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The Lord of the Rings One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind themIn ancient times the Rings of Power were crafted by the Elven smiths, and Sauron, the Dark Lord, forged the One Ring, filling it with his own power so that he could rule all others But the One Ring was taken from him, and though he sought it throughout Middle earth, it remained lost to him After many ages it fell by chance into the hands of the hobbit Bilbo BagginsFrom Sauron s fastness in the Dark Tower of Mordor, his power spread far and wide Sauron gathered all the Great Rings to him, but always he searched for the One Ring that would complete his dominionWhen Bilbo reached his eleventy first birthday he disappeared, bequeathing to his young cousin Frodo the Ruling Ring and a perilous quest to journey across Middle earth, deep into the shadow of the Dark Lord, and destroy the Ring by casting it into the Cracks of Doom The Lord of the Rings tells of the great quest undertaken by Frodo and the Fellowship of the Ring Gandalf the Wizard the hobbits Merry, Pippin, and Sam Gimli the Dwarf Legolas the Elf Boromir of Gondor and a tall, mysterious stranger called Strider 494 The Lord of The Rings The Lord of the Rings 1 3 , J.R.R John Ronald Reuel TolkienThe Lord of the Rings is an epic high fantasy novel written by English author and scholar J R R Tolkien The story began as a sequel to Tolkien s 1937 fantasy novel The Hobbit, but eventually developed into a much larger work Written in stages between 1937 and 1949, The Lord of the Rings is one of the best selling novels ever written, with over 150 million copies sold The title of the novel refers to 494 The Lord of The Rings The Lord of the Rings 1 3 , J.R.R John Ronald Reuel TolkienThe Lord of the Rings is an epic high fantasy novel written by English author and scholar J R R Tolkien The story began as a sequel to Tolkien s 1937 fantasy novel The Hobbit, but eventually developed into a much larger work Written in stages between 1937 and 1949, The Lord of the Rings is one of the best selling novels ever written, with over 150 million copies sold The title of the novel refers to the story s main antagonist, the Dark Lord Sauron, who had in an earlier age created the One Ring to rule the other Rings of Power as the ultimate weapon in his campaign to conquer and rule all of Middle earth Nineteen of these rings were made These were grouped into three rings for the Elves, seven rings for the Dwarves, and nine rings for men One additional ring, the One Ring, was forged by Sauron himself at Mount Doom From quiet beginnings in the Shire, a hobbit land not unlike the English countryside, the story ranges across Middle earth, following the course of the War of the Ring through the eyes of its characters, not only the hobbits Frodo Baggins, Samwise Sam Gamgee, Meriadoc Merry Brandybuck and Peregrin Pippin Took, but also the hobbits chief allies and travelling companions the Men, Aragorn son of Arathorn, a Ranger of the North, and Boromir, a Captain of Gondor Gimli son of Gl in, a Dwarf warrior Legolas Greenleaf, an Elven prince and Gandalf, a wizard20021381 20138113811937 19491954 1955 1382 not a review and there probably won t be one any time soon i also won t be climbing Mount Everest in the near future but here are some cool illustrations that i found and want to share World of the Ring by Jian Guo not a review and there probably won t be one any time soon i also won t be climbing Mount Everest in the near future but here are some cool illustrations that i found and want to share World of the Ring by Jian Guo Twenty five years ago I d have given The Lord of the Rings my highest possible praise I came to Tolkien s masterpiece on my own, and that meant much to me at twelve The only books that had been reached by me alone were books on mythology and horror Everything else I read, from DH Lawrence to Hemingway to Dickens to Shakespeare and this also included Dracula and Dr Jeckyll and Mr Hyde because they were true classics , was suggested and sanctioned by my mother for which I will always owe Twenty five years ago I d have given The Lord of the Rings my highest possible praise I came to Tolkien s masterpiece on my own, and that meant much to me at twelve The only books that had been reached by me alone were books on mythology and horror Everything else I read, from DH Lawrence to Hemingway to Dickens to Shakespeare and this also included Dracula and Dr Jeckyll and Mr Hyde because they were true classics , was suggested and sanctioned by my mother for which I will always owe her deeply.But The Lord of the Rings was mine and mine alone It is easy to forget that The Lord of the Rings was not a pop culture phenomenon in the seventies and early eighties It was a fringe book at least in North America , something that was not yet considered a part of the canon, something that was not a name on every boy s lips even if they were just getting to know DD let alone every child s lips Sure it was respected and loved by those who knew it, but knowing it was not a foregone conclusion as it is today, and its audience was almost completely genre oriented In my little community my school and the blocks surrounding my home , I was the first kid to read it.And that first reading was a revelation Sure I d read The Hobbit, but that didn t prepare me for the breadth and depth of The Lord of the Rings Middle Earth in its grandest incarnation To create a fantasy world is one thing, but to breathe life into ages of that world, to keep all the pieces together with such magnificent detail and rigour, to create character after believable character and make us care about most of them, even poor Smeagol Gollum, that is a literary labour of Hercules And by pulling it off, Tolkien created the single most important manifestation of Fantasy that has ever and will ever be written The Lord of the Rings has rightly been named a classic It is part of the canon, and it deserves its place It is entertaining, it is weighty, and it is loved by nearly all.Ayeand there s the rub.Its indisputable greatness has made it indisputable It has become dogma among fanboys and fangirls that the bastions of The Lord of the Rings are unassailable Criticize Tolkien s work academically or otherwise and you put yourself in almost as much danger as a chatty atheist trying to engage in a theological discussion in a coliseum full of Jehovah s Witnesses how many of those folks will make it into the afterlife Isn t there a limit.Feminist critics point out the lack of women in The Lord of the Rings, and that those women who are present fulfill only the narrowest stereotypes owyn s strength is dependent upon adopting male gender qualities, a typical stereotype of powerful women in fantasy, and she is alone amongst the Rohirrim as a woman who can and will fight All other women in her culture are present as a reason to fight rather than as integral parts of the struggle Arwen s place in the books, at least as a maiden waiting for the hand of her king takes the reason to fight to even greater heights And the only powerful female, Galadriel as the terrible, beautiful elven Queen, is too far removed from mortality and reality to be anythingthan a mid tale deus ex machina, thereby removing her from the realm of women and men and making her a pseudo god whose power is allowed only because it is arcane and mysterious Post Colonial critics have latched onto the racism inherent in The Lord of the Rings, pointing out the hierarchies between the races from the superiority of the elves, to the chosen role of European Men of the West under the leadership of Aragorn, to the lesser races of Dwarves and Hobbits the former are lesser because they are too greedy and the latter are lesser because they are children Post Colonialists look to the orientalization of Sauron s forces and the configuration of evil as an inherent quality of Orcs and the dark folk They point out Tolkien s family s history as a cog in the mechanism of English Imperialism, and his own birth in one of the most blatantly racist colonies of all, South Africa while he did leave at three years old, his family s presence there at all suggests that some of the classic colonial opinions about the colonized dark races helped form the man who wrote these books , as possible reasons for this racism These criticisms further suggest, at least to me, that the archetypal source of all fantasy s entrenched racism even those books being written today is The Lord of the Rings Those fantasy authors who have followed Tolkien consistently and inescapably embrace his configuration of the races yes, even those like R.A Salvatore who try and fail to derail this configuration and the concepts of good and evil that go along with them, which leads to the stagnation and diminishment of their genre.The fact is that these flaws do exist in The Lord of the Rings They are present They are easy to find But few of Tolkien s rabid fans want to hear about them And even when the criticism is not necessarily suggesting a flaw in Tolkien s work but merely the presence of some subtext, the dogmatists react with rage and condemnation A fine example of this is when Queer and Gender theorists point to the overwhelming relationships between men, and how the relationship between Frodo and Sam is homosocial, at least, and possibly even homosexual The only true intimacy in the book occurs between the men, after all, and to ignore that fact is to ignore one of key components of why The Lord of the Rings is so emotionally satisfying, especially to young men Even faced with these ideas supported by convincing arguments, however, many fans either strive for ignorance or attack the messenger This may have much to do with the worry unreasonable though it is that to admit that a flaw or something uncomfortable exists in any of these books, which so many people love so deeply, is to accept that The Lord of the Rings is neither great nor worthy of love.But this is not the case I love The Lord of the Rings even though I subscribe completely to the post colonial criticism, and see the merits in both the feminine and queer criticisms, not to mention the countless other criticisms and subtexts that are floating around.The books are racist they are sexist They are not perfect And I must criticize the elements of The Lord of the Rings that make me uncomfortable and deserve no praise But my complaints and the complaints of critics make Tolkien s achievement no less great Tolkien created the most magnificent imaginary world ever conceived, and, for good or ill, Fantasy would be nothing today were it not for him The Lord of the Rings is a triumph on countless levels, but it is not the word of God, nor should it be elevated to such heights.I love The Lord of the Rings, but I love it with reservations I love it because of its place in my personal mythology, its genuine originality, its creativity, its power, but I love it with my mind open to its flaws, and I refuse to make excuses for Tolkien or his work.Twenty five years ago I d have given The Lord of the Rings my highest possible praise Not today But I am still willing to admit my love Considering that The Lord of the Rings is one of the most popular books of the last century, it s surprising to see how few reviews there are here I get the impression that many people feel guilty about liking it It s a phase you go through, and the less said about it, the better I think this is unfair to the book, which, I am prepared to argue, is a whole lot better than it s generally made out to be I don t think its huge success is just evidence that people have no taste It s something t Considering that The Lord of the Rings is one of the most popular books of the last century, it s surprising to see how few reviews there are here I get the impression that many people feel guilty about liking it It s a phase you go through, and the less said about it, the better I think this is unfair to the book, which, I am prepared to argue, is a whole lot better than it s generally made out to be I don t think its huge success is just evidence that people have no taste It s something that can be read atthan one level, and, before dismissing it, let s take a look at what those levels might be On the surface, it s a heroic fantasy novel, and quite a good one It s a gripping, well realized story, with an interesting fantasy world as background Under the surface story, it s also clear that there s a moral discourse It s not an allegory as Tolkien points out in the foreword, he hated allegory, and we certainly don t have an in your face piece of Christian apology by numbers None the less, the author has constructed some inspiring and thought provoking symbols The Ring confers great power, but the only way to defeat Sauron is to refuse that power, and destroy it, even at great personal cost Frodo s self sacrifice is quite moving I also think that Gandalf is an unusually interesting Christ figure sufficiently so that many people refuse even to accept him as one, though, at least to me, the argument on that point seems convincing He comes from Valinor, obviously the Heavenly Realm, to help the Free Peoples of the West A central part of his message is the importance of mercy, as, in particular, shown by the memorable scene near the beginning, when he rebukes Frodo for wishing that Bilbo had killed Sm agol when he had the opportunity As we discover, Sm agol is finally the one person who can destroy the Ring And let s not miss the obvious point that Gandalf is killed, and then returns reborn in a new shape I find him vastlysympathetic than C.S Lewis s bland Aslan, and he is the book s most memorable character.But I don t think the morality play is the real kernel either What makes LOTR a unique book, and one of the most ambitious experiments in literary history, is Tolkien s use of names All authors knows how important names are, and use them to suggest character though when you think about what is going on, it is rather surprising how much can be conveyed just by a name Proust has a couple of long discussions about this, describing in great detail how the narrator s initial mental pictures of Balbec, Venice and the Guermantes family come just from the sounds of their names Tolkien goes much further Most of his names are based on a family of invented languages, linked by a vast complex of legends and histories, the greater part of which are invisible to the reader and only surface occasionally The astonishing thing is that the technique actually works The interrelations between all the invented names and languages make Middle Earth feel real, in a way no other fantasy world ever has When some readers complain that characters and locations are hastily sketched, I feel they are missing the point Tolkien was a philologist He loved languages, words and names, and tracing back what the relationships between them say about their history In LOTR, he s able to convey some of that love of language to his readers You have to read the bookthan once, but after a while it all comes together To give just a few obvious examples, you see how hobbit is a debased form of the word holbytla hole dweller in the Old Norse like language of Rohan, how the mor in Moria is the same as the one in Mordor and morgul , and how Arwen Und miel s name expresses her unearthly beauty partly through the element it shares with her ancestor L thien Tin viel There are literally hundredthings like this, most of which one perceives on a partly unconscious level The adolescent readers who are typically captivated by LOTR are at a stage of their linguistic development when they are very sensitive to nuances of language, and programmed to pick them up I can t help thinking that they are intuitively seeing things thatsophisticated readers may miss.Perhaps the simplest way to demonstrate the magnitude of Tolkien s achievement is the fact that it s proven impossible to copy it none of the other fantasy novels I ve seen have come anywhere close Tolkein s names lend reality to his world, because he put so much energy into the linguistic back story, and before that worked for decades as a philologist Basically, he was an extremely talented person who spent his whole life training to write The Lord of the Rings In principle, I suppose other authors could have done the same thing In practice, you have to be a very unusual person to want to live that kind of life.Writing this down reminds me of one of the Sufi stories in The Pleasantries of the Incredible Mullah Nasrudin The guy is invited to a posh house, and sees this incredibly beautiful, smooth lawn It s like a billiard table I love your lawn he says What s the secret Oh, his host says, It s easy Just seed, water, mow and roll regularly, and anyone can do it Ah yes says the visitor, And about how long before it looks like that Hm, I don t know, says the host Maybe 800 years

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