"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.
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
"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.