Wednesday, 30 March 2011

The Lord Of The Rings in Three Easy Pages. Page One

On his eleventy-first birthday, old Hobbit Bilbo leaves his home in the Shire and wanders off to Rivendell (a kind of elf Pentagon), giving his magic ring to his young nephew Frodo. Bilbo nicked the ring, which makes you invisible, ages ago from Gollum, a slimy hissy little ex-Hobbit. For the back-story, see ‘The Hobbit’. (Don’t. It’s crap.)

Many years later, Gandalf, a very important Wizard, informs Frodo that his ring is in fact Evil Sauron’s top-of-the-range Power Tool, which gives its holder, yes, lots of Evil Power. Sauron forged this ring in the distant past, put most of His own Evil Power into it, then lost it. There are loads of other rings, all almost entirely irrelevant. Gandalf doesn’t explain why it took him so long to work all this out, nor why someone with all that Power needs to be invisible - but Frodo better split asap for somewhere safe, like Rivendell, because Sauron’s Evil Black Riders are closing in fast, on their horses, brandishing their blades and halitosis. Get scared, Hobbit!
So, months later, Frodo hits the road with his jolly chums Merry and Pippin and his faithful batman Sam. After getting into all kinds of japes and scrapes with those Evil Black Riders, Barrow-Wights, rotting vegetation etcetera, they team up with a tramp called Strider, who turns out to be a sort of Middle Earth AA man, and eventually gets them to Elf HQ. Gandalf meanwhile has been far too busy whizzing around doing wizard stuff to lend a hand till it’s near enough too late. (Also he got locked up by his old boss Saruman – bit embarrassing that, best not mention ...)
Like everyone else, I’ve left Tom Bombadil out, because he really doesn’t fit in, does he?
‘Sauron has woken up,’ said Gandalf. ‘That Ring is now too hot to handle, and gets a Capital Letter to prove it. Frodo my boy …’
‘I understand,’ said Frodo in his mythical hero voice. ‘I must take the Ring to Mordor and chuck it in the furnace whence it came forth from.’

‘You got it,’ said Elrond. ‘Your jolly chums and faithful servant can go along, also a few other lifeforms, couple of men, dwarf, elf, wizard, usual ethnic minority coverage ...’
‘I used to be the gardener,’ said Sam. ‘Now it’s all batman, servant … still, mustn’t grumble …’
‘Well said, trusty one,’ said Elrond. ‘We shall kit you out sumptuously – but no rope!’
So off they go with a skip and a jump.
There are many Journeys in this story, too many (and mostly too tedious) to recount. So we too shall skip and jump:
  •  across a really tedious plain, where everyone can squabble and establish character;
  •  up a malicious peak, losing out to the wrong kind of snow;
  •  through the Dwarves’ mountain caverns, where Gandalf falls off a bridge and dies (for now);
  •  through a mystic forest full of the creepiest, girliest elves we have yet met (though to be fair they do come up with some goodies, including rope);
  •  down the muddy river in elf boats, stalked by the slimy sneaky Gollum … 
… until - just as the River, the Team Spirit and our eyelids are about to expire - there’s an almighty row, Frodo and Sam float off towards Mordor and the Cracks of Doom, and everybody else goes mad and heads away for places unknown ...

Wait with bated breath for Page Two ...


  1. Great, this will give me years of spare time when I'm retired, not having to read the whole thing.
    But sorry, who is this Elrond who suddenly appears - sort of quartermaster?

  2. You obviously fell asleep during that bit of the film. (Didn't we all?) Boss Elf. You think you're confused already? Hunker down for pages 2 & 3. Get in supplies.

  3. Brilliant - I've seen all the films twice and still couldn't sort it out. When I've read your version, shall watch them again with greater insight! Thanks! PS I did wonder where Elrond appeared from also ...

  4. Well, I'm sorry but after page three and a description of dwarves with hairy feet I had to speed read the rest whilst I was weaving a tapestry, playing "concierto de Aranjuez" on the spoons, and finishing off a chess match with a Russian friend. I have serious "Lord of the Ring" allergies. Sniff, cough, sniff, cough. Excuse me. But I shall await your abrdiged version with interest.

  5. Sod the story, did Frodo really end his sentences with prepositions?
    I don't believe it! (in Meldrew-style)

  6. If you listen to Miles Davis's take on Concierto de Aranjuez', Sketches of Spain (and if you haven't you should), there's a tinkly sound right at the beginning - I hadn't realised till now that that was you on the spoons, Rosie.

  7. And another thing...
    How can Tom be left out when he's, according to G, the eldest being in existence. His Sindarin name Iarwain Ben-adar proves it.
    He must be a mover & shaker, surely?
    Even the Dwarves call him Forn for chrissake!
    How many Dutch dolls do you have to flush down the loo anyway to get a part in this stuff?

  8. Soaring, I thought you hadn't read it. You can't really pontificate about Tom Bombadil without knowing who Elrond is. If you're the eldest (the correct technical term), the last thing you're going to do is try and move'n'shake. And as regards pro/epositions, glad to see at least one of my stylistic squibs appreciated.