Book I – Chapter I-XI
Author: J.R.R. Tolkien
Genre: Fantasy Fiction
Synopsis: The Lord of the Rings is a story about the battle between good and evil, and the courage and fortitude of the people who choose to rise above their circumstances and fight for love, freedom and peace. It is set in Middle Earth, and it begins in the Shire. Bilbo Baggins, a respected and intriguing hobbit is leaving the town for good, and entrusts his nephew, Frodo Baggins, with his most prized possession – a ring. It soon comes to his knowledge, with the help of Gandalf the Grey, that the ring is no ordinary ring but the Ruling Ring of Power, created by Sauron to establish his reign over all of Middle Earth. It is now up to Frodo and the Fellowship to travel to Mount Doom and destroy the One Ring.
Pursued by the Nazgûl, Frodo and his companions (Sam, Pippin and Merry) make their way to Rivendell to seek the counsel of Elrond. Initially supposed to make their way with Gandalf, the hobbits begin the journey on their own when he fails to show. On their way, they are assisted by Tom Bombadil, and later on make the acquaintance of ‘Strider’, Gandalf’s associate who guides them through the town of Bree. He protects them from the attack the Nazgûl make on them at the Prancing Pony (an inn in Bree where the hobbits were supposed to meet Gandalf), and then becomes their guide, taking them to Rivendell. However, the company is assaulted on Weathertop, with the leader of the Ring-wraiths leaving Frodo with what could be a fatal wound.
Book II – Chapter I-X
Synopsis: Frodo, having been rescued by Lady Arwen and healed by Lord Elrond, recovers in Rivendell. Strider follows with the rest of the company. Elrond is hosting a Council, with representatives from all of Middle Earth coming to discuss the growing threat of Sauron’s power. It is revealed at the Council that the One Ring is intact, in Frodo’s possession and needs to be destroyed: it is the only way Sauron can be defeated. Nine individuals vow to protect Frodo and help him destroy the Ring. The Fellowship is formed, with a representative of each of the races of Middle Earth – Frodo, Sam, Peregrin, Meriadoc, Aragorn, Gandalf, Gimli, Legolas and Boromir. They make their way across, encountering the mines of Moria, the forests of Lothlórien, and significant loss – losing Gandalf to the Balrog at the bridge of Khazad-dûm.
As they leave the forests of Lothlórien, they are assaulted by an army of Orcs. The company loses another one its members, and is split up. Frodo and Sam break off from the group and make their way to Mordor. The rest of the company make their way in separate directions, all with one goal – to amass armies to take on Sauron and help Frodo and Sam destroy the Ring.
Recommendation: The Lord of the Rings is a long read but well worth the time invested. It is incredibly detailed and indeed a labour of love. The characters are fully fleshed out and there are multiple plot-lines all of which converge at a singular point. Tolkien’s description of the world and his attention to detail with regards to not just character development but also the Elven language is remarkable. and helps paint a vivid and exact picture of the events of the book in your mind. It’s a marvelous and breath-taking literary accomplishment that should be read by all.