Geschreven bij The Lord of The Rings
In the Shire, probably the most idyllic region in Tolkien’s Middle Earth, a hobbit named Frodo Baggins, gets the task of destroying the One Ring (a magic ring with the power to rule all life on earth, especially when wielded by Sauron, the dark lord that forged it). The book has two major plotlines, both divided in innumerable side-stories: the quest to destroy the one ring and the war between the armies of Sauron and the free peoples. Eventually, though the first battles are won by the free peoples, the war seems hopeless, but then Frodo manages to destroy the ring. All’s well that ends well.
Though The Lord of the Rings is one of my favourite books (it’s not the first time I sacrifice half a year of my life to read it) and above all an undoubted masterpiece, it has some mistakes. The story unfolds very slowly, much slower than in the movies. To me this wasn’t really a problem, but I can imagine it is to some people. For example, when the ring is destroyed (and with it all evil on earth) and the story is actually over, it still takes six chapters and ninety pages to end the book. Of course its length contributes to its depth and richness. Many parts of the book that have been left out in the movies are simply brilliant. A more serious mistake is the ordering of the chapters, mostly in the second part. First all the chapters about a certain group of characters is told (all the members of the fellowship of the ring that don’t go to Mordor, if you have seen the movies or read the books). After that, the story of Sam and Frodo is told. I really think it would be more varied and thus better if Tolkien had spread the chapters more.
Of course, The Lord of the Rings also (and above all) has some unequalled virtues. First of all, there is the “widening” and “darkening” of the story. It starts really small and cosy in the Shire, but widens with every chapter, both concerning text structure and content. The number of characters and plotline increases heavily during the story. With every creature or people the main characters encounter, the importance of the quest grows, since they understand more and more how many lives and how much beauty depend on it. Second, both the story and the fictional world prove that Tolkien was probably the person with the most powerful imagination in history. The level of detail is so high and the atmosphere is so magical that the story starts to breath, to sing, to whisper and to roar from its printed pages. The Lord of the Rings lives, and this is maybe even more the case with its prequel “The Hobbit”, which I read before The Lord of the Rings. Third, the story possesses a special feature which I can only describe as “epic power”. I don’t really know what it is –it’s the feeling of going on an adventure with the characters, of caring for the world they live in and the quest they need to fulfil in order to save that world and of sighing with relief when their war is over. This, however, has nothing to do with the cheap feelings of compassion you can have with heavily stricken characters in soap series. The Lord of the Rings sometimes gave me the same feeling as when I read the Iliad, probably the greatest epic of all time.