So I have just finished reading The Fellowship Of The Ring last night. It took me much longer to read this book than it usually takes me to finish most reads, it's so rich and so significant that I had to put a lot more focus and effort in reading it; I actually stopped after each chapter and wrote down notes on major events and plot developments. What I was trying to do is to understand, and maybe study the structure of this great work of fantasy, to extract the actual story line that was almost hidden among all the detailed descriptions of the surroundings.
Halfway through the book, I wrote a post about the strongest message reaching me from the story. Now I'm writing this post to record what I understand after finishing the first part of the great trilogy, and to add to that previous message more conclusions and ideas that came to my mind. Here I must mention The LOTR Project, this amazing website that helped me a lot in following the story and simplifying the plot.
In the simplest form, 'Lord Of The Rings' is a story about a journey. The journey of Frodo, the simple hobbit, who volunteered to carry a heavy burden and go on a most dangerous quest. The Fellowship Of The Ring records the first part of this journey, during which Frodo goes through several stops, and in each stop he encounters new people, new events and new challenges. I don't want to talk here about what happens in the story, but about what it felt like to read it.
For me, the journey resembles that of life, and of growth. It's about finding your purpose in life and believing that you do matter to the world no matter how ordinary you think you are. It's also about deeply hidden courage, wisdom and strength, that only appear when you're in the worst situations. The true nature of the good, simple people.
Another aspect in this book in particular is the people you meet on the road, those who become your friends and companions on the journey, and those who you encounter only for a short time but leave such a mark on you. In this story you can see how those you may doubt can be the most faithful and true, how those who appear strongest can prove to be the weakest and vice versa. Also, how power can corrupt and how friendship can save.
All this is entwined in amazing descriptions of almost every rock, cloud and blade of grass on the road. And though the deep delving into such details can be confusing and even overwhelming at times, It's more than impressive that a human mind could create such a complete world, and imagine every single detail in it.
Through a lot of fantastical imaginations, the story reflects some the most realistic values and meanings of human life and nature. And that's what I love the most about fantasy; to me the greatness of this genre lies in how it takes you so far away from, but also so deeply into reality.