The One Ring… Deterministic like Tolkien?
The Fellowship of the Ring

Book I Overview

Reflecting on the entire story up to this point, I’ll say that the book is compelling. It’s a very real story in that there is clearly a history to our characters and to the world at large. Perhaps there is one grand story that Illúvatar is working out from beginning to end, but each character big or small has his or her own story too.

Perhaps they arrive safely to Rivendell, and assumably Frodo will return to full health, but their adventure is very much at the beginning, still. If the Ring must be destroyed, then Frodo (or someone else–maybe Sam) will have to throw it into the Cracks of Mount Doom. Does it take all 3 books to do that? Or does it take place somewhere in the middle and then more stuff happens till finally Sauron joins his master beyond the Door of Night in the Timeless Void.

Although the story could go many places, it feels like it will only go one way. Fate or providence or whatever seems to be working things out in a very specific way inspite of all the twists and turns. Like Neo in The Matrix, I don’t like to think that I’m not in control of my own life, so despite enjoying the story in general, I’m not a big fan of the deterministic slant of Tolkien’s books (those that I’ve read).

I’m sure on a second and third read, Tolkien’s attention to geographic detail will be appreciated. But, sometimes, I get tripped up on some of his descriptions and never really understand some of it without stopping and going over it a few times.

So, a third time, I’ll say the story is compelling (exciting, nerve-wracking, adventurous, annoying, and colorful), but it’s not the easiest to read. Now I’m not the biggest reader in the world either (I’ve only read the Silmarillion, the Hobbit, and this first book in the Fellowship of the Ring over the last 14 months), so maybe that has more to do with me than Tolkien.

As for the movies… since I’m finally in the know enough to have a feel for the Lord of the Rings (or do I?) and risking lots more criticism, I think David Fincher (Seven, the Game, Fight Club) or even Tim Burton would have done a good job with the material I’ve read thus far; it’s all been so dark and even sinister at times, if you know what I mean.

till next time, keep thinking


Kanazawa Japan