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The Lord of the Rings - J.R.R. Tolkien

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      23.08.2011 20:27
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      Fantastic Book but not for the faint hearted.

      Introduction~~~~~~~
      I'm a huge fan of books and I will read almost anything I can get my hands on. One of my favourite genre's is fantasy and while being a fan of the movies which were fabulous I suddenly thought hang on a minute I've never actually read the books which came as a bit of a shock to me I instantly thought I have to go and buy them now. I found them online a play.com for 11.99 for the set which came in a nice presentation box and was divided into the three books. I did think it was quite steep for a set of books but it was the cheapest I could actually find them so I relented reluctantly and bought them. So when they arrived I delved into them with excitement.

      About the author~~~~~~
      What can I tell you about John Ronald Reuel Tolkien he was born on January 3rd 1892 and went on the write in my opinion one of the most fantastic set of books that we are ever likely to see, he was an absolute genius. Lord of the Rings arguably one of his most famous publication was started in 1937 and it wouldn't be until 1949, 12 years later that it would be completed and a further 5 years in 1954-1955 until it was published in 3 stages. It is the second biggest selling book ever written, the bible being the first with over 150 million copies being sold.

      *please note I have only read FOTR so far, so I'm going to review the first book then update as I finish them.

      The Fellowship of the Ring~~~~~~~
      The book starts off much like the movie with the Bilbo's 111th birthday and is quite entertaining with the antics going on and how Bilbo doesn't get on with the Sackville-bagginses however after this ended and slowly it became 17 years later, I found these pretty hard reading as it seemed for lack of a better word waffle on a bit and it forever to get out of the shire with lots of seemingly pointless but beautifully written songs thrown in as well but I kept reading on because I couldn't wait til Strider came into it as he was my favourite character in the movie although I do think it was a mistake to watch the films first as I found myself comparing the two and I kept thinking well this didn't happen in the movie or this was different and I found it has spoiled my experience of the book a bit.
      It was then it started to pick up and I thought yes this is what I reading it for! although it never became fast paced it became compulsive reading because I just had to know what was going on next and also because I was anticipating the Mines of Moria which again was my favourite part in the movie too, I wasn't disappointed especially when the Balrog came into it my heart was ready to burst with terror and I found myself willing them to run faster as it came to the Bridge of Khazad-dum.
      Overall I really enjoyed reading the first book to the trilogy and I'm eager to continue on but it was not easy reading and I found it tough in places but it was certainly worth it to be transported into Middle Earth. I don't recommend if your looking for an easy and light read because it's anything but.

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      08.05.2011 11:24
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      One of my favourites - A must to read

      The moral of these books is that too much power can corrupt anyone.

      This is the story of the power of a ring which controls all of the main characters to some extent and the journey they make to destroy it before it destroys them.

      What a wonderful set of book these are. Totally suitable for everyone to read and from the first page you are transported into a magical world where there is a gripping tale and marvellous drama and characters on every page. It is a real treat for all fantasy lovers.

      I have now read these books so many times that my copies are falling apart but even after all these years, these books never cease to lose their magic.

      If you haven't had the experience - jump right in and give these a go - I found that they were very easy reading and I always find it very hard to put them down as they are so engrossing.

      They would also make a wonderful present for any age and they are adored by young and old alike.
      A total treat for any reader and I bet you will not be able to read them just the once !!

      I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

      Also posted on Ciao

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        27.09.2010 15:24

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        Captivating and a brilliant read, full marks in every way.

        Most people have probably seen The Lord Of The Ring Trilogy movies, however, the books are far and away more fantastic than the films. Regardless whether you are geeky or enjoy fantasy books, the Lord of The Rings can be enjoyed by all and are actually quite easy to read. I would recommend beginning with the Hobbit (which isn't actualy part of the trilogy) for easing you into the type of read you can expect and to give a kind of background into hobbits, however this is not necessary. The Lord of The Rings takes you on an amazing adventure and before you know it you are hooked, reading well into the night. There are so many facets to the story with suspense, thrill, humour with every human emotion and it even has a love story. Many people think the books are stuffy and difficult to read but they are in fact written in every day English and flow extremely well. The first book, "The Fellowship of The Ring" is quite light-hearted starting you off very gently and introduces some of the main characters. The second book "The Two Towers" is the darkest of the books and is quite intense but just as enjoyable as the first. The third book "The Return of The King" is jam-packed with thrilling pages and brings the story to a climax. This trilogy is by far one of the best in book history and cannot fail to impress.

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        17.06.2010 00:01
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        A must for any self-respecting bookshelf!

        It makes me sad that more people have not read these books. Perhaps we can hope that the films - both Peter Jackson's LotR trilogy and Guilllermo del Toro's The Hobbit - will bring more people to read the books. My first introduction to the colossus that is Tolkien's Middle-earth was the book Bilbo's Song and even at the age of 4 the fantastic illustrations and the images that the words created had me hooked for life!
        The Lord of the Rings trilogy of books is a mammoth task to undertake, but it is well worth it. It is so easy to see how this world could have existed. The similarities between Middle-earth and England and English history are staggering, something that I have only really noticed as I have got older. Tolkien is a master wordsmith and he really brings this world to life before the eyes of your imagination. Granted, you are either going to love it or hate it, but if you love it, it is a love for a lifetime, pure fantastical escapism that you will come back to again and again. There is nothing better than being able to share this with someone else and my collection of Tolkien has pride of place on my bookshelves where I hope to be able to share it with my children and grandchildren when the time comes.

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          24.05.2010 21:54
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          An amazing read, suitable for people from about 10 to 100

          The Lord of the Rings is definitely a book to be read by all of those who love fantasy adventure. It is a story that takes place in the mythical 'Middle Earth' and is between elves, dwarves, wizards, men and orcs; a horrific type of goblin. The tale also includes hobbits; small creatures with men-like features. Frodo is a hobbit and a most unlikely hero.

          The first book may be difficult to get into as the beginning is rather sluggish, however once you are passed the initial descriptions and scene settings you are rewarded as Tolkien's ability to captivate a reader is revealed. The book becomes impossible to put down as he pulls you into the world he has created.

          For all of those who watched the films without reading the books and enjoyed them I would thoroughly recommend the trilogy. As for those who were disappointed by the film, I would still persuade you to read the book as so much of the skill of storytelling, excitement and depths of the book were lost in the film.

          One usual criticism of the books I would have is that as they are written as a trilogy they may feel disjointed, however in this case as they can be bought as a set diminishes this issue.

          These books have interesting depths to them and are capable of making you think of things in a different light; the elves envy the men for having mortal lives as they have a definite end, and an escape to a better place, and the hobbits remind you that heroes can be small, and the person you least expect.

          Whether you love this genre or not I would recommend reading these books, and as so many future books were based on this creation it is a great place to start if you are just venturing out into the mythological world of fantasy.

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            21.03.2010 13:20

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            You must read this

            This trilogy is rightly known as a modern classic and is a must-read for anyone with even the faintest interest in fantasy books.

            For those who do not know, it is set an entirely fantastical world, which is inhabited by all manner of creatures and races, who are almost always at war with each other.

            The story primarily follows Frodo, a hobbit and the most unlikely of heroes as he journeys along his quest to destroy the One Ring and therefore end the Dark Lord Sauron's quest to destroy mankind.

            Those that have seen the films will be amazed at the depth that the books go to and the amount of significant parts of the plot which are not included in the films. Tolkien develops the characters, locations and feelings so completely that you become completely involved in this magical world.

            One word of warning is that it does start relatively slowly so do not be put off because the book just gets better and better and there are some truly amazing battle descriptions later on.

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            14.12.2009 06:02
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            Brilliant read -works well if you read them in reverse order too.

            LORD OF THE RINGS

            I'd never read any of Tolkien's books until I saw the Peter Jackson films. I had some vague idea about the story, of elves and monsters - but knew no more than that.

            I really enjoyed watching the films, the action scenes were great but there were some jumps and confusing parts in the plot of all three films. I really liked the story of the Frodo and the other hobbits though, so I took a chance and bought one of Tolkien's books; Return Of The King.

            It started brilliantly with Gandalf the wizard rushing down to the city of Gondor on his mystical horse Shadowfax -it was so much more exciting than the film and I really got into it.

            The characters made more sense, the relationship between Frodo and his cousins Merry and Pippin, and his best friend Sam all took on a new depth and dynamic.

            I was also amazed at how often the story would include songs and verse -something sadly missing from the films for the most part.

            You'll notice that I started by accident reading the trilogy out of order. I read Return Of The King First then The Two Towers and finally The Fellowship Of The Ring.

            Weirdly it seemed to work well as I got to focus in on smaller events within the epic tale rather than getting bogged down with troo much info.

            The twin tales of Frodo and Sam going off to Mordor and Mount Doom to destroy the ring - while Merry, Pippin and everyone else fought against Sauron (the baddie) are somewhat diluted in thew film, but the book is a rich tapestry of invented history that supports the characters.

            There were some bits I didn't like in the books. I didn't like the boring notes at the end of Return Of The King which read like a boring school history book. I didn't like the bit where Sam and Frodo were just walking for ages just before reaching Mount Doom - I found that a bit boring.

            I struggled a bit to understand the relationship between some of the elves too. Elrond's relationship to the Elf lady at Lothlorien was a little confusing.

            But on the whole I really enjoyed all 3 of the Lord Of The Rings novels. They're much better than the films - by miles.

            Thank you for reading my first review.

            Mike

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            25.09.2009 23:56

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            Outstanding work of genius, go and buy it.

            What to say about this timeless classic? However I write it, it's not going to do the series justice, it's without a doubt one of the best written, and most groundbreaking novels in this genre.

            The plot centres on a group of 'folk' called hobbits, or little folk (note: Not midgets, I was slightly disappointed too :( ). They are sent on a quest to destroy a artifact of ancient evil power (in this case a ring), and go through hell and back to do so.

            The charectar development present in Tolkiens writing is second to none. He builds characters up from nothing in to living breathing entitys that you can't help but identify with. The wise old wizard, the bumbling but well meaning friend, the noble warrior, and the scheme traitor, you'll find them all here, and written better than you'll find anywhere else.

            If you're a fan of the fantasy genre, and somehow havent yet read LotR I dont know which cave you've been living in, but I suggest taking a day out from it, and reading this asap.

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            27.08.2009 09:49
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            This is a world that you can get lost in and become part of the fight for Middle Earth

            This book (really 3 books - Fellowship of the Ring, the Two Towers and The return of the King.) is the ultimate fantasy book. It is the book that has inspired the likes of Terry Pratchett and Terry Brookes. I'll bet it was even on J K Rowling's reading list when she was young.

            This is a book that every fantasy fan must read before they can call themselves a true fan. I read the Hobbit first and loved it so much that I was eager to move onto Lord of the Rings. I was about 12 or 13 at the time. The difference between Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit was phenomenal. The Hobbit was aimed at children, but Lord of the Rings was not and I found it very hard going. In fact I gave up and put it back on the shelf next to War and Peace (which I have still not read 30 years later.) I did try again about 2 or 3 years later and must have been in the zone because I got through it. It still was not easy, but I had done it. I thoroughly enjoyed the book, but it was a struggle. It sat on my shelf again for another 10 years when I decide to read it again. This time it was a doddle, perhaps I had got used to reading books that were almost too heavy to hold comfortably (i.e. most of the Stephen King books). In the intervening years I have probably read it an average of twice a year and since the films I have read it more frequently. This was probably helped by the fact that they brought out a 7 volume edition which broke it down into 7 much smaller books.

            The story is huge and involves a great cast of characters that will become your best friends. The prominent character is Frodo a Hobbit who is the nephew of The Hobbit Bilbo Baggins. Frodo inherits Bilbo's magical ring (the one found in the Hobbit) and discovers much more about this ring and sets off on a quest that will lead him literally to the ends of middle earth. Frodo is aided by 3 other Hobbits, Sam, Merry and Pippin. They are all later joined by Gandalf the Grey, Strider the ranger, Gimli the dwarf, Legolas the Elf and Boromir of Numenor. They become the fellowship of the ring. These are the principal characters throughout the 3 books although many more are introduced along the way, The story develops around this group and later as the group splits off into 3 groups the story splits 3 ways and moves from group to group. It can be a little bit frustrating when following one of the sets of characters you reach a crucial point and then the book moves onto one of the other groups. It leaves you hanging a bit, but does make you redouble your effort to read on to get back to what is happening. This is Tolkien's method of keeping the pace going. He give the story out in chunks of excitement keeping a level of tension running through the whole book. It is strange, because the films are described as bum numbing and yet there are a couple of complete stories in their own rights that are left out of the films and are in the book and I don't find the book to be bum numbing. In fact when I get to the end of The Return of the King I feel desperate for more story. Such is the quality of Tolkien's written word.

            Tolkien supposedly wrote this to explore the topics of religion and myth, particularly Norse myths. The book does not preach or try to push the reader one way or the other in my opinion, it is just an exceptional story that particularly emphasises that under dramatic and dangerous situations everyone has hidden depths and can be a hero. It also seems to point out the value of friendships and their support in times of need. I think if you struggle to try and find hidden meanings and deep beliefs you actually spoil what Tolkien wanted to achieve which I think was primarily to entertain and entrance the reader. The world of Middle Earth does suck you in and long periods of time can be spent reading this book. I know as when I do read it, I always seem to end up switching the light off at night somewhere near 2:30 in the morning, despite the fact that I went to bed at 9:00pm.

            J. R. R. Tolkien was friends with C S Lewis and they were both part of a society called the Inklings whilst professors at Oxford. It is interesting that they both pursued their literary aims in the realms of fantasy, although C S Lewis has a religious leaning with his books. C S Lewis is the author of the other set of books that I rate as highly as the Lord of the Rings, The Narnia Chronicles.

            I will always love this series of 3 books and will continue to read them each year probably till the day I die. That is how highly I rate them. Every time I finish the books I feel like I am losing a set of friends. It is so bad that I resort to reading through the Appendix book that gives all the genealogies and back stories. There is an interesting history time line that gives information on what happened after the end of the book. I think that to enjoy this book you really have to be ready to expend a lot of mental energy to read the book. It requires a great deal of concentration to deal with all the information that is thrown at you. I think that this is why subsequent readings are easier, as you remember much of what you have read and are learning to store more each time you read it.


            I don't think that Tolkien has ever received the full credit he deserves for this magnificent epic. He has created a world with a host of characters that have a depth and reality that some modern writers never achieve. It is a book that will stand the test of time and still be popular 100 years from now. Indeed the conception of the story is not that far off being 100 years old, although it was not published till the mid 1950's. I think that the literary snobs always look down on anything involving fantasy and magic, see it as too populist. You only seem to get true recognition if no one reads your book and you die in penury.

            If you struggle to read it, particularly if you are reading the 3 book edition or God forbid the single huge volume (how would you hold it and it certainly would not fit in my handbag) then a switch to the 7 book edition will help. It breaks it down into manageable chunks and makes the book seem less daunting. I am sure that if Tolstoy published War and Peace in this way more people would read it. Do persevere, because it is a magnificent story that will keep you entertained right to the very end. This is fiction at its very best.

            To summarise my views, I quite simply think that this is one of the best books ever written. I think that everyone should read it and that it should at least be on A level English Literature syllabuses. It's main drawback is it's size, however something worth doing should not be easy it should take some effort and perseverance. It makes the appreciation of this book deeper when you consider the effort you have put into the reading of it.

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            15.07.2009 15:54
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            Unbelievable book, read it!

            The epic fantasy tale of The Lord of the Rings has been voted Book of the Century. This does kind of tell you what this review does, only in a much shorter, 4 word version. J.R.R. Tolkien was a professor of Anglo-Saxon Linguistics at Oxford University for 20 years before becoming the professor of English Language and Literature and is widely considered the founder of the modern fantasy genre.

            History of Tolkien aside, as a whole this tale is absolutely epic, I've never read anything quite like it. The dedication Tolkien showed in writing this book is beyond belief really, basically creating an entire World, with multiple versions of different languages and entirely new species. All of this makes everything seem much more believable, even though everyone knows it is utterly ridiculous when we think about it. I mean, we are talking about 3 foot men with sturdy, hairy feet living underground and immortal beings with pointy ears and exquisite sight. But the fact Tolkien creates a language for the Elves, a history for all beings on Middle Earth and throws in some of this history just in general chat between the Hobbits makes everything so much more believable. This all adds up and it does what a fantasy novel should do, draw you into a completely fictional world for the time you are reading it.

            "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."

            The tale begins with this passage, which is made a whole lot clearer when you have read for a while. Lord of the Rings is about a young Hobbit, Frodo Baggins, who through a series of events gets lumped with the task of taking the One Ring, the most powerful ring in Middle Earth to it's ultimate destruction. This is needed because the Dark Lord, Sauron, who wrought this terrible power is coming back to power after years of lying dormant. If he obtains his One Ring, that was lost so long ago, he will retain ultimate and complete control over Middle Earth. That is the general outline of the tale.

            As Frodo treks around the beautifully described landscape he comes across all sorts of obstacles. One of which are the Nazgul, the Ringwraiths. These are the Kings of Men who originally got gifted the 9 Rings in the poem, the rings turned them into foul creatures, with no clear shape or features whatsoever, apart from the black cloak they bear and the evil steeds they ride. Tolkien does an unbelievable job of describing the fear and malice of the Dark Lord, Sauron and his faithful servants. The most powerful of his servants do not rule with the sword or the axe, they rule through sheer fear, they rule by spreading despair and anguish wherever they go and Tolkien describes this in ways I never imagined possible. You can truly understand the blackness in their souls, the despair they can spread around them and why the land of Mordor is so desolate, evil and cursed a place.

            "Come not between the Nazgul and his prey. For he will not slay thee
            in thy turn. Instead he will bear thee away to the houses of
            lamentation, beyond all darkness, where thy flesh shall be devoured,
            and thy shriveled mind be left naked to the lidless eye."

            One of the most admirable things I found with The Lord of the Rings is the fact there's all this talk of incomparable power and magic but it is all very subtle. There is no clearly stated power of the Ring, nothing to tell you how it is so powerful. This exists in other places as well, such as the wizard Gandalf, who travels with the Ringbearer for a while. He has this mystery about him all the time, the reader can tell Gandalf wields an unimaginable power, not fearing the Dark Lord, but he uses it only at times of need and we are never sure to what lengths he can actually do things. This goes for Sauron's sort of "Right hand man" Saruman, another wizard that has turned corrupt, giving into Sauron's temptations and lusting for the One Ring. He seems to have amazing power, but we never quite see it, but somehow the reader just knows it is there. The power of the One Ring is ever-present throughout the tale, as it burdens the Ringbearer, Frodo, and tempts many a higher power. For example, the Lady Galadriel of Lothlorien, apparently the fairest of all the Elf race and a bearer of one of the 3 Great Elven rings.

            `And now at last it comes. You will give me the Ring freely! In place of the Dark Lord you will set up a Queen. And I shall not be dark, but beautiful and terrible as the Morning and the Night! Fair as the Sea and the Sun and the Snow upon the Mountain! Dreadful as the Storm and the Lightning! Stronger than the foundations of the earth. All shall love me and despair! '
            She lifted up her hand and from the ring that she wore there issued a great light that illuminated her alone and left all else dark. She stood before Frodo seeming now tall beyond measurement, and beautiful beyond enduring, terrible and worshipful. Then she let her hand fall, and the light faded, and suddenly she laughed again, and lo! she was shrunken: a slender elf-woman, clad in simple white, whose gentle voice was soft and sad.

            There are very relevant symbols within the Lord of the Rings, to my eye anyway. There are obvious ones such as the Horse on the Shields of Rohan, because the Rohan Kingdom is the Kingdom of Horses. But then there are the two most intriguing symbols, Sauron's symbol, which is a great red eye. This indicates that he masters from above, an all-seeing, all-knowing omnipresent being whom is a mystery to all. Then Saruman's symbol is a white hand, this signifies that in this half-alliance between Saruman and Sauron that Saruman is the hands-on type, doing Sauron's dirty work while Sauron watches on.

            A very brief run-through of the basic story is this: Frodo's Uncle, Bilbo, leaves the One Ring to Frodo after he disappears from his birthday party and the wizard Gandalf finds out it's true power. The hobbit, along with 3 other hobbit companions set out for the Elven Kingdom of Rivendell. On their way they meet up with a Ranger of the North, Aragorn, of Strider and he helps them on their way (Little do they know that this wanderer is the heir of the King whom cut the ring from the Dark Lord's finger, Isildur and is the heir the the throne of Gondor). On their way they encounter the Nazgul, who are hunting for the One Ring, the foul creatures who were once great kings attack the small company and mortally wound Frodo with an evil blade. He is cured when he finally gets to Rivendell but they decide to put together a fellowship to help Frodo on his way to Mordor to destroy the One Ring in the fires of Mount Doom. Eventually the company get split up, Samwise Gamgee and Frodo Baggins set off on their way to Mordor while Aragorn, Gimli the Dwarf and Legolas the Elf head West for a different reason. I can only assume that Gimli and Legolas were included so as not to provoke racial discrimination within the council in Rivendell, assuming of course political correctness existed in Middle Earth.

            Overall this is a very, very powerful tale including everything a fantasy novel needs to include. It has magical swords, wizards, strange races, evil and terrible Dark Lords, battles between good and evil and even a talking treeherder and an oliphaunt! The landscapes, whether they are beautiful wilderness or barren wastelands are described with moving terminology and fascinating analogies and metaphors so you truly feel you are there. There are maps to accompany the books as well that add to the fantasy world and some of the individual battles, whether physical or mental, are portrayed in a beautifully mentally straining or gruesome manner. You truly grow connected to the characters and I was genuinely sad when I eventually finished reading the greatest fantasy novel of all time.

            So here we are, the end of the review. Two questions must be answered: Should You buy it? Oh lord YES! If you are a fan of fantasy epics read this, NOW! And Is it worth the time taken to read it: Yes, because you can then think about it for days.

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              17.04.2009 21:56
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              I love to search for info amog Tolkien's writtings

              I just found out some curiosities searching around through the books and I wanted to share them with you guys, i like finding more info and be amazed with Tolkien's imagination and writting skills.

              First of all I'll start writting about the Three Rings of The Elfs:

              - Nenya also known as The Ring of Water or The Diamon Ring, was given to lady Galadriel of the Wood Elfs. Everyone knows her right? hehe

              - Vilya, known as The Ring of Air or The Saphire Ring was given to Gil-galad and later on it came to Elrond the Lord of Rivendel.

              - Narya, The Ring of Fire or The Red Ring was custodied by Círdan and later by Mithrandir(Gandalf also called Olórin).

              Now some explanations for some of the upper names:
              - Círdain was knows as The Boad Builder. He was a Teleri Elf, the Lord of Falas(Western Region of Beleriand specially the coast). After the destruction of the Nirnaeth Arnoediad Ports he escaped with Gil-galad on the Balar Island. During the Second and Third Age he defended the Gray Ports in the Lhûn Gulf. At the arrival of Mithrandir he entrusted him with Narya.

              - Gil-galad also knows as The Shining Star. After the death of Turgon he became the last Supreme King of the Noldor in the Middle Earth and remained in Lindon until the end of the First Age. He leaded with Elendil the Last Alliance of Men and Elfs against Sauron but they both died in battle.

              - Elendil, called as Friend of the Elfs or The One in Love with the Stars, was the father of Anárion and Isildur. After the fall of the House of Númenor he founded the last Númenórean Kingdoms on the Middle Earth in Minas Anor(current Minas Tirith).

              - Anárion was younger brother of Isildur and son of Elendil, he was the Lord of Minas Anor.

              Some other curiositties:
              - The Argonath also called The King's Stones are the statues of the first lords of Gondor, Anárion and Isildur. The statues guard the northern borders of Gondor on the Anduin River.

              - Aragorn is the 39th heir of Isildur to the throne of Gondor.

              - Narsil was the sword of Elendil with which Isildur cut the ring off Sauron's hand. Was made by Telchar of Nogrod(a famous blacksmith). After it was reforged for Aragorn by the elfs the sword was called Andúril.

              Hope you guys enjoyed the info as much as I did. ^^

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              28.02.2009 19:25
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              Pipsqueak chucks jewelly into volcano.

              The Lord of the Rings became something of a stigma for a while. Literary snobs would sneer and chuckle at the possibility that a silly tale of dwarves and wizards could ever be taken seriously. In the 60's and 70's hippies became obsessed with the books and embarrassed themselves and everyone else by opening shops with names like Gandalf' Garden. The fact remains that TLOTR's is as gripping a tale and as complex a plot as anything found in Wagner, Proust or well, anywhere really. Borrowing from Icelandic sagas and Norse folk tales, Tolkiens world is utterly enchanting. Yes, there's a lot of running about and fighting and yes, perhaps the Fellowship could do with a few less songs but ultimately, when you reach the last chapters of Return of the King, you've been on a long journey too. This is one of those books that you simply read again and again over your lifetime.

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                13.02.2009 09:20
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                Eternal forces are hugely alive...

                In the famous trilogy saga of books, heralded by some as the literary work of the 20th century, John Ronald Reuel Tolkien effectively gives mythological credence to a simple tale, elaborated from his children's book 'The Hobbit' or 'There and Back Again'.

                The result allows him to contrast the simple lives of some interesting fictional characters (hobbits) with a vast world, and an evil force sweeping the lands. It perhaps gave him a vehicle to celebrate his love of nature, language and literature and to design a quest in an imaginative world for readers to escape into that is larger than theirs, with fellow wise beings such as the Elves, and one that can act as an elaborate stage for an absorbing and fresh depiction of the nature of good and evil and its effects.


                Evil is at large and is always inherent and threatening to rise, and goodness is simplicity and caution, and a code of honour out of the Arthurian myths. However a lasting impression of these fantastic books is one of the triumph and courage of a very ordinary, realistic warm-hearted goodness. The mythical overtones provide an ideal of reaching and romance, and of working towards a glorious outcome.


                'All that is gold does not glitter,
                Not all those who wander are lost;
                The old that is strong does not wither,
                Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

                From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
                A light from the shadows shall spring;
                Renewed shall be blade that was broken:
                The crownless again shall be king.'
                from The Fellowship of the Ring


                Despite often scornful opinions on the fantastical nature of this epic of the imagination, there is much meaning to be interpreted from this heroic trilogy, a superb recent myth in the style of Star Wars that accommodates elements or stereotypes from history, myth and legend and gives us a fresh, 'historic' world of its own. It has to be remembered that The Lord of the Rings was essentially the beginning for role-playing and fantasy epics, featuring mature depictions of characters like wizards, orcs and trolls.



                Tolkien declared himself that there was no particular intended allegory or analogy inherent, and this lends it open to possibilities and also to the simple fact of a good yarn in its own right, including Middle Earth's existence, which is full of differing values and motives. One struggle is for Gandalf the Grey wizard to muster the support of inward-thinking peoples such as the horsemen and awaken them to the universal cause of the Ring-bearers.

                So the author takes some pains to state the lack of connection between the WW2 years of the books' writing, and that of the War of the Ring. However the oppression of two wars and the loss of friends could not have escaped being a likely influence. Tolkien simply states his motive as an attempt 'to try my hand at a really long story that would hold the attention of readers, amuse them, delight them, and at times maybe excite them or deeply move them.'


                There is no religion as such, but there is a great spiritualism in the wisdom of races like the Elves, the eternal forces of nature and time that is greater than our own lives, and a sense of destiny within the truth of one's own character.......that has a place and a role to offer to the world.........


                The story warns of the dangers of fear and narrow-mindedness, and yet at the same time they warn of the danger of being too far-minded (like Saruman the wizard) and susceptible to the power itself. Thus there is the presence of an always shadowy evil, ready to seize upon the company of the ring, and exploit the inherently evil power of the object they must carry. In the creatures there is the presence of potential good still alive within examples of twisted evil (like Gollum) and the presence of potential evil in honourable goodness (like Boromir).


                Over everything is the relevance of the ring as a symbol of temptation.....desire.....It is the power of the world over us and its power to become between men; between friends......as the promise of attaining our desires in this brief life before death.......The disguise of the ring is its promise of fast, individual happiness or goodness.....so for Boromir it is the need to save his people in war and vanquish evil that makes him lust for the ring. So in The Lord of the Rings, good and evil is not the black and white affair that is always associated with fantasy sagas, but also an inner struggle over outward influences. It puts one in mind of a famous quote (actually at the end of The Usual Suspects):


                'The greatest trick the devil ever played........was convincing the world he doesn't exist'......


                The ring will play with your mind and draw you down, but the strength of friendship and the act of progression can see you through. This presentation of evil also relates to the huge awareness of time and history in the novels, and which comes through in the films too........The power of the ring is a great, timeless affair.......greater than any temporary war but always its underlying cause......until the time where it can be destroyed, where the perhaps unlikely Hobbit creatures must be the ones to bear its burden to Mount Doom and destroy it. The evil that is manifested in the searching eye of the Dark Lord Sauron and his minions, such as the Ringwraiths or Nazgul, is only one latest presence of the power of evil within the annals of Middle-Earth.


                The race of men are only a race in context with many others.......the elves, the dwarves....each with their own distinctive traits......but it is the burden of each of them to accommodate the powers of the world over them and seek understanding and wisdom to remain strong and uncorrupted......Sauron is a presence that goes back deep into the past and assumes many forms where his power is linked to the One Ring.


                The only protection against the power of the Ring is the understanding of its power.......that Gandalf of the Istari warns Frodo about. This, to me relates to the power of the world......where sin and death are present and manifest in one another it is only a child-like simplicity or an understanding of what is happening that can protect us from falling victim to its power. For in the face of the world events being influenced by the Ring, it is the naïve humility and goodness in the hobbit Sam Gamgee that can withstand such intentions and exert the bravery and heroism of the ordinary man..........what is so great about the books is the contrast between this and the powers at large in the land, amongst men, beast, wizard. It is the goodness of the straight-forward simpleton which makes him ultimately one of the strongest characters, the most hardy, in thought and intention, and Gamgee it could be said is a Christ-like presence.


                Another great element in the books is the prominence of songs and poems that demonstrate the transience of time, the celebration of nature and the delight of sharing and remembering meaningful moments. It relates to a sense of community and the automatic traits of honesty and camaraderie as being central to a timeless rustic harmony in the Shire home of the hobbits. There is also the great love of names - the names of places - as holding the possibilities of warmth and majesty and the love of features and homelands.

                The books are not flawless, however and there could be less descriptions of travel and scenery and more characterization. The films, by the director Peter Jackson, do well to maintain the flow of excitement and to retain the spirituality inherent in the tale.


                The Ring of Sin is something that all of us must carry, and although it has the power to destroy us and drag us down, and to deceive us, it is also something that we may be able to destroy and be free of??


                The eternal force of nature in the books (and with all its differing creatures) is hugely alive in the sense of mystery and lore, of transient time, of traveling ever onwards through life, and the romantic sorrow that comes even in moments of celebration, joy and peace. The books involve us in an awareness of this fragility - of the time in our lives - amid the ancient history of Middle-Earth, but one where everyone can have a role to play....... There is a beauty within the books that surfaces.


                To Rivendell, where Elves yet dwell
                In glades beneath the misty fell,
                Through moor and waste we ride in haste,
                And whither then we cannot tell.
                With foes ahead, behind us dread,
                Beneath the sky shall be our bed,
                Until at last our toil be passed,
                Our journey done, our errand sped.
                We must away! We must away!
                We ride before the break of day!'
                from The Fellowship of the Ring

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                  05.11.2008 16:33

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                  well worth it for any fantasy fan!

                  Lord of the Rings is quite simply one of the masters of the fantasy world. the basic plot features a hobbit named frodo and his friend samwise gamgee, who have to go on a mission into the lands of mordor to try and destroy the one ring.

                  together with elves (legolas), dwarves (gimli) and men (aragorn and boromir), and gandalf the wizard, the fellowship of the ring sets out on its journey. but as the trilogy progresses the ups and downs of their perilous journey to try and destroy evil and make middle earth a much better place.

                  The book is not an easy to read pick me up book, and relies upon a fair bit of concentration to get into it, but it is superbly written. the description is so vivid you feel as though you are actually there in middle earth.

                  if you have seen the films and enjoyed them then reading the book is a definate must! equally if you have read the books then i recommend giving the films a look in.

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                  06.01.2008 18:50
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                  Why is this everyone's favourite book? Because its great, I guess!

                  There's a reason why this is the granddaddy of Fantasy literature. Some people think that its pretty much the first of its kind, but that neglects to take into account the likes of William Morris, E R Eddison and Lord Dunsany, all of whom are great fantasy writers and deserve more respect than they currently get.

                  Tolkien's achievement in this field was to humanise the narrative. The earlier works were very much on the level of high fantasy - as if King Arthur and his knights were looking for a holy grail and its all written in ye olde englishe for good measure. Tolkien sees the possibility of bringing his own thoughts to a wide audience in a fantasy context by making, at least his main characters very human and very relatable. Lord of the Rings is at heart a tale of the underdog and the tale of a young man (or hobbit) who has to take the weight of the world on his shoulders and cannot succeed without the help from his best friend.

                  There's more to it of course...the epic scope, the wonderful world that Tolkien builds complete with made up languages, the vast range of interest characters, amgical items monsters and thrilling adventure.

                  I love this book still. Maybe not as much as when I was 12 and first read it, having been transported away to a magical realm I never believed could have existed -yet, despite all the great literature I've read since, I'll still return to this when I feel sad or in need of comfort. There's something comforting about it all, don't you think?

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                • Product Details

                  Enter Tolkien's Middle Earth through this well-loved trilogy.