by J.R.R. Tolkien
Of course, I've seen the film. But oh to read the book.
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them.
One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.
The Fellowship of the Ring, part one of The Lord of the Rings trilogy is the story of Frodo Baggins, the adopted nephew of Ring-bearer Bilbo Baggins, tasked with returning the Ring to the land of Mordor that it might be destroyed. It is a perilous task. Frodo is no more willing to pursue this quest than Uncle Bilbo was when Gandalf approached him to aid the dwarves in the War of the Rings years earlier.
This early exchange between the wizard and the younger Baggins sets the stage and provides the heart of the story:
‘This is the Master-ring, the One Ring to rule them all. This is the One Ring that he lost many ages ago, to the great weakening of his power. He greatly desire is it – but he must not get it.
Frodo sat silent and motionless. Fear seem to stretch out a vast hand, like a dark cloud rising in the East and looming up to engulf him. 'This ring!' He stammered. 'How, how on earth did it come to me?'
I wish it need not have happened in my time, said Frodo. So do I, said Gandalf, and so do we all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.'
Frodo decides. The adventure begins. Fear rises and falls. A fellowship is established. Courage is born.
The Fellowship of the Ring is rich in narrative beauty:
On the shared journey: But this I will say to you, your quest stands on the edge of a knife. Stray but a little and it will fail to the ruin of all, yet hope remains while all the company is true.
On judging: Deserves it! I dare say he does. Many that live deserve death. And some that died deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgment. For even the very wise cannot see all ends.
On fellowship: I will help you bear this burden as long as it is yours to bear. But we must do something soon.
On work: For we put the thought of all that we love into all that we make. Yet they are garments not armor and they will not turns shaft or blade, but they should serve you well.
On memory: Memory is not what the heart desires that is only a mirror.
The book is long, but that is because this story is a journey!, a journey worth taking for Frodo and company; one worth taking for the reader too!