What a difference time can make when re-reading books! The first time I read The Fellowship of the Ring, I was an undergrad and felt that about the first 100 pages was a slog. The second time (I don’t recall when that was), I was prepared for the slog and knew I’d enjoy the rest of the novel, minus what I felt was a rather pointless section with Tom Bombadil. But this time was different. It’s been several years since I last read it, and I don’t know what changed, but I enjoyed all of it this time, even Tom Bombadil, which I was able to appreciate as part of Tolkien’s world-building.
The Fellowship of the Ring follows hobbit Frodo and his friends, and later other companions they meet along the way, as they start on a quest to deal with the One Ring. It’s a ring forged by the Dark Lord Sauron, designed to give him control over all of the races of Middle Earth (the continent on which these adventures take place). It renders the wearer invisible, and it eventually corrupts those who use it.
I’ll admit there were part I skimmed over a bit, like some of the descriptions of the scenery, which I had difficulty picturing. There are also a lot of place names, and I often referred back to the map at the beginning of the book to get a sense of where the characters were as the novel progressed. This helped me retain information, but eventually I did glaze over at the mention of some of the locations, especially the ones that don’t show up on the map.
I’m looking forward to my re-read of book 2, followed by my finally getting around to reading the last book for the first time.