The Fellowship of the Ring and its Horribly Nerdy Prologue

I have only just started the Fellowship of the Ring, so instead of a review or update I am going to tell you about how Tolkien sets up his story, as well as his intricate worldbuilding.

The prologue is 20 pages long. It is written from the perspective of someone in the world Tolkien has created, who is reflecting on the events of the past(the present during the plot of the book). Tolkien’s books also exist in the universe, written after the events of the stories. So the narrator is a historian-like, unnamed character writing to an in-world audience. This creates the assumption that the reader already knows the basic history of the world. However you, the one actually reading it, probably don’t. The prologue names like 40 characters and 13 different countries, none of which you have to remember because if they end up being relevant they will be explained later. Tolkien was just a nerd who wanted everyone to hear about the tens of thousands of years he had mapped out of his fictional world. The prologue does explain what Hobbits are, and some of their history for context; as well as who Bilbo Baggins is and why he matters even though he is only in the first chapter. Once you get past that part it is a history textbook and can be very difficult to get through, honestly unless you’re super invested in who Meriadoc and Peregrin might be or how the time records of the Shire differ from that of the Elves, skip right to chapter one and save yourself the time.

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