Monday, July 7, 2014

"The Lord of the Rings" by J. R. R. Tolkien

You'd think that after doing an entire read-along for this trilogy, with chapter-by-chapter discussions, I'd have run out of things to talk about.  And if we were talking about some other trilogy, you'd probably be right.  But I kind of doubt I'll ever run out of things to talk about when it comes to books this rich.  Plus, I can't link to every single chapter review for The Classics Club, so this one will have to do.

As most people know, this is the story of how a young, unimportant hobbit named Frodo Baggins sets out to save the world by carrying an important weapon, the One Ring, to Mount Doom to destroy it.  I'm not going to recap the story in detail here -- either this post would be seventy paragraphs long, or I'd try to stuff everything into a few sentences and not do it justice.  Instead, I'm going to talk about a few things that I found especially interesting this time through.  This was my sixth reading, but the first one in several years.

The one theme that really struck me this time is the idea of continuing to work toward a goal even when you've lost all hope of achieving it.  The idea crops up several times, and Frodo presents it best when he tells Sam, "I am tired, weary, I haven't a hope left.  But I have to go on trying to get to the Mountain, as long as I can move" (p. 897).  I think that's a marvelous description of courage: to keep doing something dreadfully hard, even something that will likely kill you, even though you don't believe you can prevail.  

This time through, I liked and understood both Faramir and Frodo better than I ever had before.  I finally stopped comparing Faramir to his older brother Boromir, who is my favorite character in the whole story, and started considering him on his own terms.  What a stalwart, courteous, gentle man!  And while I will never really love Frodo, I now appreciate the way he presents a picture of our own human weaknesses and failures.  

I'm not going to list any particularly good lines here because I've already listed my favorite lines in every single chapter post for the read-along.  You can find links to all of those here.  

If This was a Movie, I Would Rate It:  PG-13 for scary scenes and images, and violence.

This is the eleventh book I've read and reviewed for The Classics Club.

Don't forget to enter the LOTR giveaways here!  They're open through the end of July 8th.

2 comments:

  1. I've given up picking favorite characters, they change with each read...but Faramir is one of the finest characters in literature. The injustice done him in the films was my only serious complaint.

    An excellent review.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed it.

      Tolkien wrote So Many Amazing Characters that favorites can be hard to pick. And I know a lot of people who are upset by how he was portrayed in the movies. I have my theories on why they changed him, which I will share if you're interested :-)

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