Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J. R. R. Tolkien

Well, you knew it was coming. I read The Hobbit so the Lord of the Rings Trilogy was the next logical step. I suppose I read all this as a child or young adult. I own the books and that usually means that I read them. After the Hobbit, LOTR wasn’t very familiar though, so perhaps I didn’t.

The obvious comparison to make is to the Harry Potter series. I guess I must be jaded by today’s fast-paced world because I found LOTR slow and uneventful. They spend an awful lot of time walking around. Tolkien must have had some kind of name fetish because there are entire paragraphs where he seems to do nothing but name things, in different languages and different times. So that Aragorn and Strider and Elfstar (or something like that) are all the same person in addition to more oblique references like “the Lord of Rohan” that I’m always a little vague on.

Then there are the pages of environmental description. I’m sure it was all very beautiful and clear in Tolkien’s mind, but in mine it’s murky and unnecessary. I think that if you described my own living room to me I wouldn’t be able to picture it and I wouldn’t care either. Tell me about the people in the living room and what they’re thinking and doing, please.

So LOTR has got a lot of lore. It’s a treasure trove of lore. You can map it and analyze it and create alphabets and languages, and people have done all that. But it’s lacking the human angle (and not just because they aren’t all humans). The characters perform amazing feats of bravery by the end of the series, but it feels more expected and less a result of character growth than in the Harry Potter series.

I enjoyed The Hobbit the most. It was less grand and more personal and we were inside Bilbo’s head as a part of the adventure. Nevertheless, I had no trouble finishing the trilogy despite its great length and I can understand why it has endured for so long.

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