It's easy to forget your first love sometimes. I've had a desire to re-read the Lord of the Rings books for quite awhile now, and I was over the moon when I saw that they were all featured on Kindle Unlimited, with Whispersync. Since my discovery of Audible, books have been flying off of my list, so to get these into my audio library and on my Kindle for (practically) free was a huge plus. While I'm on the subject, If you find yourself overwhelmed by your reading list you should definitely check into Amazon's Whispersync feature!
What's not to love about these books?
...well according to a few people on Goodreads, apparently a lot. But those people probably live in a hole deeper than Fatty Bolger's pantry. #nerdjoke
Regardless of how you feel about the writing style, or the over/under development of the characters, Tolkien is one of the godfathers of fantasy. All those books that they're recommending on Goodreads that "do it better," never heard of 'em... #andI'manerd
The imagery is amazing, the style (while admittedly old) is even paced, and the depth of the sub-stories and lore of the world itself is astounding when you consider that this genre was pretty unprecedented at the time. Everyone who came after LotR had these very strong examples, foundations and established audiences to capitalize on. I mean really, who deviates from the human, elf, dwarf vs. goblin.orc combo in this genre? Who did it before this?
It's like saying that Boeing is better than the Wright Brothers. Someone had to be the first, and everyone after that is just making the original idea "better." Again, haters can take their opinions, and put them somewhere where no one will ever see them again. #interpretthatasyoulike
However, upon the re-read there were a few revelations that I had...
Some Revelations of the Re-Read
1. Had the movies followed the book exactly, they would have been musicals.
Seriously! Every chapter of the book has at least one song in it. Don't believe me? Maybe it's time for you to take another flip through.
Now I'm not saying that they're good songs, and they're definitely not as catchy as this, but they're still there... in every chapter.
Thankfully the audio book helped. A little...
2. Gandalf is pretty much an old man with a stick.
Don't get me wrong! I love the guy! But up until he takes on a demon from the pit of hell single-handedly to save all of his friends and the hope of the world... he sure has a knack for getting lost and forgetting things.
In Moria, he has the company wait for a whole day at a three-way split while he tries to remember which way they should go. After much deliberation, he basically says "well guys, I don't know which way to go, but the way down is smelly, the way forward gives me the creeps, so I guess we should go up! Follow me!"
...and no one questions him. Like, at all...
So, off they go! Right to Gandalf's death, the near death of everyone else, and the close end of Middle Earth as we know it.
Moral of this chapter in the story, an old man with a pointy hat and fireworks isn't the only one with a valid opinion.
3. Movies Distort "Reality."
It's been so long since I've read this book, that I was using the movie as a reference for most of the events of Lord of the Rings. In doing so, I forgot a lot of key players to the books that really add a lot to the story, like Fatty, Glorfindel, the Barrow Wight and Haldir.
I also forgot that the timeline of the books is considerably slower than the movies. For instance, it was 17 years between Bilbo's birthday party and Gandalf returning to tell Frodo that the ring was evil. And the trip out of the Shire was about three weeks. And it took about three months for the fellowship to head out from Rivendell after the council of Elrond.
...all of that to say, movies ruin perfectly good books. Next time you get an urge to watch them, read them instead.
How could I not?
'I wish it need not have happened in my time,' said Frodo.
'So do I,' said Gandalf, 'and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.'