Lord of the Rings - J. R.R. Tolkien - New
50th Anniversary One - Volume Edition
The Lord of the Rings (often abbreviated LotR) is an epic high fantasy novel written by philologist J.R.R Tolkien. The story began as a sequel to Tolkien's earlier, less complex children's fantasy novel The Hobbit (1937), but eventually developed into a much larger work. It was written in stages between 1937 and 1949, much of it during World War II. Although intended as a single-volume work, it was originally published in three volumes in 1954 and 1955, due to post-war paper shortages, and it is in this three-volume form that it is popularly known. It has since been reprinted numerous times and translated into many different languages, becoming one of the most popular and influential works in 20th-century literature.
The title of the book refers to the story's main antagonist, the Dark Lord Sauron, who had in an earlier age created the One Ring that rules the other Rings of Power, as the ultimate weapon in his campaign to conquer and rule all of Middle-earth. From quiet beginnings in the Shire, a hobbit land not unlike the English countryside, the story ranges across Middle-earth following the course of the War of the Ring through the eyes of its characters, most notably the hobbits, Frodo Baggins, Samwise Gamgee (Sam), Meriadoc Brandybuck (Merry) and Peregrin Took (Pippin). The lands of Middle-earth are populated by Men (humans) and other humanoid races (Hobbits, Elves, Dwarves, and Orcs), as well as many other creatures, both real and fantastic (Ents, Wargs, Balrogs, Trolls, etc.).
Along with Tolkien's other works, The Lord of the Rings has been subjected to extensive analysis of its themes and origins. Although a major work in itself, the story was only the last movement of a larger work Tolkien had worked on since 1917, that he described as a mythopoeia. Influences on this earlier work, and on the story of The Lord of the Rings, include philology, mythology, religion and the author's distaste for the effects of industrialization, as well as earlier fantasy works and Tolkien's experiences in World War I. The Lord of the Rings in its turn is considered to have had a great effect on modern fantasy; the impact of Tolkien's works is such that the use of the words "Tolkienian" and "Tolkienesque" has been recorded in the Oxford English Dictionary.
The Dark Lord Sauron forges the Ruling Ring of Power in Mordor binding much of his earthly power into it. In battle it is cut off by Isildur, who claims it, but he is later killed by Orcs, and the Ring falls into the Great River. Gollum murderously obtains the Ring while fishing and keeps it for over four hundred years before losing it, when it is found by Bilbo Baggins. Gollum, while meandering to look for the Ring, is captured and interrogated by Sauron's minions. Eventually, Gollum escapes but is caught and imprisoned by the elves in Mirkwood and Sauron sends Ringwraiths to find the Ring.
The story begins in the Shire, as Frodo Baggins inherits the ring from Bilbo; both are unaware of its origins. Gandalf learns some of the Ring's history and advises Frodo to take the Ring away from the Shire. Frodo leaves with his loyal gardener, Samwise "Sam" Gamgee, and two cousins, Merry and Pippin, to help him. On their dangerous journey, they run into many difficulties and are pursued by the Ringwraiths. Various characters give aid along the way, including Tom Bombadil and a disguised Aragorn, Isildur's heir and rightful king of Gondor. At Weathertop, Frodo is wounded by the Ringwraiths, but eventually the company defeat them at the Ford of Bruinen, aided by Elrond, master of Rivendell.
Frodo recovers under the care of Elrond. The Council of Elrond reveals much significant history and current news about Sauron and the Ring, including the escape of Gollum from Mirkwood and the corruption of the wizard Saruman. The council decides that the threat of Sauron is too great and the only course of action is to destroy the Ring in Mordor. Frodo volunteers to take the Ring, and a "Fellowship of the Ring" is chosen to accompany him.
The company is forced to travel through the Mines of Moria, where they are attacked by Orcs. Gandalf fights a Balrog and falls into a deep chasm. The others escape and take refuge in Lothlórien. With boats and gifts from the Lady Galadriel, the company then travel down the great River Anduin to the Amon Hen. There, Boromir, heir to the current rulers of Gondor, attempts to take the ring from Frodo, who then breaks from the Fellowship and continues the trek to Mordor accompanied only by Sam.
About the Author J.R.R. Tolkien
John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, was an English writer, poet, philologist, and university professor, best known as the author of the classic high fantasy works The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Tolkien was Rawlinson and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford from 1925 to 1945, and Merton Professor of English Language and Literature from 1945 to 1959. He was a close friend of C. S. Lewis – they were both members of the informal literary discussion group known as the Inklings. Tolkien was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II on 28 March 1972. After his death, Tolkien's son, Christopher, published a series of works based on his father's extensive notes and unpublished manuscripts, including The Silmarillion. These, together with The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, form a connected body of tales, poems, fictional histories, invented languages, and literary essays about an imagined world called Arda, and Middle-earth within it. Between 1951 and 1955 Tolkien applied the word legendarium to the larger part of these writings.
While many other authors had published works of fantasy before Tolkien, the great success of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings when they were published in paperback in the United States led directly to a popular resurgence of the genre. This has caused Tolkien to be popularly identified as the "father" of modern fantasy literature—or more precisely, high fantasy. Tolkien's writings have inspired many other works of fantasy and have had a lasting effect on the entire field. In 2008, The Times ranked him sixth on a list of 'The 50 greatest British writers since 1945'. Tolkien was a devout Roman Catholic, and in his religious and political views he was mostly conservative, in the sense of favouring established conventions and orthodoxies over innovation and modernization; in 1943 he wrote, "My political opinions lean more and more to Anarchy (philosophically understood to mean abolition of control, not whiskered men with bombs)—or to 'unconstitutional' Monarchy." Tolkien had an intense dislike for the side effects of industrialization, which he considered to be devouring the English countryside. For most of his adult life, he was disdainful of automobiles, preferring to ride a bicycle. This attitude can be seen in his work, most famously in the portrayal of the forced "industrialization" of The Shire in The Lord of the Rings. Many have commented on a number of potential parallels between the Middle-earth saga and events in Tolkien's lifetime. The Lord of the Rings is often thought to represent England during and immediately after World War II. Tolkien ardently rejected this opinion in the foreword to the second edition of the novel, stating he preferred applicability to allegory. This theme is taken up in greater length in his essay "On Fairy-Stories", where he argues fairy-stories are so apt because they are consistent with themselves and some truths about reality. He concludes that Christianity itself follows this pattern of inner consistency and external truth. His belief in the fundamental truths of Christianity and their place in mythology leads commentators to find Christian themes in The Lord of the Rings, despite its noticeable lack of overt religious references, religious ceremony or appeals to God. This is not surprising, since the phenomena which in our real world give rise to religious impulses are, in Middle-earth, an ordinary and expected part of the natural world. Use of religious references was frequently a subject of disagreement between Tolkien and C.S. Lewis,whose work is often overtly allegorical. However, Tolkien wrote that the Mount Doom scene exemplified lines from the Lord's Prayer. His love of myths and devout faith came together in his assertion that he believed that mythology is the divine echo of "the Truth". This view was expressed in his poem Mythopoeia, and his idea that myths held "fundamental truths" became a central theme of the Inklings in general.
Lord of the Rings - J. R.R. Tolkien - New
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