Author: J.R.R. Tolkien
Narrator: Andy Serkis
Audiobook Length: 22 hours 38 minutes
This brand-new unabridged audiobook of The Fellowship of the Ring, the first part of J. R. R. Tolkien’s epic adventure, The Lord of the Rings, is read by the BAFTA award-winning actor, director and author Andy Serkis.
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them.
In ancient times, the Rings of Power were crafted by the Elven-smiths, and Sauron, The Dark Lord, forged the One Ring, filling it with his own power so that he could rule all others. But the One Ring was taken from him, and though he sought it throughout Middle-earth, it remained lost to him. After many ages, it fell into the hands of Bilbo Baggins, as told in The Hobbit.
In a sleepy village in the Shire, young Frodo Baggins finds himself faced with an immense task, as his elderly cousin Bilbo entrusts the Ring to his care. Frodo must leave his home and make a perilous journey across Middle-earth to the Cracks of Doom, there to destroy the Ring and foil the Dark Lord in his evil purpose…
While this is not my first time experiencing this story, it is both my first time with the audiobook version and with Andy Serkis as the narrator. I still find The Hobbit easier to read as it is more concise with an entire adventure in a single novel, there is something that still makes the Lord of the Rings series among my favorite novels of all time. The Fellowship of the Ring still held up for me as the perfect set up to the trilogy and Serkis did a fantastic job narrating the whole thing.
Peter Jackson’s movies more or less follow along the same timeline as the book with some changes. The four main hobbits, Frodo Baggins, Samwise Gamgee, Peregrin “Pippin” Took and Meriadoc “Merry” Brandybuck, all have the same characteristics, and this is one reason why I loved Jackson’s movies as he kept the key pieces of each character and as true to the source material as possible. Serkis did a fantastic job giving each character a unique voice where it was easy to tell who was speaking at any given time. The journey begins in the Shire where the Hobbits are introduced. The pacing of this portion of the story is slower, including a lot more time passing before the four Hobbits leave on their journey to destroy the ring.
I have read the books multiple times way before the movies came out, but I do love the casting, so this time around the characters I pictured in my head were the ones from the movies. There are enough descriptions in the writing, however, that a reader can imagine their own versions, but this is just how I experienced it this time. Some characters, such as, Tom Bombadil and Fredegar Bolger, were fun because I had the chance to imagine them all over again since they are not featured in the forefront of the movies. Once the Fellowship is formed at the Council of Elrond, Gandalf the Grey, Aragorn (“Strider”), Legolas, Gimli, Boromir, Frodo, Sam, Pippin, and Merry all set out to Mordor to destroy the one ring.
Overall, the story held up to the high expectations from my memory. Andy Serkis did a fantastic job as he not only delivered on the characters, but the pacing. There were moments where he slowed down his reading to add to the tension of some scenes and sped up in other places. This added a new dimension to the story and was a great way to experience Middle Earth. Toilken’s writing is very descriptive and there is a lot of symbolism and themes throughout. The strong relationships between all the characters were apparent and I hope the other two narrated novels hold up as well.