Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Book #10 Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien
I have to say, I've read this before, and I'm a huge fan of the movies. I actually took a class in college comparing aspects of LotR to the Bible. Interesting stuff. I have been dying to reread it, so all I needed was a little motivation (thank you to my Goodreads group, "Reading the Chunksters").
I snagged this part right out of one of my old papers, which were based on the film versions. The question I was supposed to answer was about who I believed the three main characters are in the story:
"The three main characters in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring are Frodo, Aragorn, and the ring itself. Frodo represents innocence. When he is first introduced to the ring, he knows nothing about it. He just finds it on the floor and picks it up, so it has no real power over him. Gandalf tries to maintain some of that innocence by not telling him what it is at first and simply telling him not to put it on and keep it out of sight. Then as Frodo begins to learn the powers of the ring, he becomes a bit more consumed by it. When he first puts it on and becomes invisible, he is less innocent, and becomes more possessed by the ring and its power. He begins to hold onto it more carefully and use the invisibility to his advantage. After the private council in Rivendell, he is even more aware of the power that the ring possesses. As a result near the end of the movie when Aragorn tries to come near to talk to him after Boromir has tried to take the ring, Frodo is panicky and tells him he cannot have it. The more his innocence is destroyed, the more power the ring has over him.
Aragorn represents willpower. He is an ancestor of Isildur, who when given the chance did not destroy the ring. Aragorn seems burdened by this mistake. Though men are the weakest at resisting the power of the ring, he resists with no problem it appears. Aragorn does not want to carry on the same mistake that his ancestor made. He wants to be a part of destroying the evil that follows the ring wherever it goes. At the council Boromir makes a move to take the ring, but Aragorn never moves. He seems completely unaffected by it, when really he is working hard not to give into the evil. Another example is when Frodo is running from Boromir, and Aragorn finds him alone. Frodo thinks that Aragorn is reaching to take the ring from him as he talks, but Aragorn just clenches Frodo’s had tight around the ring, as though he were telling Frodo to keep it safe. He shows enormous willpower in this way because while the ring does tempt him, he does not allow himself to give into it.
The last main character is the ring itself. The ring represents greed. The characters can feel the power that it holds, and it makes them want it for themselves. Isildur refuses to destroy it when he cuts the Dark Lord’s finger off. Smeagol is so completely consumed by it that he follows the fellowship wherever it goes to try and steal the ring back. Bilbo, even after being separated from it for some time, turns into a monster-like creature and tries to snatch it when he sees it on the chain around Frodo’s neck. Boromir is tempted by the power and tries to attack Frodo and take it away. The spirit of the Dark Lord within it makes the characters want it. Anyone who has the ring seems to feel the constant need to see it and touch it, taking comfort in the fact that they have it. The ring even tries to put itself on Frodo’s finger when he, Sam, Pippin, and Merry are hiding from the Black Rider. It has its own mind and its own story, which is what the opening of the films shows. It tells the journey of the ring and establishes it as a character, not just an important object."
I still feel like this is mostly true, although I'm not necessarily sure that the ring has quite as strong a "personality" in the book.
I also feel in reading Fellowship again that it has to end the way that it does, even though it feels abrupt. It shows that the ring bearer, Frodo, is the only one who can destroy the ring. The rest of the fellowship may help him with the fighting and give him moral support, but in the end, Frodo is the one who will have to make that choice and let go of the ring.
Again, I really love this book, though the second volume tends to be my favorite. :)