Author: J.R.R. Tolkien
Illustrator: Alan Lee
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Publisher’s Intended Audience: Grades 7 and Up
Summary: The Ring of Power has resurfaced and is striving to return to the hand of its master, the Dark Lord, Sauron. It is the task of the fellowship, nine individuals representing all of the free folk of Middle Earth, to destroy the ring in the Cracks of Mount Doom deep within the borders of Mordor (Sauron’s stronghold) in order to prevent the world from being covered in a second darkness. But Sauron is using his enslaved servants – including the Black Riders – to hunt the ring, for without it, he cannot return to his full strength. The Hobbit, Frodo, carries the ring of magic on the quest and along with the fellowship must avoid enemies (and sometimes even friends) to reach the Black Lands and send the ring into the fire from which it was forged.
Literary elements at work in the story: (genre/setting/characterization /plot/theme/point of view/style): An epic high fantasy fiction set in Middle Earth. Tolkien has created a mythology for England predating the Roman occupation of Britain. His human and near human characters are very convincing. This is an extraordinary adventure which sets the bar for all other stories in the genre.
Perspective on gender/race/culture/economic/ability: Races are represented through fanciful (and oh so believable) characters such as dwarves, elves, orcs, wizards and Hobbits. There are few female main characters but the ones there are show strength and intelligence and help move events.
Scripture: 2 Timothy 1:7
Theology: Though not an allegory, these books are rich with Christian themes…call of the hero, quest, provision, staying on the right path, sacrifice, and more.
Faith Talk Questions (Intended for use with upper elementary, youth and adults):
- How was the Hobbit, Frodo, called to the quest to destroy the ring of power? What were his feelings about the journey? With that in mind, do you think you’ve ever received a call from God? What was your first reaction? How is your call similar or dissimilar to Frodo’s?
- How were the other members of the Fellowship called? Have you ever felt called to participate in community with others? What was the task set before your community or fellowship and why was it important for you to act with others rather than alone?
- What provision does Frodo receive to help him on his quest? At what points in the story does unlooked for help arrive? Can you recall a time that God provisioned you for a task? Have you ever received unexpected help?
- What enabled Sauron to ensnare the Nazgul? What caused Saruman’s fall? Why do you think that Bilbo and Frodo were able to resist the evil of the One Ring? How has your attempt to live in faithfulness to Christ helped you to resist evil or temptation?
- How important was the Fellowship of the Nine Walkers to the outcome of the quest? In what ways was the Fellowship itself significant in moving events? How were their lives changed on the journey? How have you changed on your Christian journey? In what ways has a community of faith helped you to stay on the right path?
Review prepared by Kelly Hames, MACE, Entering cohort – 2008
Lord of the Rings Triology by Storypath is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.