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Old 06-23-2014, 10:14 PM   #42
Shade of Carn Dm
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Toronto
Posts: 479
jallanite is a guest of Tom Bombadil.
I first came across The Lord of the Rings as volume one of the Ace paperback edition. I was in my final year of high school and was very much into books of sf and books of mythology. And here was this book on the stands in a drugstore which I had never heard of before. This book called itself The Fellowship of the Ring, was about three times the thickness of a normal Ace paperback, and cost 75 when Ace paperbacks normally cost 25 each.

A glance through the book showed I had to have it. The killer was when I happened to turn to the page where Frodo first saw the ring inscription and Tolkien had printed it out in the text in strange characters.

Starting through it at home, I realized almost at once that this was a sequel to children’s book called The Hobbit which I had read and enjoyed years before. But after reading a few chapters I realized that this was indeed a magnificently told tale and that I was going to have to read it correctly. So I put the book aside and rushed off the closest public library to take out a version of The Hobbit so I could refresh myself for a proper reading.

After reading The Hobbit I started again on Fellowship, still determined to read this book right. I am normally a speed reader, but for this book I was determined to read it aloud and not to speed read. It took me about two months to finish, and I found every page wonderful. Then I came to the end of Fellowship with the story obviously still incomplete. Puzzled, I looked through the publisher’s blurbs and discovered to my joy that this was only the first of three books in a series, and that I had still two more books of hopefully the same amazing quality to read!

I had previously read some modern fantasy works, but nothing that had come close to impressing me like Tolkien had.

I have since met many who feel the same, and many who cannot stand Tolkien.

One case occurred a number of years ago when a local fan named Debbie, whom I did not know, decided she would finally read The Lord of the Rings and review each chapter on her website as she read it, with comments by those who wished to comment, the comments being previewed by a friend who would remove any spoilers. The reviews were wonderful, even when she was not in synch with standard opinions. Though an avid filk-singer, she for quite a time had difficulty with the hobbits’ propensity to burst into song, until others pointed out her own love of singing. She also took somewhat of a dislike to Gandalf. Then, remarking on the upcoming chapter on Moria, she navely remarked that she was aware of Moria’s reputation but didn’t think much of it because she knew no-one was going to die there or anything like that. So she was completely devastated by Gandalf’s apparent death, realizing suddenly how much and how unknowingly she had come to care for Gandalf.

Another friend tried to write the same sort of reviews on the same site and failed miserably. He would get bogged down with terms like “eleventy-first” for “111th” trying to find out what Tolkien meant by this slender jest. He would ask questions about Frodo’s occupation which were admittedly slid over by Tolkien and other questions that were answered and then was forced to admit that he had skipped that part of the story because it didn’t seem important. Finally one of the commentators wrote a long comment indicating that the story was obviously just not for him, because he just couldn’t or wouldn’t be concerned with what Tolkien was concerned about and of course he couldn’t even understand the story when partially reading it in those terms. This second friend seems to have realized he was messing up badly and stopped posting.

Last edited by jallanite; 06-25-2014 at 11:24 AM.
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