Catholic Lifetime Reading List discussion

The Fellowship of the Ring (The Lord of the Rings, #1)
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The Fellowship of the Ring > The Fellowship of the Ring

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Ashley | 92 comments Mod
I'd like to start out by mentioning a few things about LOTR:
1) I know there is TONS of commentary about this masterpiece. Lots of readers and experts have looked into the symbolism and meaning of Tolkein's story. To be honest, the only experience I have with LOTR is watching the movies. So I'm going into this freshly, without any exposure to these commentaries. So, apologies if my own commentaries and insights are just repeats of what has already been discovered about the book.
2) I'm definitely nervous about reading this. I've talked to a few people who I respect as well read people. They have all said they were never able to finish LOTR. So...that makes me think it's going to be a challenge to get through this. Challenge accepted!
3) My goal is to get through this in one month. I calculated that with my book, that would mean reading 13 pages per day. We'll see if the goal can be met!

Happy reading everyone!

message 2: by Frances (new)

Frances Richardson | 9 comments I'm just starting it, too, Ashley. The book very quickly draws one into a whole new, totally different world. A friend of mine told me that what hooked her was the beautiful language. I am looking forward to your comments as we and others go along.

message 3: by Ashley (last edited Dec 31, 2017 12:09PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ashley | 92 comments Mod
About halfway through chapter 2.
A few things popped out at me:
First of all, I'm shocked at how much this story captivates me. I was sort of expecting it to be very difficult to read, but I just love the language so far. I'm also loving the descriptions of hobbit life. As I said earlier, I've only seen the movies, so it's neat to get more in depth descriptions of the hobbits and their way of life.
Secondly, I loved the scene where Bilbo didn't want to let go of the ring. It reminded me so much of St. Augustine in his confessions, when he had a sin he was not ready to give up. I was also reminded of myself when sin takes hold of me and I stubbornly don't want to give it up. Sin, like the ring, takes hold of us and changes us. And how wonderful and light it feels when we let it go! I could feel the weight lifted off Bilbo's shoulders when he finally made the decision to let it go. And how wonderful it was for him to have a friend like Gandalf to help him. We all need friends like this to help us see reality when sin has blinded us. And sometimes, we must be Gandalf to others.

Ashley | 92 comments Mod
Just started Chapter 10.
I loved Tom Bombadill! Something that they completely left out of the movies. Something that really popped out at me about him was when the hobbits asked Goldberry who Tom was. Her response was: He is. Wow...if that's not a reflection of God's description of Himself as "I Am who Am", I don't know what is!
I'm also struck by how much the theme of friendship, and more specifically, help, is shown throughout the book so far. At the beginning, Frodo prepares to take his journey alone. But as the chapters go on, more and more friends volunteer to help him along. It reminds me of Jesus carrying his cross...even God Himself needed help from Simon of Cyrene. We are not meant to carry our burdens alone!

Ashley | 92 comments Mod
I was doing so well keeping up with pace for the first part of the month...then this past week I have read ZERO pages of LOTR. I'm going to try to still finish by the end of this month but it might take me a few more weeks than I originally thought, depending on how ambitious I am/how well my baby sleeps :-)

I am currently on chapter 2 of Book 2, the Council of Elron. I am loving the description of Aragorn. For some reason I'm connecting with his character a lot more in the book than I did watching the movies. I found myself feeling so glad he was with the hobbits, and thinking "wow, they would have been gone a long time ago if it wasn't for him."

Also, as a side note, did anyone else really enjoy Sam's song about the Troll? I forget which chapter it was. Normally I have a hard time following those songs but Sam's song was hilarious to me and I found myself putting a tune to the words.

message 6: by Frances (new)

Frances Richardson | 9 comments Ashley, if you've listened to Bishop Robert Barron's YouTube video on the books, you'll remember that Barron refers to three Christ figures: Gandalf as prophet, Aragon as king, and Frodo as priest. At the beginning of Chapter III, I was immediately struck by Frodo's comment about his mission: " I can't imagine a more severe punishment. . . condemned to go on this hopeless journey . . ." The allusion to the crucifixion is startling.

I found Bilbo's lovely, wistful song in the same chapter very touching.

I love Tolkien's beautiful, classic prose throughout.

Ashley | 92 comments Mod
I just finished! I took me a month longer than I thought. I got stuck around the Council of Elron...for some reason it was really hard for me to get through that part. Other than that, though, I found the whole story captivating and beautiful. Like Frances mentioned earlier, the language was wonderful.

I'm realizing why this was on the Catholic Lifetime Reading List. The Christ-like sacrifice in the characters is forefront in the story. Even though I have seen the movie, I teared up when Gandalf "died". I found myself soaking in the beauty of Middle Earth with The Company, especially while they were in Lothlorien.

Sam is by far my favorite character. His loyalty and purity is so child like and it reminds me of the type of people Christ told us to be like. I also have to admit that I love Gimli, especially his "conversion" moment when he was taken away by the beauty of Galadriel. (I laughed a little when I read that he and Legolas became fast friends).

I'm looking forward to reading the next one, but I'll probably wait until next year. My husband thinks I'm crazy for waiting so long, but I'm the type of person that needs to move on to a different type of book or I get bored. Feel free to start on the Two Towers before me if you'd like, and you can discuss it here!

Next month, I'll be reading the Dark Night of the Soul by St. John of the Cross. I hope to finish it before Easter, making it my Lent reading.

message 8: by Frances (new)

Frances Richardson | 9 comments Ashley, please don't wait a year before diving into The Two Towers! In the second volume the story becomes more exciting, Gollum emerges as a major character, and, if you loved Sam in The Fellowship, you have a treat in store, because Sam is heroic here, too. Frodo becomes a fuller character as well. Tolkien's imaginative powers are on full display as he describes scenes of great beauty, Aragon takes on a more heroic stature, new characters -- some heroic, some terrifying -- are added, and mighty battles ensue. (At times the imagery of war is so fierce and consummate I felt I was reading The Iliad.)

You will love The Two Towers, Ashley, and never be bored. Please go back before a year.

Ashley | 92 comments Mod
Frances wrote: "Ashley, please don't wait a year before diving into The Two Towers! In the second volume the story becomes more exciting, Gollum emerges as a major character, and, if you loved Sam in The Fellowshi..."

Well now I do think I need to read it sooner! Maybe I'll switch it with one of my other spiritual reads that are not on the "lifetime" list. Or maybe I'll try to squeeze it in in addition to my other reads. Thanks for your input! You've gotten me more excited to read the next one now!

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