The Lord of the Rings

Book Summary

Book Review, Lord of the Rings
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Title, Author & Publication

The Lord of the Rings is a trilogy written by J.R.R.Tolkien. The three books were first published by George Allen & Unwin in 1954. It is currently published by Grafton (HarperCollins) of London.


The Lord of the Rings is set in the fictional world of Middle Earth and the story ranges from the Shire to the evil land of Mordor. This fantasy world is pre-industrial and is populated by a wide variety of fantastic creatures including many whom appeared in Tolkien's previous work, The Hobbit.


  • Frodo Baggins - a hobbit who has inherited the Ring of Power from his uncle Bilbo, and who is charged with destroying it. Frodo is the chief protagonist of the novel.
  • Gandalf - the wizard who joins Frodo and his other companions to assist in the destruction of the ring.
  • Samwise Gamgee - also a hobbit, Frodo's faithful companion and servant.
  • Aragorn - the heir to the throne of Gondor
  • Sauron - the dark lord who created the ring and now seeks it to regain his power over Middle Earth. Sauron is the story's main antagonist.
  • Gollum - a creature who long possessed the ring and who becomes tied to its fate.


Divided into three books, The Lord of the Rings is a novel of an epic quest. The story follows the journey of Frodo Baggins as he crosses Middle Earth to destroy the Ring of Power. Frodo is joined by eight companions who must face a variety of dangers from murderous orcs to treasonous wizards in order to succeed in ridding the world of the force of ultimate evil.

During the course of the novel, the reader witnesses significant change in many of the characters, particularly the hobbits, who are innocent of many of the world's ills.

Questions to Ponder for a Thesis

Consider the following questions as you read.

  1. How does Frodo change during his journey? What are the causes of his change?
  1. What is the significance of the natural world in The Lord of the Rings?
  2. What is Tolkien saying about the corruption of power specifically with reference to the characters of Aragorn, Saruman and Boromir?
  3. In what ways are Samwise and Gollum essential characters in the novel?
  4. Frodo's is not the only quest of the novel. Which other characters are searching and for what?
  5. What importance is to be found in the songs and myths revealed in The Lord of the Rings?
  6. What purpose do the female characters of Eowyn, Arwen and Galadriel serve?

Possible First Sentences

  1. The Lord of the Rings is an allegorical novel illustrating the evils of WWI and WWII.
  2. One of the most significant themes in The Lord of the Rings is the conflict between Nature and Industry.
  3. Courage is a trait defined not by physical size or prowess but by the strength of one's character.
  4. Even the most vile creatures are deserving of pity.