The Lord of the Rings The Lord of the Rings discussion


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Marc Childs It seems every time I see a discussion relating to this book (or an individual part of the trilogy) they are bashing either Tolkien as an author or the books themselves. First and foremost Tolkien wasn't necessarily an author, these stories arose out of the world/language he was creating. This book in many ways shaped fantasy as we know it today. If you can't appreciate a world as mysterious and expansive as the actual world, put into literary form, fine; but to go out of your way to put this down, shame on you. What do you guys think?


Melanti I think that's due (in part) to a lot of hardcore Tolkien fans thinking that there must be something wrong with anyone who doesn't like Tolkien. Nothing starts an argument faster than "You/They don't like this because..." and finishing the sentence with something really insulting.

Like "You must hate fantasy." "You just didn't 'get' the book." "You must not like 'hard' books." "You must only like 'pop' fiction and not 'literature'." "You must have the attention span of a gnat."

Or, in your post "You must not like detailed world building." Not true. I love detailed world building but still disliked LotR.

Tolkien is a rather polarizing author; people tend to either love him or hate him. And people tend to love arguing on the internet.


message 3: by Dylan (new) - added it

Dylan It is certainly disappointing to see all discussions on this book being reduced to whether or not people like it. There are potentially a lot of interesting things to discuss about it, and which can be discussed by anyone who has read it whether they like it or not.

For example:

Does Frodo die at the end, or just go to elf-land? Is going to elf-land a metaphor for death?

Is it better to have evil destroyed at the expense of the Elves (and magic) dying out? Or would it have been better to replace the Dark Lord with a Ring-bearing Hobbit, and put off this war for another age?

Is the Shire a metaphor for modern (1940s) England? Is the whole story a metaphor for WWII? (Tolkien himself would say no, but we are allowed to interpret.)

Who is Tom Bombadill? What does he represent? Why was he included in the story? Why is he the only character who is completely unaffected by the Ring?

What really happened to Gandalf after he fell off the ledge? Why does that experience result in him "leveling up"?

Who's really telling this story?

Fun stuff!


Marc Childs Exactly! I just can't stand the lack of intelligent discussion on here, instead settling for petty quarrels over an subjective thing such as how much you enjoyed the book!


Melanti So, why not start a thread about whether or not elf-land is a metaphor for death or whether the Shire is a metaphor for 1940's England and start a substantive discussion yourself?

It's generally the non-substantive threads that fall prey to trolls. If you start a thread stating "This book is the best thing since sliced bread!" you're inevitably going to get someone counteracting with "No it isn't!" because people tend to find arguing fun. And a "This book is awesome" thread is pretty pointless to begin with. If you start a thread with a specific question about a specific topic, people will generally discuss that topic.

For instance - this topic about gender roles or this topic about Tom Bombadil.

Or you could join one of the several groups on the site that are dedicated to discussing/analyzing Tolkien's work. That works too. You tend to get more substantive discussions in groups than the non-group discussion threads anyway. Fewer drive-by trolls.


Old-Barbarossa Marc wrote: "It seems every time I see a discussion relating to this book (or an individual part of the trilogy) they are bashing either Tolkien as an author or the books themselves. First and foremost Tolkien ..."

Shakubuku


message 7: by The (new) - rated it 3 stars

The Usual Dylan wrote: "It is certainly disappointing to see all discussions on this book being reduced to whether or not people like it. There are potentially a lot of interesting things to discuss about it, and which ca..."

Oddly, I find myself agreeing. The way to explain whether you like a book or not (and why) is by writing a review, which renders such comments here redundant. Having said that, there are people who believe The Lord of the Rings is the best book ever written and they must be destroyed!
Umm...
I mean, need to read more.
Umm...
Are entitled to their opinion, but aren't entitled to impose it on others (I meant that one).


Preston Good one The. Anyway, I know as a fact that there are fans who can talk about facts other than the fact that they love the books. I for one love to go on long rants about anything at all, even about the aspects of Tolkien's world that I don't like or are not very well done. So because of all these things I want to say. Hats off to you Marc for bringing this tantalizing fact to light. You have clarified by your observation a very dividing factor of the literature world.


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