Tolkien's epic tale endures over time

By David Newman
I. J. Samson Junior High
St. John's, Newfoundland


I am only fourteen years old. Compared to a lifetime, that's still a small number. I have read quite a few books, but there is a vast number of books in the world to read. These things considered, I still don't think any book I will ever read will affect me like J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings".

Don't stop reading. I am not using these minutes of your time to try to make you read an ordinary book review, because if you are like me, you don't see "The Lord of the Rings" as an ordinary book. You see it as an experience; an epic, tragic, and inspiring experience at that.

The first sign that this book is different from others is its size -- stack the novels on top of each other, and the story is about the size of an average encyclopedia. People are turned off from the fact that the book is of the fantasy genre. They have the stereotypical view of fantasy with little fairies, trolls that hide under bridges, and elves that run around with little pointy shoes. In this book, and his other books, located in the same world, Tolkien creates a fantasy, which is much more mature than anything that had ever been done before, plagued by war and oppression.

Even after his death, there is still a debate over whether or not Tolkien was writing a secret message of World War 1, the Hobbits representing the British, the dwarves representing the Germans, and certain others. When asked about this, Tolkien flatly refused it. I do not believe any secret message was intended.

"The Lord of the Rings" is the sequel to the book "The Hobbit". This is a highly praised fantasy story also, but in my opinion it is not as good a book as "The Lord of the Rings", because of the fact that Tolkien wrote the book in more of a manner that is was directed to a young audience. Of course, it is still a great book, and I have read it many times.

"The Lord of the Rings" is now being made into three live action movies, directed by Peter Jackson, and produced by New Line Cinema. The films are to be filmed mostly in New Zealand.

Tolkien's books have created a huge following. There are actually people whose careers are artists for Tolkien's work! The Sunday Times once said on the subject of "The Lord of the Rings": "The English-speaking world is divided into those who have read "The Lord of the Rings" and "The Hobbit", and those who are going to read them". That is a statement I completely agree with.

J.R.R. Tolkien
The Lord of the Rings
Harper Collins

Related links:

Internet Tolkien Book Society