Well, in the time it took the moon to rise and fall anew, I have ventured forth with nine companions and traveled to the ends of Middle-Earth. I came in apprehensive. Worried, truly. The Lord of the Rings is the thing that all fantasy is held against, like it or not, and that is intimidating. But alas, I have completed the books and shall mark this milestone off of my reader’s bucket list.
My thoughts on the series are overwhelmingly positive. I definitely see where the tropes of modern fantasy can be hearkened back here. Granted, Tolkien was not the first, but he certainly popularized much of what is now contemporary fantasy. And he did so quite well. I will say that some of the endless ambling grew weary, but only just so. I was actually shocked at the pacing. Coming into it with a post-Hobbit trilogy-movie world-view, I almost half expected the story to only truly begin by the time Fellowship concluded, but verily, a large swath of the adventure had already unfolded. I was never bored, or fearing that Tolkien was taking us for a loop in order to milk the words. No…this trilogy is no Wheel of Time, that’s for sure.
I want to note that my favorite of the trilogy by far is its conclusion, and that is followed closely by the first novel. This shocks me, considering that I love the second movie, and could not sit through the first movie (as a child/young teen). And I think what really helped push The Return of the King for me was the absolute mastery with which Tolkien wraps up his plots and leaves no metaphorical stone un-turned. I type this with utmost respect. Every question I had; every Chekhov’s gun precariously placed somewhere along the way (that I noticed) was rightly fired by the end.
All in all, I have enjoyed my time with the Middle-Earth trilogy to begin all trilogies. I think I shall enjoy returning to it in a decade or two. For nostalgia’s sake.
I give the trilogy, a solid 4.5 rings to rule them all, out of five.
As of November 21st, I have begun my foray into Middle Earth and will be reading through The Lord of the Rings. Of course, I have already read The Hobbit, so naturally, my adventure begins with The Fellowship of the Ring.
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