The Fellowship of the Ring, Book 1 #LotRreadalong
My LotR Background. My dad loves all things Tolkien and Middle Earth related. He read us The Hobbit and parts of The Lord of the Rings when we were kids. I have read The Hobbit independently numerous times, but I have never read The Lord of the Rings. I have, though, seen the LotR movies lots of times. (I have seen the first two Hobbit movies too.)
My Reading Process So Far. I read a little in my print book, but mostly I switched back and forth from an Audible audio book and a Kindle ebook due to the magic thing called Whispersync technology. I have not been sold on this before, but I am now! I think listening to the audio has increased my appreciation for the songs (they’re sung by the narrator).
My Thoughts on Book 1. I have had a lovely time reading through these adventures in the first half of The Fellowship of the Ring. I have over 50 quotes highlighted, so I thought I’d post a few of my favorites with a little commentary from time to time.
At that time Frodo was still in his tweens, as the hobbits called the irresponsible twenties between childhood and coming of age at thirty-three.
Tolkien coined the term “tweens”! It makes so much more sense in this context.
He wore a tall pointed blue hat, a long grey cloak, and a silver scarf. He had a long white beard and bushy eyebrows that stuck out beyond the brim of his hat.
Oh Gandalf. Was anyone else disappointed that not only did the book not include the “a wizard arrives precisely when he means to” quote but also that it seems to not be an accurate quote at all?
The next day more carts rolled up the Hill, and still more carts. There might have been some grumbling about ‘dealing locally’, but that very week orders began to pour out of Bag End for every kind of provision, commodity, or luxury that could be obtained in Hobbiton or Bywater or anywhere in the neighbourhood.
Did Tolkien invent the “buy locally” campaign too?
‘The ring!’ exclaimed Frodo. ‘Has he left me that? I wonder why. Still, it may be useful.’ ‘It may, and it may not,’ said Gandalf. ‘I should not make use of it, if I were you. But keep it secret, and keep it safe! Now I am going to bed.’
Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky,
Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,
Nine for 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.
‘This is the Master-ring, the One Ring to rule them all. This is the One Ring that he lost many ages ago, to the great weakening of his power. He greatly desires it – but he must not get it.’
So much exposition and set up comes in this first book, particularly in the scene where Gandalf explains things to Frodo.
‘I wish it need not have happened in my time,’ said Frodo. ‘So do I,’ said Gandalf, ‘and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.
‘Deserves it! I daresay he does. Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends.
Mr. Frodo was selling Bag End, indeed he had already sold it – to the Sackville-Bagginses!
No no no. Please tell me that he gets it back at the end. Please.
‘But it is not your own Shire,’ said Gildor. ‘Others dwelt here before hobbits were; and others will dwell here again when hobbits are no more. The wide world is all about you: you can fence yourselves in, but you cannot for ever fence it out.’
‘But where shall I find courage?’ asked Frodo. ‘That is what I chiefly need.’ ‘Courage is found in unlikely places,’ said Gildor. ‘Be of good hope!
You must go – and therefore we must, too.
I really love that we get a more serious look at the good friends that are Merry and Pippin. They watched, they planned, and they were there when Frodo needed them. Those hobbits.
‘Who are you, Master?’ he asked. ‘Eh, what?’ said Tom sitting up, and his eyes glinting in the gloom. ‘Don’t you know my name yet? That’s the only answer. Tell me, who are you, alone, yourself and nameless? But you are young and I am old. Eldest, that’s what I am. Mark my words, my friends: Tom was here before the river and the trees; Tom remembers the first raindrop and the first acorn. He made paths before the Big People, and saw the little People arriving. He was here before the Kings and the graves and the Barrow-wights. When the Elves passed westward, Tom was here already, before the seas were bent. He knew the dark under the stars when it was fearless – before the Dark Lord came from Outside.’
I, for one, am apparently a bit of a fan of the Tom Bombadil. I think I’ve heard so much complaining about him my whole life that actually encountering him on the page was far less annoying than I anticipated. Also, I listened to a fair bit of the section, and the narrator did a lovely job with his voice and songs.
All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.
‘I am Aragorn son of Arathorn; and if by life or death I can save you, I will.’
There’s a reason Aragorn is my favorite character in all of the story. So good.
ANSWERS TO DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
1. Is this your first time reading or a re-read? What do you think so far?
First time straight through. I’m liking it quite a bit.
2. Jenni hates the songs, I love them. How do you feel about them?
I don’t particularly enjoy reading them, but I have enjoyed listening to them.
3. The Hobbits live a simple and peaceful life. Tolkien considered himself a hobbit. How about you? Do you relate to the hobbits, or would you be another race?
I don’t really relate. While Frodo and crew are honorable and courageous, as a whole group the hobbits seem a little cloistered, closed-minded, and willfully ignorant of the world around them.
4. What are some differences between the movie and book that you like?
As to changes made in the movie I like? I guess I like that they sped through this book 1. The wanderings of the hobbits work in the book but are not worth a page-by-page replay in the movie. Ooh! And I like that the movie pretends that the whole Frodo-stupidly-sold-Bag-End-to-the-Sackville-Bagginses thing never happened.
5. What are some differences you hate?
Again, as to changes made in the movie I hate? I don’t like the changes the movie made to the characters of Merry and Pippin. They are basically just comic relief in the movies.
6. Why do you think the ring didn’t work on Tom Bombadil?
I think it’s because he is older than it.
7. How do you feel about Frodo selling Bag End, especially to the Sackville-Bagginses?
No no no no no no no no no.
8. What do you think about Tolkien’s writing style?
I like it. I like how he can instill tension just by throwing in little hints of disaster to come.
9. Do you picture the actors from the movie in your head, or do you picture your own characters?
Definitely the actors from the movie. See pictures above.
10. Jenni wanted me to ask about Tom Bombadil. She hates him, I enjoy him. How do you feel about him?
See above. I’m apparently a fan.