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The Lord of The Rings
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peter
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2019 5:17 am    Post subject: The Lord of The Rings Reply with quote

Seems ridiculous, but I can't find a single dedicated thread to this seminal work anywhere on the Watch! I'm probably missing it - apologies Murrin if I am - but I'll plough on anyway and see if I can't draw in a bit of interest in a discussion.

I first read the work some forty years ago and I am now a few days into my ....third?....fourth?.... reading and enjoying it very much. I'm going to assume that everyone reading this post/thread has read the book and will pay no regard to spoilers from this point on.

I've reached the bit in the first book where the Hobbits plus 'Strider' have reached the top of Weathertop and have encountered the black riders during the course of the night spent atop there. Up to this point I'm surprised how well the book is reading. I picked up a copy for one pound (about a dollar) the other day (it seemed rude not to at this price) and being too mean to allow my investment to fester away on a shelf to no benefit, started reading (with a view to picking up and putting the book down as an 'inbetween books book'). I have to date had five or six hours of seriously good reading pleasure for my quid; I'm surprised how many of the smaller details of the story (Fatty Bolger, the meeting with the Elves in the wood as examples) I'd forgotten, and also the richness of the prose itself. At this point I think it possible that I'll simply keep reading for a while and see where it takes me.

Prior to the Nazgul attack on Weathertop, Strider told a tale in which the silmarils - fabled elven jewels of the Old Times had a mention, and this got me to thinking that I've never really looked much into Tolkien's histories of middle earth. Odd to think that writing was for Tolkein, really his spare time occupation. He'd have seen himself as an academic first and foremost (did he make any significant contribution on that score, besides as a lecturer and inspirer of young minds - significant enough in itself of course) and writing as more of a spare time hobby I'm thinking? Never the less he invested much effort into creating a fully fledged world for his stories to play in, and perhaps I should look into this a bit more.

To be continued........

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2019 6:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Peter, there's a whole forum dedicated to the work of J.R.R. Tolkien in "The Library":

http://kevinswatch.ihugny.com/phpBB2/viewforum.php?f=26

Still, interested in your thoughts as you read Very Happy
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2019 6:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Have you checked out the JRR Tolkien subforum in The Library forum?

Edit:
Stevie beat me to it...
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2019 6:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Beat you by one minute Menolly Very Happy
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2019 1:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ahhhh... Someone rereading and still finding the joy of Tolkien, it warms my heart!
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2019 3:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I didn't know they made books based on the movies. I'll have to read them.

I hope they didn't leave out anything good.
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2019 3:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

wayfriend wrote:
I didn't know they made books based on the movies. I'll have to read them.

I hope they didn't leave out anything good.

For some reason, Tolkien chose to leave out the female elf Tauriel in his novel adaptations. Darned if I know why...
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2019 3:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Embarassed Now that is embarrassing! I looked in the General Fantasy forum (every darn page), I checked in the Literature one - I knew that there was one somewhere......

........and I never even saw the Library; yesterday at 5am it had ceased to exist!

I'm going over there now to check out the lie of the land!

Will probably come back to this thread anyway (always assuming that by tomorrow I haven't forgotten that it, the Watch or even I myself exist!)

Laughing

Yes - just popped in to have a look-see and it would certainly have been the recondite place for this thread to be placed. But how was I supposed to know it was there; being as it was hidden away on the Form Index and all - listed under a heading of JRR Tolkein and all - and not driving through my bedroom on the side of a flipping bus and all..........

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2019 5:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Want me to move it?

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2019 7:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Might be for the best Av! Thanks.

Will have more to say in due course.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2019 8:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

No probs, moved. Very Happy

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2019 3:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That kinda moots the whole point of this thread, don't it?
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2019 7:46 pm    Post subject: Re: The Lord of The Rings Reply with quote

peter wrote:
. . . I'm surprised how well the book is reading. . . . I'm surprised how many of the smaller details of the story (Fatty Bolger, the meeting with the Elves in the wood as examples) I'd forgotten, and also the richness of the prose itself.
I've read it about 5 or 6 times, and I'm delighted each time by the prose and smaller details that no movie will ever capture. Even small things like the fox that sees the the Hobbits sleeping out in the open make me smile. I was greatly disappointed that there was no utterance of the phrase, "Elen sila lumenn' omentielvo. [A star shines on the hour of our meeting]," in the movie. Tolkien invented this world in order to have a place where people would say things like that.

One thing that impresses me, however, in my post-Jackson readings is how much of the book he packed into the movie, often verbatim.

peter wrote:
. . . I've never really looked much into Tolkien's histories of middle earth.
Seriously? If you have not read The Silmarillion, you have got to add this to your bucket list! I think it's Tolkien's greatest work. In comparison, The Lord of the Rings is of much smaller scale. If you can get through the chapter that details geography and family trees, you will discover the greatest tale Tolkien has ever told.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2019 9:51 pm    Post subject: Re: The Lord of The Rings Reply with quote

Zarathustra wrote:
If you have not read The Silmarillion, you have got to add this to your bucket list! I think it's Tolkien's greatest work.


I found it painfully dull, but found some little nuggets that resonated with me, particularly stuff about how the dwarves had such a bad time of it, losing lands here and there over and over again, and made me realize that the dwarves were not the greedy beggars I always took them for in the Hobbit. They were just trying to reclaim one of their lost homes. As much as I wasn't fond of the movie versions of the Hobbit overall, they did illustrate this part of their history.
But yeah...I bought the audio version of the Silmarillion hoping it would connect better if I was listening instead of reading, because I've wanted to know more of the stories, but had to stop listening to it when I was falling asleep while driving.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2019 10:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cag, it is a little slow at the beginning, and there is a chapter that almost put me asleep, too (the geography of Beleriand). How far did you get? I guarantee it's worth the effort if you make it past these parts and get into Turin's and Beren's stories. And the general story of the Silmarils themselves, the jewels created by Feanor, is incredible. The Kinslaying, the destruction of the Trees, even the creation of Arda is some of the most beautiful and tragic of any High Fantasy I've ever read. I honestly don't think it gets any better than this.

You have to keep in mind that it's a collection of works that his son edited and put together after he died. It's disjointed, especially at first. Tolkien himself doubted whether it could ever be published, for this reason, since it covers such a wide variety of narrative styles, points of view, and subject matter. It's more like the fantasy version of the Bible than anything else. You have the creation myth, the lists of names, and stories of conflict between Good and Evil at the highest level.

The greatest beauty of it is how the real story of Tolkien's mythology is a series of love stories, a few key couples uniting, overcoming odds, and then changing history through their bloodlines. The union of Elf and Human, in particular. Aragorn and Arwen's union is just an echo of this greater theme, sort of a homage to a much greater story in the past.
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2019 6:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cags
Its definitely worth it .. Tolkien loves his geographic descriptions ... many struggle through that canvass in LOTR. Personally I love it .. as it draws you right into his creation.

I second Zs recommendation
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2019 2:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It seems to me that the Silmarillion is a hit or a miss that depends on why you liked LOTR. If it's the world building that grabs you, it's a probable hit. If it's the characters that make the story for you, or if you enjoyed Tolkien's take on little-guy-saves-world, then it's a probable miss. You can pretty much decide by asking yourself "Did I enjoy the ROTK Appendices?"
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2019 4:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Y'know, usually I love the world-building aspect of these big epics, but for LotR that isn't really the case.

Not sure if it's just because of the denseness of his writing or what, but his world history never grabbed me like, say WoT's or the Land.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2019 7:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interestingly, both reading the deeper mythology/history of Tolkein's world and a revisiting of Jackson's films have been in my thoughts while reading. I've decided to do each LOTR film after reading the 'book' of the same [in fact, as the forward of the Harper Collins 1995 Edition I am reading reminds us, Tolkein's work is not a trilogy but rather a book in three parts - though quite what the difference is I'm not sure] as this seems the most appropriate way to tackle it. The Silmarilion, I confess makes me nervous. A good friend of mine like Z, found it superior to TLOTR [though he deeply loved this as well] - but I'm simply not sure I'm up to it. I've just read the chapter on the Council of Elrond, [took a break to read a book on the death of British scientist Dr David Kelly during the second Gulf War - dodgy in the extreme!] and am enjoying the historical flavour of the chapter very much. Anybody read Unfinished Tales - I did wonder if this work might not be an easier in-road into the deeper history of Middle-Earth?
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2019 2:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

First. Note that the books and the movies don't break at the same places. Not sure if this is important in your viewing, but better to be warned than surprised.

Second, it's debatable whether Unfinished Tales is a better book to read first. Admittedly, the first quarter of the Silmarillion is rather obtuse, and turns people away before they get to the better pieces. You should read the beginning, but not get hung up about understanding it, and when you get to the Silmarils, well, then you're out of the woods. Unfinished Tales repeats much of what is in the Simarillion, but it's expanded a bit more. This is not as good as it sounds, as Christoper edited the Simarillion rather tightly so as to omit the rather unpolished parts of his father's works, while Unfinished Tales includes them in what can only be described as desiring full disclosure over quality.

I think the better course is to read the Similarillion. If you find it has value, then read Unfinished Tales.
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