There are so many reasons why the Lord of the Ring Series is as successful as it is, generations after it was written. From the good old books themselves to the state of the art special effects in the movies, these books have touched the lives of so many around the world.
J.R.R. Tolkien, the author of the series, was a genius when it came to writing for different audiences. Many people think of fantasy fiction as being for children, or teens at best. The Little House on a Prairie series, though not fantasy at the time, can be considered so now. It’s primary audience, grade-schoolers can transport in time to a period of American History when the country was still new. The Chronicles of Narnia through much more in-depth than the Little House on the Prairie was meant to be a spiritual allegory for children. Harry Potter is even enjoyed mostly by a younger audience.
The Lord of The Rings is truly able to keep up the excitement for adults as much as for children, even if the themes are similar to other series. The antagonists are so much more evil, throughout the series, the protagonist, Frodo, is tempted to the dark side, and indeed almost falls prey to it on multiple occasions. Kids who are bored of their day to day lives, going to school and answering questions on math tests, can escape into a world that is extremely vivid. For adults, cities are explored from every nook and cranny, as well as different kingdoms and definitive borders. In Narnia, we get glimpses into castles, and toward the beginning, the land of eternal winter. Each book seemed to bring a very different set of places, and frequently, entirely new characters.
The Lord of the Rings holds the same characters, takes place all in the same world with similar borders depending on who is at war. There isn’t just one specific land of good and one of evil, there are tribes of dwarfs that are good, legions of helpful elves, and a good wizard. Each group seems to have an evil opposite.
Though Harry Potter’s world is well-explained, it takes a lot of pages to get there. It is a financial investment of a few hundred dollars, with books and movies, but not counting all the toys, magic wands and card games. The books and movies for the Lord of the Rings are far more affordable, and adult doesn’t have to feel weird handling make-believe toys that are sources of magic through the movies.
It is an adult if not even more so than Star Wars. Many writers like Tolkien were making allusions to the way the world was in their day, and he was around during a time of many revolutions. Things were changing frequently, and sometimes the lines between good and evil were very blurred. Frequently, something, such as a government, started out as being good, then became bad as it was being established. For kids reading this series, they will probably miss this parallel, but that’s the point.
It’s what makes this such a lovable and time-tested series.