Review: Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

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The Fellowship of the Ring Book Cover
The Fellowship of the Ring The Lord of the Rings, Book 1 Fantasy HarperCollins Publishers Limited Audiobook 19h 53m Audible

Continuing the story begun in The Hobbit, this is the first part of Tolkien’s epic masterpiece, The Lord of the Rings.

Sauron, the Dark Lord, has gathered to him all the Rings of Power – the means by which he intends to rule Middle-earth. All he lacks in his plans for dominion is the One Ring – the ring that rules them all – which has fallen into the hands of the hobbit, Bilbo Baggins.

In a sleepy village in the Shire, young Frodo Baggins finds himself faced with an immense task, as his elderly cousin Bilbo entrusts the Ring to his care. Frodo must leave his home and make a perilous journey across Middle-earth to the Cracks of Doom, there to destroy the Ring and foil the Dark Lord in his evil purpose.


This book was published in 1954 and set the tone for modern fantasy. However, in the 60+ years since then a lot of the tropes have been repeated over and over which makes anyone coming to this now feel that it is a little dated.

It is still highly evocative, well-plotted, well structured and engaging to listen to and so, as any reader or specifically writer of the fantasy genre I would recommend reading this to see the granddaddy in action. Though I will warn you there are a lot of songs and, certainly in audio format, this is a little wearing.

If you have seen the Peter Jackson films from the turn of the Millenium you will recognise all the scenes throughout this book. The film is a faithful reproduction of the tale (minus the songs). I will read the rest of the trilogy as a study of the genre as I would say it’s essential.

I dropped a star from the rating as it does feel dated, both in some of the writing and the fantasy tropes. This is not its fault – it is over 60 years old now – but a product of having seen many of the themes repeated in other fantasy stories in the intervening time.

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By Edward

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About me

Many (many) years ago, I discovered role-playing and Dungeons and Dragons in one of the after school clubs. It revealed a universe that allowed me to flex my storytelling muscles and enjoy a mixture of fantasy and sci-fi and feed the escapist dreamer inside.

Over time, I played (and story-led - marked with *) many systems including Call of Cthulhu*, Shadowrun, Dungeons & Dragons*, Middle Earth, In Nomine*, Bushido, Chivalry & Sorcery, Chill, Warhammer, Warhammer 40k, Gammaworld, Hawkmoon, Stormbringer, Immortals*, Marvel Super Heroes, Paranoia, RuneQuest, Vampire: The Masquerade*, and a couple of systems my own devising (Medieval* and Parody*).

I explored live-action role-playing – eventually running my own club and developing my own LARP systems (Fools Gold and Dream Conquest) – and usually found myself in script-writing or game-master duty, writing over 500 individual live adventures over the period (usually weekly), many linked into the world events of the fantasy land we created. I also volunteered for Curious Pastimes and Lorien Trust at their main LARP events (special effects at the Ritual Circle), and did a little script work, cameos and improv for Curious Pastimes. I was also the South East's Editor (UK) for the LARP magazine The Adventurer.

I was also the artistic director for English Heritage for their live Halloween Horrors events at Fort Amherst in Kent from 1998-1999.

The rest, as they say, is history.