“The Lord of the Rings” Book


“The Lord of the Rings” is the greatest trilogy, and it immortalized the name of its creator. It consists of three parts: “The Fellowship of the Ring”, “The Two Towers” and “The Return of the King”. The plot is based on the struggle for the Ring of Power, which was forged by Sauron, the Dark Lord, long long ago.

The trilogy is a logical sequence of a no less famous fairy tale by Tolkien “The Hobbit” as well as the second part of the Red Book of Westmarch – the main chronicle of the Third Age of Middle-earth. “The Lord of the Rings” belongs to the genre of an epic, has many plots and a great number of main and secondary characters.

Tolkien had been writing “The Lord of the Rings” for more than 10 years. He wrote the first chapters in 1939 after the success of “The Hobbit”. The trilogy was published first in 1954-1955. In his letter to Carole Batten-Phelps the writer affirms that he wrote “The Lord of the Rings” for his own pleasure as an attempt to create a major work. Tolkien never thought that his fantasy adventure would become so famous worldwide. The writer’s friend, C.S. Lewis, who wrote a review for the first part of “The Lord of the Rings”, didn’t believe the book would be a success either. However, his fears proved groundless.

The epic “The Lord of the Rings” became a real treasure of English Literature of the XX century. All the time critics find new ideas and draw analogies with reality. “The Lord of the Rings” formed the basis of such a literary genre as fantasy – a branch of fiction, which is based on mythological and historical traditions with a grain of magic. It became a so-called Bible for other writers working in this genre.

It was very difficult to link up a fairy-tale “The Hobbit” with a large-scale literary work addressed to a more serious audience. Many characters appear as if by themselves in the trilogy. In a letter to Auden Tolkien stated that he himself together with the Fellowship of the Ring had gone all the way up to Orodruin. We cannot help admiring Tolkien’s careful elaboration of the history of Middle-earth. There are no unnecessary or unimportant characters or geographical areas. Every character plays his/her role in a complicated plot. Middle-earth can be compared with a symmetrical web, in the core of which there is the Ring of Power.

There is an image of the spider in “The Hobbit” as well as in “The Lord of the Rings”. That can be explained because Tolkien was bitten by a tarantula once. Probably, the writer introduced the image of a vile many-legged being from his personal experience. Tolkien himself didn’t like to draw any parallels between his biography and literary works, and considered that it could distract readers attention and in no way gives a better understanding of his books. However, he didn’t deny that some biographical facts were reflected in his books.

The world of “The Lord of the Rings” would have been grey and empty without its peculiarities: languages, legends and history. Some of the readers pay attention to the plot and actions only, and skip interesting poems of the past of Middle-earth. But it is the poems that link up – “The Lord of the Rings” with the events described in “The Silmarillion” and the past of Middle-earth.

“The Lord of the Rings” is not only a tale of enthralling adventures and mythical beings, but it also touches upon some questions of philosophy and morality. Heroic deeds, the unity for the sake of a common cause, true love, the triumph of Good over Evil – all these could be found in the epic. In “The Lord of the Rings” there is no direct indication as to any religion, however, the atmosphere in the book is literally pierced with holiness. Such places are Rivendell and Lorien, which are the strongholds of Good, in contrast Mordor is an abode of Evil. The readers as well as the characters can choose in what to believe, what to worship. It is wrong to say that only fools have gathered under the banner of Evil. The enemy is sly and artful, and only unity, sincerity and kindness can subdue it.

The plot of “The Lord of the Rings” is very dynamic. It seems that Tolkien wanted to introduce as many geographical areas and living-beings as possible. He doesn’t stay too long in one place but leads the reader further and further away. A great aim sets him going – the destruction of the Ring of Power, the result of Evil which promises its owner riches and wealth, in the fire of Orodruin. It cannot be used for good intentions, for the artifact will try to find a soft spot in its owner’s character and bring him/her under its control. A person, strong-willed or completely indifferent to power, can overcome all the obstacles and destroy the Ring. Frodo and Sam turn out to be the ones.

 LOTR book

Every new line in “The Lord of the Rings” arouses anxiety for the fate of Middle-earth. If there were no derivations from the main plot, there would have been felt the heat thousands times greater than from the fire of Orodruin. Tolkien fairly well understood that the reader needed a break from whimsical languages of Middle-earth as well as important events. That is why he skillfully introduces magnificent descriptions of nature and the book is abundant with many interesting dialogues, which help to understand protagonists characters to the full extent.

Hard life in Middle-earth during the War of the Ring reflects hard life in reality. The war mixed all the cards and those who fought under Wight banners yesterday gave in to the generous promises of Evil. And vice verse. Vile and bitter enemies become allies, as it happens with Gollum. While battles take place in Gondor and Rohan, two little hobbits make their way to Orodruin. The reader has to believe that countless armies do not always decide the outcome of the battle, and that one can conquer alone.

Realism is very important in the trilogy. Up to the last minute it is difficult to believe in the traditional Happy End. Frodo and Sam can be compared with rope-walkers who balance over an abyss, full of sharp blades. One step to the side – and everything can perish in the abyss of events. The trilogy is, undoubtedly, full of mythology. In it one can feel the taste of a juicy fruit or coagulated blood on the lips. Even a mighty wizard, Gandalf, moves from one place of Middle-earth to another on a swift horse, and not by fairy teleports or magic spells. Reality, like time, is eternal.

The struggle with different personifications of Evil is eternal too. The War of the Ring is a small part of this struggle. Some critics compare Sauron with Hitler and Mordor with Nazi Germany. Besides, a part of the epic was written during WWII. But Evil has always been and will remain in Middle-earth as well as in real life. The question is – who will be its new followers?

“The Lord of the Rings” teaches us to be humane, to follow the principles of Christianity. Sympathy for enemies determines a lot in the epic. It is both sympathy and humanity that prevent Bilbo from killing Gollum, who played a crucial role in the destroying of the Ring. Good, according to Tolkien, is not revengeful. It strives to get justice and will never shoot an arrow into the back of the Enemy.

We cannot say that everything ends extremely well. Thus, elves leave Middle-earth, for their power perishes with the fall of the three elvish rings. Old wounds won’t leave Frodo in peace. The chain of Evil has split, however, there remains a possibility that a new Sauron will come.

“The Lord of the Rings” has become popular worldwide, and has had many editions and translations. There can’t be a person regarding the epic with utter indifference. Everyone has his/her own thoughts, and feelings towards “The Lord of the Rings”. It seems that despite many critics analysis, “The Lord of the Rings” remains a poorly-lightened corridor with many entries and exits. And if someone is able to make this corridor a bit lighter, that would be a priceless contribution.