P. Aaron Potter's Reviews > The Lord of the Rings

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
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's review
Mar 24, 12

it was amazing
bookshelves: fantasy, favorites, read-more-than-five-times

Well, what can we say? Seminal work. Essential reading. Changed the world. Needs an editor.

HE wanted it in there so HE put in all the g*d*mn sections about plants HE made up for a world only HE had ever seen in his head, and which only ever makes a difference, story-wise, to HIM.

It's crummy writing. Good writing is driven by the audience, not the author's ego. It's the same reason Moby Dick didn't sell (and still isn't read much except by crusty buffoons in English departments), while those 'damned scribbling women' made a mint selling bodice rippers which people actually wanted to read.

Jackson did Tolkien a huge favor by reducing all that botanical folderol to visual shorthand. LotR films > LotR books.

Every time I've made the mistake of reading Tolkien, I've felt like a hungry chocoholic being force-fed a dump truck full of cabbage just so he can get to the single Hershey's kiss buried beneath the dross.

I tend towards Samuel Johnson's take in "Rasselas": the author's description of a flower must be specific enough that readers will visualize a flower, but not so specific that they could only try to visualize that specific flower only the author has seen, a task at which they must fail. Tolkien violates the second clause.

And yet...I keep reading it.


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