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Well, this doesn’t really need an introduction, does it? THE classic of the fantasy genre (some would say, erroneously, its founder), mother of countless similar books and whole worlds, video games, album covers, Led Zep songs, symphonies, parodies, stage plays, conlangs, and two movie versions. It’s nice to re-read it again, and to experience where all of this comes from. And yes – it IS quite an experience. (...And no, it's not really a trilogy.) Obviously there’s the contrast of the human (or hobbit) drama versus the mythic sweep of the narrative – partly supported by some of the characters’ homespun speech on one hand and the grand archaic language on the other (though the latter, not based on any actual historical form of English, gets a little overwrought in the Gondor section). Almost as obvious, there’s the allegory: Christian (there are three archetypal Christ-figures, if you think about it, as well as discussions on the nature of good and evil); WWII (obvious references to Nazism); environmentalist; possible others – part of the novel’s strength is its refusal to be shoved into a single interpretation. (In a development that would have left Tolkien aghast, some have claimed it to be satanic and/or a manifesto for white supremacy – both claims are as absurd as the philosophies that spawned them.) BUT – all of these interpretations (including the bad ones, I suppose) can be assigned to most fantasy novels, or novels of any genre. LOTR still stands apart. I think part of what’s compelling about it (even decades after its publication) is the comprehensiveness of the world that it creates and the fact that the characters are an intrinsic part of that world. Often a character (or the narrator!) refers to the mythology or long history of Middle Earth (which, obviously, a reader would not know) and makes no further comment – and the other characters immediately know the reference. We readers know the reference too, somewhere in our hearts and not our conscious minds. Middle Earth is completely self-referential in that way, but, in Tolkien’s own words, still refers to “things higher and deeper and darker” than mundane reality. These multiple layers indicate many ways to enjoy the tale, and therein lies its secret. Read and enjoy.
@TolkienKC group read concurrently with <i><a href="http://bit.ly/2Q1M9bk">The Return of the Shadow</a></i> and using the @tolkienprof <a href="http://bit.ly/2qc4bfw">seminar</a> as a study aid. Join the <a href="http://bit.ly/2zbZtT8">group discussion online</a>.
Oh my gosh, where do I even begin with Tolkien? He is one of my favorite authors, along with C. S. Lewis. The thought that Tolkien put into the landscape and history is just amazing. I am in 8th grade and read this a few years ago. It is LONG, but lemme tell you, this is a great book.
L.O.T.R. buried me so deeply in rich descriptions of setting, plot, and internal dialogue. I wanted to stay lost in this world far longer than the 1,100 pages allowed me to.
How does one even begin to review this seminal work. Tolkien's depth of story is mind blowing. Every time I read it I find something new I didn't see before. Its a book that's meant to be enjoyed again and again. It brings such a great feeling that Tolkien coined his own term for it. "I coined the word 'eucatastrophe': the sudden happy turn in a story which pierces you with a joy that brings tears (which I argued it is the highest function of fairy-stories to produce)."
A very engaging and rich text.
This trilogy had me traveling to another world.
J.R.R. Tolkien's literature is exceptional. This series of books is long, sometimes slow, but altogether a masterpiece. This series is my recommendation for someone who wants to read a good book. I would recommend ages 10 and up. Good books. Read them.
When I read the Hobbit, i managed to finish it within two weeks, I really enjoyed.
But for The Lord of the Rings, it's an on and off again read. I read several chapters, I burn out and stop reading, read a different book, and come back to TLotR.
*sigh* I really want to finish the story. I'm currently at the part when Gandalf fell into a chasm after fighting the Balrog. It was an epic moment in the book.
It's hard to review a classic that's pervaded our entire culture and basically established the modern fantasy.
Suffice it to say, The Lord of the Rings is a masterpiece of high fantasy fiction. Some readers might find parts a bit dry since some passages read more like a history or classic epic compared to more modern fantasy.
After trying, in middle school, to read LOTR following The Hobbit (which I liked a lot), and just not getting into it, I put it back on the shelf. Then in my late 30s/early 40s, when my kids were maybe eight and five, or maybe a little older, I began reading a bit of LOTR to them at bedtime because they'd liked The Hobbit so much. At that pace, I could handle the extended descriptions. It took us from October to May to get through it--coincidentally, the exact timeframe of the story in the trilogy--at 20-30 minutes of reading a day. Tales of adventure and courage! The only thing missing is real romance, but kids don't seem to mind that exclusion. (Hint: as a bedtime story, don't conclude the night's reading at a very scary part; press on to a description of landscape or something less charged.)
A book everyone must read. Loyality, trust, teamwork, honor all while battling evil in Middle Earth.
Omigosh!!!This book is so good!Too bad J.R.R. Tolkien wasn't born in U.S.A,because if he was he would have gotten a Newbery Medal for sure!Anybody agree with me?
P.S. this book is based on the Bible.Really!
This book is a classic for a reason. Middle Earth feels like a real world with history. I love the high drama of this book - noble characters struggling valiantly against evil despite an extreme disadvantage. This is an uplifting, gorgeous work.
As my teacher would declare, "Greatest work in English literature of all times."
Shakespeare?, pah! Tolkien far surpasses that gibberer.
This is my favourite story by far! A lot of my friends say it was too long and dry for them, but as long as you can get past that you will find a treasure trove of adventure and inspiration. This story has changed my life time and time again. It may sound very unexpected, but this book holds a lot of deeper meaning: there is some good in this world--good that no darkness can ever conquer, and no matter what, there will be people who defend it. I could go on all day. :D But I'll let it suffice to say that is a beautiful, heart-wrenching tale of the ultimate battle between good and evil...and it's definitely worth the read!
I can't believe I enjoyed reading this in the 1060's. It is a simplistic plot, overly written and pretentious. Great literature for young people but not so great for retired readers
This is simply the most stunning work of fantasy fiction the world has to offer. If you have just seen the movie, you have really only seen a tenth of what is going on. I highly recommend this suburb novel, and if you read it, you will not be sorry.
I first read this when I was 11 years old; my dad gave me the three books in hardcover, and I devoured them. I studied the maps, traced their journey, mapped the Lonely Mountain (I'd read the Hobbit a few years earlier) against Gondor, etc. I adored the appendices, because I always want to know what happened after "the end." I've read the books at least a dozen times since then, and every time I come away with a new favorite bit.
If you watched the movies of Peter Jackson before reading this, you may find the text a little dry and the pacing slow. Case in point: the Council of Elrond chapter is a study in infodump overload ;) and all of the spectacle of Helm's Deep fit into one chapter (technically, a few paragraphs in the chapter). Don't be put off! Work at it, because the book will reward you with deeper understanding of the greater story, and fill in some blanks. And don't feel bad if you like the changes they made in the movie better than the book. They're completely different mediums and can exist peaceably their individual perfection. Just make sure you actually READ the book before making your decision! =)