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Farmer Giles of Ham
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message 1: by Margaret (new)

Margaret | 3559 comments Mod
Let's discuss Farmer Giles of Ham by J.R.R. Tolkien, with and without spoilers.


Mary Catelli | 869 comments The definition of the wise clerks of Oxford for "blunderbuss" comes from the Oxford English Dictionary. It can be interesting catching some of his allusions.


Maggi Harris | 22 comments Received my copy from ThriftBooks in the mail last night and devoured this treasure of a dragon's tale today. I expected nothing less from Tolkien than this exquisite classic. I'm so glad this was chosen and I had the opportunity to find this gem.

I enjoyed this far more than most of the Sir Gawain tales I read last month, although I am still waiting on the Tolkien edition from my library, which will not reopen until at least the end of the month, but nothing is certain still. In hindsight, I may have to begin collecting more of Tolkien's work for my home library.


message 4: by Margaret (new)

Margaret | 3559 comments Mod
I have a Tolkien shelf. :)


Maggi Harris | 22 comments His writing style is an absolute delight to read. It looks like I’ll be branching out more. Aside from his most famous four, what are some of your favorites?


Mary Catelli | 869 comments Margaret wrote: "I have a Tolkien shelf. :)"

Me, too. 0:)


message 7: by Margaret (new)

Margaret | 3559 comments Mod
Maggi wrote: "His writing style is an absolute delight to read. It looks like I’ll be branching out more. Aside from his most famous four, what are some of your favorites?"

The LOTR trilogy and The Hobbit are the best. This one (Farmer Giles) and Smith of Wootton Major & Farmer Giles of Ham are quite charming. I remember becoming obsessed with the premise of Smith as a child.

Everything else he wrote, in my opinion, is very scholarly and can be tough to get through. This isn't a critique--he was a scholar! But the value found in, say, The Silmarillion, comes wanting to approach the LOTR as a scholar would, and study the history and language. The same goes for much of his work. Much of his more recent work that's been published are unfinished pieces he was working on, like The Fall of Arthur. I enjoyed reading it but it's not a riveting read.


Annette | 263 comments Tolkien’s Sir Gawain & the Green Knight (published with two other related works) is quite readable. He really nails the alliteration but does not stick to the meter as well as Borroff.


Maggi Harris | 22 comments Margaret, thanks for your perspective! As much as I adore Hobbit and LOTR, I admit I am a bit intimidated by Silmarillion. You’ve given me some new books to add to my look-out-for list!

Annette, I’m excited to read his version of the Tales of Sir Gawain as most of the copies I borrowed from the library fell short of the meter I had imagined. It will be interesting to see the difference.


message 10: by Annette (last edited May 30, 2020 02:10PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Annette | 263 comments I read The Smith of Wootton Major & Farmer Giles of Ham back in college which for me is ancient history. When recording it as read when I joined Goodreads, I gave it 3 stars. But a re-read is proving that I was unappreciative of the writing, it's quite good!


message 11: by Phil (new) - rated it 4 stars

Phil Jensen | 31 comments Re: Green Knight

I am a big Tolkien fan, but I have to endorse the Armitage translation instead. There is a helpful text comparison in my review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

Re: Farmer Giles

I love this story. As far as I know, it's the most humorous, satirical thing that Tolkien ever wrote, and it's great to see this side of him.

Re: Other Tolkien books

I'm not an expert. There's plenty I haven't read. In my personal experience, the Silmarillion was a little rough as a reading experience because it was stitched together from drafts with wildly different pacing and tone. I recommend The Children of Húrin, which read like a complete work and did not feel like a posthumous fix-up at all. It also has a different feel from the main trilogy, which sets up a lot of interesting contrasts.


message 12: by Margaret (new)

Margaret | 3559 comments Mod
Phil wrote: "I recommend The Children of Húrin, which read like a complete work and did not feel like a posthumous fix-up at all. It also has a different feel from the main trilogy, which sets up a lot of interesting contrasts."

Oh, I have that but I don't think I've read it! I'll have to read it when I have a chance. :)


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