The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien (Spoilers Ahead)

Alucard

In the name of the Pizza Lord. Charge!
Staff member
#2
Well, I started yesterday and what can I say, The Fellowship is a slow ride. Loads of descriptions of food and nature. Not digging that part at all. I also found out who Tom Bombadil is. I thought he was a comic relief character more then anything else.
Even though he saves the Hobbits and his real nature is quite a mystery
I don't really care about him but at least I know how to answer this




I also decided to watch the movies again before each book, so I watched the first one yesterday. I still think it's a great movie.
 

Silvion Night

Sir Readalot
Staff member
#3
Great initiative! I'll not be participating as I've read LOTR and everything else from Tolkien maybe ten times over, but I'll be visiting this thread to see how you guys feel about the book. I'll be lurking. Watching. Judging.
 

João Ribeiro

Journeyed there and back again
#5
I read it about three or four times but it was a few years ago. I'll pitch in here and there but I'll be mostly lurking.

Well, I started yesterday and what can I say, The Fellowship is a slow ride. Loads of descriptions of food and nature.
If you think LotR is slow, you should avoid Wheel of Time at all costs.

That name still gives me shivers. I really disliked the whole Tom Bombadil sequence in the books.
 

Alucard

In the name of the Pizza Lord. Charge!
Staff member
#6
If you think LotR is slow, you should avoid Wheel of Time at all costs.
I have no intention of reading that series. Ever. There are better choices out there for me.

I really disliked the whole Tom Bombadil sequence in the books.
I'm kinda meh about him.
Obviously he is an unknown power. He put the ring on and he didn't disappear. He was there before the elves, men and hobbits. But I don't see much point to him as a character.
 

Sparrow

Journeyed there and back again
#7
I also decided to watch the movies again before each book, so I watched the first one yesterday. I still think it's a great movie.
No don't do that!
The movies are great but they'll corrupt how you respond to the original, the way Tolkien wrote the story. Isn't that the point, to start at the beginning and experience Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, not Peter Jackson's movies (as great as they are)? I would suggest that instead of the movies, if you haven't already then get your hands on the BBC Radio-4 full cast audio production of LotR. In fact it was that audio dramatization that in part inspired Peter Jackson's approach to the movies, it's brilliant, the BBC captured the magic of the original story and since you're into audiobooks anyways, you should consider it. The actor Ian Holm who plays the aging Bilbo Baggins in the movies... played Frodo in the BBC audio production, he is amazing!
 
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Alucard

In the name of the Pizza Lord. Charge!
Staff member
#8
The movies are great but they'll corrupt how you respond to the original, the way Tolkien wrote the story.
I already saw them, so I already have PJ's view of the story in my head. It's not like seeing them again will give me anything new. I mainly wanna see how they hold up to my initial impression and this seemed like a good opportunity. I am capable of differentiating between movie and the book. Of course the storytelling will be different. I don't expect them to match, or to even have the same atmosphere. I'm not comparing books to movies here.

I would suggest that instead of the movies, if you haven't already then get your hands on the BBC Radio-4 full cast audio production of LotR. In fact it was that audio dramatization that in part inspired Peter Jackson's approach to the movies, it's brilliant, the BBC captured the magic of the original story and since you're into audiobooks anyways, you should consider it. The actor Ian Holm who plays the aging Bilbo Baggins in the movies... played Frodo in the BBC audio production, he is amazing!
I'm sure he did. I'm not keen on dramatizations. Or unabridged versions of books. I'll pass.
 

SuperDuper

Knows how to pronounce Kvothe
#9
I already saw them, so I already have PJ's view of the story in my head. It's not like seeing them again will give me anything new. I mainly wanna see how they hold up to my initial impression and this seemed like a good opportunity. I am capable of differentiating between movie and the book. Of course the storytelling will be different. I don't expect them to match, or to even have the same atmosphere. I'm not comparing books to movies here.
Yeah I'm the same way books and movies are different and it didnt effect me for LOTR, Hunger Games, Divergent, etc.

LOTR is pretty great. Tom Bombadil was ok (jeez he sings a lot but everyone does so yeah) and the rest was great. Man that balrog scene wow and after. Huh now I kind of want to read them again but they are so long. Maybe I will just take a peek and read until I am bored or get distracted.
 

ofer

Journeyed there and back again
#10
I kind of feel sad for Tom Bombadil...the popularity of the movies and the fact that a lot of people saw the movie before reading LOTR (or didn't read LOTR at all) sort of made him the literary equivalent of the 5th Beatle. ;)
 

ExTended

Journeyed there and back again
#11
I have read the book only once before, right after the 3rd movie was released back in the days. And I was a teenager back then, so I've had only vague memories about it.

Recently( no more than two months ago I think) I've listened to an unabridged audio version and it was somewhat great experience. That was also my first time with the book in English, since my first read was with a translated paperback version. The book is so different by what most fantasy nowadays sound like. Sometimes it feels quite tedious, but over-all it gives you the feeling of being there and living through it all. It gives you a feeling as if you are really visiting those places, living through those events. I've found it quite unique and refreshing.

I won't dwell into the things I didn't like, because in my opinion they don't matter. This book will always have my respect, for kindling my love to the fantasy genre, if nothing else.

The important thing is - I've been able to remember my younger version and my childhood, with some nostalgia for those days. And my love to the LOTR movies and the LOTR universe as a whole, because it certainly affected my approach to life - I would hope in the good way. I have forgotten how magical the things could feel and this book does just that - makes you feel the magic and ignore the fact that there are flaws. Flaws with the book and with the real world - they don't matter. For 20 hours there is magic and nothing else. And you cannot buy that in the grocery shop. So hands down to what these books can evoke in people. :)
 

Silvion Night

Sir Readalot
Staff member
#12
I have read the book only once before, right after the 3rd movie was released back in the days. And I was a teenager back then, so I've had only vague memories about it.

Recently( no more than two months ago I think) I've listened to an unabridged audio version and it was somewhat great experience. That was also my first time with the book in English, since my first read was with a translated paperback version. The book is so different by what most fantasy nowadays sound like. Sometimes it feels quite tedious, but over-all it gives you the feeling of being there and living through it all. It gives you a feeling as if you are really visiting those places, living through those events. I've found it quite unique and refreshing.

I won't dwell into the things I didn't like, because in my opinion they don't matter. This book will always have my respect, for kindling my love to the fantasy genre, if nothing else.

The important thing is - I've been able to remember my younger version and my childhood, with some nostalgia for those days. And my love to the LOTR movies and the LOTR universe as a whole, because it certainly affected my approach to life - I would hope in the good way. I have forgotten how magical the things could feel and this book does just that - makes you feel the magic and ignore the fact that there are flaws. Flaws with the book and with the real world - they don't matter. For 20 hours there is magic and nothing else. And you cannot buy that in the grocery shop. So hands down to what these books can evoke in people. :)
Agreed! These books formed like no other book did. The LOTR franchise has been a formative element in my life since I was 12.
 

sopranosfan

Journeyed there and back again
#13
I read the books once and I think it was about a year and a half ago. Thinking back I am having a hard time separating the books from the movies. But I do remember thinking that this was a rare instance where I preferred the movies. I also remember thinking that some things were over described and some things were under described. I liked the books but I didn't love them
 

Sparrow

Journeyed there and back again
#14
I have read the book only once before, right after the 3rd movie was released back in the days. And I was a teenager back then, so I've had only vague memories about it.
The important thing is - I've been able to remember my younger version and my childhood, with some nostalgia for those days.
That's how it is for me... I read LotR when I was 12 or 13, and it was amazing... the book had no flaws... of course I was a kid and not sophisticated or experienced with fine literature so I just loved the story without reservation. There's three books I thoroughly enjoyed reading as a kid, beyond all the rest it was To Kill a Mockingbird, Lord of the Rings, and Rikki-Tikki-Tavi that I fell in love with reading and books. I make a point of never going back and rereading those stories because that unsophisticated, naive skinny lad is looooooooooong gone, and if I read those books now as a 'cultured';), jaded adult I would most definitely see the flaws.
Some memories are best left unmolested.
 

Alucard

In the name of the Pizza Lord. Charge!
Staff member
#15
I finished the first book, and I enjoyed but I'm not in love with it like some of you guys. This is possibly due to the fact that I'm not 12 years old and first reading about this universe.
Anyhow, the thing I really didn't like was all the info dumping in the first 1/3 of the book. This was a slog to read through. In the first third of the book, nothing really happens. I have a problem with this kind of thing whether it's a new book or old. I plainly don't like it.
On the other hand I think the book does a great job of illustrating the difficulty of the task of the ring bearer, but not the urgency. I didn't get that this was a super urgent mission they are on, because they linger so much at various places. However, the book does show the daily grind of travelling long distance, camping, rationing food etc, which goes a long way in upping up the realistic aspect of the story.
As far as the characters go, I liked Frodo a lot more than I expected. I think he has the element of age (he's 50ish) in a book and thoughtfulness to him that he lacks in the movies. Was disappointed in Ring wraiths. They were not scary. They are more like bunch of bad men than wraiths in the book. They talk a lot for a wraith.

Continuing with the Two Tower book immediately. This time I'm gonna read the book first, then see the movie.
 

Sparrow

Journeyed there and back again
#16
... yes, the Ringwraiths are less 'wraithy' in the books.
I don't recall they talk at all in either the audiobook or movies... which makes them more menacing. Nothing worse than a chatty wraith.
On the other hand, dialogue between Orcs is pretty funny, either about killing something or eating something, or killing and eating something.
 

Alucard

In the name of the Pizza Lord. Charge!
Staff member
#18
I can't comment much on that. I read one book by Sanderson and that didn't go well with me.
What I can comment on is that the world building in the first LotR book, especially in the beginning can be equalized with info dumping, where Tolkien just keeps pilling facts up, concerning Hobbits (prologue), elves, men etc. It was a dry read for 1/3 of the book as I said.
It seemed like it took forever for Frodo to leave the Shire and get to the Prancing Pony. Bilbo's party took one chapter, then there's a chapter called A Shortcut to Mushrooms where they get some mushrooms and meet farmer Maggot. Or a chapter called The Shadow of the Past, where it's nothing BUT info dumping about...you guessed it..past.
A lot of the chapters in the first 3rd are just unnecessary delays. This is also why I left with the feeling that getting out of the Shire and getting rid of the ring wasn't as urgent as it needed to be.
That being said, when the book finally picks up around half way point it's quite enjoyable.
 

Alucard

In the name of the Pizza Lord. Charge!
Staff member
#19
I don't wanna drag other franchises into LotR discussion, because I'm not familiar with many of them (for example Marvel as you mention it). I also don't see what Joker has to do with Marry and Pippin even if you can draw 1000 parallels between them. The two don't concern each other at all and any parallel you see is coincidental.
I understand on an intellectual level what Tolkien was trying to do with all the info dumping. I still didn't enjoy reading it. As I always say, I rate fantasy books based on my enjoyment of them. I don't pretend I'm objective at all. If I don't enjoy something it's going to get a lower rating from me even if it has some merit in literature.
 

Silvion Night

Sir Readalot
Staff member
#20
I don't wanna drag other franchises into LotR discussion, because I'm not familiar with many of them (for example Marvel as you mention it). I also don't see what Joker has to do with Marry and Pippin even if you can draw 1000 parallels between them. The two don't concern each other at all and any parallel you see is coincidental.
I understand on an intellectual level what Tolkien was trying to do with all the info dumping. I still didn't enjoy reading it. As I always say, I rate fantasy books based on my enjoyment of them. I don't pretend I'm objective at all. If I don't enjoy something it's going to get a lower rating from me even if it has some merit in literature.
What is you favorite part about book 1?