The Fellowship of the Ring, by J.R.R. Tolkien

“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.”

 

The Lord of the Rings trilogy is definitely one of the most discussed, most popular books of all time. With a huge fan base and a wildly successful movie franchise, it is a trilogy I grew up hearing about constantly. However, I never picked it up; its size was intimidating and its hype enormous. But, picking it up is a decision I will never regret.

Tolkien is a very educated man, and it shows. His intelligence, his creativity and his talent shine in his work, in his masterpiece. His writing (at least translated in my native Greek) reminded me a lot of the translations of ancient Greek writers we used to study in school. The structure and the syntax of his sentences and paragraphs bear a certain similarity to these texts and it was a similarity that – once I noticed – I couldn’t get out of my head. I suppose it struck a bit too close to home for me, making The Fellowship of the Ring a read far more personal than I ever expected it to be.

I have to admit that the book did bore me at certain points, which seems only inevitable considering we are talking about a massive book. I also struggled to connect with the characters, but it was something I was expecting. It was obvious to me that, had I read this book when I was younger, I would have loved them maybe even as much as the Harry Potter characters. But, unfortunately, that was not the case here and I’m afraid I’ll never love them as much as I could have.

I had another small issue with the characters: they all seemed a bit too simple, a bit too black-or-white. That’s not to say that they were underdeveloped or poorly written, but the majority of them was either good or bad, there were not grey or morally ambiguous characters. Don’t get me wrong I love heroes and I will always root for them; but characters with questionable motives or morals, characters whose actions you can never really predict or foresee, are a soft spot for me. I find that they make stories more realistic and authentic, offering someone who you can maybe look up to without aiming for the impossible. Overall, it was a book I enjoyed a lot and I can’t wait to get my hands on the next one!

 

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