Welcome to February's classic of the month! This month it is-
The Lord of the Rings
I chose this book because it is one of my favorite books ever. Top five, most definitely. Allow me to get personal for a minute. I don't know which I can say I did first- watched the movies or read the books. Technically, my mom and I started the movies first. But I loved the first movie so much, and we had to watch it so slowly, that I got out the books and read them. I read them all in about a week. Yes, all one hundred thousand something pages in around a week. Then I got out the Hobbit and read it in a few days. I was 13. Since then I've read a lot of Tolkien. It is one of my goals in life is to read everything he wrote. But I just wanted to share that story with you to show how much I love these books.
This book (I'm going to count it as one for simplification) falls under the heroic quest type plot. A inexperienced hero, Frodo the hobbit, gets burdened with the task of taking and destroying the Ring- a terrible weapon. At first he is reluctant, but later takes up the Ring again by choice. Along with his company of friends, they begin their journey to the one place the Ring can be destroyed, right in the heart of enemy territory. Along the way they split up and rejoin in various ways. In the end, however, Frodo, must end the journey alone. With a killer plot twist which I will not reveal in case you haven't read the books (shame on you!), the Ring is destroyed and Middle Earth is returned to peace.
What I Like About It
Oh, where to begin? How about the language, one of my favorite things about Tolkien's writing style. He's a beautiful writer. His prose flows and he uses all the best words. You should see how much he changed as he wrote. Whole characters would be rewritten, deleted, or renamed. Middle Earth was his life. He wrote so much more than we've seen. If you're a writer, you've heard the iceberg comparison. A character has so much showing above the surface, but is supported by a lot more below. Tolkien's whole world was like this.
Then there are the characters. From hobbits to men to elves to dwarves to orcs, Middle Earth is filled with races, each wonderfully built. He has a cast of nine main characters, with unique personalities, and tons of other characters. Frodo is an excellent hero, seeming to be weak, but is actually much stronger than he appears. I like Legolas. Not just because he's an elf and totally awesome, which he is, but because he's interesting. His father is a prince, yet he is out on a quest, risking his life, instead of loafing about in Mirkwoood. He's also funny and sarcastic, things that people often don't think about in an elf.
And the world. Every country in Middle Earth has it's own history, people, lifestyle, and geography. They are all iconic and easily recognizable. Tolkien is a master writer. If I could only visit one person in history, it would be Tolkien. So all that adds up to say, Tolkien is probably my favorite author. Ever. Closely followed by Rick Riordan.
One day I want to get the Alan Lee illustrated versions of the books, as well as a Hobbit book with the original illustrations by Tolkien. Here's another fun fact. Christopher Lee, who passed away last year, actually met Tolkien. He also read the Lord of the Rings once a year, probably until he died. I am also trying to do this, as you can see by the way my books look.
I couldn't not mention Peter Jackson's versions of both the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings films. They were excellent and a must watch. His casting and cinematography was superb. He makes you feel like Middle Earth is real and he filmed there. Maybe someday I'll find that secret passage that will lead me there. The Hobbit films were good too, but my favorite is the first one. That one captured the feel of the book best to me.
The other film adaptions, which are lesser known, are the ones by Rankin/Bass. They did the Hobbit and the Return of the King. The Hobbit was the better of the two. If you want a gentle film that closely follows the book, it is a great one. It's especially good for kids not ready for Peter Jackson's versions. Their Return of the King is not as good. It leaves out characters, horribly mispronounce names, and skips parts. But still, it was all they had before Peter Jackson.
When did you first read the Lord of the Rings? What's your fondest memory from the books or movies? Which is your favorite? Comment and tell me.
The road goes ever on and on. . .