant. And this book is no different: Dark times are coming, yes. But there will always be small, ordinary people, willing to leave their homes and fight for what is right.