This is the first time I am participating in a Top Ten Tuesday! I have seen many people I follow participate in this weekly challenge, and after seeing some of their posts today, I thought I would quickly rustle up my own Top Ten Tuesday post in response to this week’s challenge, which has been created by the blog The Broke and the Bookish.
The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King
4.5 / 5
Classic, timeless and magnificent.
The Lord of The Rings series reaches a climactic crescendo with the final instalment, The Return of the King, providing the brilliant ending to the battle for Middle-Earth. The story hikes down two parallel lanes: Frodo and Sam lumbering wearily towards Mount Doom to destroy the One Ring and Aragorn leading the people of Middle-Earth against a massive attack by Sauron and his forces darkened by his shadow and fear. As the two storylines coincide, we are assured of an ending of epic proportions.
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
4 / 5
Fascinating, terrific and captivating.
A work of literary brilliance by Tolkien, who meticulously describes in incredible detail, the journeys of The Company following the breaking of the fellowship at the end of the first book. Each of them ventures on and encounters an abundance of evil in their own role within the fellowship,
Merry and Pippin have been taken prisoner by orc-soldiers who have been tasked to bring them to Saurman of Isengard. Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli mourn the loss of Boromir, and then they turn their attention to tracking down the captured hobbits having realised that Frodo intends to take the ring to Mordor with Sam tagging along. They pursue the orc-soldiers trail, until they come across riders of Rohan who inform them that they battled with the orcs last night and they killed every living thing and had burned them. However, after discovering the remains of orc corpses and smouldering fires that were used on the hobbits’ captors, they are left perplexed to what end the Halflings have come to as Aragorn finds hobbit prints leading towards Fangorn Forest.
Frodo and Sam are journeying towards Mordor alone and devoid of any members of The Company. But despite this they obtain another companion through the sneaking Gollum, who had been following them because he is still drawn to the Precious. Frodo, knowing that Gollum is to play a part in this tale as Gandalf has previously suspected, he decides to take him on as their guide. Their quest takes them through the Dead Marches and to the Black Gate as the Frodo creeps ever closer to either completing or failing his task.
Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring
4 / 5
An excellent piece of literature that is must on anyone’s bucket list.
One of my resolutions for 2014, was to read more books that are deemed literary classics or books that are famous and are on everyone’s bucket list. Lord of the Rings is one of them. Having seen the films and have read The Hobbit quite a while ago, I have always wanted to pick up this book and bask in Tolkien’s awesome Middle-Earth.
As many of you may know, the story is an epic journey spanning three books, this is the opening of the journey and though it may not have the fast electric pace of a Dan Brown novel. It is the creation of something that can’t be told in 24 hours, this book spans many years and each of them told intricately. Whenever I read a book written by a person considered a literary great such as Tolkien, I sometimes feel that by writing a review of the book such as this, any remark I make against the author, it is as if I am criticising someone I am not allowed to. Despite that pressure, I do honestly feel that he does tend to go over board with the travelling and long descriptions of Middle-Earth history with names I have forgotten. Granted, I appreciate the meticulous detail he shows when he tries to create the scene and give the reader the best possible view of what is happening. But I felt that rather than reading hundreds of pages at a time and finishing the book in a few days, I was reading to the end of the chapter, putting it down and coming back to it later. The Fellowship of the Ring was not set out to be a gripping page turner, rather it was the introduction and mood setter for a colossal story which I know from the films becomes more exciting and enthralling as The Company gets nearer to its goal, but I still felt a little underwhelmed.
However, I did thoroughly enjoy reading it and I will continue on to read the next two instalments of this famous adventure that was to become one of the most successful film franchises ever. Though I may sound a little hypocritical here, I did find the attention to detail concerning Rivendell and Moria to be excellent, and while The Company were in Moria, I did not put the book down for anything. I think Gandalf could have walked through my door and shouted “Fly, you fools!” to me and I still wouldn’t have loosened my grip on this brilliant book.
The story includes many important and exciting parts including; the passing of the ring to Frodo, the growing threat of Sauron, the hobbits’ journey to Rivendell with the terrifying Black Riders in pursuit, the forming of the fellowship and their struggles to help the Ring-bearer on his mission, and their many trials and adventures along the way. It is essentially a journey or quest story, in which each new location brings new dangers and wonders, much like the adventure tales of older mythology and folklore
I may have had my concerns earlier on but before I receive a backlash for pointing out something I did not particularly enjoy about this book, you may wish to know that Tolkien has been the inspiration for me to try my hand at writing a novel. The time and the creativity he showed to create such a magnificently crafted world is incomprehensible and he has probably created the best fictitious world there has ever been. He has created a history, a culture, mythology and a language, added to this is a journey among friends as they pit themselves against evil, which is what most books are mostly about. With my particular edition, there were many various maps portraying Middle-Earth and for one person to create such a place is phenomenal and the idea of creating such a place was part of the reason I want to write a book. So like Tolkien, I hope I can create a magical world with a tale which can last for generations to come, because that is what he has achieved and not many authors can have a claim such as that.
I can’t wait to get stuck into the next book as the epic journey continues; it was an excellently crafted piece of literature and has turned out to be a cultural phenomenon with a fanbase spanning millions of people. I for one am much a part of said fanbase. I hope you have found this review informative and do not take offence to a personal preference that I had with this book, which when you take a step back, is a more sophisticated introduction of the epic tale rather than the thrilling and action packed tale itself.
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
3 / 5
A solid film continuing Bilbo’s journey across Middle-Earth.
The second instalment in this film franchise of J. R. R. Tolkein’s novel ‘The Hobbit’ is a satisfactory continuation on from the first film. I found the film had made a good attempt at transforming this classic and brilliant novel to the big screen, however, I felt there were some unnecessary introductions to the film which did not feature in the book and did not add anything important to the film. Despite these reservations I felt the film was a decent attempt at bridging the beginning and the ending of the remarkable journey of Bilbo Baggins together. The journey took them to the Elvish kingdom, Mirkwood, Laketown and the Lonely Mountain. And they also encountered many creatures such as orks, elves, a bear, men and a dragon.
An aspect which was particularly spectacular was the special effects and the set designs that were involved in the film. The Elvish kingdom left myself and the audience awestruck as the labyrinth and the countless stairways created a setting which was encapsulating to watch. Another location which was just as incredible and magnificent was the Lonely Mountain, the home of the dragon Smaug, voiced by the terrific Benedict Cumberbatch. The vastness of Smaug’s treasure is endless and the scenes within the walls of this awe-inspiring place where exciting and kept me unblinking throughout the action.
I felt the film was a good film but it wasn’t an edge of the seat thriller that I was hoping for. I had been anticipating a series of films just as good as the Lord of the Rings trilogy and equalling The Hobbit book, but I feel the first two films in The Hobbit franchise have not been quite as good as I had hoped. There seems to be a spark missing somewhere, which I hope features in the final film, because the cast is a brilliant line up, and Peter Jackson is the perfect director for these films. Therefore, I feel this film has been used more as a build up to the final film so inevitably this film has sacrificed an explosive finale in order to set the third film up for the compelling conclusion.
I would recommend this film to anyone that has read The Hobbit novel and is a fan of Peter Jackson’s work with the Lord of the Rings trilogy. It is a film that has its moments of action and entertainment however it won’t go down as a classic movie or even among the top 3 of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films.