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Lord Of The Rings

Updated on February 14, 2015

The Book and the movies

Imagine a world so different from the world we live in that it took the author a whole life to build a world for his books. A saga that took 18 years to write, yet when finished it was hailed as one of the greatest literary masterpieces of our time. Now realize that it's first public reading was in the local pub on Thursday nights with a friend who was also a literary giant of the age!

But there is a real "Hobbiton" and a real "Bag End". When Sir Peter Jackson was scouting for locations to make the Lord of the Rings movies he found this place just outside of Matamata in the Waikato, New Zealand that was picture perfect for Hobbiton and the Shire, so they created Hobbiton for all to go and see. This is a view from one of the Hobbit holes (probably Sam gamgee's as Frodo and Bilbo's is up on a hill!)

The Hobbiton of Tolkien's imagination was shropshire of the early twentieth century. The Hobbiton of the Movies is a world away, on the far side of the planet, yet closer to the Hobbiton that Tolkien imagined than Shropshire today could ever be.

One ring to rule them all, one ring to find them.

And in the darkness bind them

— JRR Tolkein

The writing of Lord of the Rings

The inspiration behind the book

There is a discussion in the literary world as to whether the Lord of the Rings is one book or three! The writing is laid out as in three volumes of a book, but each one is distinct enough to be a separate book. Each one tells a different part of the story and in each book you find out a snippet about the characters.

Tolkein's first book was "The Hobbit" which actually begins the story of the ring of power and how it came to be with such an unlikely creature as a Hobbit like Bilbo.

Hobbits themselves are small folk who don't like to move too far from home. They love the simple things in life like a good pint of Beer at the end of a hard day's work in the fields. Standing only three feet tall, Tolkien tells us that when the 'big folk' show up the Hobbit will often hide away.

Into this idyllic world comes a tall man with a grey beard. Most of the Hobbits don't like him because he brings change and he's from the 'outside' but two little hobbits actually get on with him and one of them happens to be the hero of "The Hobbit" and the richest man in the Shire, the other, who will become one of the heroes of this tale is a young Hobbit by the name of Frodo.

Frodo yearns for the kind of adventure that Bilbo had, but when Gandalf shows up at Bilbo's 112th Birthday party he's given a gift that will set him on a course that will take him well beyond the adventure Bilbo went on, one that should he succeed he will rescue all of the Earth and usher in the age of men. Should he fail then all of creation is doomed to slavery and the Shire will be destroyed as the Dark Lord Sauron searches for the "Ring of Power"

The Movie is slightly different in the timeframe here, as in the book it takes Gandalf twenty years to find out about the Ring of Power from the day when Bilbo sets out on his last adventure, he really wants to see Rivendell where Elrond the Lord of the Elves lives one last time before he dies, but in the Movie its only a matter of weeks when Gandalf shows up deeply worried about the Ring and literally chases Frodo out of the door.

Frodo isn't alone in the quest as three of his friends decide that the journey is too dangerous for him to go 'on his own' and decide to go with him at least as far as Rivendell.

At over 1,000 pages it's one of the few books in the English language that is longer than the Bible! At times it's a meandering read with lots of detail as you explore a world that took Tolkien a lifetime to create. The book itself took 18 years to write and the story is that he began writing just before the outbreak of the second world war.

Some have seen Tolkien's story as a reflection of where Britain was in the war at the time. For example by 1941 at the darkest time in the War Toliken was writing about the mines of Moriah where Gandalf has to confront his worst enemy, a fire breathing demon from the depths of the Earth itself, THE BELROC!

Fellowship of the ring - Friendship is precious

Take a look at Middle Earth, The real one.
Take a look at Middle Earth, The real one.

The Characters

A very different bunch

The main characters are the 'Fellowship' of the Ring.

Frodo and three friends make it to Rivendell the home of the elven Lord Elrond where the true picture of the dire straits comes clear. Gandalf had gone to Isengard to enlist the help of his superior Saruman the White only to find that he has been betrayed and Saruman is in league with Sauron himself. In fact Saruman hopes to doublecross the dark lord and gain the Ring for himself.

Gandalf manages to escape, but is too late to meet with Frodo at their pre-arranged meeting place and instead leaves it to a trusted friend "Stryder" who leads the four friends through a perilous part of the journey outwitting the most deadly assassins of Sauron, the nine "Ring wraiths" slaves of the dark lord who can't be killed by men.

In Rivendell a 'high council' is called where the fate of the ring is discussed and it is soon realized that there is only one course open, to take the rign back to the place it was forged and cast it back into the pits of the Earth. But who will take the Ring?

Frodo actually wants no part of it, but when he sees how the ring can corrupt even the strongest of hearts he realizes that he's got no choice but to take it into the very depths of hell itself!

Frodo's friends Sam Gamgee, Merry and Pippin all decide to go with Frodo and no amount of persuasion can change their minds, Gandalf is appointed to lead the expedition with Stryder (whom we find is descended from an ancient line of Kings and is named Aragon from this point on) along with a repiresentative of the Elves (Legolass) dwarves (Gimli son of Gloin) and Boromir of Gondor.

They face many periils on the journey and it takes many a twist in the tale, but it's a read well worth the time it takes to read.

The book is more like an ancient Saga than a novel. Many have claimed that it was Tolkien's frustration at a lack of ancient legends among the English people that caused him to dream up this wonderful world and story of a time before history was recorded with Kings and queens, Elves and Dwarves, Wizards and magic in which good triumphs over evil but at great cost to all

A couple of trailers for the movies

And finally. The Prequel "The Hobbit"

What do you think about this story - Do you prefer the book or movies?

The great thing about this book is that there were three movies based on the book that I've been able to borrow from. They do stick fairly close to the book and between them they took 18 oscars (four for "The fellowship of the Ring' Two for the two Towers and twelve for "return of the King")

Personally I love both and its one of the few books I've read more than once. I have the boxed set for the movies and love to sit and watch one of them, but even they take four hours each!

For me, it's a great tale to be enjoyed and I'm looking forward to the release of the Hobbit later in the year

But that;s enough from me as I want to know what you think about the book or movies.

What did you think? Book or Movies

Rate it, if you dare...

On a scale of 1-7, what did you REALLY think?

See results

One Ring to rule them all

One Ring to rule them all.

One Ring to find them.

One Ring to bring them all

And in the darkness bind them

More books by J.R.R. Tolkien - Vote for your favorites, or add any I missed.

The Hobbit
The Hobbit

This deluxe hardcover edition of J.R.R. Tolkien's classic prelude to his Lord of the Rings trilogy contains a short introduction by Christopher Tolkien, a reset text incorporating the most up-to-date corrections, and all of Tolkienâs own drawings and full-color illustrations, including the rare âMirkwoodâ piece. J.R.R. Tolkien's own description for the original edition: "If you care for journeys there and back, out of the comfortable Western world, over the edge of the Wild, and home again, and can take an interest in a humble hero (blessed with a little wisdom and a little courage and considerable good luck), here is a record of such a journey and such a traveler. The period is the ancient time between the age of Faerie and the dominion of men, when the famous forest of Mirkwood was still standing, and the mountains were full of danger. In following the path of this humble adventurer, you will learn by the way (as he did) -- if you do not already know all about these things -- much about trolls, goblins, dwarves, and elves, and get some glimpses into the history and politics of a neglected but important period. For Mr. Bilbo Baggins visited various notable persons; conversed with the dragon, Smaug the Magnificent; and was present, rather unwillingly, at the Battle of the Five Armies. This is all the more remarkable, since he was a hobbit. Hobbits have hitherto been passed over in history and legend, perhaps because they as a rule preferred comfort to excitement. But this account, based on his personal memoirs, of the one exciting year in the otherwise quiet life of Mr. Baggins will give you a fair idea of the estimable people now (it is said) becoming rather rare. They do not like noise."

The Silmarillion
The Silmarillion

The tales of The Silmarillion were the underlying inspiration and source of J.R.R. Tolkien's imaginative writing; he worked on the book throughout his life but never brought it to a final form. Long preceding in its origins The Lord of the Rings, it is the story of the First Age of Tolkien's world, the ancient drama to which characters in The Lord of the RIngs look back and in which some of them, such as Elrond and Galadriel, took part.The title Silmarillion is shortened from Quenta Silmarillion, "The History of the Silmarils," the three great jewels created by Feanor, most gifted of the Elves, in which he imprisoned the light of the Two Trees that illumined Valinor, the land of the gods. When Morgoth, the first Dark Lord, destroyed the Trees, that light lived on only in the Silmarils; Morgoth seized them and set them in his crown, guarded in the impenetrable fortress of Angband in the north of Middle-earth. The Silmarillion is the history of the rebellion of Feanor and his people against the gods, their exile in Middle-earth, and their war, hopeless despite all the heroisim of Elves and Men, against the great Enemy.The book includes several other, shorter works beside The Silmarillion proper. Preceding it are "Ainulindale," the myth of Creation, and "Valaquenta," in which the nature and powers of each of the gods is set forth. After The Silmarillion is "Akallabeth," the story of the downfall of the great island kingdom of Numenor at the end of the Second Age; completing the volume is "Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age," in which the events of The Lord of the Rings are treated in the manner of The Silmarillion.This new edition of The Silmarillion contains the revised and corrected "second edition" text and, by way of introduction, a letter written by J.R.R. Tolkien in 1951, which provides a brilliant exposition of his conception of the earlier Ages. It also contains almost fifty full-color illustrations by the artist Ted Nasmith, many of which appear for the first time.

J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography
J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography

The authorized biography of the creator of Middle-earth. In the decades since his death in September 1973, millions have read THE HOBBIT, THE LORD OF THE RINGS, and THE SILMARILLION and become fascinated about the very private man behind the books. Born in South Africa in January 1892, John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was orphaned in childhood and brought up in near-poverty. He served in the first World War, surviving the Battle of the Somme, where he lost many of the closest friends he'd ever had. After the war he returned to the academic life, achieving high repute as a scholar and university teacher, eventually becoming Merton Professor of English at Oxford where he was a close friend of C.S. Lewis and the other writers known as The Inklings.Then suddenly his life changed dramatically. One day while grading essay papers he found himself writing 'In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit' -- and worldwide renown awaited him.Humphrey Carpenter was given unrestricted access to all Tolkien's papers, and interviewed his friends and family. From these sources he follows the long and painful process of creation that produced THE LORD OF THE RINGS and THE SILMARILLION and offers a wealth of information about the life and work of the twentieth century's most cherished author.

The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien
The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien

'...If you wanted to go on from the end of The Hobbit I think the ring would be your inevitable choice as the link. If then you wanted a large tale, the Ring would at once acquire a capital letter; and the Dark Lord would immediately appear. As he did, unasked, on the hearth at Bag End as soon as I came to that point. So the essential Quest started at once. But I met a lot of things along the way that astonished me. Tom Bombadil I knew already; but I had never been to Bree. Strider sitting in the corner of the inn was a shock, and I had no more idea who he was than Frodo did. The Mines of Moria had been a mere name; and of Lothlorien no word had reached my mortal ears till I came there.' -- J.R.R. Tolkien to W.H. Auden, June 7, 1955J.R.R. Tolkien, cherished author of The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion, was one of the twentieth century's most prolific letter writers. Over the years he wrote a mass of letters -- to his publishers, his family, to friends, and to fans of his books -- which record the history and composition of his works and his reaction to subsequent events.By turns thoughtful, impish, scholarly, impassioned, playful, vigorous, and gentle, Tolkien poured his heart and mind into a great stream of correspondence to intimate friends and unknown admirers all over the world. From this collection one sees a mind of immense complexity and many layers -- artistic, religious, charmingly eccentric, sentimental, and ultimately brilliant.Now newly expanded with a detailed index, this collection provides an invaluable record that sheds much light on Tolkien's creative genius, his thoughts and feelings about his own work, and the evolution of his grand design for the creation of a whole new world -- Middle-earth.



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