Fiction: Done with Lord of the Rings books

6/11 - Almost done

Well, our family took a little trip to Okoboji this past week, and I read a LOT, mostly at night when I should have been sleeping, but you gotta do what you gotta do, right? I actually finished up The Two Towers about an hour before we left, and so didn’t have to drag that one along with me. The Two Towers is deceiving because it LOOKS like it’s much longer than it is, because the last 1/4 of the book is Appendicies. Gee, wish I’d have known THAT stuff was there when I started out.

I really, really liked these books. The ending seemed to drag a bit, but otherwise, they were very engaging and, of course, well written. I think they may be my favorite books of all time. NOT, however The Hobbit, which as I said before, I couldn’t have cared less what happened to the stupid greedy Dwarves, and even Bilbo’s fate seemed unimportant.

The sad thing is, now that I’ve finished the trilogy, I kind of want to read them again – just as how, after a good but complex movie, you want to watch it again so that you can pick up all the things you missed. This of course goes against my firmly held belief that there are SO MANY books in the world that I have not read, that it’s silly to waste time reading something I have already read. But I may go back to them some day. We’ll see if the movies help fill in some of that missing information for me.

Of course, if I do re-read them, I’ll have to see if there exists some sort of Lord of the Rings Guide to Characters, Species, and other nonsense, like there is for Star Wars. A friend generously lent me his two map books, which were immensely helpful. But all throughout The Return of the King, I found myself getting people and places confused.

This is a long-known problem I have – I cannot keep track of people or places in books or movies. Star Wars books often have a little brief “who’s who” in the front of them – LOVE that feature. LOTR needed that. The author himself didn’t help the problem, though. First, everyone and every place is named so similarly. Second, there are so stinking many people!! And then, third, does everyone and every place have like 8 names? I actually for a while had Arwen and Eowyn confused in my head, and THAT made some parts of the book difficult to understand. The Hobbits and their places were about the ONLY things that I could keep straight. Frodo, Pippin, Merry, Sam, the Shire, Hobbitton. Easy to remember. Not similar to each other. Yay.

Now, one might wonder how I can have this problem with LOTR but not with Star Wars. Well, I think I used to have the same trouble with SW, as well, but after like 100 books and seeing the movies some 200 times, um, you start to get them straight. At the same time, I still get some of the planets confused, and MOST of the star ships. And ALL of the Imperial officers (because they’re largely fungible). (Dang, too bad Fungible can’t be my vocab of the month.)

What was kind of fun about the physical books was that the first book was my mom’s from college (just as the Hobbit was). A 10th anniversary printing from the 60s. Somehow The Two Towers was published after the movies came out, because it had pictures from the movies on it. I vaguely remember buying this at a used book sale, having recently come to the realization that I didn’t have it. The Return of the King I think I also picked up at a used book sale, and it was published in the 60s also, but wasn’t as “antique” looking as The Fellowship of the Ring.

Well, now we can finally watch the movies.

PS, though I only skimmed the Appendicies, the stuff I did read was immensely helpful in giving some backstory and, of course, the final endings of all the characters. And it explained the whole Arwen giving her place on the ship to Frodo thing.

And, this makes 5 fiction books now, half of my goal. Which I knew I’d surpass pretty quickly.

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