Khanh, first of her name, mother of bunnies's Reviews > The Fellowship of the Ring

The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien
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it was ok

Never have I been so sad to give a low rating to such a revered book. I'm so sorry. I can't tell you how sorry I am.

Again, I'm so sorry, but I found this book unbelievably dull. I really am so, so sorry. I'm desperately sad about this. This series has been such a foundation for modern-day fantasy that I'm incredibly disappointed in myself for not liking this. I have always wanted to be a Tolkien fangirl. I've always wanted to learn Elvish and get completely offended à la Stephen Colbert but I can't. I just can't.

I want so desperately to love Tolkien, but it just ain't happening.

I've been trying this book for 17 years. Tolkien and I have a sad history. I've always been a book lover, when I was young, I would persist through any book, no matter how trying. The Hobbit was the first book that made me fall asleep. It's memorable to me because that's the first time, and only the second time it's ever happened. The other book that made me fall asleep? You guessed it.

The Fellowship of the Ring.

I tried The Fellowship in 10th grade. I couldn't get past Bilbo's birthday party.

I tried it again almost 10 years ago when I was stuck in bed for several days due to, oh, a giant surgical wound in my neck. My doctor said I had to stay in bed for a few days. So, I reasoned, what better way than to resume my attempt at reading one of the greatest literary classics of all time than whole having no other option?

Audiobook it was! I didn't last past Tom Bombadil before I decided, fuck this, I'm going to head to the gym with a bloody bandage on my neck. True story. I got a lot of really weird looks. My doctor gave me a prescription for Vicodin because he was concerned the pain would be too much to bear. Apparently, I didn't even need the Vicodin because that pedophile Tom Bombadil put me right to sleep.

Seriously, were it not for the fact that it is written by Tolkien, I would have hated this book. It was so unbelievably dull. There were parts, that to a Tolkien amateur like me, didn't have a whit of relevance or anything interesting to add to the plot (namely, say, the first 700 pages of the book). Seriously, what the fuck is up with the farmer and Tom Bombadil?

The plot was all sorts of disjointed. Some parts just didn't make any sense. Tolkien is a linguist at heart, and it shows, because all the famous quotes we know from him are just sound bytes. In context, sometimes they don't really make any sense. All the poems and songs are in there to sound pretty, and frankly, they bored the fuck out of me.

For instance, in the middle of a serious dinner party where the company is just trying to decide what to do about the ring (surely a simple task), all of a sudden little Frodo stands up and solemnly announces.
All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,

A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king
I was like what the fuck, man?! Where did that come from? It makes absolutely no sense in the context of the scene. Oh, sure, it's an inside thing on how Aragorn was the secret king, but nobody knew that! Everyone, elf, hobbit, dwarf, (and me) would have thought he was completely high on some elven grass.

Let me make this clear: I do not, for an instance, doubt Tolkien's literary value. I think he has been an inspiration to generations of writers, artists, hell, gamers. My beloved World of Warcraft game featured elves, pretty much every fantasy book we have these days have been inspired in one way or another by Tolkien. Again, he was an amazing linguist, his work developing the Elvish tongue, among others, as well as his efforts in developing the rich, fantastic history of the world within his books is not to be disregarded by any means.

But again, he is a linguist. He is a scholar. He may be the most brilliant one of those in the world, an inspiration to generations, but for me, personally, his writing is not to my tastes.

But damn, the movies were amazing!
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Quotes Khanh, first of her name, mother of bunnies Liked

J.R.R. Tolkien
“Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement.”
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

Reading Progress

Finished Reading
May 31, 2015 – Shelved

Comments Showing 1-50 of 234 (234 new)

message 1: by Nezumi (new)

Nezumi Tolkien is renown for being a difficult author to read. I'm not surprised when people give his books low ratings.

message 2: by Jasmine (last edited May 31, 2015 02:07AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jasmine Oh my god. My feelings -- they're in words.

Markus While this was painful to read, there's no need to be sorry. There will always be differing opinions about every single book out there. Even the best book ever written :)

message 4: by Jeff Briel (new)

Jeff Briel The Hobbit made me fall asleep too. Couldn't get past page 20 but I'll try again. The movies, tho.

Lady Alexandrine That's brave Khanh :) I respect Tolkien and I read the whole The Fellowship ... book, but couldn't force myself to read the next two. I also loved the movies.

Alma Q AGREE. I loved The Silmarillion but can't seem to finish reading any of his other books. Which is funny, I guess, because Silma is supposedly his least accessible work and has little plot to keep people, or at least the half-grown ones interested. (But it does have plenty of linguistics! And names. And death. TRULY EPIC.)

OK, I will go now...

Rebekah You're not alone! I couldn't finish the Hobbit and absolutely forced myself through The Fellowship - it is SO boring!

Eric Plume @Khanh: Thank you for writing this.

Like you, I spent many years trying to appreciate the "genius" that is Tolkien's writing. Like you, I kept failing and figured I wasn't "geeky" I kept at it. Eventually I realized that no, this is not in fact to my tastes, me thinking this is boring and dense is okay, and as long as I recognize the (very legitimate) contributions Tolkien made to the fantasy genre I'm not bashing him by failing to be enthralled by his work.

A house is built by many individuals with wildly differing skills; the worker who pours the concrete for the foundation is far removed from the worker who decides what colors the walls should be painted. The interior designer can respect the contribution of the foundation-maker without wanting to learn how to be one - or for that matter thinking what they do is totally amazing.

Same is true for the "elders" of any genre of fiction; one can respect their status while at the same time not much care for the work they created. It is okay for a reader to judge a work based on what it means to them...any time, every time, all the time. Even if that means a reader looks at the work of some mega-super-foundational-respected grandmaster and says "yeah, I respect what other people did with your concepts and stuff...but this shit? Kinda boring to me." The day such behavior becomes a mortal sin is the day literary criticism dies in my view.

I have respect for the classics, but precisely zero reverence. Blind faith is the provenance of fools who haven't looked close enough.

Cris I think this may be one of the most politely frased negative review I have ever read.

message 10: by Inge (new) - rated it 2 stars

Inge Yep, I completely agree with this. I did manage to read the entire trilogy as well as The Hobbit, but it required a lot of effort. It was dull, it was slow, there was a ton of unnecessary information, and he talks about trees for ten pages. I love the world he's built up and how much he means to the fantasy world, but... his story-telling is just not for me.

message 11: by Eugenia (new)

Eugenia Liontou I totally agree Khanh, and I feel somehow relieved! I used to think the same about these books but I could never express my feelings because Tolkien is a legend and who am I to judge.... Happy to see this review. :-)

message 12: by Reader-ramble (new)

Reader-ramble These are my feelings exactly. The only way I got through Tolkien was when I took a fun and amazing class on him. Seriously, he's more fun to study than to read.

message 13: by cloudyskye (new)

cloudyskye You are SO not alone, Khanh! I made it as far as page 3 of "The Hobbit" and simply couldn't continue. Let's not feel bad or sad about it. :)

message 14: by Gemma (new) - added it

Gemma OMG thank you thank you thank you__ I've always thought that I was just weird, and have gotten angry reprimands from lots of friends, but I share your thoughts exactly >< and, believe me, I've tried again and again and again.

Andre I remember reading the German translation and back then I was: You could have cut the first half of the book down to 10% at it would not make any difference.

Hazel Benson I'm amazed so many people feel the same as me. I made myself read the whole trilogy, so no Tolkien fans could discredit my feelings about it. I wanted to love it. I read them prior to the films, which were amazing. I was kind with my rating of the books....but oh my god...they were torture. I even found myself cleaning the oven half way through a chapter, just to have some stimulation. That takes quite some tedium to make me choose oven cleaning over reading!

message 17: by Natalie (new) - added it

Natalie Monroe I'm tried reading this a few years ago, but just couldn't. It's so dull. Now I feel bad because lots of series I love are inspired by Tolkien.

message 18: by Emma (new)

Emma Initially I had the same issues as you. Beginning his books is slow and arduous, Tolkien is definitely a difficult read at times. But I do have to disagree to some extent. Indeed, persistence truly did save the book. It grew interesting and I couldn't put it down. However, I can understand your reasoning perfectly. It was well phrased.

message 19: by Carmen (new) - added it

Carmen It's so funny you posted this review on the same day I was stroking and admiring my gorgeous 1965 hardbound copies of this series that belonged to my mother. :) LOL Serendipity.

And no need to apologize! Your opinion is certainly valid. :)

message 20: by JDR (new)

JDR im actually the oddball who liked the books? Although since I dont have a copy myself, I havent read the series in its entirety.

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

Mari Skyrin-Sarker No need to apologize for not liking Tolkien. His stuff can be hard to read. I HATED the Hobbit, but the Lord of the Rings was awesome. The movies were awesome too.

Andre Mari wrote: "No need to apologize for not liking Tolkien. His stuff can be hard to read. I HATED the Hobbit, but the Lord of the Rings was awesome. The movies were awesome too."

You mean the Hobbit movies as well? ^^

message 23: by Mari Jaye (new)

Mari Jaye i always feel the same way about not enjoying Dickens :)

message 24: by [deleted user] (new)

Totally felt the same way when I tried to get into it again because of my love for the movies. But couldn't get through because it was way too dull to continue. you're not the only one!

message 25: by Vivien (new)

Vivien I tried reading The Hobbit in the 6th grade. I couldn't get past the dwarf party. I know exactly how you feel.

Andre Vivien wrote: "I tried reading The Hobbit in the 6th grade. I couldn't get past the dwarf party. I know exactly how you feel."

I read the entire book and I can only say: Luckily the movies are a big screw you to the source material.

message 27: by Tracy (new)

Tracy Klein I do love Tolkien's rich descriptions because it allows me to imagine everything vividly but I do agree with you, some parts of the book made me fall asleep... coughthecouncilofelrondcough

Leslie Evans Glad someone feels the same way! This book was a struggle to get through

Emily May Cannot agree more, Khanh. So so dull.

Rebbie Don't feel bad, Khanh. The day that everyone has to like the exact same books is the day I will refuse to read. There's something for everyone out there to enjoy.
Someone else made an important point: as literature evolves and time moves on, it's perfectly acceptable to respect earlier writing without actually enjoying it. As the years go by, less and less people will enjoy people like Tolkien, Bronte, Proust, etc. No worries. :)

message 31: by Thibaut (last edited May 31, 2015 09:57AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Thibaut Nicodème I agree with you 100%, Khanh. Still haven't managed to finish this book, let alone try the sequels.

 ᴍɪᴄs ✖amante de los spoilers✖ I was bored out of my mind too, I couldn't pass from chapter two XD

message 33: by Courtney (new)

Courtney Vasiliev Im the same way I wanted to LOVE this book, its like, someone not liking Star Wars (which I wasn't able to get on that bandwagon haven't seen any of the movies or read anything about it), while everyone else seems to love it, I wasn't able to get through the book nor the movies. I was really sad about it.

message 34: by Brigid (new) - added it

Brigid FUCKING FINALLY. Someone I can I hug that also does not get the love for Tolkien. I pick the movies any day.

message 35: by Susana (last edited May 31, 2015 12:44PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Susana After I saw the first movie in the cinema, I went in search of the books... me and apparently a whole lot of people.
The book was out of print for awhile (different jackets related to the movie), so the only one available was Simarillion. Which I bought.
Luckily for me at the time I was going through finals, so I didn't had the time to read it.
Meanwhile Lord of Rings became available, I bought it and immediately start reading it...
OMG it was so boring :/
The songs! I hated the songs!
Bottom line: I have never ever picked up another Tolkien book again. As for the Simarillion(sP) it is on my shelf collecting dust. :D

message 36: by Sami (new) - rated it 3 stars

Sami C Ugh thank you for saying what I couldn't! I was scared to say I didn't enjoy the book, because what kind of bookworm says that? But it was just so slow, and so boring. I feel like a lot of people say they like the books, but oh I know...they're bullshitting. Lol.

Andre Susana wrote: "Bottom line: I have never ever picked up another Tolkien book again. As for the Silmarillion(sP) it is on my shelf collecting dust. :D "

In retrospect I would say the Simarillion is easier to read than LOTR since its actually a collection of different, sometimes quite short stories. Also it was never planned to be published by Tolkien, so its not as long and you can basically stop wherever you want since the stories end all the time.

Debbie's Spurts (D.A.) I actually liked the Tom Binbadil parts and was disappointed the movie left him out. But, frankly, when I re-read the trilogy I skim a lot of the bucolic, scenery, farmer bits to get on to the action bits once all the fellowship members meet up. I get it; I know all the scenic stuff was pretty par for the course for books written at that time frame (particularly by "scholarly" writers). I even get that ztolkien was paying homage to a countryside and a lifestyle. But, it's just not that interesting to read on first encounter and outright stuporish boring to re-read. I loved the Hobbit, his shorter works and poetry and all those Inkling write rings so much that I did manage to read hose sections the first time even if boring. At the time, not really that much more boring than other scenic bits of contemporary books -- but, I get where you are coming from with this.

Andre D.A — not one more promotion on my feed drowning out my friends puh-leeeeeese!!!! wrote: "I actually liked the Tom Binbadil parts and was disappointed the movie left him out. But, frankly, when I re-read the trilogy I skim a lot of the bucolic, scenery, farmer bits to get on to the act..."

Well, when you get down to it, what influence did the Tom Bombadil part really have on the wider story?

message 40: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer I think I got halfway through and gave up after Tolkien spent a whole chapter describing trees. Way too wordy for me. the Hobbit however was excellent!

message 41: by Jilly (new)

Jilly I can't get through The Hobbit either. Just watch the movies (not the Hobbit movies, the Fellowship movies). :)

Adalis I actually managed to get through all three books and overall, I gave them three stars. But by far, the first book is the most difficult to get through. His writing can definitely be rather dry and it's not surprising. In addition to being a linguist, he spent a lot of time studying myths and legends. Books written about such topics are often dry and it appeared to me that he was copying that style. The Silmarillion, in my opinion, is definitely indicative of that. And even though he did create an interesting world, I never could understand why he inspires so many. His works are inspired from mythology, Norse and Celtic in particular. Besides that, Tolkien is definitely an acquired taste.

message 43: by Leah (new)

Leah Alvord Yes, the movies were incredible. (Still disgusted at how they butchered "The Hobbit" though.) And it was definitely more of a skim-over-reading exercise for me to get through any of the books. But like you, I definitely respect Tolkien. (And Lewis, though I can't get past 30 pages of his books.)

Susana Andre wrote: "Susana wrote: "Bottom line: I have never ever picked up another Tolkien book again. As for the Silmarillion(sP) it is on my shelf collecting dust. :D "

In retrospect I would say the Simarillion is..."

Well I may give it another try one of these... months. At the moment my concentration is running too thin for me to deal with epic fantasy.

The first fantasy book I read was Guy Gavriel Kay's The Summer Tree. Back then I loved it, and I guess I was expecting something along the lines of it when I started with Lord of The Rings.

Spider the Doof Warrior Yeah... Tolkien is... like cheese cake. Like very rich, rich, rich cheese cake. Not that I hate cheese cake but I have to eat it slowly. I've only read the Hobbit and Fellowship of the Ring. I think.

The movies make a lot of things tighter but I didn't notice Tom Bombidil being a pedophile. I thought he was just, very very annoying.

Also his books are a sausage fest.

message 46: by Christina (new)

Christina Bauer Oh, I loved Lord of the Rings. At the time, I was in high school and being forced to read Beowulf and the Kalevala, so I knew the source material Tolkien was updating. He did a really good job, too. Also, there was no adult fantasy (at least in the sword and sorcery sense) when LOTR came out. It was the only book of its kind around, and it opened a new world for me. Thank you, JRR!

Grace Meredith Kudos! The movies rule! And I'm also really bored by the books.

message 48: by Julia (last edited May 31, 2015 07:57PM) (new) - added it

Julia I'm glad I'm not the only one who couldn't get thru it. Actually, the Hobbit was read to me by a teacher who only read the exciting or relevant parts, so when I was all grown up I decided to try and realized how much our teacher skipped over.

message 49: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn I tried it as well, and I couldn't do it.

message 50: by Zehra (new)

Zehra This is so great >.< =D XD

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