Denae Christine's Reviews > The Fellowship of the Ring

The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien
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bookshelves: classics, movie, epic-fantasy, noblebright

Reader thoughts: In truth, I'd probably DNF this book several times over except for the movies and that the end is better. Without knowing how many amazing authors and books Tolkien has inspired over the years, I might give his trilogy 2 stars. Really.

This article mentions 8 ways to make a story boring. LOTR has at least 5 of these problems.

1, Realistice Dialogue
It's not so much realistic as it is too straightforward. No, it doesn't carry a lot off the "ums" and vague "you knows." The characters, however always say what they're trying to say, and it takes them paragraphs to do so. As a reader, I like to see more subtlety and misdirection. So maybe this one's only half a problem.

2, Telling not Showing
This is all over the trilogy. Granted, this used to be the way to write books. Stories used to be more told than they are today. Now, we don't want to be told that everyone's afraid. Readers want to feel the sweat on the brow, the chill up the spine, the trembling of knees, and hear the rapid breathing and beating of hearts, although maybe not all at once; that's overkill.

3, Textbook Writing
Just about every chapter, Tolkien breaks into the history of the city/hill/house/tree that many readers care nothing about.

4, Getting Caught Up in Descriptions
This is related to #3. Tolkien can be forgiven for this one because he wrote before TV. Not everyone knew what a marsh or mountains might look like.

5, Spending Too Much Time on Things That Don't Matter
This is also related to #3. Someone like Tom Bombadil is an interesting character, but he does absolutely nothing for the overall plot, and he gets too many pages. That's why he was so easy to leave out of the movies.

Honestly, I've always found the LOTR trilogy to be rather boring. I'm listening to them again now, and I haven't changed my mind. The voice is dull, and the pov is distant. I keep feeling I ought to love these books. Tolkien did so much for the fantasy genre! Now I'm a fantasy author. Why can't I like these books more? My tastes just differ so much.

Writer's thoughts: Now that I've written a couple books, I have two more problems to add to the list.

6, Taking a 17-Year Break
Why have seventeen years between Bilbo's party and Frodo's departure? If you want to make this all sound urgent, that's not the way to do it!

7, Make an Entirely Male Cast
There are, like, half a dozen women mentioned in the entire trilogy. Most of those aren't even human. When the MC is male, 50 years old, and a hobbit, a good practice is to have strong supporting characters who reach out to the rest of the reader audience. For instance, include a young character (Pippin is the youngest at 28, which is still older than many readers) and maybe a prominent female I could relate to. Maybe I'll have more appreciation for these books when I'm 50, but I'll never be a hobbit or a male.

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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
January 30, 2008 – Shelved
February 2, 2008 – Shelved as: classics
September 24, 2009 – Shelved as: movie
January 21, 2010 – Shelved as: epic-fantasy
June 8, 2017 – Shelved as: noblebright

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