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Yeshanu
05-19-2006, 10:42 PM
:D


In case y'all haven't realized it, the word "fan" is short for "fanatic."

I have a book, Meditations on Middle Earth. (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0312302908/102-7613993-2660135?v=glance&n=283155) It features essays by such well-known fantasy and sci-fi writers as OSC, Ursula K. Le Guin, Raymond E. Feist, and Terry Pratchett.

A number of the essays start out something like this:

Hi, my name is Ruth. I first read Lord of the Rings when I was seventeen. I loved it. My math teacher wasn't so enthused.

I've read it through at least once each year, and it's been an incredible influence in my life. I started reading other fantasy books because I was looking for more. I started playing Dungeons and Dragons. I started to write my own fantasy stories.


The above is part of my story, but it's also the story of so many of us. My sort-of-ex-husband works with a woman named Arwen. One of the authors in Meditations tells of having a room-mate named Galadriel. I'm sure there are boys out there named Frodo and Aragorn and Faramir, too.

Why is this book so influential? Why are there, or so I've heard, ten million people world-wide who are hard-core fanatics like me?

Perks
05-20-2006, 04:13 AM
My mother had the set (I'll not get caught out calling it a trilogy) as a gift from a would be suitor. With the negative connotations, she never read it, but carted it around from place to place as we moved.

I picked it up when I was sixteen and have read it eleven times. I mist up every time I come to the end, not only for poignancy, but because it's over.

I finally converted my mother and her twin about ten years later - and they turned into utter LotR freaks. My passion for it does fall short of dressing the part or naming my children accordingly, but the transporting magic of this book really is unequalled in my reading experience and it holds a very special place in my heart.

CaroGirl
05-20-2006, 04:42 AM
I read them, in succession, beginning with The Hobbit, two (or was it three, time goes by so fast) summers ago. I hadn't read it before.

I fell in love.

It's definitely not my typical book, but it's true that I can read anything as long as it's well written. This is clearly a divine intervention type of tale. It's epic, magical, relatable, mystical, exciting, heartening, and personal, all the same time. It's extraordinary that all that can exist in a single novel. Astounding and amazing (to pile up the superlatives).

Yet, why it's so good remains somewhat elusive. It tends to be that way with great art.

Gillhoughly
05-20-2006, 04:52 AM
My 10th grade algebra teacher was none-too-pleased either, but he was a moron. I won't get detailed on his teaching style, but Professor Hawking would have failed that class.

Since I'd given the 1st semester my best shot--which caused my other grades to drop--I knew algebra was a lost cause and sat on the back row reading LOTR for the rest of the year. And writing--I was going to be a novelist y'see. It came to me that novelists did not have to use algebra if they so chose.

Like certain veggies, anything I hated as much as algebra would not find its way into my adult life.

Thank you, Prof. Tolkein, for getting me through that class and inspiring a young mind.

And thank you, Coach Moron, for your oh-so special teaching style that got me on my true path!

PS--hope your wife got you to give up those polyester plaid pants and golf shirts. My retinas and psyche are still scarred. :e2tongue:

pdr
05-20-2006, 05:14 AM
that The Lord of the Rings reads like it is an ancient saga about the history of England? The story rings true.

That Tolkein's concepts of good and evil weren't drawn from the pages of a text book in Basic Philosophy. He'd lived through and seen the results appalling evil. He could write about it too.

That the quality of his writing reflects the immense knowledge he had of the English language and his understanding of the earliest forms of written English. You can feel it in the rhythm of his writing.

So giving us a whole in the forms of his books that are not a slight and shallow story but have depth, a density of understanding and make a thoroughly satisfying read that illuminates quite a lot of human behaviour.

Yeshanu
05-20-2006, 05:22 AM
Gilloughby, I think my math teacher must have changed names and moved to wherever you are...


My passion for it does fall short of dressing the part or naming my children accordingly, but the transporting magic of this book really is unequalled in my reading experience and it holds a very special place in my heart.

I have dressed up as an elf for Halloween, but that's as far as I've gone. So far. Funny-but-true stories, however:

My eldest (who is now five ten or eleven) was only six and a half pounds at birth, and had elf-like, almost pointed features. He was beautiful.

I'm gonna get shot for saying this one, but: The other day I asked my daughter why she wasn't interested in any guys yet. She said she's waiting for an elf. (Orlando apparently doesn't count, because he's a human dressed as an elf. And he has Kate Bosworth...)

Every time I re-read this tale, I come across some little detail I've overlooked before. Layers upon layers that make the world as real as the one we live in. Complete societies, with languages and customs and tales and songs of their own.

I think that's one thing that LotR has that other novels are missing: A complete base. It's more than just a map. Each and every society depicted has a history, and the histories of all the different societies intertwine and impact one another.

For example, in Return of the King, Sam notes that the light contained within the Phial of Galadriel is from one of the Simarils, and that he and Frodo are part of a tale that's been going on for thousands of years, and that will continue on after they're gone.

It's like a painting: The painter tries to convince the viewer that the world s/he's painted extends beyond the confines of the canvas. So the story in a really good novel extends beyond the covers of the book...

robeiae
05-20-2006, 04:34 PM
Like Star Wars and other great epics, LOTR fits the template of the heroic sags--what Campbell called the 'monomyth.' See Hero with a Thousand Faces. The story connets to an essential component of humanity.

Also, I think the world of Middle-Earth is an incredible construct, as is its rich history that Tolkien carefully created and alludes to throughout the trilogy.

Rob

Perks
05-20-2006, 06:01 PM
Yeah, MacRobeieieo, I agree. Lord of the Rings is much more mainstream and its fan base inludes many (I'm one) that are not generally drawn to fantasy epics. I think this is because Tolkein wrote out much of the need for suspension of disbelief. It's a rare talent and I'm not sure right off that I can point to another example. There is very little effort to block out what you know of your world. You open the cover of The Fellowship of the Ring and just fall in - and there you are.

The rhythm of his words was very hypnotic. There is a beautiful balance between fat story content and lyricism.

Yeshanu
05-21-2006, 12:16 AM
Yeah, MacRobeieieo, I agree. Lord of the Rings is much more mainstream and its fan base inludes many (I'm one) that are not generally drawn to fantasy epics. I think this is because Tolkein wrote out much of the need for suspension of disbelief. It's a rare talent and I'm not sure right off that I can point to another example. There is very little effort to block out what you know of your world. You open the cover of The Fellowship of the Ring and just fall in - and there you are.


Okay, I'll admit right here--there's one teeny, tiny, itsty-bitsy mistake in LotR that throws me out of the world for a very short period of time.

Very near the beginning, Tolkien uses the expression, "like an express train," an ever since I noticed it a few readings back, I'll protest in my mind, "What the heck is an express train?" Besides that one itsy-bitsy point, which I soon get over, the world is exquisitely drawn. And yet, reading through, there is very little description of place in the novel.

We know what a hobbit hole looks like, because we've read The Hobbit, where he describes the hole and hobbits in great detail, but he doesn't do the same in LotR. Most of the description is in the prologues and appendicies, not the novel itself.

A question along those lines: Has anyone ever thought to create a writer's retreat place called "Rivendell?" If so, I'd like to go...

(If not, does anyone have any money to invest? :D )

Perks
05-21-2006, 12:38 AM
Very near the beginning, Tolkien uses the expression, "like an express train," an ever since I noticed it a few readings back, I'll protest in my mind, "What the heck is an express train?" Besides that one itsy-bitsy point, which I soon get over, the world is exquisitely drawn. That'll send me back to the books. I never noticed that. But I'm betting it's during the fireworks display.

Medievalist
05-21-2006, 01:19 AM
That'll send me back to the books. I never noticed that. But I'm betting it's during the fireworks display.

You'd be right:

The dragon passed like an express train, turned a somersault, and burst over Bywater with a deafening explosion.

Keep in mind that this is the voice of the omniscent narrator.

Perks
05-21-2006, 01:47 AM
Yeah, once it was mentioned, the little notetaker in my head nodded. It never bothered me, but it also never registered baldly.

Oh great. Thanks a lot, Ruth.

robeiae
05-21-2006, 01:56 AM
Obviously, you guys missed where Tolkien compared Sauron's attack of Minas Tirith to the German invasion of Poland...

Rob :)

Perks
05-21-2006, 02:47 AM
You know, he emphatically denied any strong correlations. But he did acknowledge that he couldn't avoid being influenced by what he'd seen as a war correspondent.

two40
07-03-2006, 12:01 AM
My memory is pretty poor and I don't recall many moments of my life that I ought to. However, the day that I picked up this book 14 years ago is etched in my memory. It was mid summer and I was at my cousin's house. He had a nice collection of books and I saw three that looked alike. They stood out well enough so I picked one up and began reading. That day I got through 200 pages of the first book. For a 14 year old that read mainly Roald Dahl in bite sized pieces this was an achievement and it was a turning point in my life. I haven't stopped reading for pleasure since that day.

I imagine many people have a similar story and the authors of today owe Tolkien a lot for converting casual readers into passionate ones.

Yeshanu
07-03-2006, 07:36 AM
Welcome to AW, two40!

I was always a passionate reader, but reading LoTR turned me into a passionate writer. I wanted something like what I'd found in those books, but everything else seemed like a pale copy. So I've been in the process of creating my own world for the last seventeen years. It's slow going, but then, Tolkien's world is so well-imangined because he didn't churn those books out in one year--it took him twenty or more years to fully realize Middle Earth.

two40
07-03-2006, 10:36 AM
Thank you Yeshanu.

Wow 17 years! To keep yourself motivated after such a long time is an achievement in itself so congratulations. From memory, and keep in mind that mine is pretty poor, LoTR took 12 years to write. But as you say, to fully realize Middle Earth took a bit longer than a dozen years. I can't imagine doing something so vast as you have undertaken. My respect to you.

Inkdaub
07-03-2006, 07:37 PM
Also keep in mind that Tolkien was a procrastinator of the first order. I read a description of him that said he would 'do almost anything not to write' or some such.

Yeshanu
07-03-2006, 08:27 PM
Also keep in mind that Tolkien was a procrastinator of the first order. I read a description of him that said he would 'do almost anything not to write' or some such.

Hey! Now I really have hope! :D

(And I'm maybe more like him than I thought...)

Inkdaub
07-04-2006, 07:21 PM
Haha...you and me both.

LloydBrown
07-04-2006, 09:40 PM
This weekend is GrailQuest, the convention where I'm running the Lord of the Rings Trivia game. The game will be Saturday at the World Golf Village Resort hotel. I won't be playing, just to make it fair to the non-Noldor, and I'll be providing cool painted pewter minis of the fellowship instead of the wimpy plastic hobbits that come with the game. Anybody interested is welcome to join.

More info on the convention at http://www.sanctuarygamesandbooks.com/index1.cfm

Inkdaub
07-05-2006, 02:29 PM
Sounds cool, lloyd. How tough are the questions?

LloydBrown
07-05-2006, 05:16 PM
Sounds cool, lloyd. How tough are the questions?

They vary, but they're multiple-choice. Although they're based on the books, if you've seen the movies, you can do pretty well.

Also, the game is not Trivial Pursuit; it has an element of resource management to it, too. Just being able to answer questions right won't win you the game.

Camilla
07-20-2006, 10:43 PM
I'm a huge fan of Lord of the Rings too. Can't remember when I first read it, but I know I left it woefully late. I think I was in my 20s, and still at university. I don't know why I delayed it so long - probably out of some rebellious "I'm not going to read what anyone tells me to" silliness.

Anyway.

Love the books. Am utterly awestruck by the whole story behind the creation of Lord of the Rings, including Tolkien's linguistic work and his explorations into other cultures and mythologies. Loved the movies when they came out, too.

And...aside from anything else, how could I not love this story? It's the reason I met my husband, after all :D We found each other on a LOTR fan website shortly after the first film came out. And...he's tall and has pointy ears (Yeshanu, tell your daughter there are elves out there ;) ).

Anything else to say? Oh yeah, I noticed the express train too!

Yeshanu
07-21-2006, 12:38 AM
They vary, but they're multiple-choice. Although they're based on the books, if you've seen the movies, you can do pretty well.

Also, the game is not Trivial Pursuit; it has an element of resource management to it, too. Just being able to answer questions right won't win you the game.

Hmm. I still don't think anybody'd want to play with me. ;)

kristin724
08-19-2006, 10:12 AM
Yes! I've found the LOTR thread at AW!

Currently, I'm trying to find a copy of Walking With Frodo. Outside of online stores is it tough to find because it's bad or is it that popular?

I will definately read this thread in more detail when I get the chance! I had an avatar of Boromir, but I can't get it back on since the board fritzed. Although my favorite is Faramir....

Teehee!

LloydBrown
08-19-2006, 07:15 PM
Although my favorite is Faramir....

Faramir was awesome, so I hated what they did to him in the movie.

TeddyG
08-19-2006, 07:26 PM
Back in 1969 on the 1 train in Manhattan to my school up in Washington Heights, I used to meet to get on at the 86th street station. My friend Eli got on at 96th. Most days we met each other. On that train I found out Janis Joplin died (the night before). It was also one day on that train when Eli told me in that year, about this great book he had been reading. He lent me the first volume. Back then, B&N was a college book store in downtown Manhattan. The book stores were not as popular as they were today. I went with Pop to Brentanos on 47th and Fifth where we finally found a copy of LOTR.

I became a fanatic. A real fanatic. I used to play "Who said to Whom?" with freinds when we werent looking at the girls of course.

Eli, on my wedding day, bought us a Collectors Edition of LOTR which was printed in a limited edition then, and I still have.

I cannot tell you how many times I have read it. Def. over 20. It was and still is a fascinating read and moreso an incredible journey into what I personally consider, very well written literature. Tolkien sometimes has lines that are truly worthy of the greats. LOTR turned me on to fantasy and to literature as a whole.

I think it is an incredible work. I think it deserves every piece of praise it gets. (I also happened to like the movies - which I usually dont) I honestly think Peter Jackson did a fairly decent job.

K1P1
08-19-2006, 08:11 PM
Ah yes, LOTR is a touchstone for me. It's the reason why I ended up studying medieval literature, including Old Icelandid and Old English. I had hopes of doing graduate work under Tolkien, but he died just as I was starting out the long trip to becoming a scholar. That was the first career I abandoned as a bad idea.

Early in my pregnancy with my first child, I ran into a few problems and my doctor put me to bed for a couple of days. I don't sleep much under the best of conditions, and I certainly don't lie around in bed well for any length of time. The prospect of lying in bed with nothing to do was, well, impossible to contemplate. So I reread ALL of LOTR in 24 hours.

Optimist
08-19-2006, 11:37 PM
LOTR has been a massive inspiration for me.
I was a bit of a book freak before I read it, but it made the transformation complete. :)
Many a time have I wondered what it would be like to be in middle-earth....
I have often tried to write un a similar style to Tolkien, but it always seems to be a pale imitation whenever I read it.

Medievalist
08-20-2006, 12:02 AM
Ah yes, LOTR is a touchstone for me. It's the reason why I ended up studying medieval literature, including Old Icelandid and Old English.

That's true of me, to some extent as well, though I think much as I love LOTR, and I do, Tolkien's edition of SGGK, which I've been living with almost daily for, well, a long time now, had a lot to do with my scholarly choices.

Yeshanu
08-21-2006, 06:30 PM
So I reread ALL of LOTR in 24 hours.

Oh, yes! A challenge... :tongue

kilamangiro
08-21-2006, 08:39 PM
So I reread ALL of LOTR in 24 hours

Pretty sure that isn't possible. It took me well over a month to read it first time and i'm a fast reader and I would read it for hours a day.

LloydBrown
08-21-2006, 08:54 PM
Pretty sure that isn't possible. It took me well over a month to read it first time and i'm a fast reader and I would read it for hours a day.

I did the math as soon as I saw the post. The average reader reads 250 wpm. LotR is right at half a million words. A 24-hour reading is about 350 wpm for the entire time, which isn't unreasonable.

I read most fiction at about 500-600 wpm, depending on the content, so I could theoretically finish it in about 16-17 hours.

dclary
08-21-2006, 11:54 PM
There are 3 books I read annually. The Lord of the Rings, the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, and Ender's Game.

These books shaped my worldview, taught me the elements of story, drama, and character, and other than cinema, were the initial steppingstones of my cultural knowledgebase as I matured into adulthood.

ficklemuses
10-04-2006, 10:59 PM
I read the Hobbit for the first time in middle school (for a class) and LotR in high school (on my brother's suggestion--he's also the source of my Weird Al and Orson Scott Card addictions). My boyfriend's in the midst of rereading it to me (just returned from Mordor). He's really good with doing the voices. Has anyone done a LotR reading group before? I haven't, but I've heard of folks doing it before, where a group of people reads it to each other, with each one doing the voices of different characters.

My favorite part is all the mythic lineage incorporated in the story--Arthur, Germanic ring legends, etc.--and how if you know the myths they're plain to see, but if you don't (which I didn't the first few times I read it) the story is still complete so you wouldn't know you're missing anything. I hate it when people say LotR is low brow (which I've heard too many times in writing classes :rant:). I think it's brilliant that this complex mythic history can also be read as a simple adventure story.

Another thing I like is that the story doesn't end in the expected place--that vanquishing the big bad doesn't mean happily ever after.

Shadow_Ferret
10-10-2006, 11:17 PM
It's strange. I am and was a huge fantasy fan. But I think because of all the hype of LOTR while I was in high school back during it's resurgence in popularity, and these were the same bozos who listened to the Ohio Players and other disco-type songs, I just refused, REFUSED to even look at it. The old "it's popular, so it must suck" syndrome.

However, 35 years later and I still haven't read it. I finally struggled through The Hobbit, took me 5 or 6 times to get into it, but I finally finished it. It was interesting, but didn't strike me as so earthshattering that it made me want to read LOTR.

One day, before I die.

ficklemuses
10-11-2006, 05:27 PM
You can't really gauge LotR by the Hobbit. The Hobbit is more of a simple adventure story--to the extent that it does contain epic elements, you wouldn't know what they are until you've read LotR. LotR has more going on in the way of epic proportions, complex charecters, mythic subtext, etc. They're just different kinds of books, so LotR's worth a read even if you didn't like the Hobbit.

Shadow_Ferret
10-11-2006, 07:29 PM
So I've been told. I've tried to start LOTRs many times, but I guess I just don't care for Tolkein's writing style either.

army_grunt13
10-12-2006, 06:06 AM
Only two words can ever describe LOTR. "EPIC" and "CLASSIC." And unlike most rants I write about film adaptations, in my mind Peter Jackson got it right, big time! The cast was flawless, though I admit that my favorite was by far Sean Bean as Boromir, the special effects looked realistic, and it actually followed the books. . .for the most part. The parts where it deviated a bit (like the elves showing up at Helms Deep) didn't really bother me, and I think in some ways added to the story.

Question: Has anyone ever read The Silmarilion? Not sure if there's a thread on it already. If there is, I appologize. Think of it as the prequel to LOTR. Tolkein actually started writing in back in 1916, I believe, when he was in the trenches with the British Army during World War I. You won't see any really familiar faces in The Silmarillion, except Gandalf and Galadriel, and they only have bit parts towards the end. You find out that Sauron was preceeded by the Dark Lord Morgoth (who Orlando Bloom actually mentions once in the movies). The only thing is, it is an absolute nightmare to read. You have to go slow and have lots of patience when reading it. This is because Tolkein taps into all the different languages and varies between them, ie there are three different names for God, and he switches back and forth between them. Not only that, but it covers the span of thousands of years, and so the cast is quite large. Still, I found it to be an enjoyable read, and would recommend it to anyone who's a fan of Middle Earth.

Incidentally, there's a CD out by the German Power Metal Band, Blind Guardian, called "Nightfall in Middle Earth," which is based on The Silmarillion.

Medievalist
10-12-2006, 06:11 AM
Yep; read the Silmarillion, several times, and the History of Middle Earth, all the way through, once, and various volumes a couple times.

travelgal
10-21-2006, 08:29 AM
Can't recall when I read the set. I found the writing style hard going, but I'd finally given in to the hype, so slugged it out. I'm glad I did. Gandalf enthralled me. Frodo and Sam's plight kept me on the edge. The world-building and dialogue made my toes curl. It was enough to keep me going. I thought; I'll just read the first.

Yeah, right. I get to the end, and bang! Tolkein leaves threads dangling. Arrhghh! So the second book I read. Then the second book leaves a cliffhanger. So the third book I read. I wanted to thump Tolkein with a dragon-firecracker, but in the end, I was loving it.

Gandalf rocks!

When I heard they were making a movie, I was half excited, half apprehensive. They're gonna stuff it, I thought. Hollywood always does. But Jackson's love of the series shone through, and the result is a stoy-telling, cinematic feast.

Deadbeat 007
02-10-2007, 05:38 AM
I was eleven in 2001, when the previews for the first movie were released. I suppose that's what got me interested in the books -- and I couldn't put them down. The Lord of the Rings is what got me interesting in writing in the first place. Thanks, Mr. Tolkien.

Edit: My favorite scene in both the movie and the book was Boromir's death scene. He's always been my favorite character, and one, I felt, that was highly underrated.

Inkdaub
02-10-2007, 01:08 PM
Deadbeat, good scene choice with the departure of Boromir. When, just before, Boromir tries to take the Ring from Frodo...I was blown away in the theater. Sean Bean was Boromir. Perfect right down to his falling on his face. I get chills from that scene.

LotR is my favorite book and I know we aren't really discussing the film...but if there has been a better all around casting job done for a film in the last twenty years I can't think of it.

josephwise
05-10-2007, 11:39 PM
Quite often, people suggest to me that The Lord of the Rings is "an obvious re-telling of WWII."

I overheard it again today from a complete stranger.

Did any one else read it that way? I didn't, but I don't know much about World War II, so I'd love to hear a comparison.

LloydBrown
05-11-2007, 12:37 AM
Lord of the Rings incorporated elements of so much of Christian belief, the folklore & mythology of various Northern European cultures, linguistics, and other reference points that there's not much you can't read into it if you try hard enough.

Somebody is probably parroting something they heard once. Solicit details. So is Sauron supposed to be Hitler? You know, the fallen demi-god from the west, formerly servant to a greater evil? How does that compare to a biography of Hitler? Are the Ringwraiths the Luftwaffe? Then what would be the Battle of Britain in your friend's analogy? How about the occupation of France? Where would the Vichy government be?

It breaks down pretty quickly.

newmod
05-11-2007, 12:43 AM
You might find this of interest

http://www.nationalgeographic.com/ngbeyond/rings/influences.html

A quote from the article:
"An author cannot of course remain wholly unaffected by his experience," Tolkien acknowledged, but he strongly denied that his story was an allegory for World War I or II.* Although The Lord of the Rings was written during World War II and follows the rise of a great evil threatening to envelop the world, the ring was not meant to symbolize the atomic bomb. Likewise, the characters Sauron and Saruman, although both tyrants, are imaginary characters and are not meant to represent Hitler or Stalin.

dclary
05-11-2007, 01:01 AM
Yeah, whoever told you this was simply telling you that he hadn't read the books, and probably didn't see the movies either.

tomW
05-26-2007, 02:29 AM
Quite often, people suggest to me that The Lord of the Rings is "an obvious re-telling of WWII."

I overheard it again today from a complete stranger.

Did any one else read it that way? I didn't, but I don't know much about World War II, so I'd love to hear a comparison.

This is a common reading of Tolkien, though it's also "wrong," insofar as it's neither what the author intended nor a terribly good argument. There are similarities--WW2 was seen as "total war" and was considered by many, essentially, to be a war against a terrible and evil adversary. Churchill's rhetoric during the years after Dunkirk definitely had that determined and valiant underdog quality to it, as well, which is something the protagonists in LOTR had going for them. Essentially, in both WW2 and the book, you have a theoretically peaceful people who don't like war, who really prefer to be playing in their peaceful shires, who are called upon in a dark hour to take up arms in a great and desperate struggle against a major external evil. It's a very western POV, as the Russians had... a rather different experience.

But Tolkien wasn't talking about the war--he says in one of his introductions something to the effect of "surely, had this been about the war, the ring would have been used against Sauron and his armies; there would have been little place for Hobbits in the world that followed." He was referring, I believe, to the dropping of the atomic bomb, though perhaps also to the massive allied apparatus for war and for total war. (The fire-bombing of Dresden and such come to mind.)

Some MacBeth references are interesting, though.

Medievalist
05-26-2007, 05:13 AM
Tolkein survived the Sommne. Most of his class mates did not. It permanently changed him. The marshes of Moria are in part based on those memories.

LloydBrown
05-26-2007, 05:35 AM
::Ahem::

You mean the Dead Marshes, north of Mordor. South of the Emyn Muil.

I know you knew that.

ColoradoGuy
05-27-2007, 06:20 AM
I would have thought Ypres fit better with the Dead Marshes than the Somme. Perhaps he was there at some point, too?

enchantedfire5
07-27-2007, 12:23 PM
Are there any Tolkien fans in here? I just finished reading "The Return of the King" a book I read almost seven years ago. Man have I forgotten how awesome Tolkien is!

Out of all the books I've ever read, LOTR was the longest most exciting fantasy journey ever. Granted there isn't much wizardry or magic battles, still, the worlds and creatures Tolkien created were amazing, especialy the elves. I feel like they really at one point existed. :)

seun
07-27-2007, 12:48 PM
Can't argue with you although not sure if this really belongs here.

scarletpeaches
07-27-2007, 02:35 PM
I ain't touching this one with someone else's ten-foot pole.

OddButInteresting
07-27-2007, 02:53 PM
I've been tempted to plough through it, but for now I'm making my way through the Harry Potter series (previously I only made it up to halfway through Book 4, and now I'm currently 1/4 of the way through Book 2).

In all honesty Tolkein seems a bit heavy for my liking. Judging by the little extracts that I did read when I flipped open the book. I like a nice, casual read. I wouldn't go so far as to call Tolkein flowery, but it's a job to keep with it.

Shadow_Ferret
07-27-2007, 03:53 PM
I've never made it past the first page without falling asleep.

Jamesaritchie
07-27-2007, 04:26 PM
A matter of taste, but I think Tolkien is as good as fantasy can get. Books to be read, and then read again and again.

JEMcGee
07-27-2007, 04:50 PM
Someone once said this to me and I think it expresses it pretty well for me.

Tolkien is better remembered than experienced.

I'd say easily that I'm a huge Tolkien fan as far as loving the universe he created, but I doubt I'll read the books again. I love his letters and he has inspired my writing in many ways, but his actual writing is really too rich for my tastes.

I think if he had a typewriter and was more open to editing his books could have reached perfection. As they are, they are amazing works, just not easily taken on.

jodiodi
07-27-2007, 05:05 PM
I adore Tolkien and have read all the books available. He is, however, difficult for most modern readers because of the style in which he wrote. Had my mother not read to me from his books when I was a small child and I learned to read by reading some of them, I'd probably have had some difficulty with him if I came to him later on.

Still, I agree that the stories are marvelous and the universe he created is meticulous and incredible. I wish I could write a tenth as well as that.

Willowmound
07-27-2007, 05:16 PM
The thing that Tolkien did was make fantasy read like history. You really do believe this was once real. That was his genious, I think. People have tried to emulate this, but I haven't seen a true success yet.

Cav Guy
07-27-2007, 05:26 PM
The thing that Tolkien did was make fantasy read like history. You really do believe this was once real. That was his genious, I think. People have tried to emulate this, but I haven't seen a true success yet.
Exactly! I read a great deal of history, and Tolkien has that feel. I find his writing very comfortable.

SecretScribe
07-27-2007, 05:29 PM
I LOVE Tolkien. My dad first read it to us when I was a little girl and then I read it after the second movie came out, and now I read it about once a year. The first time I read it, I got through the whole thing in three days. Just couldn't put it down. Love the book.

I am also amazed at the difference in style between LOTR and The Silmarilion, which I haven't quite managed to finish yet.

The man was a genius. IMO of course.

Medievalist
07-27-2007, 05:46 PM
I think if he had a typewriter and was more open to editing his books could have reached perfection.

He did have a typewriter, and used it. He sent typescript to his publishers, with corrections often made using a special red ribbon.

He was, also, extensively edited, with chunks cut out of the trilogy, and several short passages were removed from The Hobbit.

There's an Annotated Hobbit edited by Doug Anderson that has the bits cut by Tolkien's editor.

Azraelsbane
07-27-2007, 05:57 PM
I read The Hobbit and LotR in 4th grade and have been hooked on fantasy ever since. Gandalf got me through a lot of shit when I was a kid, and I've always hoped that one day I'd produce something that could supply such an escape for someone else.

Also, as to the comments about Tolkien reading like history, that's because the Silmarillion and his other histories of Middle Earth were really his pet projects. He was always trying to get those published, but was almost always turned down. After publishing the Hobbit, he attempted to get one of his older versions of the Silmarillion published (again, it had already been turned away once), and he was turned down yet again, and basically told that they didn't want that, but a sequel to the Hobbit instead. And so he grudgingly started LotR.

He was above all else a linguist and "historian." ;)

Also...wow, saying that too much lately. I agree with Medievalist. He did edit his books extensively, and went back and forth with C.S. Lewis, seeing as they were often each others betareaders. Also, the editors not only cut chunks of his stuff, but made him end LotR differently than he had originally planned. Not plot wise persay, but where it ended in the time line of the story.

Jamesaritchie
07-27-2007, 06:03 PM
Someone once said this to me and I think it expresses it pretty well for me.

Tolkien is better remembered than experienced.

I'd say easily that I'm a huge Tolkien fan as far as loving the universe he created, but I doubt I'll read the books again. I love his letters and he has inspired my writing in many ways, but his actual writing is really too rich for my tastes.

I think if he had a typewriter and was more open to editing his books could have reached perfection. As they are, they are amazing works, just not easily taken on.

I think the fact that the books aren't easily taken on is one of the reasons they're so remarkable. Tolkien didn't compromise, and I'm terribly glad. These are books to sit down and savor, not to read quickly and discard.

My kids all read the books before they were fourteen, and had no trouble at all. They've each read the books more than once, in fact.

rugcat
07-27-2007, 06:12 PM
I ain't touching this one with someone else's ten-foot pole.Ah yes, I remember now. The last thread on this almost led to bloodshed.

Mania
07-27-2007, 06:27 PM
I read Lord of the Rings around the time the movies came out and really enjoyed it! The trouble was my brother and I then decided that the movies didn't live up to the books so it kind of spoilt it for me. I've alsao read The Silmarilion.

JasonChirevas
07-27-2007, 06:27 PM
Ah yes, I remember now. The last thread on this almost led to bloodshed.

Speaking of which, you know who is just a bang on genius? James Patterson.

Heh.

-Jason

josephwise
07-27-2007, 06:46 PM
I'm with you. I really enjoy Tolkien's prose, and the fact that others find him cumbersome really tickles me. It's like I get these books all to myself, and everybody else has to settle for the movies.

OddButInteresting
07-27-2007, 07:42 PM
The thing that Tolkien did was make fantasy read like history. You really do believe this was once real. That was his genious, I think. People have tried to emulate this, but I haven't seen a true success yet.

This alone is reason for me to pick up the books right now. I originally didn't fancy the books because the films (the theatrical versions, anyway) conveyed a lack of depth. A to B, Good versus Evil, happily ever after. However, a mate of mine was recently filling me in on the deeper aspects of the books. The politics, the history, the mythology, etc.

I used to have a history teacher who would come into the classroom and immediately start telling history as if it were a story. Specifically Hitler's and Stalin's respective rises to power, and the circumstances that led to their ultimate ascension. But it wasn't a case of "He was evil, and Germans/Russians were evil. Do the math." Both aspiring leader's most powerful weapons were the fact that they were mis-understood; passed off as harmless, ignorant, uncharismatic low-lives. So they were handed influential jobs because their superiors assumed they couldn't possibly have the chops to upstage them. Whoopsy- Daisy.

That's just an example of the level of depth I seek. A villain born of rags, and cleverly plots his way to riches. From what my friend has told me, the books have a lot more to offer in the way of depth.

P.S. And MOTIVE. Sauron in the film seemed to have no real reason to stir up so much shit. The Wraith's was briefly explained, as they were former Kings corrupted by the power of the rings. I am aware in the book that Sauron was merely Morgoth's Lieutenant, and this is explored in The Silmarillion.

WorldPlanter
07-27-2007, 08:03 PM
Exactly! I read a great deal of history, and Tolkien has that feel. I find his writing very comfortable.

Tolkien himself admitted that he wrote LOTR as a historical drama and actually didn't know if anyone would appreciate it for that.

RG570
07-27-2007, 08:29 PM
Meh. I'm not really into high-tory snobbery. Once was more than enough for me. Too much, actually.

Jamesaritchie
07-27-2007, 09:25 PM
Meh. I'm not really into high-tory snobbery. Once was more than enough for me. Too much, actually.

Me, either. But I am into wonderful stories, wonderfully written, and this is what I find Tolkien's books to be. Different tastes.

Roger J Carlson
07-27-2007, 09:30 PM
Ah yes, I remember now. The last thread on this almost led to bloodshed.Yes, but that one asked if Tolkien was required reading to write fantasy. It is, of course, but... :D

::Roger runs and ducks for cover::

JBI
07-27-2007, 11:38 PM
Tolkien is boring. Enough said, this thread generally is pointless, seeing how it does not discuss anything worth discussing, only pointlessly shows your love for Tolkien's literature.

rugcat
07-27-2007, 11:50 PM
I think what started it off was when I intimated that while whether one likes Tolkien is obviously a matter of taste, the assertation that he's an inferior writer is made only by people who don't have the critical awareness to make informed decisions.

Not that I would ever state, or even imply such a thing.

(Rugcat also runs for cover)

enchantedfire5
07-28-2007, 03:44 PM
Tolkien is boring. Enough said, this thread generally is pointless, seeing how it does not discuss anything worth discussing, only pointlessly shows your love for Tolkien's literature.

LOL! It's pointless to say anything regarding this comment. There's always one among the crowd. If you don't like it, stay out! :)

enchantedfire5
07-28-2007, 03:46 PM
The thing that Tolkien did was make fantasy read like history. You really do believe this was once real. That was his genious, I think. People have tried to emulate this, but I haven't seen a true success yet.

HANDS DOWN!

JimmyB27
07-28-2007, 10:08 PM
The thing that Tolkien did was make fantasy read like history. You really do believe this was once real. That was his genious, I think. People have tried to emulate this, but I haven't seen a true success yet.


I think it's also important to note that what he didn't do was make it read like a history lesson. Unlike a certain Harry Turtledove. I tried reading Into The Darkness, and it read like history, but like the history as we were taught it at school. In other words, really, really dull.

The Lady
07-30-2007, 01:32 AM
I've read the LOTR's trilogy twice. Once I read it all in one long enchanted weekend. About a decade later I picked it up and did it again. The archaic language stunned me. I couldn't remember it at all from the first read. It took me about fifty pages to get over it. Then I was back in. The second time I made sure to drag it out and enjoy the experience. I have about another five years to go before I can do it all again. :D

So good. Such a good book.

celeber
08-08-2007, 09:01 PM
I absolutely adore Tolkien. I was easily led into his magical world and fell in love with elves, dwarves, halflings and even those pesky humans.
Tolkien created a place where magic was real, evil existed, innocence was lost, love was created and good eventually overcame all.
I love the stories the characters and even those pesky villians I love to hate. Tolkien is a classic storyteller and created one of my all time favorite series.

HourglassMemory
08-09-2007, 02:00 AM
His stories are quite an achievement.
I wish I could come up with enough History for my stories like he did.
I only have "The Hobbit" in my library.
I'm going to make myself read them just to see how he writes. I feel like I will enjoy them when I read them. And I just want to have "The Lord Of The Rings" in my library also.

Judg
10-17-2007, 08:42 AM
The problem with Tolkien is that he was just too darn good. He ruined fantasy for me for decades. I got hooked on him in my early teens (too difficult???) and then when I picked up other fantasy, it seemed like pale, thin imitations. I had to turn to science fiction to drown my sorrows...

RikkiKane
01-05-2010, 09:23 PM
I've just finished The Return of the King (I started with The Hobbitt about 3 months ago and read straight through), and, as far as I'm concerned, The Lord of the Rings is not only the most beautiful story ever told, it's also the greatest story ever told. It's beyond the reach of any other story in its beauty, its magic, and above all, its love.

There are books I've enjoyed reading more (as LOTR was hard work at times), but I don't think great story telling is a matter of opinion and I've never read anything that ignites my emotions so intensely, so wonderfully. The sheer wealth of magic in this bonnie tale ... I'm taking a huge deep breath from somewhere beyond the pit of my stomach. All I can say right now is ... Ahhh ... The Lord of the Rings. What a story!

How did Tolkien do the things he did? There will never be anyone like him.

Shadow_Ferret
01-05-2010, 09:26 PM
... but I don't think great story telling is a matter of opinion ...

Why not?

CaroGirl
01-05-2010, 09:26 PM
There's no denying this story ignited the fantasy fire and inspired a lot of talented writers. Its influence is pervasive. That said, a lot of people still think it's a load of old codswallop.

Glad you enjoyed it. Personally, I found it brilliant and tedious in equal measure, but I'll never regret having read it.

Cyia
01-05-2010, 09:29 PM
Aren't opinions wonderful?

I hated reading The Lord of the Rings, but the movies were pretty.

The Grump
01-05-2010, 09:29 PM
Agree. I've been reading it almost once a year since the 60s (?). But I think it's the anthropology that makes my jaw drop.

Kalyke
01-05-2010, 09:30 PM
It's tops as far as info- dumps go. I frankly could not get into it because of all the random non-story minutia. Some of the writing is quite beautiful, but it would never have been published today.

RikkiKane
01-05-2010, 09:38 PM
Why not?

Don't get me wrong. Everyone has the right to like/dislike something and they have the right to think what they want. But come on, is great story telling really a matter of opinion?

A good/bad story is much like a good/bad meal. You can enjoy the greasy burger and fries more than you enjoyed the grilled steak and vegetables, but it doesn't change the fact that the latter is better food.

The same with movies. I didn't particularly love "The Godfather" (I just liked it) but I can know why people generally love The Godfather because they are great films. The proof is in the pudding. Some things are just beautiful, and the reason why they have had such a wonderful impact on the human race is because they are beautiful.

Disliking special things like The Lord of the Rings (including the films which are just like living in a beautiful dream), doesn't change the fact that it's beautiful. If I didn't liek The Lord of the Rings I would be happy to tell people why, but I wouldn't be ignorant enough to simply dismiss it as rubbish or codswalliop. It's not. It's just a beautiful story and ther will never be anything like it.

At leastm, that's the way I feel and I'm not trying to tell people what to think so pleae go easy on me!

:)

BenPanced
01-05-2010, 09:38 PM
I've just finished The Return of the King (I started with The Hobbitt about 3 months ago and read straight through), and, as far as I'm concerned, The Lord of the Rings is not only the most beautiful story ever told, it's also the greatest story ever told. It's beyond the reach of any other story in its beauty, its magic, and above all, its love.

There are books I've enjoyed reading more (as LOTR was hard work at times), but I don't think great story telling is a matter of opinion and I've never read anything that ignites my emotions so intensely, so wonderfully. The sheer wealth of magic in this bonnie tale ... I'm taking a huge deep breath from somewhere beyond the pit of my stomach. All I can say right now is ... Ahhh ... The Lord of the Rings. What a story!

How did Tolkien do the things he did? There will never be anyone like him.
Millions of people have enjoyed it over the years, but millions haven't, myself included, and not everybody is going to agree with your opinion.

Kisatchie
01-05-2010, 09:38 PM
I've read The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings at least 18 times. For most of my life, I was an untreated manic depressive. And when I was manic, I read.

The story is compelling. I found everything about it interesting. I wish it could have been longer.

Shadow_Ferret
01-05-2010, 09:41 PM
Don't get me wrong. Everyone has the right to like/dislike something and they have the right to think what they want. But come on, is great story telling really a matter of opinion?

A good/bad story is much like a good/bad meal. You can enjoy the greasy burger and fries more than you enjoyed the grilled steak and vegetables, but it doesn't change the fact that the latter is better food.



Better food? Again, matter of opinion. I dislike steak with a passion, but love burgers. To me, burgers are the better food. Steak is just more expensive.

Same with story telling. What you find compelling story telling others might find tedious and overwrought.

gothicangel
01-05-2010, 09:42 PM
I've never read it [tried reading the Hobbit as a child and think that put me off for life.] It doesn't surprise me that it took Tolkein 11 years to write, and it was a book only he could write.

Greatest story ever told? A great epic, but have my own personal favourites.

RikkiKane
01-05-2010, 09:43 PM
It's tops as far as info- dumps go. I frankly could not get into it because of all the random non-story minutia. Some of the writing is quite beautiful, but it would never have been published today.


Would never have been published today? That's a rather strange opinion.

CaroGirl
01-05-2010, 09:44 PM
But come on, is great story telling really a matter of opinion?
Yes


Disliking special things like The Lord of the Rings (including the films which are just like living in a beautiful dream), doesn't change the fact that it's beautiful.
But what objectively makes this story "beautiful" and "a special thing," other than that's your opinion of it? Many people share your opinion, as I said, but many do not. That alone must tell you it's only a subjective opinion.

BenPanced
01-05-2010, 09:44 PM
Don't get me wrong. Everyone has the right to like/dislike something and they have the right to think what they want. But come on, is great story telling really a matter of opinion?

A good/bad story is much like a good/bad meal. You can enjoy the greasy burger and fries more than you enjoyed the grilled steak and vegetables, but it doesn't change the fact that the latter is better food.

The same with movies. I didn't particularly love "The Godfather" (I just liked it) but I can know why people generally love The Godfather because they are great films. The proof is in the pudding. Some things are just beautiful, and the reason why they have had such a wonderful impact on the human race is because they are beautiful.

Disliking special things like The Lord of the Rings (including the films which are just like living in a beautiful dream), doesn't change the fact that it's beautiful. If I didn't liek The Lord of the Rings I would be happy to tell people why, but I wouldn't be ignorant enough to simply dismiss it as rubbish or codswalliop. It's not. It's just a beautiful story and ther will never be anything like it.

At leastm, that's the way I feel and I'm not trying to tell people what to think so pleae go easy on me!

:)
Simply dismissing a story as rubbish or codswallop without offering reasons why is ignorant.

However.

What I'm getting from you is you aren't willing to consider others' opinions. My dislike of the book might not change it's beautiful to you but you have to be willing to accept more than "it's beautiful because I said so".

gothicangel
01-05-2010, 09:46 PM
Better food? Again, matter of opinion. I dislike steak with a passion, but love burgers. To me, burgers are the better food. Steak is just more expensive.

Same with story telling. What you find compelling story telling others might find tedious and overwrought.

Depends on where the burger came from!

McD's et al are guaranteed to make me puke [last one left me with severe food poisoning] where as a beautiful Aberdeen Angus burger from my favourite pub in Edinburgh is a different matter. :D

geardrops
01-05-2010, 09:47 PM
Would never have been published today? That's a rather strange opinion.

Actually it's a pretty common opinion. I hear that a lot.

LotR is a great story. I love it, and I can go on about Pippin ( :heart: ). But, the writing is tedious, dull, overwrought, and laden with infodumps and would not stand up in today's market. It's not, as the saying goes, "What we're looking for."

Cyia
01-05-2010, 09:49 PM
Don't get me wrong. Everyone has the right to like/dislike something and they have the right to think what they want. But come on, is great story telling really a matter of opinion?

Yes. As soon as someone disagrees with you, and there's no quantifiable evidence to support either side, it's a matter of opinion. (ie - the sky is blue = fact, blue is pretty = opinion)


A good/bad story is much like a good/bad meal. You can enjoy the greasy burger and fries more than you enjoyed the grilled steak and vegetables, but it doesn't change the fact that the latter is better food.

That's not a fact. It's an opinion. You'd have to have a lot of specifics for it to qualify as a fact, and even then you're trumped as soon as someone's allergic to the veggies.


The same with movies. I didn't particularly love "The Godfather" (I just liked it) but I can know why people generally love The Godfather because they are great films. The proof is in the pudding. Some things are just beautiful, and the reason why they have had such a wonderful impact on the human race is because they are beautiful.

This is all opinion. Beauty is never more than opinion because different people find different things beautiful. You're making an assumption that this book has made an impact on the human race - that's a lot to assume. The book touched you, so you find it beautiful. Others find it stuffy and academic and wouldn't read it again for anything short of pay. Plenty of popular books and series are considered beautiful by their fans and drivel by their detractors.

Disliking special things like The Lord of the Rings (including the films which are just like living in a beautiful dream), doesn't change the fact that it's beautiful. If I didn't liek The Lord of the Rings I would be happy to tell people why, but I wouldn't be ignorant enough to simply dismiss it as rubbish or codswalliop. It's not. It's just a beautiful story and ther will never be anything like it.

Again... total opinion. If someone doesn't like it, they don't necessarily find it beautiful. And there are those who would tell you that there will never be anything like it (though plenty of authors have copied the model. Repeatedly) because modern agents/publishers know better than to pawn off huge chunks of description as narrative and that it would be edited to a manageable size now.


At leastm, that's the way I feel and I'm not trying to tell people what to think so pleae go easy on me!

:)

Which is why it's opinion.

CaroGirl
01-05-2010, 09:50 PM
Would never have been published today? That's a rather strange opinion.
That's a rather common opinion, in fact.

I think Samwise Gamgee is one of the noblest characters in fiction but you gotta wade through a lotta dense prose to get the heart of the matter.

Toothpaste
01-05-2010, 09:53 PM
Then of course we go into what makes great storytelling great storytelling, what is the definition of the term? For you Lord of the Rings is the tops, to me certain of Shakespeare's plays are. Which of us is more right?

lucidzfl
01-05-2010, 10:06 PM
I couldn't get more than 10 pages into the books. The movies I guess looked fine, but I didn't give a rats ass about even one of the characters.

Libbie
01-05-2010, 10:11 PM
Tolkien was pretty awesome!

SarahMacManus
01-05-2010, 10:23 PM
I liked the Hobbit, the rest of it put me to sleep. It was like watching paint dry. Since it failed to engage my interest, it wasn't great story telling. For ME. Yes, it's a matter of opinion.

Is it a great story? Yep. Was it told in a way that would appeal to everyone? Nope. No stories can be.

mscelina
01-05-2010, 10:26 PM
I personally love Tolkien, and read his works with never-abating devotion at least once a year. Is it info-dumpy? Yes, but what info-dumps! Can anyone compete with Tolkien for the sheer mass of his world building, to the point that there are classes teaching the Elven language he developed? Probably not. I can see, however, why LOTR is tedious to the modern reader. But, by the same token, I don't necessarily agree that Tolkien couldn't be published in today's market. I think he could.

But that's just my opinion. I'm one of those odd people who are devoted to Hope Mirrlees' Lud-In-The-Mist, which predates Tolkien by a decade and is full of the stilted, high language narrative prose that I love. *shrug*

PeterL
01-05-2010, 10:33 PM
How did Tolkien do the things he did? There will never be anyone like him.


For the most part, Tolkien just told the story. There was nothing special about his writing. Most of it in direct, chronological narrative. When information from the past was required, he just put that in. I think that the directness of his narrative improved a story that just tossed together a lot of ancient myth.

M.Austin
01-05-2010, 10:34 PM
Which of us is more right?


Are there levels to right? O.o

Regardless, I think too many people got a bit upset over the opinion thing. I find it ironic that people that are crying about their opinion not being taken into account are arguing over an opinion. =P

Regardless, I fell asleep every night to the sound of my dad reading The Hobbit and LotRings. Like you, I find them absolutely beautiful. On a bad note, it's hard to read a fantasy like that and then read so many others that do a terrible job of mocking it.

willietheshakes
01-05-2010, 10:47 PM
I read Lord of the Rings. I don't regret reading it.

I would rather have one of my testicles gnawed off than read it again, though. I find it turgid, bloated, and overwritten. I know that other people don't feel that way, but that's my opinion and I'm sticking to it.

RikkiKane
01-05-2010, 10:49 PM
Actually it's a pretty common opinion. I hear that a lot.

LotR is a great story. I love it, and I can go on about Pippin ( :heart: ). But, the writing is tedious, dull, overwrought, and laden with infodumps and would not stand up in today's market. It's not, as the saying goes, "What we're looking for."


Oh, there may be one or two publishers that wouldn't have the strength of mind to absorb Tolkien's world (it requires a lot of patience after all, and some publishers are not patient) but there would have been many publishers who would have been completely blown away and many publishers would have acknowledged how remarkable it was, how Tolkien spent his entire life creating what he called "The secondaty world." The way he created the languages and the thousands of years of history behind The Lord of the Rings is just beyond belief, and it's beyond the capability of any other writer.

The Lord of the Rings is so rich and so detailed, that no other author that lives today is ever gonna come close to the sheer wealth of information, and you can take that to the bank. Yes, the complexity of Tolkien's literature is fiendishly difficult for some to grasp and appreciate, and if it's not ones cup of tea, that's fair enough. Fabled tales full of evles and Hobbitts and wizards is not gong to appeal to everybody and I'm not trying to force anyone to like it (which is what you seem to think I'm trying to do).

But I am telling you that, for a book to become the 20th century's 2nd most read book after the Bible, it has to be pretty special don't you think? That takes something doesn't it? How many books have fan clubs as wide and gargantuan as The Lord of the Rings? Probably very few.

The phenomenon of The Lord of the Rings continues today and its popularity can be attributed to fundamantal themes of human existence. It's a dream, a beautiful dream that can't be compared with any other. It is like no other, and it is more beautiful than any other. As readers, what so many people found in Tolkien's world, is a story that is timeless, a story that makes the human heart fond of all living things. This is why it was so accessible to so many people all over the world.

What I think some people don't understand about LOTR is this: at the heart of this story - amidst all the heroic deeds and noble warriors - love and friendship is the most powerful theme throughout. I'll tell you something else for nothing. The Lord of the Rings has an appeal throughout the world because Tolkien touched upon something that's central to who we really are as human beings. There's a hopefulness to the story, even when all hope is lost.

Everybody knows about The Lord of the Rings, even if they haven't read it or seen the films, and that is exactluy what happens with true works of art, real works of art, it enables those works to survive changes of opinion, changes of culture, of history. And why? Because each new generation of readers finds new meanings inside this beautiful tale. And that's why it's so beautiful and so special.

So life in The Shire goes on, pretty much as it has this past age - full of it's own comings and goings - with change coming slowly, if it comes at all. But things are made to endure in The Shire, passing from one generation to the next. There's always been a Baggins living here - under the hill - in Bag-End. There always will be...

God, I think I'm gonna cry.

RikkiKane
01-05-2010, 10:50 PM
Agree. I've been reading it almost once a year since the 60s (?). But I think it's the anthropology that makes my jaw drop.



You are spot on!

willietheshakes
01-05-2010, 10:51 PM
Oh, there may be one or two publishers that wouldn't have the strength of mind to absorb Tolkien's world (it requires a lot of patience after all, and some publishers are not patient) but there would have been many publishers who would have been completely blown away and many publishers would have acknowledged how remarkable it was, how Tolkien spent his entire life creating what he called "The secondaty world." The way he created the languages and the thousands of years of history behind The Lord of the Rings is just beyond belief, and it's beyond the capability of any other writer.

The Lord of the Rings is so rich and so detailed, that no other author that lives today is ever gonna come close to the sheer wealth of information, and you can take that to the bank. Yes, the complexity of Tolkien's literature is fiendishly difficult for some to grasp and appreciate, and if it's not ones cup of tea, that's fair enough. Fabled tales full of evles and Hobbitts and wizards is not gong to appeal to everybody and I'm not trying to force anyone to like it (which is what you seem to think I'm trying to do).

But I am telling you that, for a book to become the 20th century's 2nd most read book after the Bible, it has to be pretty special don't you think? That takes something doesn't it? How many books have fan clubs as wide and gargantuan as The Lord of the Rings? Probably very few.

The phenomenon of The Lord of the Rings continues today and its popularity can be attributed to fundamantal themes of human existence. It's a dream, a beautiful dream that can't be compared with any other. It is like no other, and it is more beautiful than any other. As readers, what so many people found in Tolkien's world, is a story that is timeless, a story that makes the human heart fond of all living things. This is why it was so accessible to so many people all over the world.

What I think some people don't understand about LOTR is this: he heart of this story - amidst all the heroic deeds and noble warriors - love and friendship is the most powerful theme throughout. Frodo and Sam, Aragorn and Arwen, Merry and Pippin. The list is endless. More than anything, I just want to read about them again. I want to see them again in Peter Jackson's beautiful trilogy. I want to be where they are and I don't want to come back to this horrible world.

I'll tell you something else for nothing. The Lord of the Rings has an appeal throughout the world because Tolkien touched upon something that's central to who we really are as human beings. There's a hopefulness to the story, even when all hope is lost.

Everybody knows about The Lord of the Rings, even if they haven't read it or seen the films, and that is exactluy what happens with true works of art, real works of art, it enables those works to survive changes of opinion, changes of culture, of history. And why? Because each new generation of readers finds new meanings inside this beautiful tale. And that's why it's so beautiful and so special.

So life in The Shire goes on, pretty much as it has this past age - full of it's own comings and goings - with change coming slowly, if it comes at all. But things are made to endure in The Shire, passing from one generation to the next. There's always been a Baggins living here - under the hill - in Bag-End. There always will be...

God, I think I'm gonna cry.

Your post is beautiful, and it really conveys your depth of feeling for this book.

I would STILL rather get a testicle gnawed off than read it again.

Cyia
01-05-2010, 10:57 PM
Oh, there may be one or two publishers that wouldn't have the strength of mind to absorb Tolkien's world (it requires a lot of patience after all, and some publishers are not patient) but there would have been many publishers who would have been completely blown away and many publishers would have acknowledged how remarkable it was, how Tolkien spent his entire life creating what he called "The secondaty world." The way he created the languages and the thousands of years of history behind The Lord of the Rings is just beyond belief, and it's beyond the capability of any other writer.

No they wouldn't. Tolkein's own publishers cut the thing to shreds (and wanted to cut it more). Had he not already been established, it never would have seen print the first time.

The Lord of the Rings is so rich and so detailed, that no other author that lives today is ever gonna come close to the sheer wealth of information, and you can take that to the bank. Yes, the complexity of Tolkien's literature is fiendishly difficult for some to grasp and appreciate, and if it's not ones cup of tea, that's fair enough. Fabled tales full of evles and Hobbitts and wizards is not gong to appeal to everybody and I'm not trying to force anyone to like it (which is what you seem to think I'm trying to do).

No, we're trying to get you to understand that you're giving an opinion and that it's the same one that people who love Dan Brown or Stephenie Meyer's writing have about those authors.

But I am telling you that, for a book to become the 20th century's 2nd most read book after the Bible, it has to be pretty special don't you think? That takes something doesn't it? How many books have fan clubs as wide and gargantuan as The Lord of the Rings? Probably very few.

Dude. Hit Google and look up Harry Potter.

The phenomenon of The Lord of the Rings continues today and its popularity can be attributed to fundamantal themes of human existence. It's a dream, a beautiful dream that can't be compared with any other. It is like no other, and it is more beautiful than any other. As readers, what so many people found in Tolkien's world, is a story that is timeless, a story that makes the human heart fond of all living things. This is why it was so accessible to so many people all over the world.

It's an allegory based in his experiences as a soldier, his early life in Sunday School, and his existing knowledge of ancient cultures stitched together into an over-reaching mythology for a country that didn't have one.

What I think some people don't understand about LOTR is this: he heart of this story - amidst all the heroic deeds and noble warriors - love and friendship is the most powerful theme throughout. Frodo and Sam, Aragorn and Arwen, Merry and Pippin. The list is endless. More than anything, I just want to read about them again. I want to see them again in Peter Jackson's beautiful trilogy. I want to be where they are and I don't want to come back to this horrible world.

And it's a trope older than Greek tragedy.

I'll tell you something else for nothing. The Lord of the Rings has an appeal throughout the world because Tolkien touched upon something that's central to who we really are as human beings. There's a hopefulness to the story, even when all hope is lost.

Again... ancient studies...

Everybody knows about The Lord of the Rings, even if they haven't read it or seen the films, and that is exactluy what happens with true works of art, real works of art, it enables those works to survive changes of opinion, changes of culture, of history. And why? Because each new generation of readers finds new meanings inside this beautiful tale. And that's why it's so beautiful and so special.


Ditto Brown and Meyer...
So life in The Shire goes on, pretty much as it has this past age - full of it's own comings and goings - with change coming slowly, if it comes at all. But things are made to endure in The Shire, passing from one generation to the next. There's always been a Baggins living here - under the hill - in Bag-End. There always will be...

God, I think I'm gonna cry.

I think you need a nap. ;)

RikkiKane
01-05-2010, 11:00 PM
Your post is beautiful, and it really conveys your depth of feeling for this book.

I would STILL rather get a testicle gnawed off than read it again.



Thanks! But hey, I think I'll leave it at that. I don't want to make any enemies in this wonderful place!

Albannach
01-05-2010, 11:04 PM
I've just finished The Return of the King (I started with The Hobbitt about 3 months ago and read straight through), and, as far as I'm concerned, The Lord of the Rings is not only the most beautiful story ever told, it's also the greatest story ever told. It's beyond the reach of any other story in its beauty, its magic, and above all, its love.

There are books I've enjoyed reading more (as LOTR was hard work at times), but I don't think great story telling is a matter of opinion and I've never read anything that ignites my emotions so intensely, so wonderfully. The sheer wealth of magic in this bonnie tale ... I'm taking a huge deep breath from somewhere beyond the pit of my stomach. All I can say right now is ... Ahhh ... The Lord of the Rings. What a story!

How did Tolkien do the things he did? There will never be anyone like him.

It ignited the explosion of a genre. Few (very few) people can compare with the affect he had. It may not appeal to some modern readers who want a story to start with action and never take time to just explore a world and themes. But it is, in my opinion, one of the world's great works of art.

People with other opinions should be burned at the stake. (just kidding)

RikkiKane
01-05-2010, 11:07 PM
It ignited the explosion of a genre. Few (very few) people can compare with the affect he had. It may not appeal to some modern readers who want a story to start with action and never take time to just explore a world and themes. But it is, in my opinion, one of the world's great works of art.

People with other opinions should be burned at the stake. (just kidding)


Lol! Let them burn! Let them burn! Lol!

willietheshakes
01-05-2010, 11:09 PM
Let's try something, for fun:

What I think some people don't understand about Harry Potter is this: at the heart of this story - amidst all the heroic deeds and noble witches - love and friendship is the most powerful theme throughout. I'll tell you something else for nothing. Harry Potter has an appeal throughout the world because Rowling touched upon something that's central to who we really are as human beings. There's a hopefulness to the story, even when all hope is lost.

Hmmm...

Toothpaste
01-05-2010, 11:12 PM
It may not appeal to some modern readers who want a story to start with action and never take time to just explore a world and themes.


Ah, but to say that people who don't like this work don't because it isn't all action-y is a little narrow minded and offensive. Some people here have already stated why, and yes, while some call it plodding which obviously refers to pace, there are other reasons this book isn't to everyone's taste. Some people, gasp, really don't like fantasy.

I say all this being a fan of the films, and having a soft spot for the story in my heart because my dad read it to me as a child (and did ALL the voices). I was amazed by the depth of worldbuilding, and I think it's hard not to be. But the book that really struck a chord with me, that influenced my writing in the way none other has, as well as my perception of the world: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Which my father also read to me. Nor am I ever so easily prone to tears as when I read or see the scene between King Henry IV and Hal when the King thinks his son was happy to see him dead, in Henry IV Part II (though I still prefer part I in general).

Rikki - to you this is a seminal work of art, I have no doubt it will be a great influence on your life and writing. But remember, your opinions are not absolute, and that's what people are taking issue with. That's all. It's lovely you love the work so much. That's what books are meant to do. Move us. Inspire us. Entertain us. But we all have our passion books, and they aren't all the same. You insisting this one tops all the others is denying the works that gave us the same degree of feeling as LOTR did for you. Now how not fair is that?

Phaeal
01-05-2010, 11:14 PM
The Modern Library snubbed LotR on its list of the 100 best novels. Over 400,000 readers soon expressed their opinions on the best in the so-called "Reader's List." The readers put LotR at number four. According to Newsweek, LotR also appears on the best or most influential lists of Newsweek, Time, The Telegraph, Wikipedia, and Radcliffe. That it is much loved and important is undeniable.

Could LotR be published today? I imagine so. The also miraculous, dense, brilliantly detailed and loooong Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell was, complete with its copious footnotes.

LotR, the movie, is the product of Jackson and Co's intense love for the book -- that love shows in every frame, making the movie one of the few that rivals its source for integrity and passion.

Want to compare the ML and Reader's Lists? Fascinating stuff:

http://www.randomhouse.com/modernlibrary/100bestnovels.html

My own conclusion is that SFF readers are the most activist, as they put tons of SFF into their top 100 (SFF being glaringly absent in the ML list). My other conclusion is that the Objectivists and Scientologists are the most vigorous and effective list-lobbyists. ;)

RikkiKane
01-05-2010, 11:15 PM
Let's try something, for fun:

What I think some people don't understand about Harry Potter is this: at the heart of this story - amidst all the heroic deeds and noble witches - love and friendship is the most powerful theme throughout. I'll tell you something else for nothing. Harry Potter has an appeal throughout the world because Rowling touched upon something that's central to who we really are as human beings. There's a hopefulness to the story, even when all hope is lost.

Hmmm...

I love The HP books (the films are average at best though), but let's not fool ourselves. J.K. Rowling copied Tolkien in some respects. In many respcts in fact. There are so many themes she stole (I don't blame her though), and the wizards were just Gandalf rip-offs.

HP is a great story and I love it. It's a kind of "Lord of the Rings" made much more simple and easy to understand in some respects. But very different on other ways. HP is another one of those rare masterpieces. Just a fabulous story that everybody loves!

geardrops
01-05-2010, 11:21 PM
What I think some people don't understand about LOTR is this: at the heart of this story - amidst all the heroic deeds and noble warriors - love and friendship is the most powerful theme throughout.

Well, most of us here understand this. I'd wager most people in general have an understanding of this, even if they can't explicitly state it.

Anyway, I think you should just go write a blog post and enjoy the afterglow of an amazing story. Most of us on this thread have read it (me: twice) and have the distance to view it with a critical eye (even if we loved it). That's probably not what you need right now.

Just because we can criticize the book shouldn't detract from your love of it. If it is, then enjoy in private. There's a difference between explaining your love of a book and denying the critical opinion of others.


I love The HP books (the films are average at best though), but let's not fool ourselves. J.K. Rowling copied Tolkien in some respects. In many respcts in fact. There are so many themes she stole (I don't blame her though), and the wizards were just Gandalf rip-offs.

You don't think Tolkein "borrowed" from other sources?

Medievalist
01-05-2010, 11:22 PM
For the most part, Tolkien just told the story. There was nothing special about his writing. Most of it in direct, chronological narrative. When information from the past was required, he just put that in. I think that the directness of his narrative improved a story that just tossed together a lot of ancient myth.

Meh. On the prose, I do disagree. Tolkien's prose is routinely underrated, but when it's examined closely, there are multiple styles, and some very interesting rhetorical techniques.

That's an awfully academic pursuit though.

On the "just tossed together ancient myth," I think he made some very old myths new, and altered folklore tropes in some interesting ways.

Medievalist
01-05-2010, 11:23 PM
People with other opinions should be burned at the stake. (just kidding)

Don't you mean steak? Or even burger ?

RikkiKane
01-05-2010, 11:25 PM
Ah, but to say that people who don't like this work don't because it isn't all action-y is a little narrow minded and offensive. Some people here have already stated why, and yes, while some call it plodding which obviously refers to pace, there are other reasons this book isn't to everyone's taste. Some people, gasp, really don't like fantasy.

I say all this being a fan of the films, and having a soft spot for the story in my heart because my dad read it to me as a child (and did ALL the voices). I was amazed by the depth of worldbuilding, and I think it's hard not to be. But the book that really struck a chord with me, that influenced my writing in the way none other has, as well as my perception of the world: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Which my father also read to me. Nor am I ever so easily prone to tears as when I read or see the scene between King Henry IV and Hal when the King thinks his son was happy to see him dead, in Henry IV Part II (though I still prefer part I in general).

Rikki - to you this is a seminal work of art, I have no doubt it will be a great influence on your life and writing. But remember, your opinions are not absolute, and that's what people are taking issue with. That's all. It's lovely you love the work so much. That's what books are meant to do. Move us. Inspire us. Entertain us. But we all have our passion books, and they aren't all the same. You insisting this one tops all the others is denying the works that gave us the same degree of feeling as LOTR did for you. Now how not fair is that?


Dude, that is totally fair and I totally agree with you. I apologise if I came across as arrogant or something - I didn't mean to and I apologise to anyone who has read me wrong. LOTR is something I love deeply and I suppose my heart took over a little.

BenPanced
01-05-2010, 11:26 PM
I love The HP books (the films are average at best though), but let's not fool ourselves. J.K. Rowling copied Tolkien in some respects. In many respcts in fact. There are so many themes she stole (I don't blame her though), and the wizards were just Gandalf rip-offs.
*bzzzt!* Try again. You're talking in absolutes once more, as if Tolkein were the beginning and end points of all literature published since. There are many, many, many other sources authors have drawn upon that pre-date Tolkein by centuries (Arthurian legend with its tales of human triumph and love at the heart of the story, including a wizard and a witch, anybody?)

HP is a great story and I love it. It's a kind of "Lord of the Rings" made much more simple and easy to understand in some respects. But very different on other ways. HP is another one of those rare masterpieces. Just a fabulous story that everybody loves!
And you might want to pull back on the condescension. I'm beginning to feel like you're patting us all on the head and telling us it's so cute we have differing opinions. Tolkein's work isn't all that difficult to understand, anyway; it's wading through it that puts off a lot of people (myself included).

jvc
01-05-2010, 11:26 PM
Why people try to change the opinions of people whose opinions can't be changed is beyond me.

Shadow_Ferret
01-05-2010, 11:28 PM
Yes, the complexity of Tolkien's literature is fiendishly difficult for some to grasp and appreciate, and if it's not ones cup of tea, that's fair enough. Fabled tales full of evles and Hobbitts and wizards is not gong to appeal to everybody and I'm not trying to force anyone to like it (which is what you seem to think I'm trying to do).


Honestly, I LOVE fantasy. I love elfs and wizards and dragons. I write fantasy. I just never could get into LoTR. Read The Hobbit. Thought it was a nice story, but just have never been able to get into LoTR.

So I get my fantasy from people who came before Tolkien and those who've come after.

willietheshakes
01-05-2010, 11:29 PM
(Is it just me, or is anyone else starting to get the feeling that they're having their chains pulled here today? Lots of people showing up with 50-100 posts, making bold declarations, getting lots of responses, but somehow... off-kilter. Maybe it's just me. but I feel like I'm being punk'd...)

RikkiKane
01-05-2010, 11:29 PM
Meh. On the prose, I do disagree. Tolkien's prose is routinely underrated, but when it's examined closely, there are multiple styles, and some very interesting rhetorical techniques.

That's an awfully academic pursuit though.

On the "just tossed together ancient myth," I think he made some very old myths new, and altered folklore tropes in some interesting ways.


Bravo! Bravo!

Toothpaste
01-05-2010, 11:36 PM
Dude, that is totally fair and I totally agree with you. I apologise if I came across as arrogant or something - I didn't mean to and I apologise to anyone who has read me wrong. LOTR is something I love deeply and I suppose my heart took over a little.

Anyway Toothpaste, is that you in your photo? What a hunk you are! It must take a woman about five years to get over you after you've made love to them.

It's cool. Your passion is quite obvious, and being a passionate person myself, I know that sometimes we cross the line without realising it.

And no, that isn't me in the photo. That would be Josh Holloway who plays Sawyer on the television series LOST. He's my avatar because I think he's dreamy. Also one heck of an actor.

Also I'm a girl. My pic is in my profile page.

:)

CaroGirl
01-05-2010, 11:38 PM
He's my avatar because I think he's Toothpaste's dreamy. Also one heck of an actor.

:)
Check out Toothpaste's head shot. If I weren't heterosexual...

bearilou
01-05-2010, 11:39 PM
I love The HP books (the films are average at best though), but let's not fool ourselves. J.K. Rowling copied Tolkien in some respects. In many respcts in fact. There are so many themes she stole (I don't blame her though), and the wizards were just Gandalf rip-offs.

HP is a great story and I love it. It's a kind of "Lord of the Rings" made much more simple and easy to understand in some respects. But very different on other ways. HP is another one of those rare masterpieces. Just a fabulous story that everybody loves!

Um...I think you missed willietheshakes' point. :)

BenPanced
01-05-2010, 11:40 PM
Ernesto: "Do you like Tolkein?"
Petey: "I dunno. I've never tolked."

willietheshakes
01-05-2010, 11:45 PM
Check out Toothpaste's head shot. If I weren't heterosexual...

*cough*

Um...

Concur.

Toothpaste
01-06-2010, 12:42 AM
Check out Toothpaste's head shot. If I weren't heterosexual...


*cough*

Um...

Concur.

I'm blushing. Thanks for the compliment, I'm trying to just take it and not be annoying, but I should say that lighting, makeup, photoshop and a professional photographer works wonders.

Still.

Thanks.

willietheshakes
01-06-2010, 12:44 AM
I'm blushing. Thanks for the compliment, I'm trying to just take it and not be annoying, but I should say that lighting, makeup, photoshop and a professional photographer works wonders.

Still.

Thanks.

See, people are always telling me that there comes a time when I should just shut up. I don't listen to those people. And at the risk of ruining a perfectly good bout of self-effacement, remember: I've seen candids.

ChristineR
01-06-2010, 01:02 AM
It's fairly common for people to claim that LotR couldn't be published today, but I don't believe it. It would of course be published, and hailed as "The next Lord of the Rings!" The question is whether it could be published today had the genre not been defined the way it was defined by it. I'm inclined to say yes--even with all the supposed black marks against it, there's a still a place for sweeping and epic fantasy. And remember, The Hobbit came first and it was much more salable. If someone with the cachet of Rowling or Meyer wanted to write The Lord of Rings, they would certainly be able to get it published.

DeleyanLee
01-06-2010, 01:03 AM
I have to wonder that, if Tolkien were writing today, if he would write LOTR exactly as he did nearly a century ago.

Messes with your mind, doesn't it?

Cyia
01-06-2010, 01:05 AM
I have to wonder that, if Tolkien were writing today, if he would write LOTR exactly as he did nearly a century ago.

Messes with your mind, doesn't it?

There is no spoon.

Medievalist
01-06-2010, 01:49 AM
But that's just my opinion. I'm one of those odd people who are devoted to Hope Mirrlees' Lud-In-The-Mist, which predates Tolkien by a decade and is full of the stilted, high language narrative prose that I love. *shrug*

Geek! :D

Medievalist
01-06-2010, 01:55 AM
Why people try to change the opinions of people whose opinions can't be changed is beyond me.

Well I think that's just, ah, codswallop . . .


:gone:

Medievalist
01-06-2010, 01:58 AM
I have to wonder that, if Tolkien were writing today, if he would write LOTR exactly as he did nearly a century ago.

Messes with your mind, doesn't it?

Oh my . . .

Having seen some of his drafts up close in personal--the thought of JRRT with a word processor . . . oh my.

jvc
01-06-2010, 02:15 AM
Well I think that's just, ah, codswallop . . .


:gone:
Most things are beyond me ...

hey, where'd you think you're going? Come back here and listen to me change your opinion on something. Name it. Anything you like. I can do it.

RikkiKane
01-06-2010, 02:21 AM
It's cool. Your passion is quite obvious, and being a passionate person myself, I know that sometimes we cross the line without realising it.

And no, that isn't me in the photo. That would be Josh Holloway who plays Sawyer on the television series LOST. He's my avatar because I think he's dreamy. Also one heck of an actor.

Also I'm a girl. My pic is in my profile page.

:)


Oh my god. You're so beautiful I nearly had a heart attack and I'm not kidding! Wow!

BenPanced
01-06-2010, 02:23 AM
:tmi:tmi:tmi

Cyia
01-06-2010, 02:23 AM
So are you a published authour?


Check her sig-line. Those are her book covers.

jvc
01-06-2010, 02:24 AM
but I should say that lighting, makeup, photoshop and a professional photographer works wonders.

They really are miracle workers aren't they ;)

RikkiKane
01-06-2010, 02:28 AM
Despite technology, I know a beautiful woman when I see one.

roseangel
01-06-2010, 03:29 AM
I've read LotRs once, was pretty decent, I don't think I'll be doing it again though.
I adore the Hobbit and the Silmarillion and have read both several times.

MacAllister
01-06-2010, 04:00 AM
Oh my god. You're so beautiful I nearly had a heart attack and I'm not kidding! Wow!

I used to have a woman that looks like you. I was once a sensual lover, once-upon-a time. I better get myslef back down the gym!

haha!

So are you a published authour?

Errr, yeah. Really not appropriate, RikkiKane. This is a writing community, not a pick-up joint.

Medievalist
01-06-2010, 04:03 AM
I've read LotRs once, was pretty decent, I don't think I'll be doing it again though.
I adore the Hobbit and the Silmarillion and have read both several times.

Now that's really really interesting, especially about the Silmarillion.

Do you mind posting about what you like in particular about the Silmarillion? Mostly it's the opposite reaction, except for die-hard fans, and Tolkien enthused academics.

Dawnny Baby
01-06-2010, 04:43 AM
Ack! If the LOTR is beautiful, the Silmarillion is GORGEOUS!!!! (Though I thought S was more allegorical than LOTR.)

Flint
01-06-2010, 05:18 AM
I've just finished The Return of the King (I started with The Hobbitt about 3 months ago and read straight through), and, as far as I'm concerned, The Lord of the Rings is not only the most beautiful story ever told, it's also the greatest story ever told. It's beyond the reach of any other story in its beauty, its magic, and above all, its love.

There are books I've enjoyed reading more (as LOTR was hard work at times), but I don't think great story telling is a matter of opinion and I've never read anything that ignites my emotions so intensely, so wonderfully. The sheer wealth of magic in this bonnie tale ... I'm taking a huge deep breath from somewhere beyond the pit of my stomach. All I can say right now is ... Ahhh ... The Lord of the Rings. What a story!

How did Tolkien do the things he did? There will never be anyone like him.

You mean these books were so great it only took you 3 months to finish all 4 of them? Apparently the greatest story ever told is also a bore to read :)

jvc
01-06-2010, 05:35 AM
You mean these books were so great it only took you 3 months to finish all 4 of them? Apparently the greatest story ever told is also a bore to read :)
Flint, we all read at different paces, some fast, some a tad slower (like me. and I dare you to comment on that :) ). Plus, we all don't have an inexhaustable amount of time each day to dedicate to reading books. One person may be able to spare 2 hours a day to read, another person only ten minutes.

Shadow_Ferret
01-06-2010, 05:38 AM
If I get a half hour of undisturbed reading a day, I call that a miracle.

Kweei
01-06-2010, 05:44 AM
Don't get me wrong. Everyone has the right to like/dislike something and they have the right to think what they want. But come on, is great story telling really a matter of opinion?

A good/bad story is much like a good/bad meal. You can enjoy the greasy burger and fries more than you enjoyed the grilled steak and vegetables, but it doesn't change the fact that the latter is better food.

The same with movies. I didn't particularly love "The Godfather" (I just liked it) but I can know why people generally love The Godfather because they are great films. The proof is in the pudding. Some things are just beautiful, and the reason why they have had such a wonderful impact on the human race is because they are beautiful.

Disliking special things like The Lord of the Rings (including the films which are just like living in a beautiful dream), doesn't change the fact that it's beautiful. If I didn't liek The Lord of the Rings I would be happy to tell people why, but I wouldn't be ignorant enough to simply dismiss it as rubbish or codswalliop. It's not. It's just a beautiful story and ther will never be anything like it.

At leastm, that's the way I feel and I'm not trying to tell people what to think so pleae go easy on me!

:)

I'm glad that you enjoyed it so much and I won't deny that Tolkien has talent, but whether it was beautiful or not is still a matter of opinion. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and all that jazz.

I found the ideas and many of the characters interesting. As one trained in anthropology, the research and work he put into the books impressed me. Style? I wasn't fond of it. The info dumps and the fact it was like reading a dry historical tome (which was probably the point). So I can give him credit for the job he's done, but it's not the style I prefer.

Personally, I don't like steak ;)

ETA: Okay now I've read the entire thread and that was...interesting.

But heeey. I only have 50-100 posts and I'm not punking anyone. :)

Flint
01-06-2010, 06:30 AM
If I get a half hour of undisturbed reading a day, I call that a miracle.

But yet you have plenty of time to post on here when you could have been reading. It's really a matter of priorities. Half an hour on here or half an hour reading.


Flint, we all read at different paces, some fast, some a tad slower (like me. and I dare you to comment on that ). Plus, we all don't have an inexhaustable amount of time each day to dedicate to reading books. One person may be able to spare 2 hours a day to read, another person only ten minutes.

But we're not just talking about any old books here are we? If these are in fact the greatest stories every told, according to Rikki, wouldn't you be hard pressed to stop reading and forgo tv or even sleep?

EclipsesMuse
01-06-2010, 06:39 AM
But yet you have plenty of time to post on here when you could have been reading.



But we're not just talking about any old books here are we? If these are in fact the greatest stories every told, according to Rikki, wouldn't you be hard pressed to stop reading and forgo tv or even sleep?

Actually, Rikki posted in another thread that he doesn't read that many books a year, which could mean he is a) busy with other things, like writing or b) a slow reader. As much as he has stated in this post that he loves the books, I cannot see where you can draw the conclusion that he finds them a bore.

jvc
01-06-2010, 06:49 AM
But yet you have plenty of time to post on here when you could have been reading. It's really a matter of priorities. Half an hour on here or half an hour reading.



But we're not just talking about any old books here are we? If these are in fact the greatest stories every told, according to Rikki, wouldn't you be hard pressed to stop reading and forgo tv or even sleep?
Flint, I'd back away now if I were you. Where you're going with this won't be tolerated here.

Darzian
01-06-2010, 06:50 AM
This whole thread is weird.


I love The HP books (the films are average at best though), but let's not fool ourselves. J.K. Rowling copied Tolkien in some respects. In many respcts in fact. There are so many themes she stole (I don't blame her though), and the wizards were just Gandalf rip-offs.

HP is a great story and I love it. It's a kind of "Lord of the Rings" made much more simple and easy to understand in some respects. But very different on other ways. HP is another one of those rare masterpieces. Just a fabulous story that everybody loves!

...........................


The differences between Gandalf and Rowling's wizards and witches are monumental. Your tone and post are condescending. Tolkien is not the Lord Creator of Fiction.

Read more widely.


I love LOTR. I've read it countless times, but you are putting down other writers (unjustly) in the process of exulting Tolkien.
HP is LOTR made "more simple and easy to understand?"
Illogical. The plot lines are TOTALLY unrelated. The target audiences are different. Naturally, there is a difference in the complexity of the story. If your statement holds true, then I really have no idea if any other book in the world is not a "Tolkien rip off."

MacAllister
01-06-2010, 06:51 AM
Settle down, everyone.

No need to make a discussion about books into a personal beef.

RikkiKane
01-06-2010, 07:26 AM
Actually, Rikki posted in another thread that he doesn't read that many books a year, which could mean he is a) busy with other things, like writing or b) a slow reader. As much as he has stated in this post that he loves the books, I cannot see where you can draw the conclusion that he finds them a bore.


This post really made me smile. Thank you! Indeed I did state in another topic that I don't read that many books, but that is changing! And reading from The Hobbitt to the final chapter to The Lord of the Rings in just 3 months is a huge step forward for me. I'm delighted with myself!

And yes, you are correct. I am busy with other things. I write a hell of a lot, and I watch too many movies! Far too many! I should reading instead!

RikkiKane
01-06-2010, 07:30 AM
This whole thread is weird.



...........................


The differences between Gandalf and Rowling's wizards and witches are monumental. Your tone and post are condescending. Tolkien is not the Lord Creator of Fiction.

Read more widely.


I love LOTR. I've read it countless times, but you are putting down other writers (unjustly) in the process of exulting Tolkien.
HP is LOTR made "more simple and easy to understand?"
Illogical. The plot lines are TOTALLY unrelated. The target audiences are different. Naturally, there is a difference in the complexity of the story. If your statement holds true, then I really have no idea if any other book in the world is not a "Tolkien rip off."


Well stated my noble friend, and I totally agree! I'm a J.K. Rowling fan through and through! In fact, I think I'll read them next, one after the other. I've only read the first two, but I'm going to start again and I won't stop until the end. The LOTR is still the greatest though, and there will always be a Baggins, living here, in my heart, and none of J.K. Rowlings' books will ever change that.

RikkiKane
01-06-2010, 07:38 AM
This whole thread is weird.



...........................


The differences between Gandalf and Rowling's wizards and witches are monumental. Your tone and post are condescending. Tolkien is not the Lord Creator of Fiction.

Read more widely.


I love LOTR. I've read it countless times, but you are putting down other writers (unjustly) in the process of exulting Tolkien.
HP is LOTR made "more simple and easy to understand?"
Illogical. The plot lines are TOTALLY unrelated. The target audiences are different. Naturally, there is a difference in the complexity of the story. If your statement holds true, then I really have no idea if any other book in the world is not a "Tolkien rip off."


But Gandalf is the lord of the Wizards. "It's wonderful to see you Gandalf!" Oh god, when Frodo says that I just burst out into tears. It's really is wonderful!

I'm very proud of Ian McKellen for publically stating "I would never play Dumbledore. I'm Gandalf, and he is far superior."

hahahaha! Absolutely brilliant! And it makes me laugh my head off to this very day! Well done Ian! I'm so proud of him for having the balls to say it.

Darzian
01-06-2010, 07:43 AM
http://i108.photobucket.com/albums/n32/Dr_Zoidberg71/thePoint.jpg


That is all.

RikkiKane
01-06-2010, 07:48 AM
Hahahahahah! I know. I'm such an ass when it comes to The Lord of the Rings. I can't help it.

Birol
01-06-2010, 08:40 AM
Sure you can.

Robert E. Keller
01-06-2010, 08:41 AM
But Gandalf is the lord of the Wizards. "It's wonderful to see you Gandalf!" Oh god, when Frodo says that I just burst out into tears. It's really is wonderful!

I'm very proud of Ian McKellen for publically stating "I would never play Dumbledore. I'm Gandalf, and he is far superior."

hahahaha! Absolutely brilliant! And it makes me laugh my head off to this very day! Well done Ian! I'm so proud of him for having the balls to say it.

I'm a Tolkien fan as well. However, Gandalf certainly wasn't the first wizard (as we've come to know them), and many of the ideas in LOTR were taken from old tales and legends, such as those of King Arthur. Don't forget about Merlin, who is perhaps the real lord of all wizards. So any writer who uses dragons, orcs, wizards, trolls and the like is actually drawing upon ancient myths and fables with origins that have, in some cases, become lost in the shadows of time. What Tolkien managed to do was bind elements of those myths into a sprawling adventure book that paved the way for the popular genre of epic fantasy, a great accomplishment from a true literary genius.

megan_d
01-06-2010, 08:54 AM
To me reading the LotR trilogy was like slogging through great chunks of almost indecipherable prose for the occasional shining moment of awesome. Reading the great moments of those book, like the bit where the ents show up on the battlefield, made me forget I was reading at all, which made all the slogging worth it. But you better believe I skipped all the songs.

Medievalist
01-06-2010, 09:30 AM
Gandalf certainly wasn't the first wizard (as we've come to know them), and many of the ideas in LOTR were taken from old tales and legends, such as those of King Arthur. Don't forget about Merlin, who is perhaps the real lord of all wizards. So any writer who uses dragons, orcs, wizards, trolls and the like is actually drawing upon ancient myths and fables with origins that have, in some cases, become lost in the shadows of time.

Err . . . yes, and no. Tolkien actually didn't do much at all with Arthurian literature, and aside from the linguistic aspects of early Middle English pre-Chaucer, (particularly SGGK) hated Arthurian lit.

Gandalf is inspired far more by Old Norse, right down to his name, than anything Arthurian. Orcs, while linguistically inspired by Old English, and a single half-line in Beowulf, are Tolkien's own.

Robert E. Keller
01-06-2010, 11:39 AM
Err . . . yes, and no. Tolkien actually didn't do much at all with Arthurian literature, and aside from the linguistic aspects of early Middle English pre-Chaucer, (particularly SGGK) hated Arthurian lit.

Gandalf is inspired far more by Old Norse, right down to his name, than anything Arthurian. Orcs, while linguistically inspired by Old English, and a single half-line in Beowulf, are Tolkien's own.

Thanks for the clarifications. You're right, of course--though a writer is free to use the word orc and create any type of monster he wishes, in following the general meaning of the Old English word. I'm surprised to hear that Tolkien didn't gain much inspiration from the Arthurian legends, since the inspiration seems to show through strongly in areas of the book, especially in cities like Gondor and Rohan. I'm not disagreeing. I'm just surprised.

Flint
01-06-2010, 02:27 PM
Actually, Rikki posted in another thread that he doesn't read that many books a year, which could mean he is a) busy with other things, like writing or b) a slow reader. As much as he has stated in this post that he loves the books, I cannot see where you can draw the conclusion that he finds them a bore.

I made a joking assumption based on what Rikki herself said about the books. So it stands to reason that even a passionate fan of Tolkein can find the books a chore to read and was probably instrumental in her taking 3 months to finish them. It was likely all the naps she took while reading which delayed her.

Kweei
01-06-2010, 05:34 PM
Err . . . yes, and no. Tolkien actually didn't do much at all with Arthurian literature, and aside from the linguistic aspects of early Middle English pre-Chaucer, (particularly SGGK) hated Arthurian lit.

Gandalf is inspired far more by Old Norse, right down to his name, than anything Arthurian. Orcs, while linguistically inspired by Old English, and a single half-line in Beowulf, are Tolkien's own.

And the ring itself was borrowed right out of Norse mythology. I found the dwarves also had a Norse flavor to them. :)

willietheshakes
01-06-2010, 06:33 PM
And the ring itself was borrowed right out of Norse mythology. I found the dwarves also had a Norse flavor to them. :)

Mmm, salty dwarf goodness...

RikkiKane
01-06-2010, 07:36 PM
I'm a Tolkien fan as well. However, Gandalf certainly wasn't the first wizard (as we've come to know them), and many of the ideas in LOTR were taken from old tales and legends, such as those of King Arthur. Don't forget about Merlin, who is perhaps the real lord of all wizards. So any writer who uses dragons, orcs, wizards, trolls and the like is actually drawing upon ancient myths and fables with origins that have, in some cases, become lost in the shadows of time. What Tolkien managed to do was bind elements of those myths into a sprawling adventure book that paved the way for the popular genre of epic fantasy, a great accomplishment from a true literary genius.


I'd never forget about Merlin, but to say there is a wizard who is above Gandalf, well, that is something I could never accept (with all due respect of course). Gandalf is my hero and my favourite LOTR character. As far as I'm concerned, he's god.

RikkiKane
01-06-2010, 07:40 PM
Err . . . yes, and no. Tolkien actually didn't do much at all with Arthurian literature, and aside from the linguistic aspects of early Middle English pre-Chaucer, (particularly SGGK) hated Arthurian lit.

Gandalf is inspired far more by Old Norse, right down to his name, than anything Arthurian. Orcs, while linguistically inspired by Old English, and a single half-line in Beowulf, are Tolkien's own.

Wow! This is very interesting and something I had no knowledge of at all. I'm going to read up on it and I have you to thank! So thank you.

Cyia
01-06-2010, 08:02 PM
Err . . . yes, and no. Tolkien actually didn't do much at all with Arthurian literature, and aside from the linguistic aspects of early Middle English pre-Chaucer, (particularly SGGK) hated Arthurian lit.

Gandalf is inspired far more by Old Norse, right down to his name, than anything Arthurian. Orcs, while linguistically inspired by Old English, and a single half-line in Beowulf, are Tolkien's own.


Isn't the name of Theoden's Hall straight out of Beouwulf, too? (Meduseld)

DavidZahir
01-06-2010, 08:52 PM
Bunch of comments...

Would LOTR get published today? Seems to me that is unanswerable, because the fantasy genre as we know it today really was jump-started by LOTR as it became a bestseller in the 1960s. A cursory glance at the book does indicate all kinds of "rules" being broken that editors often get snippy over--but on the other hand, experimental works get published, don't they? And by the same token, would the novels of Charles Dickens, Jane Austen or Victor Hugo be published today? Hmmmm? Maybe. Or maybe the author would have written them differently if their creative years were in the present. Unanswerable, again.

Tolkien's sources. Back when I first read LOTR there were countless attempts to analyze it in terms of where Tolkien got his ideas. After decades of this process--which now at last includes earlier drafts as well as copious notes about his "secondary world" and answers to questions in his letters--it is clear he drew upon a wide range of things, including lots of stuff from his personal life (WWI, his boyhood, his marriage especially) and his scholarship of myth and Anglo-Saxon (Tolkien reshaped the entire direction of scholarly theory about Beowulf for example). But the seed from which all this arose was his love of language. When still in school, he began inventing languages and in many ways his two elvish tongues Sindarin and Quenya (very loosely based upon Welsh and Finnish, languages he found personally beautiful) were the parents of LOTR as well as The Hobbit and The Silmarillion. He began inventing these languages and as part of the process he needed to know who was speaking them--i.e. the Elves.

For the record, Tolkien disliked the King Arthur stories which were and are essentially French romances drawing upon much earlier traditions and stories. His efforts were in part to create a purely English epic, one upon which others would then build (although methinks he'd've been surprised to learn a set of hugely successful movies were the first major expansion or retelling of his myth).

Style and LOTR. Don't think anyone can deny that the words making up LOTR appeal to some and turn others off in a big way--with a full range of complex reaction on top of that. What interests me perhaps most of all is that he was consciously trying to meld two styles together. It was as if he were telling an epic myth like The Kalavala or the Elder Edda from the eyes of a more-or-less modern person caught up in events. The vast bulk of the book (with really only a few exceptions) are Hobbit-centric, with the characters we follow one of the five Hobbits at the heart of the tale (Frodo, Sam, Pippin, Merry and Gollum). I believe it isn't until the end of Fellowship that we the reader leave any of the Hobbits for any length of time. So we have a blend of relatively straightforward prose with heightened language suitable for the siege of Troy or the adventures of the Pandava Brothers. Along the way, he performed some extremely interesting tricks with language. Sam, for example, has a vocabulary almost entirely devoid of any English words of French origin. Likewise, Tolkien did something few authors these days even try--namely, he very rarely enters into the heads of his characters. Their emotional and mental lives are played out "in the open" in terms of their words and deeds.

Comparisons with HP. While it can be fun (and somewhat instructive in terms of structure) to compare LOTR with Harry Potter, in general I'm skeptical of the effort. Yeah, they both have wizards and one of them is an old man with a long beard. But the magic itself is fundamentally different in very many ways, especially in that humans are wielding magic at all! For that matter, one can just as easily compare the two's depiction of Elves and come away with how utterly different they are! Yeah, both dip into the same cultural well of myth and dream, so it isn't too surprising both Rowling and Tolkien found a use for giant spiders and silent hooded figures as well as the occasional dragon. But frankly this is largely superficial, rather like insisting that Anne Perry's entire writing career is nothing more than ripping off Arthur Conan Doyle.

Themes and Ideas. Tolkien was explicit is stating LOTR was not an allegory. He wrote that he "cordially disliked" allegory in all its forms and much preferred "history, whether real or feigned". By allegory he pretty clearly meant that the specifics of his tale should be taken to represent specifics in the real world. He even went so far as to point out that if the War of the Ring were to represent World War II, then Saruman would have made his own Ring and used it to help defeat Mordor, leaving Middle Earth in a tense standoff between two superpowers each with a Ring of Power. Rather he preferred to leave the actual meaning of the story up to the individual reader, allowing them to discover whatever truths might be there.

Having said that, his own values do permeate the book--his love of trees, his deep distrust of machinery, his respect for life but recognition that violence is sometimes necessary ("I do not love the sword for its beauty" one character sings "but only the home that sword protects" to misquote one passage), his appreciation of simple pleasures like food and drink, etc. This is not to say the book have a M E S S A G E per se but that they cannot help but be an expression of Tolkien himself. Yet he tried very hard not insert any literal message or allegory. For example, if all you had to go on was LOTR itself, methinks you'd be hard-pressed to figure out the author was a devout (and very old-fashioned) Roman Catholic. On the other hand, once you do know enough about Tolkien's life it becomes crystal clear why he had name "Luthien" placed upon his wife's headstone, leaving instructions that "Beren" be carved upon his own.

Okay, I'm shutting up now. Aren't you glad? :hooray:

willietheshakes
01-06-2010, 09:01 PM
Good post -- thanks. Though...



Comparisons with HP. While it can be fun (and somewhat instructive in terms of structure) to compare LOTR with Harry Potter, in general I'm skeptical of the effort.

... you did kinda miss the point on the whole "comparison" thing.

bearilou
01-06-2010, 09:28 PM
Good post -- thanks. Though...



... you did kinda miss the point on the whole "comparison" thing.

Well I appreciated your genius! :D

RikkiKane
01-06-2010, 10:27 PM
Bunch of comments...

Would LOTR get published today? Seems to me that is unanswerable, because the fantasy genre as we know it today really was jump-started by LOTR as it became a bestseller in the 1960s. A cursory glance at the book does indicate all kinds of "rules" being broken that editors often get snippy over--but on the other hand, experimental works get published, don't they? And by the same token, would the novels of Charles Dickens, Jane Austen or Victor Hugo be published today? Hmmmm? Maybe. Or maybe the author would have written them differently if their creative years were in the present. Unanswerable, again.

Tolkien's sources. Back when I first read LOTR there were countless attempts to analyze it in terms of where Tolkien got his ideas. After decades of this process--which now at last includes earlier drafts as well as copious notes about his "secondary world" and answers to questions in his letters--it is clear he drew upon a wide range of things, including lots of stuff from his personal life (WWI, his boyhood, his marriage especially) and his scholarship of myth and Anglo-Saxon (Tolkien reshaped the entire direction of scholarly theory about Beowulf for example). But the seed from which all this arose was his love of language. When still in school, he began inventing languages and in many ways his two elvish tongues Sindarin and Quenya (very loosely based upon Welsh and Finnish, languages he found personally beautiful) were the parents of LOTR as well as The Hobbit and The Silmarillion. He began inventing these languages and as part of the process he needed to know who was speaking them--i.e. the Elves.

For the record, Tolkien disliked the King Arthur stories which were and are essentially French romances drawing upon much earlier traditions and stories. His efforts were in part to create a purely English epic, one upon which others would then build (although methinks he'd've been surprised to learn a set of hugely successful movies were the first major expansion or retelling of his myth).

Style and LOTR. Don't think anyone can deny that the words making up LOTR appeal to some and turn others off in a big way--with a full range of complex reaction on top of that. What interests me perhaps most of all is that he was consciously trying to meld two styles together. It was as if he were telling an epic myth like The Kalavala or the Elder Edda from the eyes of a more-or-less modern person caught up in events. The vast bulk of the book (with really only a few exceptions) are Hobbit-centric, with the characters we follow one of the five Hobbits at the heart of the tale (Frodo, Sam, Pippin, Merry and Gollum). I believe it isn't until the end of Fellowship that we the reader leave any of the Hobbits for any length of time. So we have a blend of relatively straightforward prose with heightened language suitable for the siege of Troy or the adventures of the Pandava Brothers. Along the way, he performed some extremely interesting tricks with language. Sam, for example, has a vocabulary almost entirely devoid of any English words of French origin. Likewise, Tolkien did something few authors these days even try--namely, he very rarely enters into the heads of his characters. Their emotional and mental lives are played out "in the open" in terms of their words and deeds.

Comparisons with HP. While it can be fun (and somewhat instructive in terms of structure) to compare LOTR with Harry Potter, in general I'm skeptical of the effort. Yeah, they both have wizards and one of them is an old man with a long beard. But the magic itself is fundamentally different in very many ways, especially in that humans are wielding magic at all! For that matter, one can just as easily compare the two's depiction of Elves and come away with how utterly different they are! Yeah, both dip into the same cultural well of myth and dream, so it isn't too surprising both Rowling and Tolkien found a use for giant spiders and silent hooded figures as well as the occasional dragon. But frankly this is largely superficial, rather like insisting that Anne Perry's entire writing career is nothing more than ripping off Arthur Conan Doyle.

Themes and Ideas. Tolkien was explicit is stating LOTR was not an allegory. He wrote that he "cordially disliked" allegory in all its forms and much preferred "history, whether real or feigned". By allegory he pretty clearly meant that the specifics of his tale should be taken to represent specifics in the real world. He even went so far as to point out that if the War of the Ring were to represent World War II, then Saruman would have made his own Ring and used it to help defeat Mordor, leaving Middle Earth in a tense standoff between two superpowers each with a Ring of Power. Rather he preferred to leave the actual meaning of the story up to the individual reader, allowing them to discover whatever truths might be there.

Having said that, his own values do permeate the book--his love of trees, his deep distrust of machinery, his respect for life but recognition that violence is sometimes necessary ("I do not love the sword for its beauty" one character sings "but only the home that sword protects" to misquote one passage), his appreciation of simple pleasures like food and drink, etc. This is not to say the book have a M E S S A G E per se but that they cannot help but be an expression of Tolkien himself. Yet he tried very hard not insert any literal message or allegory. For example, if all you had to go on was LOTR itself, methinks you'd be hard-pressed to figure out the author was a devout (and very old-fashioned) Roman Catholic. On the other hand, once you do know enough about Tolkien's life it becomes crystal clear why he had name "Luthien" placed upon his wife's headstone, leaving instructions that "Beren" be carved upon his own.

Okay, I'm shutting up now. Aren't you glad? :hooray:

Yes I am glad - glad I read it. Your post was both insighful and excellent. Very interesting and quite irrefutable.

Superb!

CDaniel
01-06-2010, 10:29 PM
I've just finished The Return of the King (I started with The Hobbitt about 3 months ago and read straight through), and, as far as I'm concerned, The Lord of the Rings is not only the most beautiful story ever told, it's also the greatest story ever told. It's beyond the reach of any other story in its beauty, its magic, and above all, its love.

There are books I've enjoyed reading more (as LOTR was hard work at times), but I don't think great story telling is a matter of opinion and I've never read anything that ignites my emotions so intensely, so wonderfully. The sheer wealth of magic in this bonnie tale ... I'm taking a huge deep breath from somewhere beyond the pit of my stomach. All I can say right now is ... Ahhh ... The Lord of the Rings. What a story!

How did Tolkien do the things he did? There will never be anyone like him.

I have to agree with you. I kinda went out of order though. I seen the first movie and it captured my interest fully. I had to get this book and as soon as I did, went to work on it immediately. Though the first film sparked me to read the epic, I felt afterwords that they--although very good to watch--fell short of what had been originally envisioned.

After reading the LOTR, I was hungry for more of Tolkien's myth. I continued with The Silmarillion and then The Hobbit. Lastly The Children of Hurin. I'm still hungry for more.

RikkiKane
01-06-2010, 10:34 PM
I have to agree with you. I kinda went out of order though. I seen the first movie and it captured my interest fully. I had to get this book and as soon as I did, went to work on it immediately. Though the first film sparked me to read the epic, I felt afterwords that they--although very good to watch--fell short of what had been originally envisioned.

After reading the LOTR, I was hungry for more of Tolkien's myth. I continued with The Silmarillion and then The Hobbit. Lastly The Children of Hurin. I'm still hungry for more.

I have to read the Silmarillion. I haven't yet had the pleasure. I'm glad you feel this way though. Personally, I think the films are the greatest things ever invented. When I watch them, I just sit there and cry because they make me feel so happy and so wonderful.

When I'm drawing my last breath, I hope The Reurn of the King is just ending. That's how I want to spend my last day on earth - watching this beautful trilogy. There really is nothing better for me and I mean it from the bottom of my heart.

Medievalist
01-06-2010, 10:38 PM
Isn't the name of Theoden's Hall straight out of Beouwulf, too? (Meduseld)

No; it's funny because it's not attested elsewhere--the language of Rohan is not a constructed language in the sense of other Tolkien languages.

It's re-constructed; Tolkien's particular OE area of expertise was Old Mercian, the language used in the West Midlands, his boyhood home.

He was and still is *the* expert on West Midlands OE and Middle English.

Medievalist
01-06-2010, 10:43 PM
I'd never forget about Merlin, but to say there is a wizard who is above Gandalf, well, that is something I could never accept (with all due respect of course). Gandalf is my hero and my favourite LOTR character. As far as I'm concerned, he's god.

Technically, he's more like an angel. He was a Maiar, a messenger sent to aid Middle Earth by the Valar.

Medievalist
01-06-2010, 10:45 PM
And the ring itself was borrowed right out of Norse mythology. I found the dwarves also had a Norse flavor to them. :)

Gandalf's name and those of the dwarves are all out of the Völuspá. There's a catalog of dwarf-names, and Tolkien fancied them at first, though later regretted using them.

Aragorn, by the way, in early drafts was a Hobbit.

Medievalist
01-06-2010, 10:49 PM
After reading the LOTR, I was hungry for more of Tolkien's myth. I continued with The Silmarillion and then The Hobbit. Lastly The Children of Hurin. I'm still hungry for more.

There's The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun.

And Tolkien's translation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is my favorite.

RikkiKane
01-06-2010, 11:01 PM
Bunch of comments...

Would LOTR get published today? Seems to me that is unanswerable, because the fantasy genre as we know it today really was jump-started by LOTR as it became a bestseller in the 1960s. A cursory glance at the book does indicate all kinds of "rules" being broken that editors often get snippy over--but on the other hand, experimental works get published, don't they? And by the same token, would the novels of Charles Dickens, Jane Austen or Victor Hugo be published today? Hmmmm? Maybe. Or maybe the author would have written them differently if their creative years were in the present. Unanswerable, again.

Tolkien's sources. Back when I first read LOTR there were countless attempts to analyze it in terms of where Tolkien got his ideas. After decades of this process--which now at last includes earlier drafts as well as copious notes about his "secondary world" and answers to questions in his letters--it is clear he drew upon a wide range of things, including lots of stuff from his personal life (WWI, his boyhood, his marriage especially) and his scholarship of myth and Anglo-Saxon (Tolkien reshaped the entire direction of scholarly theory about Beowulf for example). But the seed from which all this arose was his love of language. When still in school, he began inventing languages and in many ways his two elvish tongues Sindarin and Quenya (very loosely based upon Welsh and Finnish, languages he found personally beautiful) were the parents of LOTR as well as The Hobbit and The Silmarillion. He began inventing these languages and as part of the process he needed to know who was speaking them--i.e. the Elves.

For the record, Tolkien disliked the King Arthur stories which were and are essentially French romances drawing upon much earlier traditions and stories. His efforts were in part to create a purely English epic, one upon which others would then build (although methinks he'd've been surprised to learn a set of hugely successful movies were the first major expansion or retelling of his myth).

Style and LOTR. Don't think anyone can deny that the words making up LOTR appeal to some and turn others off in a big way--with a full range of complex reaction on top of that. What interests me perhaps most of all is that he was consciously trying to meld two styles together. It was as if he were telling an epic myth like The Kalavala or the Elder Edda from the eyes of a more-or-less modern person caught up in events. The vast bulk of the book (with really only a few exceptions) are Hobbit-centric, with the characters we follow one of the five Hobbits at the heart of the tale (Frodo, Sam, Pippin, Merry and Gollum). I believe it isn't until the end of Fellowship that we the reader leave any of the Hobbits for any length of time. So we have a blend of relatively straightforward prose with heightened language suitable for the siege of Troy or the adventures of the Pandava Brothers. Along the way, he performed some extremely interesting tricks with language. Sam, for example, has a vocabulary almost entirely devoid of any English words of French origin. Likewise, Tolkien did something few authors these days even try--namely, he very rarely enters into the heads of his characters. Their emotional and mental lives are played out "in the open" in terms of their words and deeds.

Comparisons with HP. While it can be fun (and somewhat instructive in terms of structure) to compare LOTR with Harry Potter, in general I'm skeptical of the effort. Yeah, they both have wizards and one of them is an old man with a long beard. But the magic itself is fundamentally different in very many ways, especially in that humans are wielding magic at all! For that matter, one can just as easily compare the two's depiction of Elves and come away with how utterly different they are! Yeah, both dip into the same cultural well of myth and dream, so it isn't too surprising both Rowling and Tolkien found a use for giant spiders and silent hooded figures as well as the occasional dragon. But frankly this is largely superficial, rather like insisting that Anne Perry's entire writing career is nothing more than ripping off Arthur Conan Doyle.

Themes and Ideas. Tolkien was explicit is stating LOTR was not an allegory. He wrote that he "cordially disliked" allegory in all its forms and much preferred "history, whether real or feigned". By allegory he pretty clearly meant that the specifics of his tale should be taken to represent specifics in the real world. He even went so far as to point out that if the War of the Ring were to represent World War II, then Saruman would have made his own Ring and used it to help defeat Mordor, leaving Middle Earth in a tense standoff between two superpowers each with a Ring of Power. Rather he preferred to leave the actual meaning of the story up to the individual reader, allowing them to discover whatever truths might be there.

Having said that, his own values do permeate the book--his love of trees, his deep distrust of machinery, his respect for life but recognition that violence is sometimes necessary ("I do not love the sword for its beauty" one character sings "but only the home that sword protects" to misquote one passage), his appreciation of simple pleasures like food and drink, etc. This is not to say the book have a M E S S A G E per se but that they cannot help but be an expression of Tolkien himself. Yet he tried very hard not insert any literal message or allegory. For example, if all you had to go on was LOTR itself, methinks you'd be hard-pressed to figure out the author was a devout (and very old-fashioned) Roman Catholic. On the other hand, once you do know enough about Tolkien's life it becomes crystal clear why he had name "Luthien" placed upon his wife's headstone, leaving instructions that "Beren" be carved upon his own.

Okay, I'm shutting up now. Aren't you glad? :hooray:

Actually, I just read your post again, and I have to say, it's probably the most beautiful post I've ever read. I think it also proves what I was saying all along about the sheer wealth of information and all the beautiful things behind it.

Everything you said about Tolkien was a real pleasure to read, and all Tolkien fans would be so grateful to you, just as I am. What you wrote was truly wonderful. Thank you again.

Robert E. Keller
01-07-2010, 04:00 AM
There's The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun.

And Tolkien's translation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is my favorite.

This discussion prompted me to do a little research, and I came up with a link to a post that seems to indicate there may in fact have been Arthurian inspiration behind LOTR. Of course, this post can be dismissed as someone's opinion, but after reading both the Arthurian legends and LOTR I could sense an Arthurian presence in the Lord of the Rings. I have also noted the similarities between Gandalf and Merlin, and I find it interesting that you mentioned Merlin being like an angel, since Gandalf almost seems more angel than wizard at times (for example: the rising from the dead and becoming a white-robed, almost holy figure).

The link: http://houseoftheinklings.blogspot.com/2007/12/some-ponderings-on-tolkien-and-inklings.html

EclipsesMuse
01-07-2010, 04:34 AM
This discussion prompted me to do a little research, and I came up with a link to a post that seems to indicate there may in fact have been Arthurian inspiration behind LOTR. Of course, this post can be dismissed as someone's opinion, but after reading both the Arthurian legends and LOTR I could sense an Arthurian presence in the Lord of the Rings. I have also noted the similarities between Gandalf and Merlin, and I find it interesting that you mentioned Merlin being like an angel, since Gandalf almost seems more angel than wizard at times (for example: the rising from the dead and becoming a white-robed, almost holy figure).

The link: http://houseoftheinklings.blogspot.com/2007/12/some-ponderings-on-tolkien-and-inklings.html

Actulally, it was Gandalf that was mention as an angel, not Merlin. I beleive that Merlin was thought to be a half demon.

Robert E. Keller
01-07-2010, 05:28 AM
Actulally, it was Gandalf that was mention as an angel, not Merlin. I beleive that Merlin was thought to be a half demon.

Yeah, I read that wrong--though I'm not sure about the half demon bit with Merlin. Anyway, I'm not a Tolkien scholar or anything, just a fan who read the books and watched the movies. My knowledge is far too limited to intelligently debate those who study Tolkien to any depth. I can offer my opinion on bits and pieces of what I've read, but that's about it. And I haven't read the books in years, so I probably don't remember half of what's in them.

I do know that the game of golf was invented when Bullroarer Took knocked off an orc's head and it flew into a rabbit hole. Beat that, Tiger Woods!

Medievalist
01-07-2010, 05:45 AM
This discussion prompted me to do a little research, and I came up with a link to a post that seems to indicate there may in fact have been Arthurian inspiration behind LOTR. Of course, this post can be dismissed as someone's opinion, but after reading both the Arthurian legends and LOTR I could sense an Arthurian presence in the Lord of the Rings. I have also noted the similarities between Gandalf and Merlin, and I find it interesting that you mentioned Merlin being like an angel, since Gandalf almost seems more angel than wizard at times (for example: the rising from the dead and becoming a white-robed, almost holy figure).


1. Gandalf is not only like an Angel, Tolkien specifically identifies the Maier as angels.

2. No, really, aside from SGGK, and possibly Layamon's Brut, Tolkien loathed Arthurian romance. He looked instead to the Midlands romances--King Horn, for instance.

3. I suspect that the things being identified as Arthurian are really more accurately described as Indo-European.

4. Verlyn Flieger rocks, and I've read the "Fall of Arthur fragment." It is, as Tolkien says, mostly based on Layamon and a tiny bit from the Alliterative Morte. It was, oddly, the same sort of idea Milton had--something Tolkien himself acknowledged. The idea was not a Roman-Celt, but rather, Arthur as a naturalized Anglo-Celt.

5. The things Tolkien most admired, and borrowed from SGGK, and Orfeo, are those things that are "otherworldly."

Medievalist
01-07-2010, 05:47 AM
If anyone is really interested in how Tolkien used myth, do read Tom Shippey's The Road To Middle Earth.

Readable, fun, and farkin' brilliant.

Sarpedon
01-07-2010, 06:53 AM
Coincidently, I just (10 minutes ago) finished watching and listening to Wagner's opera Der Ring des Nibelungen, which is based on the same myths that Tolkein adapted to his own purpose in the Lord of the Rings.

Like the Lord of the Rings, it has a Cursed Ring, which can only be dispelled by returning it from whence it came, a variety of Dwarves, a sword that is broken and remade, a dragon, someone who had a single vulnerable spot and an evocative pyre scene. At one point one of the characters (Hagen) sings "Obey the Lord of the Ring." (I could not help but applaud at this point) Even one of the dwarves is named Mime, very similar to the equally reprehensible Mim of the Silmarillion.

I encourage anyone who loves the Lord of the Rings to watch or listen to Der Ring des Nibelungen. The opera not only influenced Tolkein, but also the Peter Jackson adaptation. You can almost hear the opera's anvil theme in the movie's isenguard theme. (which, by the way is played during one of my favorite scenes, when the camera pans from Gandalf on the top of the tower with the moth, down the side of the tower, into the hole, and onto the anvil, where an orc is making a sword. Awesome.)

Incidently, I consider Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings to be the best book to film adaptation I have seen. It preserves the spirit of the books while knowing when to deviate from the source material to heighten tension and drama in the different medium.

I figure that if you can sit through 16 hours or so of the Lord of the Rings, you can sit through 20 hours of Der Ringen. And I tell you, it is worth it. You get to see another great artist's take on the same source material. It does not diminish Tolkein's work in the slightest.

Robert E. Keller
01-07-2010, 08:10 AM
1. Gandalf is not only like an Angel, Tolkien specifically identifies the Maier as angels.

2. No, really, aside from SGGK, and possibly Layamon's Brut, Tolkien loathed Arthurian romance. He looked instead to the Midlands romances--King Horn, for instance.

3. I suspect that the things being identified as Arthurian are really more accurately described as Indo-European.

4. Verlyn Flieger rocks, and I've read the "Fall of Arthur fragment." It is, as Tolkien says, mostly based on Layamon and a tiny bit from the Alliterative Morte. It was, oddly, the same sort of idea Milton had--something Tolkien himself acknowledged. The idea was not a Roman-Celt, but rather, Arthur as a naturalized Anglo-Celt.

5. The things Tolkien most admired, and borrowed from SGGK, and Orfeo, are those things that are "otherworldly."

I'll take your word for it. :)

Robert E. Keller
01-07-2010, 08:20 AM
Incidently, I consider Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings to be the best book to film adaptation I have seen. It preserves the spirit of the books while knowing when to deviate from the source material to heighten tension and drama in the different medium.



But where the heck was Tom Bombadil? Not even a tiny scene of the dancing man on a trail or something? He was, after all, possibly the most powerful being on Middle Earth (with only a few creatures comparable in power to him, such as Sauron in possession of the Ring or some of the ancient beings that gnaw on the earth), and he was certainly the oldest. Also, he was completely immune to the power of the Ring, which even Gandalf couldn't boast of. No Tom Bombadil? What was that all about? Otherwise, I wholeheartedly agree.

Medievalist
01-07-2010, 09:15 AM
I encourage anyone who loves the Lord of the Rings to watch or listen to Der Ring des Nibelungen. The opera not only influenced Tolkein, but also the Peter Jackson adaptation.

Err no.

Tolkien was influenced by the original the High Medieval German epic, Nibenlungenlied, but more than that, by the Old Norse versions of the underlying myths, in the Volsungasaga. He loathed Wagner's interpretation and made fun of him both in private school, and later, as a college student.

The stuff about the one ring was also very much influenced by the magic objects in the kalevala, which he (brave soul!) worked though in Finnish, reading most if not all of it. There's also a bit of the ring of Gyges, which Tolkien knew of both through his Latin studies, and via Spenser.

Medievalist
01-07-2010, 09:17 AM
But where the heck was Tom Bombadil?

Jackson had precisely the same dilemma regarding Tom that JRRT had--what to do with him, and how.

JRTT has written about Tom as being inexplicable and unplanned, and said he couldn't fathom him himself.

Robert E. Keller
01-07-2010, 10:21 AM
Jackson had precisely the same dilemma regarding Tom that JRRT had--what to do with him, and how.

JRTT has written about Tom as being inexplicable and unplanned, and said he couldn't fathom him himself.

Indeed, Tolkien said that some things should remain unexplained even to the author. But I think Jackson could have introduced Tom and had the scene with the Barrow Downs (which was an entertaining part of the book). I suppose the problem would be in trying to get viewers who had no knowledge of the books to understand why the strange character was in the movie. This could have later been partially explained by the discussion at Rivendell concering what to do with the Ring. However, it's important to remember that the sword that slew the Lord of the Ring Wraiths was found in that old barrow--the blade enchanted by the men of Arnor--and was the only sword that could have done the job. This addition would have helped clarify the witch-king's death, which otherwise is a mystery in the movie.

Noogah
01-07-2010, 10:34 AM
Does anybody have the same tiresome predicament I have?

Okay, I know that I will sound like an illiterate dope here, but I've read the Hobbit and not read a single Lord of The Rings book (Or a Harry Potter for that matter)

I ordered LOTR, and really want to get through it. I admire Tolkien, and all the book's detail. I just have one teensy problem. I'm having trouble plodding through the looooooooooooooooooongnnngngngngng explanations, details, histories, etc. it almost puts me to sleep sometimes, and I dread the loong way I have yet to go.

Has anybody had the same problem? Has anybody overcome it?

HOW!?

Medievalist
01-07-2010, 11:07 AM
Indeed, Tolkien said that some things should remain unexplained even to the author. But I think Jackson could have introduced Tom and had the scene with the Barrow Downs (which was an entertaining part of the book).

There's an interesting discussion about this very thing on the extendend DVDs between Jackson and Phillippa Boyes, the screenwriter.

Robert E. Keller
01-07-2010, 12:09 PM
There's an interesting discussion about this very thing on the extendend DVDs between Jackson and Phillippa Boyes, the screenwriter.

Haven't seem them yet, but I'm planning to (especially now that you mentioned that).

RevisionIsTheKey
01-07-2010, 12:10 PM
Oh my, someone I can relate to. I have only read The Hobbit and I only read that because I had to teach it as part of a middle school English curriculum. I had to give myself rewards after finishing each chapter: Read chapter 1, eat a chocolate sundae; read chapter 2, take a long nap; Read chapter 3, order something online.

It's not that Tolkien does not write well; it's just that his stuff is not my genre. But I did grow to like The Hobbit (even like it a lot). For some reason, each time I reread and taught it, I liked it a little more. Mind you, I gave up that job after nine Hobbit reads, and I will never pick the book up again--or any other Tolkien for that matter. I think it's like an exotic food; you either love it or you hate it. There was no middle ground with my students either. I had the Gandalf wannabes constantly fighting with the barf-when-will-this-book-end group. :Headbang:

Why do you want to get through LOTR, by the way? Life does go on for those of us who don't.

Cassiopeia
01-07-2010, 12:17 PM
There is a problem that's becoming more prevalent as the decades pass. Readers are so accustomed to watching a movie on the screen in two hours that a book like that is hard to settle into. Even now movies are some times only 90 minutes instead of 120.

My suggestion, sink into the story. Don't anxiously await the ending. If you are bored, your bored, find something new to read or learn the self discipline it take to read a longer more epic tale.

Shakesbear
01-07-2010, 01:12 PM
I've lost count of the number of times I have read the Hobbit and the LOTR trilogy. I skip the songs because I find they interfere with the flow of the story. I am not sure if the books are well written - there are places when the writing sweeps me away and places when I feel I am battling through a lake of cold porridge! My own feeling is that the books - this will probably sound trite! - mean different things to different people and it is what you want to get from them that should inform your reading. When I read them it is to find new things - aspects of the story that had not occured to me before, new insights into the characters. As there is so much to think about maybe focus on one area - the main characters or the varied places that Tolkien invented.

SPMiller
01-07-2010, 03:33 PM
Stop reading the book if you're bored. Start reading something else.

(Writing a ranty post in between can be fun, though.)

dclary
01-07-2010, 03:54 PM
Does anybody have the same tiresome predicament I have?

Okay, I know that I will sound like an illiterate dope here, but I've read the Hobbit and not read a single Lord of The Rings book (Or a Harry Potter for that matter)

I ordered LOTR, and really want to get through it. I admire Tolkien, and all the book's detail. I just have one teensy problem. I'm having trouble plodding through the looooooooooooooooooongnnngngngngng explanations, details, histories, etc. it almost puts me to sleep sometimes, and I dread the loong way I have yet to go.

Has anybody had the same problem? Has anybody overcome it?

HOW!?

The biggest problem with LOTR, as far as pacing goes, is that "The Council of Elrond" is like... 1/3 of the way through fellowship, and it's 60 pages of infodump.

Best bet is this: Read the chapters leading up to it: party, old forest, strider, weathertop, nazgul chase, rivendell... then skip the council altogether. Just understand that everyone thinks destroying the ring is a good idea, and sending a bunch of hobbits will likely make Sauron go WTF? and not understand their intent. Then pick up reading as they cross Hollin towards Cahadras, and the rest of the entire series flows like sweet, sweet epic fantasy butter.

AFTER THAT....

go back and read the council of elrond. Everything in that chapter makes fantastic sense... once you've seen the entire picture.

sheadakota
01-07-2010, 04:23 PM
There is a problem that's becoming more prevalent as the decades pass. Readers are so accustomed to watching a movie on the screen in two hours that a book like that is hard to settle into. Even now movies are some times only 90 minutes instead of 120.

My suggestion, sink into the story. Don't anxiously await the ending. If you are bored, your bored, find something new to read or learn the self discipline it take to read a longer more epic tale.
Cassiopeia- you took the words right out of my mouth-Noogah, I havee seen a trend not only in reading but well in a lot of things with your generation ( I'm not being condescending here really!) But at 13, the world you have grown up in is one of immidiate gratification- not your fault, its just the way it is. But being used to getting everything from food, to information-NOw Now now! can be a disadvantage- you never learned how wonderful it can be to wait, to be ont he edge of your seat and still wait just a little longer- to anticipate and wonder-

Yes Tolkien can be long and even tedious at times, but revel in his words, his love of the language, he is an artist who paints with words. His world does not move fast and he invites you to, as Cassie suggested, to sink into it,much as one does an overstuffed chair - curl up with a fuzzy blanket and slow down and appreciate what Tokien has given you- I have read this book more times than years you have been alive and I cherish everyt ime (yup I know there are lot who will disagree, but this is all only my opinion- ok?)

Its okay to skip the songs and the poetry if you want- and as someone else suggested, even graze over the long info-dumps - but then come back and read them later- most of all don't look for the immidiate gratification- go for the anticipation and enjoy this wonderful story-

Calla Lily
01-07-2010, 05:40 PM
Best bet is this: Read the chapters leading up to it: party, old forest, strider, weathertop, nazgul chase, rivendell... then skip the council altogether. Just understand that everyone thinks destroying the ring is a good idea, and sending a bunch of hobbits will likely make Sauron go WTF? and not understand their intent. Then pick up reading as they cross Hollin towards Cahadras, and the rest of the entire series flows like sweet, sweet epic fantasy butter.


:roll:

That was the best LotR reviews I've seen in a long time!

Sarpedon
01-07-2010, 06:30 PM
Tom Bombadil was completely extraneous to the plot. I'm sorry, but he always seemed tacked on. So what that he's 'the most powerful character in middle earth?' He doesn't do anything. They cut him and it didn't make any difference. Thats how you can tell when something is unnecessary.

Even the whole sword from the barrow downs thing. So what that the sword that lamed the witch king of agmar came from a country he oppressed a long time ago? Its a cute plot point, but it is the kind of thing that ends up on the editing room floor in a movie. How many prophesies and conditions had to be fulfilled before the minor villain dies, after all? Its enough that 'no man can kill him' and he gets killed by Merry and Eowyn, neither of whom are men. That is sufficient. More than that is simply belaboring the point. In the book it was just a throwaway point anyhow. You had to read the appendix to learn where Angmar was, and why its significant.

Robert E. Keller
01-07-2010, 09:08 PM
Even the whole sword from the barrow downs thing. So what that the sword that lamed the witch king of agmar came from a country he oppressed a long time ago? Its a cute plot point, but it is the kind of thing that ends up on the editing room floor in a movie. How many prophesies and conditions had to be fulfilled before the minor villain dies, after all? Its enough that 'no man can kill him' and he gets killed by Merry and Eowyn, neither of whom are men. That is sufficient. More than that is simply belaboring the point. In the book it was just a throwaway point anyhow. You had to read the appendix to learn where Angmar was, and why its significant.

I disagree. I don't think it's sufficient at all. "That only a woman could kill him" was not something Tolkien would have dealt with because it's not consistent with his scheme of magic. The magic had to be "real" and have some background to exist in Middle Earth. This vague sort of magical connection to a woman killing the witch king is more fairytale or legend and much less Middle Earth. Jackson took the easy way out, though the movies still turned out to be excellent. There are a lot of extra things that could have been cut from the movies (and indeed the books), but they help flesh out Middle Earth. Tom Bombadil was significant because Tolkien wanted to show that even the mighty Ring did not hold sway over every creature of Middle Earth.

Wavy_Blue
01-07-2010, 09:21 PM
Wow, this has generated some pretty heated discussion.

All I can add is my own experiences with the books. After seeing the first two movies, I picked up the trilogy where it was gathering dust on my family's bookshelf and read them. Mind you, I was 14 at the time, not exactly the typical age of LotR readers. However, I still loved them. Maybe it was due to the fact that I had seen the movies first and loved Middle-Earth, but I loved Tolkien's long descriptions and detailed world. I understand that that kind of storytelling is definitely not for everyone, but I loved it. Also, my best friend read The Hobbit when she was VERY young (even before she double digits, I think) and it's still her favorite book.

So, I love them, but I can understand why some people wouldn't. The Lord of the Rings is just like every other book ever written. Some people will love it, and some people won't. That's writing, y'all.

dirtsider
01-07-2010, 11:02 PM
:roll:

That was the best LotR reviews I've seen in a long time!

Same here.

My suggestion is to learn to skim over the longer infodumps.

Cassiopeia
01-07-2010, 11:13 PM
I don't recommend skimming over them. And what one considers and infodump another considers world building. He built an entire world and for those just reading LOTR now after the release of the movie and having seen it, it's going to go slowly. There are worlds within worlds in Tolkiens writing. If you've not the patience to explore them, well then, move on.

Noogah
01-08-2010, 04:38 AM
But being used to getting everything from food, to information-NOw Now now! can be a disadvantage

Maybe, but that's not my problem.

I've stayed up all night reading books before. In fact, even when I was six, I would stay up all night several nights in a row just reading. I've spent hours upon hours just reading long books contentedly. It's not that I mind lengthy books, I just don't like having to wade through thirty pages in order to get in five sentences of dialogue. I think that's perfectly natural.

My sister read them all in two weeks. :( And she was reading at a leisurely pace!!

Flint
01-08-2010, 10:13 AM
I tried listening to fellowship on audio and I had to stop it after a few chapters.

Kweei
01-08-2010, 04:25 PM
If anyone is really interested in how Tolkien used myth, do read Tom Shippey's The Road To Middle Earth.

Readable, fun, and farkin' brilliant.

Thanks for this! I study mythology so I'm sure this would be a great read.

Cyia
01-08-2010, 04:44 PM
Wow, this has generated some pretty heated discussion.

All I can add is my own experiences with the books. After seeing the first two movies, I picked up the trilogy where it was gathering dust on my family's bookshelf and read them. Mind you, I was 14 at the time, not exactly the typical age of LotR readers.

LoL - that IS the typical age of 1st time LoTR readers.

Clair Dickson
01-08-2010, 04:58 PM
For some reasons, I never got into LOTR. I read all three, but it took me ages.

Sometime after that (I think it was after slogging through the first Harry Potter book) I realized that I just don't like to READ fantasy. I don't mind it in movie form, but reading fantasy just isn't my thing. I have no problem with long books-- I first read 'Gone with the Wind' when I was in middle school and was SO proud of myself for reading such a long book. I've read it a half dozen times since then. I've also read long tomes in other genres and had a much, much easier time than I did with LOTR.

Either you like the scene-setting and the use of language, or you don't, I think. It may take time to acquire a taste for it. I admit I was disappointed that I couldn't get into LOTR. I enjoyed the Hobbit. (Though, I think Hobbit was faster pace, less world-building and more adventure than fantasy than LOTR.)

Least anyone mistake my words-- I have nothing against fantasy. I also can't stand eating coconut but don't think anything less of those who do. It's about taste. I'm particular.

Cyia
01-08-2010, 05:38 PM
The Hobbit wasn't so bad, but it was written with a different audience in mind. (I think being forced to read it in 10th grade by a teacher who was a total Tolkein-nut may have soured my perceptions of the story)

The LoTR that I read came out of the library's "Take away" bin. I picked it up because it had fold out maps and such included and looked beautiful. I just couldn't read it straight through. Not sure why they'd put books like that in the freebie box, though.

Sarpedon
01-08-2010, 06:16 PM
"That only a woman could kill him" was not something Tolkien would have dealt with because it's not consistent with his scheme of magic. The magic had to be "real" and have some background to exist in Middle Earth.

That is where you are wrong. Tolkein explicitly wrote that that particular episode was inspired by Macbeth. Tolkein found Shakespeare's handling of prophesy to be cheesy; that macbeth could never be defeated until Birnham wood should come to dunsinane, and that he could not be killed by any man borne of woman. We all know just how cheap the 'fullfillment' of these prophesies were. So Tolkein set out to correct these in his own epic. Saruman was defeated when the forest literally came to Isenguard. And the Witch king was slain by a woman, because no man could.

Tolkein's works are smorgasboards of cultural references, not all of them to ancient epics.

Noogah
01-08-2010, 10:11 PM
The LoTR that I read came out of the library's "Take away" bin. I picked it up because it had fold out maps and such included and looked beautiful. I just couldn't read it straight through. Not sure why they'd put books like that in the freebie box, though.

I'd like something like that. My little versions are small and cramped and uncomfortable.

Do you have the ISBN, or UPC?

Medievalist
01-08-2010, 10:19 PM
I tried listening to fellowship on audio and I had to stop it after a few chapters.

At one point a company I worked for was interested in a sort of ultimate LOTR audio book on CD-ROMs, with the audio linked to the text and high def maps and such . . . we started rights negotiations (and that's what killed the project--not expense but just getting permissions) and I got to hear part of a sort of after thought interview with the reader of the complete set of audio books. He said that (paraphrasing him now), LOTR was the hardest thing he'd had to perform, not only for the foreign languages/words, but because quite often there were long winding sentences one right after another, and no place to breathe.

Medievalist
01-08-2010, 10:20 PM
I'd like something like that. My little versions are small and cramped and uncomfortable.

Do you have the ISBN, or UPC?

Those are the Houghton Mifflin hardcovers, I suspect. There are post film version with the fold-out maps and Alan Lee's illustrations. There's a Giant Killer Hardcover with all three volumes, maps, and illustrations, but it's very very heavy and awkward to read.

sheadakota
01-08-2010, 11:07 PM
Those are the Houghton Mifflin hardcovers, I suspect. There are post film version with the fold-out maps and Alan Lee's illustrations. There's a Giant Killer Hardcover with all three volumes, maps, and illustrations, but it's very very heavy and awkward to read.
Bur very cool looking on your bookshelf;)

DavidZahir
01-08-2010, 11:19 PM
Re: Films versus Books
I've had this debate ad nauseum. The two media are fundamentally different, and also the people adapting it have to be true to their own vision of the thing. I was overall pleased with the result, very very much. Methinks the films slipped in quality slightly as they went along but overall they are still excellent (my chief complaint was spectacle too often eclipsing other parts of the story).

And I never much cared for Tom Bombadil anyway.

Re: Source Material
Methinks it would be more accurate to say that Wagner and Tolkien each drew from similar sources of inspiration, but that kinda as far as it goes. An epic fantasy series much more in tune with Wagner's operas (and the author makes no bones about such) is the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever (also inspired by LOTR). BTW, there is an excellent book of Jungian analysis of the Ring operas titled The Ring of Power by Dr. Jean Shinoda Bolen.

Re: Gandalf
We should recall that Gandalf is not a human being. When first reading LOTR that was my distinct impression, that wizards were somehow "other" than Men, Elves, Hobbits, etc. Later, I learned this was correct. Gandalf (and Saruman as well as the Balrog) were Maiar, the same race to which Sauron belonged.

dclary
01-08-2010, 11:40 PM
I have the Annotated Hobbit in hardback. That's a fantastic book, illustrated with pictures that have graced the various international editions through the years.

Cassiopeia
01-09-2010, 12:07 AM
I have a hardback with beautiful illustrations and gold leafing.

Yes, I'm a hardcore LOTR fan. :)

Calla Lily
01-09-2010, 02:37 AM
*raises hand* Another hardcore geek here. I have a slipcovered edition with Tolkien's hand-drawn fold-out maps in the back of each. I've read the trilogy more than a dozen times. Yet this month I started to reread it and couldn't slip into his world as easily as before. I haz a sad.

Cassiopeia
01-09-2010, 03:04 AM
*raises hand* Another hardcore geek here. I have a slipcovered edition with Tolkien's hand-drawn fold-out maps in the back of each. I've read the trilogy more than a dozen times. Yet this month I started to reread it and couldn't slip into his world as easily as before. I haz a sad.Light a fire in the fireplace, only have the light on you need for reading, get a cup of cocoa with marshmallows, tell the world to shut the help up and enjoy. ;)

See I fixed it. :)

sheadakota
01-09-2010, 03:11 AM
OOooo I so want to re-visit middle-earth now! I have a red leatherbound edition of TLOTR all in one hard back book- yup my inner geek is showing :)

Mr. Anonymous
01-09-2010, 04:43 AM
Don't mean to get off topic, but I think THIS is why many newbie writers have so much trouble when they start writing and posting their work up for critique. They read people like Tolkien, start writing like him, then we're like "ZOMG infodump ZOMG telling" and they're like "ZOMG Tolkien did it" and then we're like "we're taking the time to read and critique and this is the thanks we get" and they're like "aiduaidhahdoiahd!!!" and then we're like "aodaidaihdiua!" and then they leave and never come back and we stay and make topics about why we don't crit anymore. Thanks a lot Tolkien.

Robert E. Keller
01-11-2010, 08:24 AM
That is where you are wrong. Tolkein explicitly wrote that that particular episode was inspired by Macbeth. Tolkein found Shakespeare's handling of prophesy to be cheesy; that macbeth could never be defeated until Birnham wood should come to dunsinane, and that he could not be killed by any man borne of woman. We all know just how cheap the 'fullfillment' of these prophesies were. So Tolkein set out to correct these in his own epic. Saruman was defeated when the forest literally came to Isenguard. And the Witch king was slain by a woman, because no man could.

Tolkein's works are smorgasboards of cultural references, not all of them to ancient epics.

Glorfindel's prophecy stated that the witch-king would die by the hand of a woman and a hobbit, and that came to pass. However, had it not been for Merry plunging the enchanted blade into his leg, Eowyn would not have have been able to finish him off. So in that sense, we're both correct--as it took the combined efforts of the two to do the job. My guess is that the enchanted blade weakened him to the point where the blow from Eowyn's sword was able to cut him down. So in that sense, it was really the enchanted sword wielded by Merry that slew him, for without that, he would have remained alive. At the least, it was a vital component in the slaying. And on a related note, which came first: The chicken, or the egg?

Sarpedon
01-11-2010, 11:25 PM
Thats a good point. I think we have a slight disagreement on semantics here: you are talking about what is required for the magic to work, while I am talking about what is required for the narrative to work. Movies have to be much more parsimonious with their plot elements than books, and I think Tolkein could have afforded to be more parsimonious than he was. We all love a story which has lots of different threads that somehow get wrapped up in the end, but if you have too many of them, and there's too much time in between where one gets introduced and where it gets resolved, it becomes extraneous. I think the sword from the Barrow Downs is a good example of this. Merry gets the sword, carries it through three books, despite there being an episode where he SHOULD have lost it if any rules of logic were in play, and then finally we are reminded of where it came from, even though no one would otherwise have been jumping up and yelling HOW COULD THIS HOBBIT WOUND THE WITCH KING?

Wavy_Blue
01-12-2010, 01:23 AM
LoL - that IS the typical age of 1st time LoTR readers.

Maybe for boys, but I was the only girl I knew in my school who had read them.

Medievalist
01-12-2010, 01:45 AM
We all love a story which has lots of different threads that somehow get wrapped up in the end, but if you have too many of them, and there's too much time in between where one gets introduced and where it gets resolved, it becomes extraneous.

Well, no, not so much--that's a basic quality of an epic, and Tolkien was deliberately, knowingly, engaging in epic.

Sarpedon
01-12-2010, 01:58 AM
I don't think so. The Iliad is a very focused epic, for example. So is the Odyssey, even though its stretched out a little, and the Chanson de Roland. The Ramayana and Mahabharata are a bit more loose, but you don't really forget who's doing what because each person is doing a limited number of things. Its easy enough to recall that Dhrstradumnya's sole purpose in life is to kill Drona, because he doesn't do much besides that. And its easy to remember that Amba magically turned into a man so she could kill Bhishma, simply because a woman praying until she turned into a man is memorable in a way that a hobbit finding a sword in a tomb is not. Furthermore, Sam and Pippin also got their swords in the same place, and there is no further significance to those swords.

Medievalist
01-12-2010, 02:21 AM
I don't think so. The Iliad is a very focused epic, for example. So is the Odyssey, even though its stretched out a little, and the Chanson de Roland.

Dude, you've just contradicted over a thousand years of literary analysis.

One of the characteristics of an epic is its discursiveness, and the way it alludes to other stories, and retells them in digressions. Digressions are just as much a characteristic of the epic as catalogs, an epic hero, beginning in medias res, spanning vast distances, epithets, . . .

DavidZahir
01-13-2010, 01:27 AM
Couple of things...

First, LOTR is not an epic but a fusion of the epic with the modern novel.

Second (and this is me being nitpicky) the prophecy was that the Witch King would not be killed by any man--which turned to be true. Methinks I read in Tolkien's letters that Merry's blade had in fact been crafted with spells against Morghul power, hence his attack (and methinks the suddeness of it) weakened the Witch King so that Eowyn--fueled by the fierce love she felt for her foster-father--could destroy him. Methinks that latter point is very important.

Interestingly, none of the Nazgul were killed by men. All the others were killed by Frodo and Gollum.

Sarpedon
01-13-2010, 02:57 AM
What can I say other than there seems to be a big difference between alluding to other, existing stories, and making up an irrelevant plot point just so it LOOKS like you are alluding to another, existing story, even when you are not.

One of them feels natural and the other does not.

When Achilles refers to the Harpies from the argonauts story, thats real, because Jason wasn't invented by Homer. When Tolkein reminds us 'Hey, remember that sword Merry got from that barrow way back in the first book? Well now it damaged the king who was threatening that very same land a long time ago! Isn't that something?' That is a lot less impressive and relevant. You see, the real epics didn't use other stories for Deus ex machina, and then bury the explanation in an appendix.

Robert E. Keller
01-14-2010, 12:57 AM
What can I say other than there seems to be a big difference between alluding to other, existing stories, and making up an irrelevant plot point just so it LOOKS like you are alluding to another, existing story, even when you are not.

One of them feels natural and the other does not.

When Achilles refers to the Harpies from the argonauts story, thats real, because Jason wasn't invented by Homer. When Tolkein reminds us 'Hey, remember that sword Merry got from that barrow way back in the first book? Well now it damaged the king who was threatening that very same land a long time ago! Isn't that something?' That is a lot less impressive and relevant. You see, the real epics didn't use other stories for Deus ex machina, and then bury the explanation in an appendix.

It boils down to opinion, of course. I don't mind at all when devices are introduced in epic fantasy with little purpose other than to add background. I tend it stay a bit more focused with my own novels (there are pacing and word count to consider, and perhaps shortened attention spans these days), but I like to read sprawling epics with lots of details. When I first read the scene where the witch-king died, I knew immediately that Merry's sword had played a significant role. However, I wasn't sure where he'd gotten the sword until I pondered it for a while. I liked the idea that the significance of the sword was revealed only in that battle scene, because it helped to enrich the world Tolkien was creating. It left the impression that powerful magical devices (such as the Ring itself) were sometimes hard to identify and could be floating around anywhere. Obviously, Merry had no idea his sword was such a mighty, enchanted weapon, just as Bilbo had no idea his ring was a device that could bring ruin to Middle Earth.

Silverhand
01-16-2010, 12:32 PM
I only waded throught he first 3 pages of this topic...so bare with me if I say something someone else already mentioned.

Let me start out by saying that, yes, opinions are subjective..no two people are the same...and everyone will be different. Yet, I think many people are so biased towards their own personal views...that any opinion they have is...well, biased beyond reason.

That said, it is irrelevent if you/me/that guy over there/my grandma/ etc like LoTR. It does not matter if we can't stand it because of how boring the prose is. It doesn't matter if you are a writing genius and could actually evaluate said prose...style..world....etc.

What matters is that a man wrote a book that was picked up and read by 10's of millions. He wrote a story that was so good, even if it did not apply to all of us, that it has stood the test of time and is still read today.

You don't like his story because he is throwing info all over the place? Fair enough. BUT, you cannot, at least with straight face and any sort of objective opinion on the matter, deny that it is great literature. Why do I say this? Because, LoTR has lasted just like the other great authors of the last 2000 years have lasted. Even though I don't like his style or story, Tolkien belongs to a select group: Shakespe, Poe, Homer, Tzun-Su, Dante.

On that note, I highly doubt ANY of the above authors could be published today...tastes are just too different. That doesn't detract at what they accomplished though...or how talented they were.

Before anyone here counters with, "Well look at how many copies HP sold...and it doesn't matter...bleh" Oh really? Please enlighten me....because, copies sold and read...is one of the ONLY ways to decide who is talent and who is not.

Our job as writers is to tell the best story we can, and hopefully, inspire those around us to read what we write. If a person writes a story...even a bad one like Eragon...and it touches millions....influences the hearts of millions...spawns thousands of spin-offs, and INSPIRES the masses...then even if YOU don't like it, there must be a reason it accomplished what I assume is the goal of us all.....to write something down that will be heard.

/shrug

DavidZahir
01-16-2010, 11:32 PM
Well, just to be a tad pedantic, Tolkien's work remains intensely popular and the stuff of study for just over a generation after his death. While I myself believe LOTR will indeed stand the test of time, methinks we won't know such a thing for maybe a century or so.

Yet it is impressive that so much genuine scholarly effort has gone into study of Tolkien's "Secondary World", and continues to this day. Nor do I see any sign of a let-up.

Kyla Laufreyson
12-12-2010, 07:43 AM
All right, I'll admit I haven't read the books. I've owned them in a box set for 8 years and so far haven't motivated myself to read them, though I'm thinking about doing it very soon.

So it's very possible that the book explains this. It's something that has always confused me.

When they show the flashback of Elrond, when Isildor had just gotten the One Ring and they were at Mount Doom...Elrond tell Isildor to get rid of it. Logical. Isildor refuses, because the thing is already getting to him. Logical. But uh...why does Elrond not like, grab him and force him to get rid of the item? He just sorta stands there and does nothing in response to his friend (at least I assume they were somewhat friends) refusing to get rid of what's probably the most evil object to ever exist.

Can someone explain this to me?

Medievalist
12-12-2010, 08:24 AM
But uh...why does Elrond not like, grab him and force him to get rid of the item? He just sorta stands there and does nothing in response to his friend (at least I assume they were somewhat friends) refusing to get rid of what's probably the most evil object to ever exist.

Can someone explain this to me?

Like Gandalf, later, and the lady Galadriel, both of who are offered, almost begged to take the ring by Frodo, Elrond knows that should he take the ring, he would be even more dangerous than Isildir, if possessed by the ring.

There's also the problem that Gandalf, Elrond, and Galadriel each already own one of the rings made by elves for elves.

Noir
12-15-2010, 05:12 PM
What Medievalist said; Elrond cannot take the ring or have any heightened temptation of using the ring because it would be too powerful/dangerous under him.

Kyla Laufreyson
12-15-2010, 09:38 PM
Hmmm...then I would have just shoved Isildor in, too. Not a very friendly thing to do, but a small sacrifice to be rid of the damn thing.

dirtsider
12-15-2010, 10:43 PM
All right, I'll admit I haven't read the books. I've owned them in a box set for 8 years and so far haven't motivated myself to read them, though I'm thinking about doing it very soon.

So it's very possible that the book explains this. It's something that has always confused me.

When they show the flashback of Elrond, when Isildor had just gotten the One Ring and they were at Mount Doom...Elrond tell Isildor to get rid of it. Logical. Isildor refuses, because the thing is already getting to him. Logical. But uh...why does Elrond not like, grab him and force him to get rid of the item? He just sorta stands there and does nothing in response to his friend (at least I assume they were somewhat friends) refusing to get rid of what's probably the most evil object to ever exist.

Can someone explain this to me?

If I recall correctly, this scene isn't in the books. Yes, Elrond was there at the battle when Isildor took the Ring but he was only mentioned as Gil-Galid's squire. This scene was added to the movie to explain why the Ring was not destroyed and to show how addicting it is to its "owner".

Also not in the book(s) is that piece of tripe called Aragorn's "heritage guilt". Aragorn had no doubts about his heritage in the books. He was even proud of it. (Read the Tale of Arwen and Aragorn in the appendices.) He was still sensible about it because he was only a king in exile with Sauron out for his head if the Dark Lord knew of his existence. And the main reason why he worked so hard to regain his throne was because, besides being his birthright, Elrond made it a condition of Aragorn's betrothal to Arwen. (And no, Elrond wasn't the whiny little sh*t toward Aragorn he was in the movies. The main reason why he was so "harsh" was because he would never see his daughter again once he went to the Blessed Lands. She was going to become Mortal, he wasn't.) The heritage guilt was thrown in to "humanize" Aragorn, as if people couldn't identify with someone trying to regain their throne from the usurper.

Can you tell this is one of my pet peeves about the movies?

Kyla Laufreyson
12-15-2010, 11:01 PM
Then that's more acceptable to me.

As for the Aragorn stuff you just ranted about, I uh...wouldn't know. I haven't even watched all 3 movies, and when I've watched Fellowship I haven't paid the closest of attention.

I just tried yesterday to convince myself to finally read the books...it did not work out.