A Fellowship of Friends

It’s a Combo!!

“All you have to decide, is what to do with the time that is given to you.”–Gandalf

The first time I saw The Fellowship of the Ring, I was living in Virginia and a friend took me and my sister to see it. I was littler than and it scared me half to death. But, even with all the evil Black Riders and Orcs, all those ugly scary guys, I still was captured by the movie. Then I started to read the book, and it took me quite a while to get through it. There were a few things in the book that hadn’t been in the movie.

The story begins with a birthday party. Bilbo Baggins is turning one hundred and eleven years old and he hasn’t aged a day. His friend, Gandalf the Grey, arrives for the party and Frodo Baggins, Bilbo’s nephew, expresses to Gandalf that Bilbo is up to something.

In the book, it is told that Bilbo Baggins is a very rich Hobbit. That he disappeared sixty years previous and returned unexpectedly with a great treasure. But that’s another story for another time. The book and movie both covered the birthday party quite well, with Gandalf’s fireworks, Bilbo’s magical vanishing at the party and then his struggle to give up the beautiful golden ring he keeps hidden in his pocket. The friendship between wizard and hobbit is strong and soon Bilbo heeds his friend’s advice and lets the ring go.

It then passes on to Frodo. For sake of time, the movie does not go into the details of presents that were left by Bilbo to the people of Hobbiton. Gandalf returns much quicker then he did in the book to discover that the ring that is now in Frodo’s hands is indeed the One Ring of power, forged by the dark lord Sauron. Gandalf tells Frodo of Isildur cutting the ring from Sauron’s finger and, in the book, he tells some more details of the defeat of Sauron. But with the Ring still in the world, Sauron has rebuilt his tower in the land of Mordor and the Ring wants to get back to its master.

Now, for sake of time, the movie did not go into the details of the selling of Bag End and Frodo’s move to Buckland. In the movie Frodo simply packs and leaves during the night with Gandalf and his faithful gardener, Sam Gamgee. On the road they ‘run into’ their friends Pippin Took and Merry Brandybuck. So four hobbits set out towards Rivendell, the home of the elves, with the nine Black Riders of Mordor on their tails.

Tom Bombadil was a fun character in the book and I think some people were disappointed that he was left out of the movies completely. But Tom Bombadil was a very big part of the book and they wouldn’t have had time to put it in. They did make up for it a little bit by giving Treebeard, in The Two Towers, a few of Tom’s lines from the book. I don’t know about everyone else, but that satisfied me. 😉

The thing about watching the extended version of The Lord of the Rings so many times is that I don’t really remember the theatrical version. I start forgetting what was left out because all the deleted scenes were put into the film, making the film extra long but blending so well that it causes you to forget that it hadn’t been there in the first place. I think, though, that there weren’t as many scenes cut out of Fellowship as there had been in The Two Towers and The Return of the King. The great thing about having extra discs is that you get to look at all those cool bonus features. 😉

If you watch the movies and then watch some of the interviews from the actors and actresses, you realize all over again that they couldn’t have cast the movies better. Every actor and actress had formed a bond of friendship that assisted their real life performances for the movies. When Sam looked after Frodo so diligently and meant it, it was because Sean Astin really did look after Elijah Wood off camera. Pippin and Merry were funny on the screen and Dominic Monaghan and Billy Boyd were funny off-screen. The connections between the entire fellowship in friendship was real on and off-screen.

The Fellowship of the Ring introduces Strider, or Aragorn as he is later known, at the Prancing Pony. In the book his introduction to Frodo wasn’t as violent as it was in the movie. In the movie Frodo is knocked to the ground, the ring flies up into the air and, as he reaches to grab it, it falls onto his finger and he vanishes. When he reappears Aragorn is right there to grab him and roughly push him up the stairs. His mysterious behavior scares both Frodo and the audience at first, but then it is revealed that he knows Gandalf and wants to help the hobbits. In the book, Frodo crawled into the corner with Aragorn after he reappeared and they talked quietly. That was their first introduction.

Aragorn’s character is very interesting. He is a ranger, but also a king. Though the hobbits do not know that when they first meet him, he is the heir to the throne of Gondor and it doesn’t want to be. In the movie they had him be reluctant to take his position as king because of the weakness in men. In the book he takes the sword of kings from the elves in the very first book and determines that the blade that was broken will return to Minas Tirith, the City of Kings in Gondor.

To cover every detail of this book would be to write a very long review! I will just mention some more changes from here on.

When Frodo is stabbed by one of the Black Riders (or Nazgul as they’re also called) on Weathertop, Aragorn knows that they must get him to Rivendell and fast. In the movie Arwen, the elf maiden that Aragorn loves, shows up and takes Frodo across the river to safety with the nine Black Riders on her heels. In the book it wasn’t Arwen who took Frodo to safety, Frodo rode by himself to the Ford on the back of a white horse that belonged to an elf called Glorfindel.

In Rivendell Frodo is healed and called to the Council of Elrond. There a fellowship is made by the four hobbits, Gandalf, Aragorn, Legolas the elf, Gimli the dwarf and Boromir of Gondor. They will assist Frodo in his journey to Mordor where he will take the ring and destroy it.

The love story between Aragorn and Arwen was only briefly implied in the book. In the movie they expounded upon it a bit more, giving Arwen a larger part in the whole thing. That was one of the changes I liked. Because it wouldn’t have been good if, at the end of The Return of the King if Arwen had just shown up and Aragorn professed his love for her that no one knew about. It would’ve been too unexpected and would’ve confused everyone. The book was a bit lacking in that area, but maybe that’s just because I like a romantic twist and Arwen was only mentioned once or twice in Fellowship.

The Fellowship of the Ring, both movie and book, were excellent, as I’m sure everyone knows! 😉 The changes in the movie weren’t very severe at all, in fact I have never seen a movie that went by the book more.

One thing that happened in Fellowship actually occurred in the very first chapter of The Two Towers. And that was Boromir’s death. But even that showed how much detail the writers and director wanted to put into the movies. Because while Boromir was dying, Frodo and Sam were crossing the river alone, towards Mordor. They moved things around so that everything would fit perfectly and go according to the book.

A lot of people say that they see biblical implications in the book. What is funny about that is that J.R.R. Tolkien never meant for there to be any Christian undertones in his book! But the parallel is there. The good versus evil. Sauron is a picture of the devil, trying to destroy the good of the world. In my personal opinion I see Sam as a picture of Christ. Sam risked everything, he risked his life, to save the entire world when he didn’t have to. He could’ve left everything to Frodo. But because he loved much, he went on that perilous journey and was there when Frodo had that last moment of weakness in Mount Doom. Sam remained strong through everything, he didn’t falter.

I don’t think I really need to say that this book is definitely worth reading or that this movie is definitely worth watching! But I’ll say it anyway! If you haven’t read the books or seen the movies, then do so right away! 😉

Coming Soon: Muster the Rohirrim! Look for my review of The Two Towers tomorrow!!

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