BooksOfTheMoon

The Lord of the Rings

By J.R.R. Tolkien

Rating: 5 stars

I love The Lord of the Rings. I first read it in my early teens and have re-read it every few years since then. I acknowledge and appreciate the various flaws and weaknesses that it has – being a foundational work of the genre, it’s had more than its share of critical attention – but I will always love it, despite those. Yes, it has effectively no women characters with agency; yes it’s a very conservative book; yes, it portrays entire races as evil and could be regarded as mildly racist, but I still love it.

I love the adventure, I love the world-building, I love the Hobbits and the great love between them (and choose to ignore the modern snark over the relationship between Frodo and Sam). These days, I even love the poetry and Tom Bombadil!

Each time I read the book, I find something new. The latest (2019) read made me aware of just how pastoral Tolkien’s world must have been. He lived in a time where it was perfectly normal to walk for miles a day, across fields and large grasslands because there were no roads. Or, at least, there was a strong collective memory of such a world that he was able to to use to create Middle-Earth. From the urban 21st century, where I would worry about climbing a Scottish hill if there isn’t a clear path, this seems more alien than Orcs, Rings and Nazgul! (Also, everyone in this world always seems to know where north is, and to give and receive cardinal directions without a compass.) The descriptions, especially early in the book, of the Shire, almost make me nostalgic for a world long-gone (almost!).

I’ve never worn the One, but The Lord of the Rings has me in its grasp as surely as the Ring had Gollum.

Book details

ISBN: 9780261102309
Publisher: Harper Collins Publishers
Year of publication: 1955

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