The first chapter in the book begins in a light vein, following the tone of The Hobbit. Bilbo Baggins celebrates his 111th (or eleventy-first, as it is called in Hobbiton) birthday on the same day, September 22, that his relative and adopted heir Frodo Baggins celebrates his coming of age at 33. At the birthday party, Bilbo departs from the Shire, the land of the Hobbits, for what he calls a permanent holiday. Bilbo does so by using the magic ring (that he had found on his journey) to disappear and is aided by Gandalf with a flash and puff of smoke, leading many in the Shire to believe he has gone mad. He leaves Frodo his remaining belongings, including his home, Bag End, and (after some persuasion by the wizard Gandalf) the Ring. Gandalf leaves on his own business, warning Frodo to keep the Ring secret.
Over the next 17 years Gandalf periodically pays short visits to Bag End. One spring night, he arrives to warn Frodo about the truth of Bilbo’s ring; it is the One Ring of Sauron the Dark Lord. Sauron forged it to subdue and rule Middle-earth, but in the War of the Last Alliance, he was defeated by Gil-galad the Elven King and Elendil, High King of Arnor and Gondor, though they themselves perished in the deed. Isildur, Elendil’s son, cut the Ring from Sauron’s finger. Sauron was thus overthrown, but the Ring itself was not destroyed as Isildur kept it for himself. Isildur was slain soon afterwards in the Battle of the Gladden Fields, and the Ring was lost in Great River Anduin. Thousands of years later, it was found by the hobbit Déagol; but Déagol was thereupon murdered by his friend Sméagol, who coveted the Ring for himself. Sméagol subsequently possessed the Ring for centuries, and under its influence he became the creature named Gollum.
The Ring was found by Bilbo Baggins, as told in The Hobbit, and Bilbo leaves it to Frodo. Sauron has risen again and returned to his stronghold in Mordor, and is exerting all his power to find the Ring. Gandalf details the evil powers of the Ring and its ability to influence the bearer and those near him if it is worn for too long. Gandalf warns Frodo that the Ring is no longer safe in the Shire; he has learned through his investigations that Gollum had gone to Mordor, where he was captured and tortured until he revealed to Sauron that a hobbit named Baggins from the Shire possesses the Ring. Gandalf hopes Frodo can reach the elf-haven Rivendell, where he believes Frodo and the Ring will be safe from Sauron, and where its fate can be decided. Samwise Gamgee, Frodo’s gardener and friend, is discovered listening in on the conversation.
Out of loyalty to his master, Sam agrees to accompany Frodo on his journey. Over the summer Frodo makes plans to leave his home at Bag End, under the pretense that he is moving to a remote region near the Shire to retire. Helping with the plans are Frodo’s friends Sam, Peregrin Took (Pippin for short), Meriadoc Brandybuck (Merry), and Fredegar Bolger (Fatty), though Frodo does not tell them of the Ring or of his intention to leave the Shire. At midsummer, Gandalf leaves on pressing business, but promises to return before Frodo leaves. Frodo’s birthday and departure date approach, but Gandalf does not appear, so Frodo decides to leave without him. Black Riders pursue Frodo’s party; these turn out to be Nazgûl or Ringwraiths, “the most terrible servants of the Dark Lord”, who are searching for “Baggins” and the Ring.
In fact, one of the Riders comes to the door of Sam’s father, the Gaffer, that very evening before they depart. With help of some elves and Farmer Maggot, they reach Crickhollow beyond the eastern border of the Shire. There Merry, Pippin, Sam, and Fatty reveal that they know of the Ring and of Frodo’s plan to leave the Shire. Sam, Merry, and Pippin decide to accompany Frodo, while Fatty stays behind as a decoy. In hopes of eluding the Nazgûl, the hobbits travel through the Old Forest and Barrow-downs, and with the assistance of Tom Bombadil are able to reach the village of Bree, where they meet the ranger Aragorn, a friend of Gandalf who becomes their guide to Rivendell. At the hill of Weathertop, five of the Nazgûl attack the travelers, and the chief of the Nazgûl stabs Frodo with a cursed blade before Aragorn drives off the Nazgûl with torches.
Part of the knife remains within the wound, causing Frodo to become increasingly ill as they travel to Rivendell; Aragorn warns them that, unless treated soon, Frodo will become a wraith himself. As the travelers near their destination, they meet Glorfindel, an elf-lord from Rivendell, who helps them reach the River Bruinen near Rivendell. But the Nazgûl, all nine now gathered together, ambush the party at the Ford of Bruinen. Glorfindel’s horse outruns the pursuers and carries Frodo across the Ford. As the Nazgûl attempt to follow, a giant wave commanded by Elrond, and formed in to white horses by Gandalf, the lord of Rivendell, bears down on the Nazgûl. The Nazgûl are swept away by the river, as Frodo finally collapses unconscious on the riverbank.
Lord of the Rings
To have a giant’s strength, but it is tyrannous To use it like a giant” -William Shakespeare Tolkien’s famous book, “The Lord of the Rings”, has been repudiated as one of the best fantasies ever written. Tolkien creates a very deep intimacy between the book and the reader, he captures the reader’s attention and lures him into the story. One of the ways how this cathartic relationship is created is through the use of reality of the situation in the story. Tolkien has conjured up a fantasy language, to show the actuality this novel may present. Some quotations of this language are: “eleventy-first birthday”
“The invitation were limited to twelve-dozen (a number also called a Gross by the hobbits)” “Many young hobbits were included and present by parental permission for hobbits were easy going with their children in the matter of sitting up late.” “What may you be wanting?”
“It was a cheerless land”
“The hobbits were merrymaking happily.”
Not only does the language create a land but it may also add a bit of humor. This humor can also express the merriness of the people that have been written about. The language, in English is not exactly incorrect but it is odd, strange, and different, which matches the theme and plot.
Tolkien, like mostly every other author has one main, specific goal during the exposition of the story, which is to capture the reader’s attention. In the beginning of “The Lord of the Rings,” Tolkien presents events of happiness, mystery, tales of power, chase, by evil riders, battles, and strange encounters. Through this process, Tolkien has created a grasp upon the reader’s attention, although, in the beginning, there is not much of a sort or understanding of the condition and the state of the tale. Later on in the story, in the “Council of Ehond,” Tolkien regains control of the story and presents the understanding. At that time, the reader understands the story, and is also eager to read on. Tolkien thought of it better to catch the attention and then promote the comprehension of the tale.
The Lord of the Rings is indeed a fantastic book with times of happiness, war, mystery, conflict, and passion. In order to create the full cathartic effect of presenting and expressing the magnitude of the potential of each feeling, emphasis must be exercised. If emphasis was not used, the essence of “The Lord of the Rings” could not be how it is; it would be a monotonous tale without any events of objects with great importance. There are two ways of how Tolkien expressed the dynamics. One way was the use of capitalizing common nouns, making the level of the word’s recognition increased. Some of the quotations of such words are:
“…and was drawing near to the astonishing Disappearance.”
“There is lie until the End.”
“The ring itself might tell if it were the One.”
“A new Power is rising.”
The other way of emphasis is personification: a figure of speech in which a lifeless thing or quality is spoken of as if alive, or to play the role of another thing. This can imply more importance into a less-important thing. The use of this emphasis is shown in these quotations.
“My news is evil.”
“We shall need your help, and the help of all things that will give it.”
“The Elder Days are gone. The Middle Days are passing. The Younger Days are beginning. The time of elves is over, but our time is at hand.”
“The Ring grows in Power and deserves destruction.”
This figurative language promotes increase of importance of things that must be emphasized.
The story presents a very easy to believe story that can be witnessed in the setting. The setting is a fantastic world of beauty threatened by an evil overlord and a wizard. The world contains man odd creatures to create the fill effect of fantasy. Something in which Tolkien added to this tale to create not only more emotion but also supporting edition to the tale’s reality. He’s added rhymes and ‘songs’ in which some of the characters chant in the time of boredom. A quote from such a song is: “Gil-galad was an Elven-king. Of him the harpers sadly sing: the last whose realm was fair and free between the Mountains and the Sea.”
“His sword was long, his lance was keen, his shining helm afar was seen!”
This use of rhymes transmits a feeling that is sent by the character singing the song to the reader. This is an effective use of catharsis. In a story like “The Lord of the Rings”, catharsis is very important and essential.
Throughout the whole book, there is one minor weakness. Due to the many names of all the different characters in the story, each of them can be easily confused with, causing the reader to be perplexed, and thereforelosing his or interest in the novel. Many of the names sound the same. Oncea name is introduced, many others follow. And then it builds up into a very long list of jumbled names. Some of the confusing ones are:
Aragorn, Arathorn, Arwen, Athdas, Bolger, Bomladil, Bombur, Boromir, Eldar, Elendil, Elessar, Eomer, Eru, Galadrid, Galadrim, Gildor, Gil-galad, Gimli, Glorfindel, Minas Morgul, and Minas Firith.
Overall, “The Lord of the Rings” is an incredible, fantastic book. It was fairly difficult to read at some parts of the book which had “Boring” written all over the page, but it was definitely worth all that time. There is absolutely no doubt about the potential of excellence this book can generate. Tolkien has written an outstanding book and has proven many things and has shown many aspects. When Tolkien set out writing this book, he aimed for a best- seller. When it was completed, he re-defined the words, “A Masterpiece…”
Courtney from Study Moose
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