Monday, December 27, 2010
The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien
The plot, as ninety percent of the population knows, concerns one Frodo Baggins, who inherits a magical trinket only to discover that it is actually the much sought after One Ring belonging to the dark lord Sauron who needs it to complete his master plan of dominion and terror over Middle Earth. He must travel from the idyllic Shire to lands unknown through perils unheard of with friends the likes of which few hobbits could ever have dreamed of- except, of course, for Bilbo, but he is unique among them.
It's refreshing to read the books after having only watched the movies for a while. Though Peter Jackson did well enough (in some areas, surpassing expectation, in others... well, let's just say that I have a friend who created a hit list just so he could put Jackson's name on it...), Tolkien was a master in ways that cannot quite be transcribed onto Blu-Ray. For instance, Elves are seen almost purely in their mystical, otherworldly element, but the laughter, song, and even worldly flaws of the Elves are missed in favor of angelic choir soundtracks and the fading gray of twilight. I (selfishly?) like knowing that they too can do wrong, perhaps explaining my greater love for The Silmarillion with proud, doomed Feanor and his sons, the grasping and greedy Elu Thingol who must have had some redeeming qualities if he had such a wife as Melian the Maia who would leave her home in Valinor to be with him, but also the nobler Beleg, Glorfindel of Gondolin, and Finrod Felagund.
It's hard for me to say more than that about such books, so I apologize if my few remarks give little insight into Fellowship, only I hardly know where to begin. For some, it begins a journey that basically defined the genre of fantasy, for others, it is a plunge into a deep world of symbolism, meaning, and purpose that reflects more than a little of the world around us, and for still others, it's the synthesis of so much legend and myth that it can barely be called the work of one man so much as hundreds. However it is approached, I always find myself traveling a new and unique path with each rereading of this treasured classic.