I should start with a disclaimer: This is my favorite book. I know, I know, I don’t often admit that I even have a favorite. Generally whatever book I’m reading (if it’s a good book) is “the best book ever written,” (not including Tolkien, obviously, because he’s above and beyond all other authors). But in reality, anything by Tolkien is my favorite, and out of all his novels, part one and two of The Lord of the Rings, now published as The Fellowship of the Ring is my favorite.
For my love of Tolkien I blame my dad. See, some of my fondest memories as a child are of my parents reading to me, but two instances in particular really changed my life. The first was when, at the ripe old age of five, my mother read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone to me, thus turning me into the greedy little novel-reading gremlin I became every couple of years when a new Harry Potter novel was released at midnight. I’m not kidding – I was that kid who locked herself in her room from midnight to noon, reading and reading, not sleeping until every word was devoured and every secret learned. I would stock up on butterbeer (cream soda) and lemon drops (Dumbledore’s favorite) and go for it. Even bathroom breaks annoyed me because I couldn’t bear to put those books down for even a minute.
The second instance happened when I was around eight. My dad decided I was old enough to read The Lord of the Rings, which I had hitherto not done, so he took The Fellowship and started reading it to me every night. This was a rare occurrence for many reasons, least of all the fact that he worked nights at the time and I barely ever saw him (at least to my young mind) awake. That, coupled with the fact that he has vocal cord problems that make speaking or singing for long periods of time hard and sometimes painful, made reading me an entire book problematic. But I begged him to read it to me, and when we finished it I begged him to read me the entire trilogy I was so enamored.
Long story short, he didn’t, and in my stubbornness I refused to finish it on my own. But a year later The Fellowship aired in theaters, and my whole family went to see it. By the end my curiosity was re-ignited and I was dying to know what would become of the ring, Frodo, and Sam (my personal favorite). I pestered my dad for answers to all of my questions, so he told me they all die and Sauron wins. When I told him that couldn’t be true he said that if I didn’t believe him I would have to “read the books” to find out.
So I did.
And I didn’t just read them. I read them and reread them until I had the story lines practically memorized. I read the trilogy, and then The Hobbit, and then I started in on Tolkien’s other works like The Silmarillion and The Children of Hurin. I read until, before I knew it, I was a baptized Tolkien nerd and Middle Earth felt like a second home to me. To be honest, it still does. Whenever I’m feeling bad, picking of The Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit is an escape. The books are full of wisdom and advice, and they’re a reminder that good things come from dark times. I’ve read them at least once a year for as long as I can remember.
But of them all, The Fellowship is the lightest, and perhaps that’s what I love most about it. It’s where you first encounter the four little hobbits who are about to finish proving what Bilbo started long before their time – that from small acts of courage great things are brought forth. It’s proof that “Courage is found in unlikely places,” and a reminder to always, “Be of good hope!”
For I often feel like a hobbit myself. I’m fond of the simple things in life – good earth, a hearty meal, a warm bath after a long day. And most of all, I don’t feel as though I have much courage to offer the world or much strength. I’m often afraid of what’s to come. But as The Fellowship will teach you, “There is a seed of courage hidden (often deeply, it is true) in the heart of the fattest and most timid hobbit, waiting for some final and desperate danger to make it grow.” I think that’s one of the many message you can find in this book – that whatever you may think of yourself, you have the power to change things.
After all, the heroes in this story aren’t wizards or warriors or wise elven kings. The fate of Middle Earth falls on the shoulders of a few very insignificant hobbits, who seem most unfit for such a dangerous mission. But we’ve all heard the poem that this book made famous:
“All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost…”
I love this novel because it’s proof that adventures never really end, and heroes can be found in the most unlikely of places. That’s the beauty of life. Like hobbits, it never ceases to amaze you.
Overall Reaction: My life is drastically improved every time I read these words on these pages.