Comparing the Arthurian Legends and J.R.R. Tolkien's The Fellowship of the Ring

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A Medieval Contest

In comparing and contrasting the Arthurian Legends and J.R.R. Tolkien’s book The Fellowship of the Ring, it is almost like a medieval contest between the two with many of the similarities coming from the customs of the Middle Ages. A look at the make up of the groups involved, the moral code, the protagonist, the antagonist, the use of supernatural elements and the knightly quest involved in each book shows how alike they are but yet different.
The Arthurian Legends revolve around the life of the knights during the Middle Ages. A knight would pledge his loyalty to God, his King, fellow knights and to women in distress. Tolkien’s Fellowship which consists of Gandalf, Legolas of the Elves, Gimli of the Dwarves, Aragorn and Boromin of the humans and four hobbits, Frodo, Sam, Merry and Pippin. This Fellowship is like the Round Table of King Arthur.
Sir Thomas Malory in his Le Morte d’Arthur shows this Round Table as a military group loyal not only to their King but to one another. King Arthur is given the Round Table as a wedding gift by Gwynevere’s father. It consists of one hundred knights. Often the knights join together to defend the honor of another knight by killing the one causing the dishonor. The Fellowship bands together with the common purpose of destroying the Ring. The Ring can only be destroyed by throwing it back into the Cracks of Doom in Orodruin, the Fire Mountain, in Mordor, home of the Emperor of Darkness known as Sauron. The Ring should Sauron get it would give him the power to control the world.
The obvious difference in the make up of the Round Table and the Fellowship is that the Round Table is made up of humans whereas the Fellowship has humans along with fantasy creatures such as Hobbits, Dwarves, Elves and Gandalf and Aragorn who are human, wizard type beings. “Hobbits range between two and four feet in height. They dress in bright colours, being notably fond of yellow and green; but they seldom wore shoes, since their feet had tough leathery soles and clad in thick curling hair. They laugh, delight in parties and love to eat.'; (Tolkien, p.20) Hobbits prefer to live in holes in the ground. Dwarves are larger than Hobbits but smaller than humans. ...

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... p.463.) As much as he wants to return to his home land, he knows he must first lead the Fellowship to destroy the Ring before Sauron rules over all of them.
Frodo Baggins begins to know the evil of the Ring. He feels it pulling on him and sees the destruction while he is seated in the Seat of Seeing. Frodo’s quest as the Ring Bearer is to take the Ring to the one place where it can be destroyed, the Cracks of Doom, before Sauron gets it and takes over the world. Inscribed inside of the Ring seen only after it has been place in fire is as follows:
“One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.'; (Tolkien, p.75)
With one story having a ring that offers eternal youth and another with a sword that keeps its owner from ever bleeding, it is hard to imagine what the two could have in common. After looking at the make up of the groups, the heroes, the villains, moral codes, supernatural elements and knightly quests, it is easy to see that they do share many similarities. Tolkien’s work deals more with fantasy characters and places but all in all they are very similar.

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