AOG Reading Impressions | “Lord of the Rings” Series

The series escalated tremendously, from the simple living of a hobbit named Bilbo to getting in detail about the different races, geography, mythologies, genealogies, etc. The landscape itself has a lot of intricate detail with the use of geographical terms such as dale, vale, coomb, mountain, and valley. There are also characters who have intimate knowledge of the landscape who provide tremendous help to the characters, whether it is the man-bear Beorn, the mystical Tom Bombadil, or the autochthonous Ghan-buri-ghan. The characters also have a set of uniqueness when they have multiple names depending on where they are and which context it is.

Though the protagonists are as conflicted and confused as the reader is, which increasingly allures him/her to the adventures in a rooting, empathic way. When Bilbo is victorious he enjoys his journey but when he’s at a disadvantage he wants to go back to his hobbit-hole. Since the characters are on a quest through unfamiliar territory, they would need to rely on dwellers who have an intimate knowledge of the landscape.

Unexpected dangers involve using strength and wits to overcome any enemy, who are not always dragons and evil wizards, but also the characters who are close to the protagonists. There is even a forewarning by the Elf king that “Peril is now both before you and behind you, and upon either side.”

The narrator can be a character himself. As the series begins, Tolkien invites the reader into his world in “The Hobbit” with the tone of a father-figure telling his story to his children. In fact, “The Hobbit” originally was a children’s book before the “Lord of the Ring” series materialized.

Included in the prefaces are maps of this world, but also the descriptions bring literary life to it. This was the technique that Tolkien’s literary son, George R. R. Martin, borrowed. There are also tidbits of the mannerisms and typical characteristics of each race used. Within the dialogue is a tapestry of interwoven proverbs and songs native to this world.

Magic commences the story as its prophetic device. It acts as a force powerful mystically and psychologically as well, with the Ring being the disturbingly perfect representation of greed. None of the characters are immune from coveting “the precious.” Not only that, but the antagonist proves to be also effective in causing disorder within the Kingdom of Gondor. Though the dragon and the dark lord provides the conflicts, they are not reliant on them, since the interpersonal conflicts continue even after they are defeated, which definitely mixes fantasy with realism.

Although my reading experience of this series was similar to reading the “The Song of Ice and Fire” series, what was different was how I had to dust off the clich├ęs and stereotypes that were associated with Tolkien in order to examine what made his work phenomenal.

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