What makes author so enduringly popular is that, underneath all the Orcs, Elves, and terrifying spirits of dead kings, The Fellowship of the Ring has a classic plot. It's the story of a young(ish) person caught up in forces beyond his control. Rather than trying to escape his fate, our hero – a rather short and very hairy person without clearly heroic characteristics – does his best to push on in the worst of circumstances. He absolutely does not want to fight a war against evil, but he knows that if he doesn't do it, no one will. No matter how many times we've read the novel, that tale of simple courage against terrible obstacles draws us in every time.
Of the three books in the Lord of the Rings series, The Fellowship of the Ring is perhaps the clearest example of Tolkien's frequent shifts back and forth between humor and high poetry, Hobbits and Elves (with men in between). In a letter, Tolkien writes that, "without the high and noble the simple and vulgar is utterly mean; and without the simple and ordinary the noble and heroic is meaningless" ( p.160; in an undated letter Milton Waldman). In other words, you need to have comedy to appreciate tragedy, and you need to have humbleness to value grandeur. If The Silmarillion is too serious for idle reading and The Hobbit is too much fun to be a proper epic fantasy, The Fellowship of the Ring is the perfect middle ground.
Countdown to Zero (2010) - IMDb
It may not totally shock you to find out that Tolkien had trouble selling his ambitious (but, frankly, kind of out there) Elvish mythology to a publisher. Everyone wanted more of The Hobbit, and not this eccentric, sprawling personal vision (later published as the Silmarillion). Tolkien recognized that he needed to find something between the comic style of The Hobbit and the abstract world of the Elves in his invented mythology. So he found a compromise: The Fellowship of the Ring.
The Usual Suspects, an Essay by Bill Johnson
We love the fantasy elements of The Fellowship of the Ring. When we read Tolkien's descriptions of the Dwarf city of Dwarrowdelf or the fading Elven forests of Lothlórien, we feel like we can touch and taste those places – they seem so real. But it's not the fantasy elements that keep us in Middle-earth. We want to stay in Tolkien's world because there is so much real emotional power there, written by a man who went to war and who suffered in the trenches. (See our Hobbit "" for more on this history.) Tolkien himself is a man, and he writes from a deeply human perspective.