Friday, January 13, 2012

Reviews From an HBN (The Lord of the Rings - J.R.R. Tolkien)

January's been feeling neglected lately and I've been slacking on the BBC's list, so here we are and away we go! Let me just clarify that I always feel like an idiot writing reviews on books this well-known and popular, but I'll do my best.

The Fellowship of the Ring

 Frodo Baggins knew the Ringwraiths were searching for him - and the Ring of Power he bore that would enable Sauron to destroy all that was good in Middle-earth. Now it was up to Frodo and his faithful servant Sam to carry the Ring to where it could be detroyed - in the very center of Sauron's dark kingdom.

The Two Towers

The Fellowship was scattered. Some were bracing hopelessly for war against the ancient evil of Sauron. Some were contending with the treachery of the wizard Saruman. Only Frodo and Sam were left to take the accursed Ring of Power to be destroyed in Mordor–the dark Kingdom where Sauron was supreme. Their guide was Gollum, deceitful and lust-filled, slave to the corruption of the Ring.

The Return of the King

While the evil might of the Dark Lord Sauron swarmed out to conquer all Middle-earth, Frodo and Sam struggled deep into Mordor, seat of Sauron’s power. To defeat the Dark Lord, the accursed Ring of Power had to be destroyed in the fires of Mount Doom. But the way was impossibly hard, and Frodo was weakening. Weighed down by the compulsion of the Ring he began finally to despair.

 The reviews I posted on GoodReads were woefully inadequate, so I'm forced to wing it. My appreciation for this trilogy grows every time I read it. The sheer effort Mr. Tolkien put into creating it is evident and astounding. He made up just how many languages and how many cultures and how many histories, again?! Elves, dwarves, hobbits, wizards, men, and all sorts of nasty things like trolls and Ringwraiths and *shiver* Gollum run wild, but they all feel so real. You can feel the struggles and the triumphs and the sorrow of all the characters and you feel bound to them as you read.

I won't lie to you, it does get a bit wordy in places and the exposition outweighs the action at times, but the action springs back and just blew my mind. ROTK in particular was a roller coaster ride for me. I would laugh one minute and start crying the next. 

God, I really do feel stupid trying to write something on something this intelligent and powerful! If I have to sum it up in just one word, I'd have to call it majestic. The movies were amazing, but the books honestly took my breath away. They just can't translate the depth and richness of them entirely to screen, so if you only know the movies, you really are missing something. If nothing else, reading them might get you ready for when The Hobbit comes out this year (which I'm looking forward to, by the way. Martin Freeman is bound to make an excellent Bilbo.)

I know scholars and other people much smarter than me have written essays and whatnot on this, but all I can do is tell you that it is one of the most moving, inspired things I have ever read, and it's distinguished in that it brought tears to my eyes. It seems that's happening more often, lately, but there's still not many books that have provoked that response. Which goes to show that a) Angels is still a tough nut to crack and b) this trilogy is all the more special for having cracked me. 

Your humble book nerd,

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