Lord Of The Rings: Prologue To Chapter One

Well, I got through the easy part.

I was going to summarize what happened in these first 53 pages, but then I realized that Tolkien has packed an absurd amount of information into them. So, all you need to know is:

Bilbo Baggins is a Hobbit of extraordinary preservation and wealth. He had adventures, and has gone, without warning to his adopted whatever-he-is Frodo, on yet another. He leaves Frodo a magic ring that was clearly a bad influence on him, which we can conjecture from the wizard Gandalf's worry over it. Frodo is now alone in the Shire and must face the wrath of Bilbo's extended family, who wish to strip his house of any valuables.

Characters Introduced:

  • Bilbo Baggins: The titular Hobbit of the last book, now advanced in age even for a Hobbit and quite odd. He is in possession of a ring, which he leaves with Frodo along with a great deal of his estate upon his departure.
  • Frodo Baggins: Bilbo's adopted whatever-he-is, orphaned from a young age when his mother and father drowned.
  • Gandalf: A wizard with fireworks who is clearly worried about the influence of the ring that Bilbo acquired in his last grand adventure.
  • Lobelia and Otho Sackville-Baggins: Not likely to be important, but quite amusing characters to me nonetheless. Basically a couple with an inflated sense of self-worth who are scandalized by the lack of representation they get in Bilbo's will.
  • Merry Brandybuck: Look, I know he's important. He shows up for two seconds to inform the Sackville-Bagginses that Frodo is indisposed.
Overall, I was charmed by the environment of the Shire, though M. Tolkien is definitely already setting the reader up for things to come. He mentions the ring more than once, and its history. We see how it's put a strain on Gandalf and Bilbo's friendship, how Bilbo's personality changes when it comes to the ring, and Bilbo's dependence on it. Basically the ring is the magical and inanimate equivalent of an addiction or a bad girlfriend Bilbo can't seem to break off from.

The emphasis on just how unknown the Hobbits are outside of the Shire sets us up for an unlikely hero sort of plotline, one that by now everyone is familiar with.

And now for some LotR weirdness.

There was a musical, in case fans thought they were immune to such a thing. And if my memory serves correctly, this is not the only one. :D I have to admit, the score is a bit of a guilty pleasure of mine... It was A.R. Rahman and a Scandinavian girl group! How could it fail??? Oh... like that...

So I like my male duets. A lot. Shut up.

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