Book Review: Lord of the Rings by Tolkien

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The Lord of the Rings is an epic tale about Frodo and his companions – Gandalf the Wizard, hobbits Merry, Pippin, and Sam, Gimli the Dwarf, Legolas the Elf, Boromir of Gondor, and a mysterious stranger named Strider – as they embark on a great quest.

The story revolves around the Rings of Power, which were crafted by the Elven-smiths in ancient times. The Dark Lord Sauron forged the One Ring and infused it with his own power so that he could rule all. However, he lost the One Ring, which ended up in the hands of Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit.

Sauron’s power was spreading fast from his Dark Tower in Mordor, as he sought the One Ring to complete his dominion. Bilbo passed on the Ring to Frodo on his eleventy-first birthday and set him on a dangerous journey to destroy the Ring by casting it into the Cracks of Doom, deep in the shadow of the Dark Lord’s domain.

If you are considering reading this book, this review will provide you with valuable insights into the important lessons you can learn from it, so you can decide if it’s worth your time. So, let’s dive in!

Plot Summary

The Lord of the Rings (abbrev. LOTR) is the collective title given to a trilogy of three separate, but related, novels: The Fellowship of the Ring (1954), The Two Towers (1954), and The Return of the King (1955). The events leading up to the story of LOTR are described in an earlier novel, The Hobbit (1937); a final novel, The Silmarillion (1977, published posthumously), chronicles the events of the period prior to The Hobbit.

Tolkien’s imaginary world is called Middle-earth, a name for Earth as it existed eons before history as we know it—a world of dark forests, wilderness, lurking creatures, and small garden communities. His novels include hundreds of place-names, with specific details of location, geography, and climate. 

Middle-earth is inhabited by many creatures: men, who resemble modern humans and have the greatest potential for brutality or heroism; dwarves, the short, stocky creatures who wear hooded cloaks, live underground, who are often greedy and grumpy, but who are dependable and strong; elves, who are tall, beautiful, kind, and immortal; ents, the 14-foot-tall tree herdsmen who watch over the trees and resemble them; hobbits, the little creatures most closely related to men, who stand about four feet tall and are humble, peace-loving, sociable, quick, and silent, live in burrows, love comfort, and have no interest in wars or magic powers; and orcs, evil goblins who are mean and ugly.

In the beginning—the First Age—Middle-earth was a peaceful, virtuous land in which evil did not exist. The hobbits lived a simple, happy, safe life in their sunny Shire, tending their gardens and keeping to themselves. 

After many years, the world fell on darker times in what was known as the Second Age. The evil wizard Sauron disguised himself and ordered the noble elf Celebrimbor to forge (i.e., manufacture) Three magic Rings of Power for the elves, Seven Rings for the dwarves, and Nine Rings for the men; the bearers of these Rings would have special powers. 

Ten years later, Sauron—the Lord of the Rings—treacherously forged the “One Ring” that would give him control of all other Rings and their bearers. The One Ring could extend the life of its bearer and make him or her invisible, but could also enslave and change the bearer physically, devouring mind and soul and causing hatred, jealousy, greed, and fear on the part of the bearer and of others who lusted for the Ring. 

On the One Ring, Sauron inscribed, “One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them / One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.” But Celebrimbor perceived Sauron’s evil intentions and hid the Three Rings; he was then killed when his kingdom, Eregion, was destroyed in 1697 during the War of the Elves and Sauron. 

The Three Rings remained hidden, and Sauron lost the One Ring in the Battle of the Gladden Fields; he then died for the first time. During the Third Age, the Three Rings were kept safe. But evil reappeared within 1,000 years, and Sauron returned in 2460, as war raged everywhere between good and evil. 

Sauron began gathering all the Rings and sought news of the One Ring; it was found in 2463 by the hobbit Déagol, for which his cousin, Gollum, murdered him and immediately became a hateful creature. Gollum called the One Ring his “Precious,” but lost it in 2941. Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit, found it while on an adventure with the good wizard Gandalf; by 2944, Gollum had begun to look for the “thief” of the Ring. 

In 3001, Bilbo celebrated his 111th birthday by saying farewell to Middle-earth, with the help of the Ring; he left the One Ring behind to his hobbit nephew, Frodo Baggins. Gandalf suspected it was the One Ring.

This is the beginning of LOTR, which will culminate in the War of the Ring and the onset of the Fourth Age. LOTR, a story about the eternal war between good and evil, chronicles Frodo’s quest to destroy the One Ring for the benefit of all Middle-earth; in possession of the One Ring, he journeys from his home in the Shire to the dangerous Mount Doom, where the Ring is finally destroyed.

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The Fellowship of the Ring: Book 1

It is the Third Age, and Bilbo Baggins, an eccentric hobbit adventurer, vanishes at his “eleventy-first” (111th) birthday party with the help of a magic Ring of invisibility, which he leaves behind to his cousin, Frodo Baggins. 

Frodo lives comfortably in the peaceful Shire until the wizard Gandalf the Grey, who is Bilbo’s friend, tells him that the Ring was made by Sauron—the evil Lord of Mordor—in the fires of Mount Doom and that it is very dangerous to the bearer. 

Frodo, who has previously ignored the rising evil in the outside world, reluctantly accepts responsibility for delivering the Ring (which has already infected him with possessiveness toward it) to the wise elves in Rivendell.

Frodo sets out with his gardener, Sam Gamgee, and hobbit friends Merry and Pippin. Before long, they are hunted by Sauron’s powerful servants, the ringwraiths (i.e., the nine slaves of the Nine Rings; also known as the Nazgûl and the Black Riders) and barely escape death in the Old Forest. 

Tom Bombadil, master of the forest, saves them from malicious living trees. Arriving in the small town of Bree, they meet Aragorn (also called Strider), a weather-beaten, suspicious-looking stranger who turns out to be Gandalf’s friend. They accept his offer to guide them, but on the road, Black Riders catch them and Frodo puts on the Ring to make himself invisible to the attackers. 

Since the Ring was made in Mordor, it attracts the ringwraiths, who are able to see the invisible Frodo. They stab him, and Frodo’s wound refuses to heal. His friends barely get him to Rivendell alive.

The Fellowship of the Ring: Book 2

In Rivendell, Frodo is cured and the hobbits reunite with Gandalf and Bilbo, who now lives in Rivendell. They meet Elrond, an elven king, and his daughter Arwen, Aragorn’s beloved.

At a council meeting, they discuss the threat of Sauron, who is attacking the outside world with a huge army of subhuman orcs and evil human allies.

Moreover, a formerly good wizard, Saruman, has turned bad and threatens Middle-earth with his ore army. The devious Gollum continues his search for the One Ring, which he had possessed before Bilbo found it. 

The council decides that since the Ring is the most powerful tool for evil in the world, it must be destroyed; but only the flames of Mount Doom in Mordor (where the Ring was made) can destroy it. Since Frodo has been willed (by Bilbo Baggins) to hold the One Ring, he reluctantly volunteers to take it to Mordor. 

Bilbo gives Frodo magic armor (made of mithril, a light metal harder than steel) and the elf- sword “Sting” to protect him. Elrond selects eight people (who become known as the Fellowship of the Ring) to accompany Frodo: Sam, Merry, Pippin, Aragorn, Gandalf, the dwarf Gimli, the elf Legolas, and the human Boromir, son of Denethor, the Steward (guardian) of Gondor (the land closest to Mordor, which has continuously attacked Gondor over the years). 

Aragorn carries with him “Andúril,” the sword of Gondor’s kings, broken years before but now reforged.

The nine set out on their Quest of Mount Doom, but storms prevent them from crossing Mount Caradhras. Instead they must pass through the underground tunnels of Moria. Pursued by orcs, they barely escape to the other side, and Gandalf, fighting off the pursuers, is flung into a deep pit of fire. 

They mourn his death and, deeply discouraged, continue to Lórien, home of the wood elves.

There, Queen Galadriel, the ageless and beautiful holder of one of the three powerful elven Rings, shows Frodo how she refuses to use power manipulatively, and gives the travelers gifts to help them on their journey. 

For 10 days, they continue south by boat toward Mordor, hunted by orcs from the shore. Boromir wants to go to Minas Tirith, the chief city of Gondor, since he worries that the city may fall to Mordor’s orc armies. But Aragorn wants to press on toward Mordor.

Frodo, as Ring-bearer, must choose. While he goes off alone to decide, Boromir, obsessed by the idea that the Ring can be used for good, tries to take it from him. Frodo, desperate, puts the Ring on again, turns invisible, and escapes, leaving Boromir overcome by remorse. Aware that the Ring can cause only trouble to his companions, Frodo heads for Mordor alone. But at the last minute Sam finds him and they leave together, separating from the others and thus breaking the Fellowship of the Ring.

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The Two Towers: Book 3

Soon after Frodo and Sam leave on their journey to destroy the Ring, Merry and Pippin are attacked and captured by Saruman’s orcs. Boromir dies trying to defend them, and Aragorn, Gimli, and Legolas pursue the orcs for four days in an effort to save Merry and Pippin. 

They meet some proud horsemen from Rohan, led by the valiant warrior Éomer, nephew of King Théoden of Rohan. Éomer agrees to lend them horses—including the great Shadowflax—but reveals that his men have just destroyed a band of orcs and have seen no hobbits with them. Meanwhile, Merry and Pippin realize that Saruman thinks one of them has the Ring, and they take advantage of infighting among the orcs to escape during Éomer’s attack. 

Treebeard, a friendly ent, takes them home with him to the mysterious forest of Fangorn. The ents, who have been harmed by Saruman and the ores, decide to attack Isengard, Saruman’s home. Meanwhile, Aragorn, Gimli, and Legolas are approached in the forest by an old man in white; they prepare to fight Saruman, but are overjoyed to find that the man is Gandalf. 

He reveals that the fires had not killed him, but that he has undergone deep changes. He is now Gandalf the White, even stronger and wiser than before. The four go on to Rohan and rescue the elderly King Théoden from the evil influence of his adviser, Wormtongue, who escapes to his true master, Saruman. With Wormtongue gone, Théoden immediately becomes manlike again. 

Gandalf persuades Théoden to lead an attack on Isengard and to leave his kingdom under the control of his warrior niece, Éowyn. While a revitalized Théoden leads his army to victory against the orcs, some enraged ents uproot Saruman’s tower, where Merry and Pippin have been imprisoned. 

Saruman’s power is broken, and Merry and Pippin are reunited with the others. But Pippin, tempted to look into Saruman’s palantir (i.e., a magic globe that enables the user to see far into time and space), is nearly enchanted by Sauron. Gandalf saves him and, entrusting the palantir to Aragorn, takes Pippin to Minas Tirith.

Book 4 

On their way to Mordor, Frodo and Sam are attacked by Gollum; they overpower him, and in return for his life he vows to serve as their guide.

Avoiding the orcs and ringwraiths, he leads them through a haunted marsh to Mordor’s main gates. When they despair of getting in, he offers to lead them to a secret entrance. Frodo and Sam agree to his plan, but when men from Gondor, who are out fighting orcs, take them into custody, Gollum disappears. 

Frodo and Sam soon discover that the leader of the men, the gentle Faramir, is Boromir’s brother. Frodo fears that Faramir, too, will try to take the Ring, but Faramir has no desire for such evil power. He gives them provisions and sends them on their way. 

As the weather grows worse, Frodo and Sam—accompanied again by Gollum—fight exhaustion and depression. They pass between two opposing towers: Minas Tirith of Gondor (good) and Minas Morgul of Mordor (evil).

When they pause at the crossroads near a huge, broken statue of a king, a miraculous ray of sunshine bursts out and they see a crown of wildflowers on the statue’s head, a sign of hope. Gollum leads them onto the cave entrance to Mordor, where he treacherously attacks Sam, leaving Frodo to be poisoned by Shelob, a monstrous spider. 

Sam escapes and uses Galadriel’s gift—a miraculous Phial of light—to blind Shelob and drive her away. Thinking Frodo dead, Sam sorrowfully takes the Ring to destroy it himself. A little later, however, he overhears orcs saying that Frodo is alive. But they have taken him prisoner, and Sam is locked outside.

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The Return of The King: Book 5

In Gondor, Pippin swears service to Denethor, while in Rohan, Merry vows to serve King Théoden. In response to an urgent appeal from Gondor for help, Théoden prepares his army, while Aragorn, after a long struggle with Sauron through the palantir, leaves on a suicide mission to get allies from the Land of the Dead. 

Éowyn, Théoden’s niece who has fallen in love with Aragorn, wants to go with the army, but is left behind in charge of Rohan. Merry, too, is almost left behind, but Dernhelm, a “mysterious warrior” (actually Éowyn in disguise) takes him along. They ride out on a day when there is no sun—a sign that Mordor will launch a full-scale attack. 

In Gondor, Faramir returns from a meeting with Frodo, and Denethor criticizes him for not seizing the Ring. However, Gandalf supports Faramir’s actions, knowing that if Faramir had taken the Ring, he would have become as evil as Sauron. 

The next day, in a crucial battle that rages for hours, Faramir is seriously wounded and the gates of Gondor are broken by a huge siege. Gandalf alone faces the evil Angmar, king of the ringwraiths.

At that moment, dawn breaks and the army from Rohan arrives. Théoden is wounded by Angmar and dies when his horse falls on him. “Dernhelm” kills Angmar with Merry’s help, then collapses, near death from wounds, leaving Éomer—the new King of Rohan—to lead the desperate battle. 

When ships arrive, bearing Aragorn with reinforcements, the tide of the battle changes and Gondor wins—temporarily. But in the city, Denethor, driven mad by despair and by communication with Sauron through a palantir, tries to burn Faramir and himself on a funeral pyre. 

Denethor dies, but thanks to Pippin, Faramir is saved. Aragorn uses his kingly healing power to restore Éowyn and Faramir to health, then leads a band of soldiers, including Gandalf and Pippin, to the gates of Mordor. There, a messenger demands their surrender, displaying Frodo’s armor.

Though anguished about Frodo’s fate and fearing that Sauron has the Ring, Gandalf rejects his demands. They join in battle, and Pippin is wounded just as eagles—the greatest and noblest of birds—arrive to help Gandalf.

Book 6 

In the meantime, Sam has followed the orcs into Mordor, hoping to free Frodo. The Ring is a heavy burden, tempting Sam to claim its power, but he resists. He finds Frodo locked in a tower and returns the Ring to him. 

Sam finds some orc clothes for them both and they escape. Plagued by thirst and exhaustion, they head for Mount Doom through the desolate land of Mordor, and miraculously find fresh water. Days later, they reach Mount Doom; and as Sam begins the ascent with the worn-down Frodo on his back, Gollum attacks. Sam defeats him, but mercifully releases him. 

On the mountaintop, Frodo, overwhelmed by the Ring, cannot destroy it; instead he gives in and claims its power. But justice is served when Gollum, slipping past Sam, attacks Frodo, bites off his ring finger, and falls with the Ring into the flames of Mount Doom. 

The Ring is destroyed and Frodo is released from its spell; the War of the Rings is over. Huge eagles fly to the rescue of Frodo and Sam, who are reunited with Merry and Pippin in Gondor and honored by Aragorn and the elves. Meanwhile, Éowyn and Faramir fall in love, and Aragorn, as Elessar, is officially crowned the first King of the Reunited Kingdom, thereby regaining the throne of his Dúnedain forefathers (hence the novel’s title, The Return of the King).

Faramir is made Prince of Ithilien, and Aragorn marries his beloved Arwen. The hobbits begin their journey home, passing through the now safe lands that were once so dangerous. They meet Saruman, who has become an old beggar but who refuses to give up his evil ways. 

When they finally arrive home, they are forced once again to do battle—this time, to free the Shire from evil men led by Sharkey, who turns out to be Saruman. 

Wormtongue kills his former master, leaving the hobbits to rebuild the Shire. Sam, scattering magic dust given to him by Galadriel, marks the beginning of a year of tremendous prosperity. 

Sam, Merry, and Pippin flourish—but Frodo, who has experienced a darker side of life, does not. The next year, when Gandalf and the bearers of the three elven Rings pass through the Shire on their way to cross the sea—where the elves still live happily—Frodo joins them. 

The Fourth Age—the Dominion of Men—has begun, and since humans do not understand elves and other nonhuman creatures, Frodo knows that he, too, must leave Middle-earth forever.

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Key Characters

Aragorn II: Last chieftain of the Dúnedain of the North; restorer of Dúnedain kingdoms in Middle-earth; as Elessar, he is the first king of the Reunited Kingdom. Experienced and intelligent, he has great power and a love of friends, and is utterly committed to the battle against Mordor.

Boromir: Older brother of Faramir; son of Denethor II. Young, proud, and headstrong, he is noble at heart but craves glory, and the power of the Ring obsesses him.

Denethor II: Last ruling steward (guardian) of Gondor. Originally noble and heroic, he is now worn down and driven to harshness and despair by continuous battles with Mordor.

Faramir: Boromir’s younger brother. Intelligent, gentle, and responsible, he is a good leader and great warrior who is not tempted by the Ring.

Frodo Baggins: Easygoing hobbit. Chosen to carry the Ring because of his humble nature, he has no desire for power and can resist the Ring’s charms. He shows mercy and compassion to others, but the Ring wears him down and isolates him, often making him suspicious and possessive. He emerges from his ordeal more serious and perceptive.

Galadriel: Elf-queen in Lórien. Beautiful, kind, perceptive, concerned, and unselfish.

Sam (Samwise) Gamgee: Hobbit. Frodo’s gardener and most faithful friend and helper who protects Frodo.

Gandalf: Good wizard. Centuries old and respected for his wisdom and heroism, he is fond of hobbits and often shows a sense of humor and affection. Sometimes impatient, he is the character most responsible for the defeat of Sauron.

Gollum: Subhuman. Long ago corrupted by the Ring, he is a thin, strong, sneaky, spidery creature who prefers caves and darkness, and is alternately flattering and treacherous.

Legolas: Elf. Quick and intelligent, he is a fierce fighter.

Merry: Hobbit. Frodo’s friend who is adventurous, trustworthy, and capable of courage and endurance.

Pippin: Hobbit. Young and often immature and impatient, he learns true courage and wisdom.

Saruman: Evil wizard. Once good, he is now corrupted by a desire for power and is persuasive, treacherous, and powerful.

Sauron: Lord of the Rings. Evil wizard and ruler of Mordor who is defeated in the end.

Themes and Ideas

1. Good vs. Evil

The central theme of “The Lord of the Rings” is the battle between good and evil. Good is portrayed as positive, creative, and natural, while evil is depicted as negative and destructive. Some characters are entirely good (like Galadriel) or evil (like Sauron), but most have a mix of good and evil and must struggle against their evil tendencies.

Evil traits include possessiveness and a desire to dominate and control others, while good traits are endurance, mercy, and kindness. Some characters succumb to their evil side (like Gollum and Saruman), while others are destroyed by the struggle (like Denethor). However, good ultimately triumphs in most cases.

2. The Ring

The Ring gives its bearer the power of invisibility, but also makes them more visible to Sauron and the ringwraiths. It darkens their perception of the world. The Ring symbolizes evil power and corrupts its owners with possessiveness and suspicion (as seen in Frodo’s anger at Sam for taking the Ring). It also tempts others with the promise of power, corrupting good intentions (as seen in Boromir’s desire for the safety of Gondor turning into a desire for power).

Sauron’s evil has corrupted the world, and the elven Rings’ departure from Middle-earth marks the end of the Golden Age of song and myth after Sauron’s defeat. Power is what the “One Ring” offers, but it corrupts even good people (like Saruman and Denethor).

Only the noblest people can use power well (like Gandalf and Aragorn), yet they still feel burdened by it. Frodo, an ordinary hobbit, denies his desire for power and accomplishes a heroic deed by destroying the Ring.

3. The Quest

“The Lord of the Rings” chronicles two parallel quests: Frodo and the hobbits’ journey from innocence to wisdom, and Aragorn’s quest to become king and restore his royal ancestors’ rule and dignity. The quest is lonely and exhausting for many characters (such as Frodo, Gandalf, and Aragorn).

Some characters gain maturity through their struggles (like Frodo, Pippin, and Éowyn), while others experience a symbolic death and rebirth into a new understanding (like Gandalf “dying” in Moria and returning with new wisdom, or Aragorn visiting the Land of the Dead and returning to become king).

Although there is no formal religion in Middle-earth, Tolkien, a devout Roman Catholic, uses Christian values to destroy the Ring, such as endurance, self-sacrifice, the refusal of worldly power (as seen in Gandalf, Faramir, and Galadriel rejecting the power of the Ring), and mercy (as seen in Aragorn, Sam, and Frodo sparing Gollum).

4. Fate vs. Free Will

Some wise characters (like Gandalf and Elrond) believe that certain events were meant to happen (such as Frodo being “chosen” to have the Ring). This idea may reflect an impersonal fate or a controlling force directing events.

However, free will (choices made without divine intervention) is also important. Frodo still must choose to carry the Ring himself. Tolkien shows that individual actions and characters have a great impact on the world, and each person must make choices that guide the course of their life.

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1. Complex Yet Simple Storyline

The Lord of the Rings is a complex story that has many subplots and characters, yet at its core, it is simple: How Frodo Baggins rids Middle-earth of the Ring of Power. Tolkien’s ability to weave together the different aspects of the story so fluidly is remarkable. It is so well-written that it seems relatively simple, even though there are hundreds of subplots, both implied and obvious.

The plot proceeds following a few storylines, and the ultimate goal is to destroy the Ring of Power in Mount Doom. Along the way, we meet a myriad of characters, and the world, Middle-earth, that Tolkien has created is so vast that it can’t even be contained in the pages that he has used to write it.

2. Well-Developed Characters

Despite the complexity of the story, Tolkien takes the time to develop each and every character involved. With all of the backstories, we get to know more about the characters, and what they do later on in the book causes them to stay true to who they are based on what they’ve already done.

Suffice to say, Tolkien is a master of characterization. Each character has his or her own voice, and each talks differently. The relationship between Sam and Frodo is especially heartwarming. Tolkien is just as adept at writing lengthy scenes where little action occurs as he is at bringing dramatic battle scenes to life.

3. Flawless Writing Style

Tolkien’s writing style is absolutely flawless. His descriptions are masterful, and he doesn’t fall into any of the usual faults that many authors fall into. He uses action to channel descriptions, and his writing flows extremely well. He moves the story steadily along while keeping consistent pacing, which is a very important aspect of any story.

His writing is nearly perfect down to the simple scenes that involve interaction between characters. There are many passages where Tolkien uses long passages in dialogue to convey information while using only simple dialogue tags to portray the action. Each character has his or her own voice, and each talks differently.


1. Confusing Character Names and Language

One of the major issues with The Lord of the Rings is the multiple names used for the same characters, as well as the use of similar names for different characters. It can be difficult to keep track of who is who, especially for someone who is not a hardcore fan. For example, Aragorn is also known as Strider, and other characters have multiple names that are used interchangeably throughout the book.

Another issue is the use of Tolkien’s invented languages, Elvish and Dwarfish. While I can appreciate his scholarship in philology and linguistics, the casual reader may find it difficult to follow along with the text peppered with words they don’t understand. It feels like showing off rather than enhancing the story.

2. Too Much Filler Material

Another problem I had with The Lord of the Rings was the excessive use of filler material. Tolkien devotes pages upon pages to describing the flora and fauna of Middle Earth, which feels unnecessary and detracts from the story’s pace and excitement. Likewise, his poetry, both in English and invented languages, is often overlong and fails to add much to the plot.

Besides, there are whole chapters that contribute little to the main story. The section with Tom Bombadil, for example, feels like an intrusion from another book, and doesn’t relate to anything else in The Lord of the Rings. These sections could have been trimmed down or removed altogether without losing anything of value.

3. Lack of Emotional Depth

While there are moments of brilliance in The Lord of the Rings, I found the book to be lacking in emotional depth. The love stories, for example, felt like cardboard cutouts of what love and romance should be, failing to elicit any real emotion from me as a reader. Additionally, the battle scenes, while beautifully written, lacked a sense of urgency or danger, making it hard to feel invested in the outcome.


Lord of the Rings is a thrilling adventure that takes readers on a journey through the magical and dangerous world of Middle Earth. The story follows the heroic journey of Frodo Baggins, a humble hobbit tasked with the impossible mission of destroying the One Ring and defeating the evil Sauron.

Along the way, he is joined by a cast of memorable characters who offer humor, heart, and courage in the face of seemingly insurmountable challenges. Tolkien’s masterful storytelling transports readers to a world filled with wonder, danger, and the enduring power of friendship.

The Lord of the Rings is a true masterpiece of fantasy literature that will capture the imagination of readers for generations to come.

About The Author

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien (1892–1973) was born in Bloemfontein, South Africa. He was raised in a poor Roman Catholic family in Birmingham, England.

Tolkien fought in World War I (1916) and later became a professor of English at Oxford. When his children were young, he told them tales of an imaginary world called Middle-earth which his Oxford colleagues urged him to write down. The result was the hugely successful Middle-earth series of novels. Tolkien also wrote scholarly criticism.

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