Yes, I’m fully aware that it’s been almost a year since I did anything with this site. Real ife stuff has happened in that time so I’ll try to make up for any lost time. This time it’s going to be the Lord of the Rings Trilogy.
Yes, I went from reading one big book (War and Peace) to another and this one didn’t take me about 15 years to read! It only took eight months (again, stuff happened.)
For the uninitiated, originally the Lord of the Rings was meant to be one giant book, but because Tolkien’s publisher had zero faith that the book would sell they published it in three parts to minimize losses. It became one of the best-selling fantasy books of all time.
Decades after The Hobbit Bilbo is living a normal life in a part of Middl-Earth called The Shire. He leaves it because he wants to run away and write his book. Before he leaves, he gives his nephew, Frodo, a ring which, unbeknownst to Bilbo or Frodo, is the “One Ring” which belongs to the super big bad Sauron…and he wants it back. The only way to stop Sauron is for Frodo to take the ring to Mount Doom and throw it into the lava, destroying it. While this is going on, Sauron and his minions are busy planning for a big war to take over Middle-Earth .
If you’ve seen the movies, you know how slow and plodding they are. The books are worse. It takes about 150 pages to get to Prancing Pony and another fifty for them to arrive in Rivendell. If you hated the movies for being slow, you’ll hate the books even more.
You can also see what Peter Jackson cut out. Most notoriously is the removal of Tom Bombadil. Man, that character added almost NOTHING to the book and his chapter was boring.
That’s not to say the books are terrible. The books do go into more detail about some things that the movies never did. For example, the languages of Middle-Earth are explained, as are the wizards (kinda,) the balrog, the names of cities like Minas Tirith and the Witch King of Agmar. That’s where the books excel where the movies fail because you have a limited amount of time to explain stuff in a movie and an unlimited amount in a book.
And I prefer the movies over the books.
Again, the books aren’t bad AT ALL, but I like the pacing and how things transpired in the movies. One example is the meeting between Gandalf and Saurman. In the movie, they have this amazing-looking wizard’s duel while in the book…they just talk. Not to mention the battle scenes are much grander in the movies and the scene where Gandalf meets Theoden is a lot more interesting (no Saruman in the book.)
Not to mention the characters speak in Shakespearian English (thou, thine, etc.) It probably made sense to Tolkien at the time since this is fantasy, but some modern readers will not enjoy it.
Again, I can’t stress this enough: They are not bad books. I’m glad I read them but the storytelling and pacing were not for me. I did enjoy some of the poems, especially Theoden’s speech to his troops during the battle of Minas Tirith.
The Lord of the Rings Trilogy is the influence of a TON of fantasy writers and fantasy novels. However, the books themselves are super slow which if that’s OK with you, great. I’m glad I read them since they are one (or three) books that are on many “bucket lists” and while I did like the expanded lore not shown in the movie and some poems, I like the pacing and storytelling of the movies better.
Tags: J. R. R Tolkien, Lord of the RIngs, novels, reviews
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