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Top 10 Notes: Lord of the Rings

VO: Rebecca Brayton
English author and professor J. R. R. Tolkien first published “The Hobbit” in 1937. He followed the children’s fantasy novel up with the “The Lord of the Rings,” which was published in 1954. Though it’s actually one novel, its length caused it be to published in three volumes titled “The Fellowship of the Ring,” “The Two Towers” and “The Return of the King.” Thanks to its elements of high fantasy and adventure, it’s become one of the most successful novels in history. Welcome to and in this installment of MojoNotes, we’ll be exploring ten things you should know about J. R. R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings.” Special thanks to our users Omar Sharaki, Ryan Oorschot, Andrew A. Dennison, Dulcesdeditos, rybrentmannftw and viliguns for submitting the idea on our Suggestions Page at WatchMojo.comsuggest

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In this epic fantasy novel, there’s one ring to rule them all. Welcome to and in this installment of MojoNotes, we’ll be exploring ten things you should know about J. R. R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings.”

#10: About the Author

Born in South Africa in 1892, J. R. R. Tolkien was taught to read by his mother. After studying English literature at Oxford, Tolkien served in World War I and took on various jobs while writing his own material. Thanks to his books’ popularity, he retired in 1959. He died in 1971.

#9: Influences and Inspirations

Many different sources influenced Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings.” This included British adventure stories, European mythology, historical languages, and Richard Wagner’s Ring Cycle of operas. His childhood in England and his time in the War also inspired multiple locations and themes in the epic, high fantasy series.

#8: Settings and Era

Serving as a sequel to Tolkien’s “The Hobbit,” “The Lord of the Rings” is split into three books. The story is set in the magical made-up lands called Middle-earth where men live alongside fictional creatures like hobbits, orcs, trolls, elves and wizards. Book 1 begins in Shire, and from there, the three books follow the characters across the many locations of middle earth, all the way to the fiery lands of Mordor at the end of book 3.

#7: Plot

Narrated by an all-knowing third person, “The Lord of the Rings” follows a hobbit named Frodo and his journey with Sam, Aragorn, Gandalf, Gimli, Legolas and others. As the Fellowship of the Ring, they must prevent the Dark Lord Sauron and wizard Saruman from taking over their land. This can only be achieved if the Sauron-forged ring is destroyed in a volcano in Mordor. During their Quest for Mount Doom, they attack Isengard, and Frodo and Sam are separated after a creature called Gollum betrays them. Sauron then launches an attack that triggers the War of the Ring. After being rescued by Sam, Frodo is overtaken by the ring’s power, which leads to a fight with Gollum and the ring’s destruction in the fire. Following the victory, Aragorn takes his rightful place as King. Saruman tries to take over the Shire but he’s defeated and the war ends for good.

#6: Frodo Baggins, Sam Gamgee and Gollum

Because of his purity, Frodo is the hobbit chosen by his relative Bilbo Baggins to bear the ring as he’s most likely to resist its temptations. He leads the mission for the ring’s destruction and ultimately saves Middle-earth thanks to his courageousness and intelligence. Sam is a curious and pleasant hobbit whose loyalty, selflessness and compassion give him the courage to rescue Frodo. Formerly a good-natured hobbit named Smeagol, Gollum gets corrupted by the Ring’s power. His new name represents his evil side. He is driven by the desire to get his “Precious” ring back.

#5: Gandalf, Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli

Gandalf is a wise and powerful angelic wizard who helps Middle-earth fight Sauron. Also called Strider and Elessar, Aragorn joins the hobbits and transforms from a ranger into a strong leader during the journey. He eventually becomes King of the human realms. Legolas the Elf and the fearless Gimli are two other notable Fellowship members.

#4: Sauron and Saruman

Also known as the Lord of the Rings, Sauron is the one who made the Rings of Power with the Elves. He lives in Mordor and wants the One Ring to rule over Middle-earth. He sends his servants to retrieve it but loses all his power when Gollum and the ring fall into the volcano fire. Originally sent to defeat Sauron, Saruman is a wizard like Gandalf. He teams up with the Dark Lord when he becomes obsessed with the desire for power but meets his end following Sauron’s downfall.

#3: Values and Themes

Two of the book’s main themes include the fight between good and evil and how power corrupts. Tolkien also makes stark contrasts between hope and despair, death and eternal life, and fate and free will, while exploring the downsides of addiction and technology.

#2: Modern Popularity

“The Lord of the Rings”’ was so successful that Tolkien is considered the father of modern and high fantasy literature. His saga has inspired and influenced much literature, music, and multiple multimedia formats.

#1: Adaptations

Aside from stage and radio versions, Tolkien’s books have also been adapted for film. Following the 1978 animated adaptation, there was the Oscar-winning 21st century movie trilogy.

Do you agree with our list? What’s your favorite piece of “The Lord of theRings” trivia? With new top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to

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