Summer reading: ‘The Lord of the Rings’

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For me, summer is all about adventure. It’s a time to explore the places around you, discover new things about the world (and yourself), and experience exciting challenges. By taking on summer adventures, you expose yourself to a multitude of wonderful possibilities. Furthermore, by taking the initial brave step towards an adventure, you enhance your capacity to imagine future adventures, and can begin to create elaborate plans for them. Therefore, for me, summer novels ought to encapsulate one’s longing for adventure, and few novels do so as well as The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. 

Two things make The Lord of the Rings the perfect summer novel. Firstly, it contains imaginative elements, inspiring one to fantasize beyond the realms of possibility, and secondly, it is centred on a scintillating adventure. I’m aware, though, that some of you reading this won’t have picked up The Lord of the Rings, so its only right that I justify my reasoning for it being the perfect summer novel. 

The Lord of the Rings is, of course, renowned as a great example of fantasy fiction. Fantasy fiction is especially suited for summer because it forces you to picture imaginative scenes and inventive characters, encouraging you to let your imagination run wild. There are many instances of this in The Lord of the Rings; one example that comes to mind is reading about The Battle of the Pelennor Fields in Book Five of the novel where Tolkien depicts an enormous clash between a multiplicity of fictional characters. This disposition towards imagination is also developed throughout the novel by Tolkien’s description of the vicious orcs, the high-spirited Hobbits, and the majestic elves. In essence, the fantasy aspect of The Lord of the Rings – its great kingdoms, mystical creations, and wondrous creatures – boosts any reader’s desire to imagine – and this desire to imagine, to think beyond what is conventional, represents what summer is about for me. 

The fantasy aspect…boosts any reader’s desire to imagine

On top of this, The Lord of the Rings describes an epic adventure. This journey features a group of friends, who go through moments of triumph, adversity, loss, ecstasy, and much more. Many friendship groups around the world will experience these feelings throughout a summer, albeit on a different scale, which means that despite the novel’s fantasy setting and aspects, it remains an excellent representation of friendship and all the feelings that come with it. 

The fellowship’s journey through foreign lands seems all the more impactful this year, given the restrictions that many of us have faced with regards to travelling. The Lord of the Rings, in a sense, enables one to ‘experience’ summer adventures in a time where opportunities for adventure seem scarce. It provides the opportunity to travel into a fantasy world, where challenges come in abundance, exploration is a necessity, and new discoveries about the world and oneself are made regularly.

[The Lord of the Rings] remains an excellent representation of friendship and all the feelings that come with it.

In short: The Lord of the Rings is an adventurous fantasy novel, depicting a fantastic journey through unknown lands, and the perfect integration of the book’s imaginative elements into the adventure make it the perfect summer novel. My experience of reading the book was transformational: it left me wanting to learn more about the fantasy world, and ready to create and imagine about adventures of my own. If you agree with my opening sentiment that summer is all about adventure, and want an adventure unlike any other, I wholeheartedly suggest you read The Lord of the Rings. 

Image: gracioustempest via Unsplash

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