The books in the trilogy The Lords of the Ring by J.
R. Tolkien have captured the imagination of readers of all ages since 1943. Many film makers have tried to transfer these books to the movie format only to fail; that is until Peter Jackson came along. He and his crew were able to do what no one else was previously able to do. He made the entire trilogy in one continuous filming, showing the depth and keeping the integrity of the stories as well.
The first of these films was The Fellowship of the Rings. As far as themes go, The Fellowship of the Rings is abundant with themes.The themes we will focus on are the quest, vampires, food and communion, and geography. The first and most obvious theme of The Fellowship of the Rings is the quest. What is needed for a quest? According to Foster in How to Read Literature Like a Professor, “the quest consists of five things: (a) a quester, (b) a place to go, (c) a stated reason to go there, (d) challenges and trials en route, (e) a real reason to go there” (3). The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Rings, is a perfect example of a quest with Frodo (the quester) as the one chosen to take the ring to Mordor (the place to go).Along the way, there are dangers a plenty. Frodo is hunted by Orcs, Uruk-hai, and Ringwraiths.
He is stabbed by one of the Ringwraiths, speared by an ogre, and followed by Gollum; Gollum was the original owner of the ring and wants the ring back. Also, Saruman, a wizard under the spell of Sauron, is searching for Frodo. Further on into the journey, he is almost attacked by his uncle Bilbo and is attacked by Boromir who is one of his protectors.
And of course “the real reason for the quest is self-knowledge” (3). Frodo, a naive hobbit, finds the strength and will to accomplish what is considered impossible.No one else who has come into contact with the ring has had the will to avoid the power of the ring for any time at all. We see this in our second theme of vampires as Gollum comes into possession of the ring. Vampires are older figures who strip away the youth of a young innocent. “The essentials of the vampire story[…] an older figure representing corrupt, outworn values; a young virginal female[…]a stripping away of their youth, energy, virtue; a continuance of the life force of the old male; the death or destruction of the young woman” (Foster, 19).Gollum, our young innocent, acquired the ring and was consumed by it.
He was unable to let go of the ring from the first moment he saw it. He changed physically as well as emotionally. “The ring brought to Gollum unnatural long life. For 500 years it poisoned his mind and in the gloom of Gollum’s cave, it waited” (Jackson). This enabled the ring to continue its life force as it waited for the right timing and a way to return to its master, Sauron. Sauron is the maker of all the magical rings.
This is the ring which controls all of the other rings. Foster states, “whenever people eat or drink together, it’s communion”. Generally eating with another is a way of saying ‘I’m with you, I like you, we form a community together,’” within literature (8). The hobbits love their food and this is shown often in The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring. At the opening, Bilbo writes, “in fact, it has been remarked by some that a hobbit’s only real passion is food […], but where our hearts truly lie is in peace and quiet…” (Jackson). Hobbits lead a simple life of tending to the earth and communing with each other.
They are not very trusting of outsiders and tend to keep to themselves.So, if a hobbit is communing with you, you can consider yourself part of his or her inner circle. The Fellowship of the Ring shows several different types of communing. At the beginning, Gandalf, a dear friend of Bilbo’s, visits for the first time in a long time. They commune with cheese, bread, and drink in celebrating old friendship. That same evening, the whole Shire communes at Bilbo’s eleventy first birthday party.
After the party, Frodo, Sam, Merry, and Pippin leave the Shire and set off for the Prancing Pony Inn to wai t for Gandalf; they are anxious in a world they have never ventured before.They have some ale and commune together for security. Afterward, when they are on their way with Aragorn, he finds them food and they commune together entrusting him into their circle. As we see, all of this communing is done on a very long journey. On this journey they are travelling through all types of geography; this leads us to our final theme. The theme of Geography plays a very large part in The Fellowship of the Rings.
It’s one of the major obstacles the fellowship has to go through. There is the lush, beautiful landscape geography of the Shire showing the peace and serenity of the hobbits.Once they leave the Shire, things for the most part are not nearly as serene.
They have to trudge through a bug infested marsh. Nothing like a bug infested marsh to inform you you’re not in Kansas anymore. They then attempt to traverse a mountain as a blizzard sets in. this part of geography is meant to redirect the fellowship so they have to go through the caves of Moria where even more dangers await them including the Orcs, a troll, and a Balrog, a demon from old. Foster describes geography as, “It’s place and space and shape that bring us to ideas and psychology and history and dynamism It’s enough to make you read a map. (174)We could continue to discuss several more themes from The Fellowship of the Rings.
We have discussed the quest, vampires, communion, and geography. With the many attacks set upon Frodo and other members of the fellowship, we could easily discuss violence. Weather also plays a big role in this film as we just discussed in the mountain scene where the blizzard redirects them to the caves. We could even state a case for baptism when Frodo is nearly drowned by the creature in the water just as they are entering the cave of Moria.
This is an excellent multifaceted movie with many intricacies, themes and symbols at every corner. As always the books are better, but the three movies of The Lord of the Rings are a few of my favorite movies.Works CitedFoster, Thomas C. How to Read Literature Like a Professor.
New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 2003. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. Dir.
Peter Jackson. Perf. Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Liv Tyler, Viggo Mortensen, Sean Aston, Billy Boyd, Dominic Monaghan, John Rhys Davies, Bernard Hill, Orlando Bloom, Cate Blanchett, Hugo Weaving, Sean Bean, 2001. DVD. New Line Cinemas, 2001.