The Fellowship of the Rings
by: Faith Martino
"Not all those who wander are lost." This famous quote from the Fellowship of the Rings is true not only to the fiction story, but also in real life. This great novel was written by the amazing J.R.R. Tolkien. He is famous for writing the trilogy The Lord of the Rings. The first of the trilogy is the Fellowship of the Rings. Using Voyant Tools , I analized the novel and descovered that there are 188,657 total words and 8,965 unique words. It is about a young hobbit named Frodo who must travel across the Middle Earth with a powerful ring to destroy it in a fiery lake. He has many friends who help him along the way, and meets new friends to help him.
The fight between the good and the evil has been around for as long as the earth has been in existence. In a fairy tale, the righteous always win. The bad guys die and victory is in the hands of the knights. The Fellowship of the Rings is filled with many metaphors of good and evil. But will good prevail? Or will evil triumph over the wholesome?
"I will take the Ring", he said, "though I do not know the way.” Frodo says bravely. Though Frodo knew that the journey would be long and hard, he knew that the ring must be destroyed no matter what. Regardless of the trials that he would face, Frodo had the courage to fight the all-powerful evil.
The Ring? What was it? Tolkien used this physical thing to create many key metaphors. This simple gold circle is the ultimate evil character in the story. Throughout the narrative, there are ideas that the Ring holds a will of its own. Evil is both something that is within the human heart and an independent force. (Shippey) The Ring represents the will to absolute power. In the online database Student Pulse, it is metioned how the Ring is greatest Temptation for the creatures of Middle Earth. As the story progresses, many want to try and use the Ring for good. Nevertheless, the Ring is not a neutral power. It cannot be used for the good or the wicked. Elrond tries to warn every one of the Ring and that it's "strength is too great for anyone to wield at will... the very desire of it corrupts the heart."(Tolkien)
Similar to the Ring, the Ringwraiths signify another great evil power. They have the physical appearance of black cloaked figures riding horses, yet they are not worldly creatures of the Middle Earth. When Frodo puts the Ring on in Weathertop, he is able to see that the wraiths are like shadows of kings that they once were. Gandalf told Frodo "a mortal... who keeps one of the Great Rings, does not die, but he does not grow obtain more life, he merely continues, until at last every moment is a weariness... sooner or later, the dark power will devour him."(Tolkien). This summarizes how significant the wraiths are in Tolkien's evil power metaphors.
The Shire, where the hobbits are from, could represent a metaphor of innocence and purity like the Garden of Eden in the bible. The garden land is threatened by evil. Bilbo, Frodo's uncle, take a bite from the forbidden apple and with the Ring falls with “the knowledge of good and evil”.(Bible). And he passes this curse on the Frodo. Throughout the entire trilogy, Frodo and his hobbit friends say many times of their desire to go back to the Shire. Yet this virtuous land was not able to escape the evil eye. Even the purest part of Middle Earth did not escape. Rivendell and Lothlorien, the elven realms could not stay isolated from the evil that devoured Middle Earth. These innocent lands symbolized a paradise that could not last forever.
Readers of the Fellowship of the Rings will encounter many other symbols of primordial good and evil in the latter volumes. Will good overcome evil? Is good in our world having victory over the evil of our world? These symbols' presence may remind us that the struggle between Good and Evil is ancient indeed, and is deeper than any "worldly" conflict of the moment.
Chance, Jane. Tolkien The Medievalist. London: Routledge, 2003. eBook Collection (EBSCOhost). Web. 11 Apr. 2016.
Curley, Augustine J. "Following Gandalf: Epic Battles And Moral Victory In The Lord Of The Rings/The Gospel According To Tolkien: Visions To The Kingdom In Middle-Earth/ (Book)." Library Journal 128.20 (2003): 118. Education Research Complete. Web. 11 Apr. 2016.
New International Version. [Colorado Springs]: Biblica, 2011. BibleGateway.com. Web. 3 Mar. 2011.
Shippey, Tom. J. R. R. Tolkien: Author of the Century. HarperCollins, 2000.
Tolkien, J.R.R. The Fellowship of the Rings . Allen & Unwin, 1954.