Where friendship and honour still matter

They are all over the world, you see. You may not notice them in a crowd; they lead ordinary lives. But at home, where nobody is around to see them, they will hunch over a dog-eared book with an old, worn-out cover. They will smirk and sigh; they will wipe away their tears and burst with joy; they will throw the book away indignantly and then grab it helplessly back, gobbling up chapter after chapter. A lot of people would be baffled by such inexplicable behaviour. Well, I say “let them laugh!” I used to laugh just as well as much as the next man; that was until I read “The Lord of The Rings” written by Sir J. R. R. Tolkien.

The book tells a tale of Middle Earth – an ancient world, hidden in the times of myths and in a land of magic. Elves and dwarves, hobbits and humans had lived there in harmony before The Dark Lord attacked. The united army of the free peoples managed to fight back and defeat the ancient evil. And then there was peace. The stories of long-forgotten war became legends and nobody, but forever young elves, remembers them. However, as time passes, in the current day, the armies of orcs gather, the shadows grow longer, and the fire has been rekindled in the cursed land of Mordor. Sauron – the Dark Lord himself – is back. He doesn’t have a shape or form, nor has he yet returned to his full power. He seeks his Ring: The One Ring which he lost aeons ago. With that power, he will enslave and kill, destroy and burn. He knows that. Everybody knows that. What is still a mystery, though, is that there’s hope. The Ring was found by the most peculiar being under those blessed skies – hobbits.

Hobbits are pampered folk. They eat ten times a day, they live in prosperity far from the big world, living quite a light-hearted, carefree even, life. This story tells how a handful of halflings, as the humans call them, leave their nest and go to war. Without turning back, without nagging or whining. They don’t think they will return, neither does the reader, as all the plot-twists are impossible to predict. The hobbits will meet friends along their path, and they will face foes nobody has fought before. But they will not turn back. And you, as the reader, sitting in a cosy, dimly-lit room would silently hope that they will prevail. As one critic has put it, this is the story about small things which will grab your attention more than the bright stars.

This famous trilogy, which has been translated into numerous languages, inspired Peter Jackson to film a box-office record movie that later received nineteen Oscars. Unimaginable success. Back in the days when the book was published, they said it would soon be forgotten. As it turned out, the world has wiped away those critics’ names as all of them have faded into obscurity. They failed to see a lot of things, both in the books and the movies. This story is not about war and peace. It is love and support that it makes its focal point. These two concepts will never cease to be relevant.

The book has millions of fans all around the globe. They have jobs, they have families, kids and mortgages. Yet at night, they will run away to a different world, a better world, where friendship and honour still matter. They will witness dragons flying in the sky, gods living amongst mortals; they will see hobbits who once did their best to save the world. Don’t start this book. For if you do, there is no turning back. You won’t be able to stop. You will read, and read, and read. And when you are done, you’ll only want more.

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