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The Lord of the Rings


: J. R. R. Tolkien

Summary: This epic struggle between good and evil in imaginary Middle-earth comprises three books, The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers and The Return of the King. The trilogy is arguably the most popular English language novel of the twentieth century. It chronicles the brave journey of the selfless Frodo, a simple "Hobbit," as he, with the help of friends and his own courage, sets out to carry a ring of great potential evil power to the one place where it can be destroyed.

Reading  Level: Young Adult

Reviewed by: Bill Smith, 2004

Our Angle
Our Angle

The Lord of the Rings
is so much more than a story, or even a trilogy of stories. It draws upon the author's pre-created history of mythical Middle Earth—a history that stretches back to the beginnings of all things. In The Lord of the Rings, J. R. R. Tolkien pulls together all those streams of pseudo-historical characters, places and events at the crossroads of one defining struggle between those who would serve evil and those who would sacrifice life for good. The main protagonists act not on the popular notions of our day, but rather with a clear sense that what they do today is a continuation of the history and destiny of noble-kind. The reader, in turn, becomes convinced that the actions of all people, whether great or small, have ongoing consequences for generations to come.

Marketers like to tie interest in The Lord of the Rings with the Harry Potter  series. To us, there is no comparison. Potter tantalizes the young to wield power. In The Lord of the Rings, the protagonist triumphs by forsaking supernatural power in favor of loyalty, nobility and wise council. That is why I highly recommend this book, despite the presence of magic and wizardry. I also recommend The Hobbit as a helpful and entertaining introduction before you tackle the complexities of The Lord of the Rings.

Guest Reviewer Bekah Tuggy offers additional comments on The Lord of the Rings.

Also, read our take on the controversy over witches, magic, wizards, fantasy and raising children, in 3 parts:

Part 1: Witches, Wizards and Magic
Part 2: The Fantasy Issue
Part 3: Getting Beyond

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