After weeks of sloshing through Tolkein’s epic fantasy adventure, I finally got the chance to revel in the satisfaction of being a full-fledged fan of The Lord of the Rings. Shortly after reading the books, I happened to settle down to 11 hours of the extended editions of Peter Jackson’s fantastic adaptations – I took the time to wonder what it is that actually makes The Lord of the Rings such a spell binding tale. Is it the various amount of characters who you grow to know and love, the battles that seem to fight themselves over chapters of preparation and panic or the optimistic spirit of a Hobbit?
The concept of the story is fairly simplistic, for those who unfamiliar: a protagonist must travel far from their home to fulfil a task given to them. And, in all of it’s finer details, this is exactly what the story is about: Frodo Baggins and his journey across Middle Earth to destroy the one evil, ruling ring; created by the antagonist: Sauron.
Frodo is a hobbit of the Shire when Gandalf, a well known wizard, sets him the task of destroying the one ring to rule them all. He accumulates a fellowship to take him into the deep depths of Mordor, the homeland of Sauron and his army of Orcs. The story splits off on to many tangent story lines and grips you to the affairs of Men, Elves, Dwarves, Hobbits and the iconic creature of the 20th century: Gollum.
The striking thing about these novels is the depth of the background; Middle Earth is so thoroughly developed that it’s hard for a reader to keep up with all of the goings 0n. Languages, legends and leaders are listed for thousands of years and, if you’re not concentrating to the text, you can get so caught up in talk of tales that you know nothing about; it will wash past you like a wave and you’ll never be able to catch up. With over 100 pages of appendices, it’s a novel worthy of studying!
All in all, it’s pretty hard to pin your finger down on what is is exactly that is just so brilliant about these books. It’s a huge step-up from tolkien’s first novel, The Hobbit, which did warn of in depth background, but not to such a scale! Good vs. Evil. The classic fantasy adventure will live on for generations to come, and I can’t wait to share it with the next generations, much like how it was shared with me! So, yes, I think it would be acceptable to place this at the top, as the best fantasy novels ever.