This book was written only a few years after Lord of the Rings was published. It is like a little historic peak into what people thought of Lord of the Rings in the beginning, before it was established as the colossal modern classic we know it as today. Before the modern genre of fantasy was really defined, the Lord of the Rings was difficult to classify. It was like the epic stories of the Greeks and Romans, and some people called it “super science fiction” or a “giant-sized fairy tale”.
Frodo learns that a magic ring that was left to him by his Uncle Bilbo is incredibly dangerous. The wizard Gandalf warns Frodo that the Dark Lord is searching for the ring, and Frodo must leave his home in the Shire. A few of his loyal friends accompany him through the wilderness, hoping to discover a way to destroy the evil ring.
Every time I reread this trilogy, my heart soars and I get inspired! I just love the deep spiritual themes about friendship, grief, duty, honor, love, and courage. There have been many times in my life when I have faced a difficult circumstance and I found courage and hope in the examples of these characters. There is so much meaning behind every scene. There is always another layer to unpack and explore. I especially find encouragement in the Christian themes and imagery. Tolkien’s writings are saturated with faith.
As Bilbo sets off on his last journey from Rivendell to the shores of the sea, he sings this last poem as his farewell to MiddleEarth before boarding a ship that will take him to Valinor with Gandalf, Frodo, and Elrond. The poem itself is not very long, with one stanza on each page.
This book is beautifully illustrated with gorgeous settings that show Bilbo on his way to Valinor. The illustrations begin with Bilbo at Rivendell. He talks with Elrond about making the last trip, and they make plans for travelling. Bilbo and the company of Elves pass through the Shire, where Frodo and Sam join them. They reach the harbor where Cirdan the shipwright is waiting to greet them. They say goodbye to Sam, Merry, and Pippin. The final illustration shows Bilbo reaching the shores of Valinor.