I don’t know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.
This weekend was really busy for me, and then I took some extra time on my Hugo review for The Left Hand of Darkness. The result was that I never was able to find the extra time to get around to my first post for the LOTR read along hosted by Book Snobbery. If you thought you knew anything about Middle-earth, you ought to check out SJ’s discussions. I mentioned that I’d be participating in this last week and though I’m behind on my first post, I’ve actually been able to keep up on the reading (and the singing) just fine. This week covers the Fellowship of the Ring chapters 1-6 and as usual with non-Hugos right now, I’m listening to the audiobook read by Stephen Fry. It’s a fairly good reading, but I think a goat could read LOTR and it would still be amazing (picture that). On to the discussion where I’ll start with a mash-up answer of SJ’s discussion topics because I can’t really do them all justice:
- First time readers – are you keeping up okay? Is everything fairly easy to follow so far, or are there things that need clarifying?
- Also for first time readers – what could be keeping Gandalf? Any ideas or thoughts on why he hasn’t shown up again yet?
- Re-readers – Frodo’s dream in Crickhollow. I think the last time I read this, I was high on Silmarillion and had convinced myself that he was talking about Elwing’s tower lighthouse instead of Tower Hills. Now I can’t remember why I was so sure. Thoughts?
- Old Man Willow – related to Ents, Huorns or neither? Why?
- Um, did anyone else [fistpump] when they read this? : ”We are horribly afraid, but we are coming with you.” Man, these little hobbits. I get emotional every time. Am I the only one?
Sooo… I’m not a first time reader. I’ve read The Hobbit and the trilogy but nothing else (sadly). That was about 8 to 10 years ago though (aside from the Hobbit which I read a few months back), so I’m kind of supes out of it and my memories of the books tend to be more nostalgic and fuzzy than anything else. BUT, oh man, when I read these books for the first time it was like, like…THE BEST! I was hardcore into these books and I took them with me to my college classes and read every second I wasn’t taking notes. I remember reading The Lord of the Rings like the world was going to end if I took my eyes off the page. I remember staring at those maps for hours.
Tolkien makes Middle-earth not just a real place, but a real place from the very moment the book begins. His worldbuilding is poetic and intricate, but also natural and cozy. Is there anyone who has read any part of these books and not dreamed of being on in the shire and smoking pipe weed with Gandalf or drinking in the Green Dragon with the hobbits? If there is, tell me who they are and I will Orc-smash them.
|I bought this cheap copy when I was a poor|
college student. Please don't hate.
My introduction to LOTR actually came through my family. Of course I remember equal parts fear and wonder at the animated Hobbit when I was young, but my real introduction to Tolkien didn’t come till I was in college. My brothers and Dad had read the books and loved Peter Jackson’s Fellowship and whenever I visited home during summer or holiday breaks, every conversation and joke was infused with Middle-earth lore and incessant hobbitisms (a few YOU SHALL NOT PASS!es thrown in here and there too). I knew nothing about it but when they were being ridiculous, it was impossible to notice that I had been left out of something special.
Sidenote/confession: I had actually seen Jackson’s Fellowship by this time but it was one of the very first movies that I saw with my girlfriend at time (my wife and the mother of my child now :D) and I was apparently concentrating on other things than Frodo and Samwise because I had zero recollection of the story later! I’m hoping that the fact that we ended up married will allow me to get away with this oversight, though I’m not sure there is any logic behind that plea.
ANYWAY. Returning to SJ’s questions… When I finally started reading Fellowship, I was ALL IN! I had no trouble following along and I soaked up every little detail I could and I geeked-out over everything I could gladly. I remember my calendar above my bed in my college apartment even had significant events marked and circled when it was possible to determine a date.
I still love it this time around listening to the audiobooks on the way to work, though to skip ahead and answer the [fist-pump] question, I learned my lesson about wild gestures and hysterical laughing during my very dangerous commutes when I listened to The Lies of Locke Lamora recently and I’ve had to be more subdued or risk moto-destruction. Also, in college it probably wasn’t smart bringing LOTR into class no one was really going to say anything about it. Now, I’d probably be fired. Needless to say, I’ve toned it down a bit. I’ve also decided I’m not going to listen to the audiobooks for the next two books because I think there is something lost in the listening (a rare thing to hear me say).
Okay, that’s all I’ve got in me for now. Sorry I didn't get too deep into the actual substance. Erg. Frodo Lives!