Sunday, 23 October 2011

Sharath's bookshelf - The Lord of the Rings.

Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky,
Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,
Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die,
One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them

In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.


     Every self respecting fantasy reader and writer holds LOTR in high regard. It is the fantasy equivalent of the Bible. Tolkien wrote LOTR when fantasy literature was limited to fairy tales for kids. His vision and imagination have changed the landscape of fantasy epic literature for generations to come. LOTR marked a paradigm shift in the way fantasy was written and perceived.

     The Lord of the rings has been interpreted and analysed by literary scholars for many decades. They have looked under a microscope for the faintest signs of allegory. They have dissected the characters and their motivations. LOTR is a perennial favourite as the subject for high school book reports and doctoral theses. So what can I say that hasn t already been said?

     The Lord of the Rings like most fantasy stories is a story about the triumph of good over evil. The moral overtones of the story are not what appeal to me the most. It is that tense atmosphere,Tolkien creates, with a foreboding of doom that permeates the story and underscores the urgency of the quest that I like the most. Tolkien paints, with his words, in vivid detail, a picture of the world the characters inhabit. It is a testament to his skill as a writer that his story continues to excite readers worldwide decades after its first publication. The movie trilogy was such a phenomenal success because it stayed true to the book.

     LOTR is one of the two books which had a profound impact on me when I was growing up. I was a fourteen year old when I first got acquainted with Frodo and the gang. It was an overwhelming and thoroughly enjoyable experience. At that point of time, I counted myself a denizen of Middle Earth and spent hours day-dreaming. Ah! what I wouldn t give to be that young and innocent again.

     My favourite characters in the trilogy are Gandalf, Sam and Eowyn in that order. Gandalf probably needs no introduction and I don t need to explain why I like him the best. The avuncular wizard is the definitive fan favourite. I like Sam because of his unquestioning loyalty and unconditional support for Frodo. There is no doubt that Frodo would have failed in his quest if he wasn t accompanied by Sam.

     Contrary to what people think, Eowyn is the heroine of this trilogy, not Arwen. Aragorn asks her, "  What do you fear, my lady? ". She replies" A cage. To stay behind bars until use and old age accept them and all chance of valor has gone beyond recall or desire. ". One of the best lines ever written. Her confrontation of the Witch king, the lord of the Nazgul, extols her courage. 'But no living man am I! You look upon a woman. Eowyn I am, Eomund's daughter You stand between me and my lord and kin. Begone, if you be not deathless! For living or dark undead, I will smite you, if you touch him.' For all that and more, I love her character.

     While Lord of the Rings is arguably the best piece of fantasy fiction ever written, it does have flaws. It is tediously long in some parts; most if not all characters are unidimensional; Barring Eowyn and Galadriel, there are no other female characters of importance in the story. (Arwen Undomiel is mentioned only in passing. She is referred to in greater detail in the appendix of the book unlike the movies where she plays a greater role.)

     I can go on and on discussing LOTR till the end of days, But I do not want to bore you guys. If you love reading,read LOTR. I promise you will enjoy it more than the movies.  I would love to hear your take on LOTR. Keep those comments coming.    


  1. I like the movie more than the books

  2. i love lord of the rings