The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I cannot rightly recall how many times I've read the trilogy. I think it's between 5 or 6 but that doesn't include a dramatized version. I don't think. And then there are the gazillion times I've watched the movies, the cartoons, or the beautiful old green poster I used to gaze upon in my room.
Not to mention the balrogs I used to paint alongside my dragons. Or the feverish studying of elvish and writing messages to my friends in runic. Taking a class on LotR and even publishing an academic paper on the true nature of Tom Bombadil?
Yeah. I might be a geek. I even freaked out back in 1997 when I discovered that PETER JACKSON of DEAD/ALIVE aka BRAINDEAD was doing LotR???!!!!
Do I think this is a good book?
Maybe. A bit.
But I remember not always being a huge fan. I remember the first time I read it, I thought all the poetry was pretentious. I didn't realize that he had gone to all that work out of love of languages, that he was a scholar of Old English and a mythographer of wide knowledge. Or that he did all of this out of love and fully expected never to get acclaim for any publishing house. He wrote it because he was called to write it. He wanted something awesome. And so he made something awesome. And he shared it with his son just as he shared The Hobbit with his son. That's kinda cool, you know?
But as for me, now, after all these years and multiple reads and a lot of critical thinking, the books have only deepened in significance for me. All the people and places in the poetry means a LOT to me now. I recognize everything. And the fact that so many of the old legends directly tie right back into the most horrific scenes in the later action only speaks to me of OMG THAT WAS AWESOME.
Gil-Galad, anyone? How about the lay of Beren and Luthien and how freaking close that legend is to Aragorn and Arwen?
Or how about the barrow-wight dream Frodo had, that passing image of someone with a sun on his brow? Melkor after he stole the Silmarils? :)
Don't even get me started about how cool Tom Bombadil is. Goofy? Sure, but he's MASTER of his little domain. The Ring can't touch him. At all. Period.
Let's back this up a bit. Sauron and Radagast and Gandalf and Saruman and the Balrogs are all Maiar, spirits descended to Arda to help form the world after the Illuvatar created the planet. The Balrogs are, of course, corrupted Maiar made by Melkor, the Illuvatar god of corruption. That places all these guys on the SAME PLAYING FIELD. Yes, Radagast of the poop hat is ... WHAT? AS POWERFUL AS SAURON? Ahem. No.
I assume if Gandalf had been willing to steal the souls of a few lands of Easterlings and corrupted elves that are generally called ORCS get really, really good at necromancy and domination magic, he might have been a contender. But no. Neither Gandalf or Radagast were that ethically unbound. :) Just unwashed. Or addicted to pipe weed. Even the Maiar need their magical weapons and tools to get super powerful, and the Good is generally less likely to go all out and become an undead king like Voldemort and his phylacteries. :)
Let's move forward again. If Gandalf and the Elves and even Saruman from far away can't escape the deathly pull of Sauron's phylactery, then HOW THE HELL CAN TOM BOMBADIL go, "Eh? It's nothin."
Answer? He has to be one of the Illuvatar. One step above the Maiar. One of the creators of Arda (also known as Middle Earth, or in the next age, Earth. The place we are. :) So for all you haters of Bom-bom-bombadillo as he sings, remember, the gods who made Arda did it by SINGING. :)
Old Man Willow was probably a twisted Ent. If you know the Ent's history at the end of the First Age, they went on a rampage across all of Arda looking for their lost wives (who probably left them because they were a bunch of idiots) causing untold havoc that couldn't be stopped by all the might of the Elves, Men, or Dwarves in their heyday when the magic was so much stronger, the weapons so much more powerful, and the men could still act politely to the elves. And yet, Tom puts Old Man Willow to sleep like some naughty child.
And let's not forget the barrow-wights that are sadly missing from the movie. The poor hobbits had just been captured and turned into wights, dreaming the death songs from Men corrupted by Melkor back when Sauron was just a Lieutenant in Melkor's badass army of city-sized spiders, dragons, and balrogs. No yellow-shoed Green Man would have the power to COMPLETELY HEAL THE RIFT between life and death of such a remnant of the first age. Effortlessly. With a song.
I'm just saying.
I'm a geek.
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