The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring
A Brief Analysis: Theme
The Fellowship of the Ring is the first of three volumes of the epic novel The Lord Of The rings by the English author J. R. R. Tolkien. It is followed by The Two Towers and The Return Of The King. It takes place in the fictional universe of Middle-earth. It was originally published on 29 July 1954 in the United Kingdom. The book is often considered a canonical work of fantasy fiction, and many believe it to be one of the greatest and most expansive stories of all time. Unsurprisingly, this work of genius delves into many themes and issues present within our day to day society, and in the following paragraphs I will begin to enlighten the reader with a multitude of themes within the story, as well as explanations and evidence so as to enrich my analytic essay entirely.
The first theme, and arguably the most important one, is the debatably cliché theme of good versus evil. Tolkien’s work however, underlines the importance of choosing good over evil in a manner unique amongst many modern fantasies.
Frodo Baggins and The Fellowship (Consisting of Aragorn, Gandalf, Samwise Gamgee, Legolas, Gimli, Boromir, Peregrin Took, and Meriadoc Brandybuck) was, in short, a brilliant representation of the “good”, as even within The Fellowship each member isn’t perfect; An exponentially more realistic depiction. The Dark Lord Sauron and his army provided a quite vivid representation of evil.
“Eomer said, ‘How is a man to judge what to do in such times? All he has ever judged,’ said Aragorn. ‘Good and evil have not changed since yesteryear, nor are they one thing among Elves and another among men. It is a man’s part to discern them, as much in the Golden Wood as in his own house.” (401) This quote beautifully sums up my analysis above, as it brings up an important theme present in The Fellowship Of The Ring. Aragorn states that good and evil are two completely polarized concepts, however, they are not always present separately, rather that it is up to the individual to discern between the two. He states that good and evil are two different constants in society, and that no matter the differences in methods good or evil, the concepts both retain their essential individual components.
Psychology Today states that it is a dangerous over-simplification to believe that some people are innately “good” while others are innately “evil” or “bad,” rather, that good and evil are fluid, displaying the brilliance of Tolkien’s representation of good. Steve Taylor, the author of the article, states that “good” is essentially a lack of self-centeredness; the ability to empathize with other people, to feel compassion for them, and to put their needs before your own. It means, if necessary, sacrificing your own well-being for the sake of others. It means benevolence, altruism, and selflessness, and self-sacrifice towards a greater cause – all qualities which stem from a sense of empathy, which ties well to another major theme present in the story: Friendship.
Friendship is another major theme in The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring. It helps the reader truly understand the plot, and also emotionally touches the reader, delivering an extremely deep message while catering to the reader’s more compassionate side. The most noticeable friendship is by far between Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee, however, there are countless examples of strong friendships within the book, such as Meriadoc Brandybuck and Peregrin Took, Legolas, Gimli, and Aragorn, Gandalf and Frodo Baggins etc. Some might even argue that The Fellowship is itself Tolkien’s main representation of friendship.
“A hunted man sometimes wearies of distrust and longs for friendship.” (251) This quote, of which was written by Gandalf (The Wise, as some know him by), is a brilliant and beautiful phrase that in short, sums up the importance and need of friendship present in even the most destitute of beings. According to TIME, friendship, or any related strong, healthy relationship is associated with better health and happiness as well as a stronger sense of capability, thus underlining the importance of friendship, especially in our turbulent modern society, where differentiating chaos and status quo is becoming increasingly difficult. Friendship can sometimes be the driving force between many of our day to day decisions, good or bad, displaying the influence friendship can have on any individual.
“His love for Frodo rose above all other thoughts, and forgetting his peril he cried aloud: ‘I’m coming Mr. Frodo!” (64) This quote is much less deep than direct. It displays Samwise’s love for Frodo Baggins, and is a great method of displaying the strength of the friendship present in The Lord Of The Rings.
Within the story, there all also multiple “sub-themes” that are all components of friendship such as compassion and forgiveness.
In conclusion, The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring is a story laden with themes. Racial differences, perseverance etc. are important themes present in the book, however, fall far beneath the two major themes in terms of importance, thus, by simplifying to two of the main themes, I have been able to explain to the reader in sufficient detail the components of each. Forever will fans of this legendary series argue Tolkien’s true aim when writing such an exasperating and expansive trilogy, yet none may ever know.
Taylor, Steve. “The Real Meaning of ‘Good’ and ‘Evil’.” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, 26 Aug. 2013. www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/out-the-darkness/201308/the-real-meaning-good-and-evil.
MacMillan, Amanda. “Friendship: Friends May Be More Important Than Family.” Time, Time, 7 June 2017. time.com/4809325/friends-friendship-health-family/.