Shovelmonkey1's Reviews > The Lord of the Rings

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
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Jan 31, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: kitten-squishers, inner-child, read-in-2012, travel-books
Recommended to Shovelmonkey1 by: millions of LARPers and fans can't be wrong
Recommended for: anyone who feels like their journey to work is too long
Read from January 31 to February 16, 2012 , read count: 2


I became horrifically lazy towards the end of the LOTR re-read which was undertaken as part of my "month of the kitten squisher" and neglected to review the final two books which together make up The Return of the King. Not so much resting on my laurels as stretching out full length and having a big old snooze right on top of them. But you've all seen the film by now right? So no need to continue...

Kidding, kidding.
(and I've now put this review in the correct order so the newest bits are at the bottom)

THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING: BOOK ONE

Four hobbits, two men, one elf, one dwarf and a wizard. This would be the best line up ever for a reality television show.

Frodo, Merry, Pip and Sam along with Aragorn, Boromir, Legolas, Gimli and Gandalf are the interspecies representatives that form the Fellowship of the Ring. A sort of United Nations of Middle Earth if you will, where the collective are supposed to protect and defend the freedom of all who dwell in Middle Earth and who are at threat from the growing darkness which is gradually creeping out of Mordor.

There is no denying that this collection of six books (now widely published and referred to as a Trilogy) is an epic work. Tolkien sets out his stall early on in Book One with detailed descriptions, dense prose, background histories,poetry and a whole new language. There is a lot of word furniture but given the scope of the story and size of the metaphorical room, it needs to be heavily furnished in order to make it seem real or else hobbits, elves, dwarves and men would be tramping around in a cavernously empty room. Tolkien will not be rushed. He has an end game but with five more books to get through there is no point in putting all your Hobbits in one hole. The first book is slow paced and littered with mythology, poetry and song so if you were bracing yourself for a breathless dash from Hobbiton to Rivendell then you will be disappointed.

And now, a word about the incessant singing. Hobbits like to eat and Hobbits like to sing. The descriptions of eating are fine, although they just made me hungry in turn. The singing is another matter. Much like an episode of Glee, there was far too much impromptu bursting into song and Hobbity jazz hands. You are on a serious mission Hobbits - act accordingly! With that in mind I didn't bother to read about 90% of the singing and so that made the reading of Book One a much speedier endeavour.

THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING: BOOK TWO

Inspired by the hobbity singing - jazz hands optional (and to be sung to Stand by Your Man by Tammy Wynette)

Sometimes its hard to be a hobbit
Giving all your love to just one ring
You'll have bad times
And Saruman will have good times
Doing evil things that you don't understand

But with the Fellowship you'll defeat him
Even though he's hard to understand
And though you fear him
And are wary of him
You can beat him
Cause after all he's just a (Saru)man
Stand by your Sam (Wise Gamgee of the Shire)
Give him two arms to cling to
And a ring to bring too

When nights are cold and lonely
And you sleep by rick or stone or tree
Stand by your Sam
And tell Middle Earth you love him
Keep giving all the love you can
Stand by your Sam
Stand by your Sam
And show Middle Earth you love him
Keep giving all the love you can
Stand by your Sam!

THE TWO TOWERS: BOOK THREE

Book three is the book where the hobbity singing, skipping and general happy-go-luckiness stops and war starts. War comes to Middle Earth preceded by the felling of great trees, the scorching of the earth, the poisoning of the waters and the birthing of a new race of fighting Uruk-hai. The eye of Sauron has turned its baleful crimson gaze from the orc-ugly workings of Mordor to the realms of men. If this was not bad enough, Saruman, powerful white wizard and most senior of Gandalf's order has decided that black is the new white and effectively changed teams. Apparently black is so much more timeless and the ultimate LBR (little black robe) is something that even wizards desire.

But this book is not just the vehicle in which the hobbits travel to war... this is the book in which we are introduced to a whole host of new characters and LOTR species. Further detailed descriptions of the history and linguistic roots of both Ents and Elves are forthcoming. An even more refined version of the previous word furniture (think Louis XIVth not Ikea)is placed at strategic points around the room adding a further comfortable dimension to Middle Earth. It is this constant growth and development which, although fantastical has its routes in etymology which makes the fantasy world of Lord of the Rings much more acceptable, perhaps even believable than previous fantasy epics.

THE TWO TOWERS: BOOK FOUR

Despite not believing that Hobbits would be very useful in a battle field scenario, Merry and Pippin prove their metal and generally kick Isengard butt in the final instalment of The Two Towers. Admittedly having some giant walking trees to ride around in makes them seem a good deal more invincible but generally you have to give them kudos for having disproportionately large balls, and not the scrying kind either.

Isengard stands barren and torn asunder and Saruman is a prisoner in his own tower while the people of Rohan have made their stand against the fighting Uruk-hai at Helms Deep proving what most great generals already knew. It's not the number of men (or elves or dwarves) you have at your disposal, but how you deploy them that counts. Frodo and Sam are still toiling onwards with the fretful gollum at their heels. It was here that I began to get a little confused as the time scale is disproportionately short in relation to the number of pages employed in order to make the journey thus far. In fact it has taken me longer to read the book than it did for the whole journey to take place and I am no slouch on the page turning front.

THE RETURN OF THE KING: BOOK FIVE

So now the Fellowship is well and truly torn asunder and even all the squeaking hobbits have been effectively separated, albeit it for a short while. The funny thing about hobbits is that the less of them there are in close proximity to each other, the less annoying I find them. Book Five sees Middle Earth fighting wars on many fronts. Denethor is fighting his own inner battles as well as looking towards Mordor and wondering what the hell is about to be spewed forth into his realm, The Battle for the Hornburg is over but Rohan still have to make a stand against the Witch King of Agmar. He is taken care of utilising at bit of Tolkien-style "girl power" in the form of Eowyn who rides into battle and takes one of the hobbits along for ballast. Faramir meanwhile discovers there are many downsides to being an only son. Gandalf and Aragorn decide to play knock knock ginger at the Black Gate in the hopes that this will allow Sam and Frodo to nip in the back door.

THE RETURN OF THE KING: BOOKS SIX

On the way to the top of Mount Doom, Shelob spins Frodo a yarn and leaves Sam carrying the one ring. Cheerfully the orcs are easily distracted by a nice bit of shiny, much like my good self and Sam rescues Frodo and returns the burdensome trinket to him. After this the journey continues with a very long trek to the Crack of Doom (imagine the worst Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award Challenge ever).

Despite having a clear idea of the kind of trouble the ring is capable of getting everyone into (1000 pages has got to be long enough to get a clue), Frodo still battles with the idea of chucking it into the firy pit. Cheerfully Gollum steps up and takes care of this for him but not before taking a finger-snack for good measure. Beyond Mordor, Aragorn is crowned king and everyone is soppy as the inevitable man/elf love story reaches its final climax with graceful smiles and sheepish looks (in the film anyway).

Back home in Hobbiton, not all has gone to plan and the shire is a shadow of its former self. Evil has also pervaded the shire but now that Bag Ends best known hobbit-warriors have returned it won't be there for long, oh no. Evil is expelled, Saruman is slain and Sam gets the girl.
Then there is a lot of happily ever afters, just like it should be.







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Reading Progress

01/31/2012 page 30
3.0% "and so begins the month of the kitten squisher.!"
02/01/2012 page 120
10.0% "enjoying my first kitten squisher of the month and this really read of a well established classic." 2 comments
02/02/2012 page 150
13.0% "no reading today :("
02/03/2012 page 200
17.0% "Just experienced the worlds most pointless non-journey to work but it also gave me three hours of bonus reading team. Equally cursed and blessed."
02/03/2012 page 200
17.0% "Sorry, reading time. Apparently my brain thinks one thing and my fingers type another."
02/04/2012 page 230
20.0% "Bring on book two and the introduction of Sean Bean, er I mean Boromir"
02/06/2012 page 300
25.0% "So far book two has much less singing. I approve."
02/07/2012 page 402
34.0% "the fellowship is torn assunder. oh frailty thy name is boromir although to be fair, you are right, the ring probably would look better on you."
02/10/2012 page 595
51.0% "Ents 1 Isengard 0"
02/10/2012 page 640
54.0% 3 comments
02/12/2012 page 680
58.0% "Back travelling with Frodo and Sam and bad bad Gollum!"
02/14/2012 page 722
61.0% "Why do the orcs always sound cockney in my head?" 5 comments
02/15/2012 page 770
65.0% "Are we nearly there yet Frodo?"
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Comments (showing 1-45 of 45) (45 new)

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Richard Is this the first time you've read it?


Shovelmonkey1 Richard wrote: "Is this the first time you've read it?"

No this is the second time of reading but I figure if I read it again then I can move this copy off my shelves. It takes up as much space as four normal books and space is getting precious, my precious.


Stephen "word furniture"....what a great phrase.


Shovelmonkey1 I'm sure there is a better technical linguistic term but this gets the point across (and also highlights that I forgot everything i ever learned in English language class!)


Stephen I don't know about a better technical term but that one sits nicely in the ear and made me smile.


Shovelmonkey1 I always smile when people put things in my ears (diamond earrings being a case in point)


message 7: by Richard (new)

Richard Derus Shovelmonkey1 wrote: "I always smile when people put things in my ears (diamond earrings being a case in point)"

Haven't any spare diamonds, but how 'bout some aquamarines?


message 8: by Richard (new)

Richard Derus Stephen wrote: ""word furniture"....what a great phrase."

It is indeed. Like it much, stealing it now.


Shovelmonkey1 ooh that's my birth stone. Actually I self gifted in a really nice jewellery shop today (a nice hammered silver ring) in Liverpool so tempting me with further bling is baaaaad!


Shovelmonkey1 You cannot steal that which is given freely!


message 11: by Richard (new)

Richard Derus My birthstone is the uccchhh-inducing sapphire. Well, I like star sapphires. Actually, my uncle gave me a Star Sapphire (the Armstrong Siddeley car) for my birthday one year. It was such a giant pain in the patoot that it was sold less than a year later, but I've never had a cooler gift in my whole life.


Shovelmonkey1 That is a cool present!


message 13: by Richard (new)

Richard Derus Of course, I lived in Texas then, and the A-S cooling system was known to overheat in the Orkneys, so it wasn't a daily driver. Taking the car out in January there, when it's only 15C, was about the limit. May? When it's 35C? Ha! August, at an average of 40C? *snort*

But soooooooooo beautiful....


message 14: by Mark (new) - rated it 4 stars

Mark Hobbity jazz hands

Love it. I shall never watch 'Glee' again without checking their feet for tell tale hairyness


message 15: by Richard (last edited Feb 08, 2012 08:50AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Richard It's just a matter of time before someone comes up with "The Lord of the Rings: The Musical." Possible song titles:
"It's my Party and I'll fly if I want to."
"Fish heads, fish heads, roly poly fish heads" (or, Gollum's Song).
"On the Road again"
"We're off to see the Wizard"
"How do you solve a problem like old Smeagol?"
"March of the Orcs"
"Food, Glorious Food"
"Drink, Drink, Drink"
"In an Elvish country garden"
"Did you happen to see the most beautiful Ent in the world (And if you did, was she cryin'?)"
"The Moria we get together"
"Get me to Mount Doom on time"


Shovelmonkey1 Sounds like you've got it in the bag already. I look forward to seeing you on broadway. Which character would you like to star as?


Shovelmonkey1 Mark wrote: "Hobbity jazz hands

Love it. I shall never watch 'Glee' again without checking their feet for tell tale hairyness"


Rachel Berry is a definite hobbit candidate if ever I saw one. I'm not sure how you'd explain Finn though.


message 18: by Richard (last edited Feb 08, 2012 06:13AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Richard Shovelmonkey1 wrote: "Sounds like you've got it in the bag already. I look forward to seeing you on broadway. Which character would you like to star as?"

Why, we would ssstar as Gollum, of course, my preciousss!


message 19: by Mark (new) - rated it 4 stars

Mark I'm not sure how you'd explain Finn though.

Maybe an Orc in transit to normal


message 20: by Shovelmonkey1 (last edited Feb 08, 2012 07:49AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Shovelmonkey1 Mark wrote: "I'm not sure how you'd explain Finn though.

Maybe an Orc in transit to normal"


Meh heh heheh


message 21: by mark (new) - rated it 5 stars

mark monday love that analogy for world-building.


Robert The funny thing about all that hobbity singing, though, is it basically saves Middle Earth: if the halflings weren`t such an unremittingly optimistic bunch, they`d have been dead before they got out of the Shire, let alone all the way to Mount Doom. Their heroism is stoic suffering, not battlefield deeds and it gets them almost all the way to victory.


Shovelmonkey1 Robert wrote: "The funny thing about all that hobbity singing, though, is it basically saves Middle Earth: if the halflings weren`t such an unremittingly optimistic bunch, they`d have been dead before they got ou..."

With this is mind I have created some of my own poetry to help me maintain the same dogged hobbit-like spirit of optimism!


Robert Eggzellent!


Shovelmonkey1 Robert wrote: "Eggzellent!"

Thank you. It was your post that prompted that little outburst.


message 26: by Ian (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ian "Marvin" Graye Richard wrote: "It's just a matter of time before someone comes up with "The Lord of the Rings: The Musical." Possible song titles..."

Great idea. What about:

"Tolkien about My Generation"?


message 27: by Ian (last edited Feb 10, 2012 01:06PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ian "Marvin" Graye The Habits of Hobbits

Hobbits like to eat
And when they're not digesting
Hobbits like to sing.

(Apologies to Shovelmonkey)


message 28: by Richard (last edited Feb 10, 2012 12:57PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Richard Ian wrote: "Richard wrote: "...Possible song titles..."

Great idea. What about:

"Tolkien about My Generation"?"


Perfect! It's in!

@ SM1: I didn't know you wrote lyrics as well. Maybe you could get Susan Boyle to sing it!


Shovelmonkey1 Hello you two, applause for the Tolkien about my generation line
I'm off to solicit sue-bo's phone number.


message 30: by Miriam (new) - added it

Miriam that's my birth stone. Actually I self gifted in a really nice jewellery shop today

Was your birthday this week?


message 31: by Paul (new) - rated it 5 stars

Paul Bryant voted for the song, darn it I wish I had thought of that!


Shovelmonkey1 I cannot claim the credit for it was Robert who prompted my glee-like outburst.


Daniel Holy hobbits, your comparison to Glee is so righteous. I think Sue could browbeat Sauron into submission and then take over the reins of MiddleEarth in time to give her evening broadcast. Hi-larious.


message 34: by Ian (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ian "Marvin" Graye I was sure I had liked this before.


message 35: by Mark (new) - rated it 4 stars

Mark wonderful wind whistle tour.

reading your review, have you ever read a lampoon called ' Bored of the rings'. Funny and I think especially so if you are a fan of LotR.


Richard Mark wrote: "wonderful wind whistle tour.

reading your review, have you ever read a lampoon called ' Bored of the rings'. Funny and I think especially so if you are a fan of LotR."


Love BotR! But there's now more than just one volume. Now there is a set: Cardboard Box Of The Rings: "The Soddit", "Bored Of The Rings", "The Sellamillion".


message 37: by Mark (new) - rated it 4 stars

Mark Richard wrote: "Mark wrote: "wonderful wind whistle tour.

reading your review, have you ever read a lampoon called ' Bored of the rings'. Funny and I think especially so if you are a fan of LotR."

Love BotR!..."


Richard that is brilliant news. i shall search them out and to hell wth the fact that that adds three more books to the ever growing pile


Jonathan Great review there, I love the humour...you weren't being serious right?


Shovelmonkey1 Thanks Jonathan, and no, most of my reviews are not entirely serious... my writing is just an excuse to put my weird sense of humour on public view. Glad you liked it though.


Jonathan Haha well I try the same. My family don't get my flippant, sarcastic or *cough* witty remarks so I have to try them on others.


Richard Jonathan wrote: "Haha well I try the same. My family don't get my flippant, sarcastic or *cough* witty remarks so I have to try them on others."

You oughta take something for that cough.


Jonathan Oughta I? Yeah I really should it pops up from time to time when I mention certain words like *cough* witty.


Richard Jonathan wrote: "Oughta I? Yeah I really should it pops up from time to time when I mention certain words like *cough* witty."

You're a really *cough* funny guy, Jonathan.


Jonathan It seems my cough's a little contagious. We better watch out that the reviewer and readers of the review don't catch it.


Nicholas Burress *lol* That is the most entertaining review I have ever read on here.


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