Nicole's Reviews > The Lord of the Rings Trilogy

The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien
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's review
Aug 25, 2007

liked it
bookshelves: high-fantasy, favourite-characters
Read in April, 2002 — I own a copy

I managed to avoid reading this until the first film came out. After the credits rolled on The Fellowship of the Ring, I wanted to know what happened next, and so I read the book. It took me quite a while. I'm not naturally a fan of the peculiar writing style that characterises High Fantasy, and at the risk of angering Tolkienites everywhere, I have to say there are number of things about the book I'm not wild about.
I don't like Tom Bombadil, the way orcs and uruk-hai sound like gangs of Victorian cutthroats, or the tiresome sl-o-o-o-wness of Ents. I don't need that many detailed descriptions of forests. Aragorn's romance with Arwen is one of those idealised, up-on-a-pedestal things with no real substance. (I will always have a problem with an Elf thousands of years old wanting to couple up with a human, even one of the Numenor, but the films gave Arwen some things to do and some depth.) The structure of the book, following certain characters for long stretches while leaving others in the lurch, gets frustrating at times. Part of my extreme fondness for Faramir is because he showed up just when I was getting really tired of Frodo and Gollum and Sam bickering during their long, slow trudge toward Mordor. (Pacing is something else the films do so much better than the book.) But I like Faramir for other reasons, too; he is steadfast, honourable, and completely undeserving of his paranoid and unfair father. What kept the story going for me was the collection of interesting characters. Despite the things that irritate me, I did find myself at the end wanting to know more about what happened to a lot of them. The little Hobbits are truly resilient, and I really like Samwise most of all. Without Sam, the journey would've ended in tragedy. I like Aragorn a lot, too; he has the most interesting character arc, moving from doubt and lack of confidence into his destined position as a great leader. I like his compassion for his fellow travelers, as well, and really like the Houses of Healing sequence. Eowyn is wonderful. If I remember correctly, her part is one of the least changed from page to screen. Her bravery and determination set her apart from all the other female characters (and many of the males) in the book. Even though I knew she could not win Aragorn's heart, I still felt bad for her over it--but Faramir is a good match for her, after all. Boromir is terribly flawed but sympathetic and proves himself in the end. Gandalf, part kindly old uncle and part scary sorcerer, helps keep everything moving forward. Theoden, cheated out of his life and power, gets to make a final stand on his own terms. In the end, the story comes together well. But, while I usually prefer books to the films based on them, in this case, I prefer the films. The films wouldn't exist if it weren't for the book, but I prefer the Jackson team's editing strategy, seeing those trees on screen, and how the actors bring the characters to life.
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Comments (showing 1-17 of 17) (17 new)

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Micheline Well written and fair, and I agree Jackson's team did an excellent job moving the pace along and rather than painstaking explanations of scenery we get quick shots of scenery.

Richard (view spoiler)

Jonathan You raise good points and I think I shall have to write about some of these in my next review of this book...

message 4: by Richard (last edited Jan 16, 2012 09:32PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Richard Jonathan wrote: "You raise good points and I think I shall have to write about some of these in my next review of this book..."

Thanks for the compliment! The second point is more of a joke and may not hold water. But I've often thought about the first point and wished that Gollum could have turned out differently.

Richard Jonathan wrote: "...I think I shall have to write about some of these in my next review of this book..."

Your next review? How many reviews of LOTR have you written?

Nicole Thanks, Richard, Micheline & Jonathan. I agree about Frodo. A friend who hadn't read the book was utterly shocked by what happened when they finally got to Mordor. :)

message 7: by Tatiana (new)

Tatiana Oh, I think it was still Frodo who decided to undertake the journey, and who persevered through terrible circumstances, whose will continued to seek the end of the ring even when his body could only crawl up the slope of the mountain. The fact that the ring mastered him at the last minute just shows the limits of his strength. Most likely none of the great could have succeeded in defying the ring's power for as long as Frodo did.

Sam was wonderful. Sam was fantastic. But he didn't bear the agony of the ring for the whole journey the way Frodo did. So I had to post to honor Frodo's heroism.

Nicole I didn't mean to totally bash Frodo. He did take on the task and did the best he could with it, poor thing.
But I think Elijah Wood conveyed Frodo's struggle much better than the book did.

Brandi I agree with you about Frodo, Sam, and Gollum. The only reason I can think of why Tolkien prolonged their journey together (in this case, three is definitely not company!) is so that he could show how irredeemable Smeagol was.

Nicole Good point, Brandi. You may be right. Subtle it was not.

message 11: by Brad (new) - rated it 5 stars

Brad You are a brave, brave woman, Callista. I like that.

Nicole Thanks, Brad! Am I brave for daring to risk Tolkienite wrath? :)

message 13: by Brad (new) - rated it 5 stars

Brad In my experience ... yes you are.

Nicole Well, again--thank you very much!

Theodosia of the Fathomless Hall Your review=almost exactly my thoughts on the masterpiece of LotR!

Nicole Thanks, Rowenna!

Theodosia of the Fathomless Hall Your very welcome,Callista!

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