Who: John Ronald Reuel Tolkien
What: An epic high fantasy novel in three parts: The Fellowship of the Ring, the Two Towers, and the Return of the King.
Where: Set in Middle-Earth.
Why: Frodo Baggins inherits the One Ring of Power and must destroy it in the place it was forged in order to defeat the Dark Lord Sauron.
When: Published 29 July 1954 (FOTR), 11 November 1954 (TTT) & 20 October 1955 (TROTK)
“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.” JRR Tolkien, the Lord of the Rings.
With over 150 million copies sold, the Lord of the Rings is second only to Dicken’s A Tale of Two Cities as the best-selling book of all time. It follows Frodo Baggins, a hobbit from the Shire, who must destroy the One Ring of Power in the Crack of Doom in Mordor, and his companions: hobbits Samwise Gamgee, Merry Brandybuck and Pippin Took, Gandalf the wizard, two men: Aragorn the ranger and Boromir of Gondor, a dwarf, Gimli, and an elf, Legolas. Their journey takes them through the realms of Rohan, Gondor and Mordor, through mines and forests, over mountains and into battles and sieges. It has countless themes, among them religion, environmentalism and anti-industrialization, language, discrimination and prejudice, death and loss. It’s enduring popularity was cemented by the 2001-2003 film trilogy directed by Peter Jackson, which grossed nearly $3 billion at the box office and won seventeen Academy Awards from 30 nominations.