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Old 08-03-2001, 01:45 AM   #1
GandaIf The White
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Hey.. to start things off I love all of Tolkiens books. If it werent for him, I would have never read more than a page if I didnt have to - Now I find myself delving into my schoolbooks when the rest of the class could care less. <img src=smile.gif ALT="">

But for how much I like it, I sure dont understand it well. For example, reading the letter that Tolkien wrote in the beggining of The Sillmarillion had me so confused that I felt like I was reading jibberish. I dont understand any of the books to the depth that some of you do - by a longshot. I didn't really realize how much of the book was blank in my mind, and how much I did not take into consideration until I came to this site and saw some of the discussions.. then being totally baffled. Its like I have to re-read any of the big conversations some of you have to understand what you mean.

So I want to know.. did you not understand things the first time you read some of the books? - Especially The Sillmarillion which is WOW! I will have to re-read that ten times through to remember everything. But when I get to the end of the tunnel, I hope to be as smart as all of you. <img src=smile.gif ALT=""> I was pretty sad when I first started writing this, but now in a way Im happy that I will be reading these books for years... even though I will never get a kick out of it as much as I did the first time.

Most of you are older, I know.. Im just a lowly Highschool student. Does college help?

"Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends."</p>
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Old 08-03-2001, 05:30 AM   #2
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Any time I reread JRRT I find something new which I missed before.

And discussions here helped me a lot as well (ah, I miss Saulotus)

But cross reading is useful too - It was real eye opener for me when I first read some of C S Lewis's theological works, and than came back to reconsider Tolkien cardinally.

Though I can't boast I understand it even now, or hope that I will understand it fully (as JRRT saw it) ever in the future.

But here is another sign Tolkien's greatness - his work is appreciated for all readers, be it high brow philosophers (if the claim of being one may be put forward at all) or low brow (if there is such a thing at all) humble lovers of adventures and fantasy

Respectfully at your service
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Old 08-03-2001, 06:59 AM   #3
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Re: When will I understand Tolkien like you guys?

The Music of the Ainur I had to reread! <img src=smile.gif ALT="">
All the rest made sence to me, though every once in a while, There is a place or person I have forgotten, so I have to refresh my memory! <img src=smile.gif ALT="">

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Old 08-03-2001, 11:06 AM   #4
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Re: When will I understand Tolkien like you guys?

GTW - you are not alone! I was in awe when I first visited this site (I still am!) and perused through some of the lengthy and indepth discussions. I had read LOTR and the Sil at least twice, and was more touched by them than any other book I've read. But as I frequented the Downs, I realized how much I had missed or overlooked. For example, I had never noticed that Eowyn was hopelessly in love with Aragorn! I have since re-read LOTR &amp; the Sil AGAIN, and paid much more attention this time. Honestly, I find something new every time I pick them up. I still don't know how these brilliant minds (like HI and Gil and Underhill) retain so much of their reading, but I have gotten a lot out of 'eaves-dropping' on their conversations. Being a visitor to the Downs has really enhanced my love for Middle Earth!

-amyrlis <Br>These are indeed strange days. Dreams and legends spring to life out of the grass. -Eomer</p>
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Old 08-03-2001, 11:07 AM   #5
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Keep Going Man

Hope you're not feeling that way because of anything I said. I was just yankin your chain. Actually, sometimes I'm awed at how much these guyse seem to know.

Of all of Tolkien's books, The Silmarillion is THE KEY to understanding Middle Earth. There is a lot of other interesting stuff out there, but it's nothing without the Sil serving as the backbone.

I had to read it like five times before I finally was able to appreciate the flow. In a way it's like studying a history book. Eventually you get it. If you find it hard, flip around to the more interesting chapters. The Darkening of Valinor is probably my favorite, followed by the Voyage of Earendil and the War of Wrath.

Make good use of the geneaology tables in the back. You might find it helpful to keep a handy copy of the one of the descendents of Finwe and the Noldor. I guarantee you that it will help.

If you get desperate, read the appendix on Durin's folk. You don't really have to know anything else to follow it, and it's especially interesting reading for devotees of the Hobbit.

- Maglor



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Old 08-03-2001, 01:30 PM   #6
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Re: Keep Going Man

Well I don't think age has much to do with it. I am an even lower Junior High schooler.
I understood it pretty well the first time, but I still have to go back and refresh my memory every so often.

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Old 08-03-2001, 02:16 PM   #7
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Re: Keep Going Man

Didn't you read LotR 73 times?

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Renewed shall be blade that was broken:
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Old 08-04-2001, 01:53 AM   #8
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Re: Keep Going Man

I remember the first time I read LotR, for much of the book, probably up to the middle of the Two Towers, I thought Saruman and Sauron were the same person.<img src=smile.gif ALT="">

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Old 08-04-2001, 09:58 PM   #9
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Re: Keep Going Man

It does indeed take time to understand (almost) everything about Middle Earth, and some actual life experience helps as well. Its almost like meeting your signifigant other so to speak. You are very interested and try to learn everything you can at first, and later when you think you know everything there is to know, you realise that there is always something new to discover. Some little nuance that you didn't know was there before, or you find a new perspective on something about Tolkiens world. I believe this is part of the magic that keeps us coming back for more and more, and eventually becomes part of our lives forever.

You are near the beginning of you journey through Middle earth, some of us are somewhere in the middle, very few of us, if any, are at the end of the journey.

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Old 08-08-2001, 08:40 AM   #10
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Re: Keep Going Man

Yes, Theodred21 I have read the books 73 times (actually it's closer to Ninety-something now..)

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Old 08-08-2001, 10:33 AM   #11
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Re: Keep Going Man

I'm right there with you Gandalf! This site has helped alot, before I started surfing the Tolkien web, I didn't even know about the Sil. <img src=redface.gif ALT=":O"> yeah, reading that changed everything! I had just finished LOTR at the beginning of the summer, and after reading the Sil and Unfinished Tales, I'm reading it again because it means so much more now! That and I love it.. <img src=smile.gif ALT="">

Keep in mind, too, that just because you aren't seeing things the way others do, or you miss something that someone else feels is a key part, doesn't make you wrong. Everyone adapts what they read to their own feelings and experiances at the time. That's what I like about this place, seeing other's views. I read at TheOneRing this guys views on the role of day and darkness in the story. I had noted it subconciously, but nothing like he had seen. It was cool. You learn alot about a person's personal experiances through their interpretation of literature. For me, the theme I best understood was that of a hopeless passing of innocence and beauty. Although it turned out great in the end, Frodo had no hope of life, and everything from the old world was passing away. At the time I was reading, I was really sick and having to have alot of test run and stuff like that. Like Frodo, I felt I was facing something greater than I, but it was still something I had to go through if I wanted my world to mature and grow, be it for better or worse. All that to say, most peoples interps of LOTR are also interps of themselves. So you're all good. <img src=wink.gif ALT="">

~ Elerrina ('Crowned with stars'; a name of Taniquetil; Only thing that wasn't taken) 'Many are the strange chances of the world,'said Mithrandir,'and help oft shall come from the hands of the weak when the Wise falter."</p>
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Old 08-14-2001, 05:32 PM   #12
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<img src="http://www.barrowdowns.com/images/posticons/eyepal.jpg" align=absmiddle> Re: Keep Going Man

Read something like the Book of Shadows, which traces the history a nd development of the first part of the LORT. If you look at what Tolkien's job was, and the subjects of his study (like Icelandic legends, Beowulf etc) and read the Silmarillion a zillion more times (I have only read it 3 times but I'm only 21- 50 years to go...) and keep on reading this site- especially HerenIstarion (you rock) I know you will understand it like them

"A little people, but of great worth are the Shire-folk. Little do they know of our long labour for the safekeeping of their borders, and yet I grudge it not."</p>
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Old 08-15-2001, 03:34 AM   #13
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<img src="http://www.barrowdowns.com/images/posticons/eyepal.jpg" align=absmiddle> Re: Keep Going Man

The day I know half as much as Gil or Chief Wight or Telchar-that'll be something. I know the LoTR very, very well but I can't say I'm a Silmarillion expert. As for HoME, I am only a novice in that area-still.

And I don't really think age has anything to do with it unless of course you take inot account that at 50 you've read it a lot more times that at 15. I myself am a high school student.

"But why?" he asked in bewilderment, looking upon Death. "Why?" he asked again. </p>
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Old 08-15-2001, 10:13 AM   #14
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Too young to vote

Where did all of you people come from? Isn't anybody out there over 21 besides myself?

Glad to see you're all getting into this at an early age though.

If there are any other old foggies out there, please chime in!

- Maglor

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Old 08-15-2001, 10:41 AM   #15
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Re: Too young to vote

Don't worry Maglor - you aren't the only one over 21! I turned 21 about the time that the internet, chat rooms and message boards were just being poised to take over the universe! Imagine high school AND college with out email!! How did I survive!?!?! <img src=eek.gif ALT=":eek"> But I do feel like there are lots of young 'ns around these days! <img src=smile.gif ALT=""> I read LOTR for the first time when I was about 15. I posted above regarding my thoughts on my own understanding of the books. I agree with TLW that age has nothing to do with it. We aren't talking about understanding the language and words - we can all read. We are talking about recognizing and understanding the story's themes, both central and subtle, as well as seeing all aspects and depth of the characters and their relationships. Everyone is different, but for me, much of this took a few readings to sink in. Reading the Sil was a big eye-opener, did that at about 17. Now, XX years later <img src=wink.gif ALT=""> , I'm in my first reading of UT. Dropping by this website frequently has inspired and resurrected my quest for Tolkien knowledge!

-amyrlis <Br>These are indeed strange days. Dreams and legends spring to life out of the grass. -Eomer</p>Edited by: <A HREF=http://www.barrowdowns.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_profile&u=00000190>amyrlis</A> at: 8/15/01 12:42:42 pm
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Old 08-22-2001, 06:29 AM   #16
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Re: Too young to vote

I too thought the same thing when I first got here (hey, I'm still in awe of about every person here) I first read the Sil in 7th grade (what a mistake that was, I understood NOTHING) and I 'm just rereading it and it's amazing how much I'm learning from it (it's actually the Only Tolkien book I own, but I make up by spending a large majority of the time i'm in a library in the tolkien section) I'm still hoping to eventually be able to debate about the books as intellegably as some of the others here do. <img src=smile.gif ALT="">

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Old 08-22-2001, 11:05 AM   #17
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Re: Too young to vote

Yeah.. even some of my Highschool freinds dont understand a thing in The Sill. My freind tried reading the Ainunendale(?) and gave up after that. <img src=smile.gif ALT=""> I tried to tell him that was the most confusing parts..

"Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends."</p>
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Old 08-23-2001, 06:36 PM   #18
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Re: Too young to vote

If you get time, try cross-referenceing stuff with whatever books you have e/g the lost tales. I like crossing the book with the letters to see how Ronald (we're on a first name basis :-D)thought about the characters and the events. If you dont have them all buy them all, all of them!

"A little people, but of great worth are the Shire-folk. Little do they know of our long labour for the safekeeping of their borders, and yet I grudge it not."</p>
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Old 09-04-2001, 06:07 AM   #19
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Re: Too young to vote

I've only started coming to this site in the past week. Before, although I loved the Lord of the Rings, the discussions in sites like this were at a level I really didn't care about. That was until I re-read LOTD which motivated me to get the Sil from the library. That changed everything. I've since read it three times along with Unifinished Tales and a Tolkien Biography. I then found I could understand most of the discussions and enjoy studying the books for a time most days in a labour of love. I'm 19 and from Dublin, Ireland. I get the impression most people are american

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Old 09-04-2001, 10:06 AM   #20
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Old 09-04-2001, 02:23 PM   #21
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Re: Too young to vote

Some one needs to get a military job so there can be dots on the North and/or South Poles <img src=laugh.gif ALT=":lol">

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Old 09-10-2001, 04:10 PM   #22
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<img src="http://www.barrowdowns.com/images/posticons/redeye.jpg" align=absmiddle> Age and the Books

I don't think that age or experience really has to do anything with understanding the books. I was in the fourth grade when I read the Hobbit, I read the Lord of the Rings in the sixth grade and understood it just fine. I was 14 when I read the Silmarillion, and have also finished the Unfinished Tales and the Book of Lost Tales 1. I understood them all and I have no age experience what so ever. I think it is your maturity and how you understand things. Tolkien is a universal writer to me and I think anyone can understand it just takes some time. I am still unclear on things so I am re-reading them and I spend a lot of time reading what others have to say about them also.

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Old 09-10-2001, 11:21 PM   #23
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<img src="http://www.barrowdowns.com/images/posticons/redeye.jpg" align=absmiddle> Re: Age and the Books

Very mature said <img src=smile.gif ALT=""> - everytime I reread one of the books I find something new.

I for one can only say that comming to my downs have broadend my mind - the purpose of certain passages in the books I used to misunderstand completely - well - you guys cleared that up <img src=smile.gif ALT=""> - Following the discussons in the books forum have made me consider possibilities and points of views that I hadn't even considered.

Cheers and Thanks <img src=smokin.gif ALT=":smokin"> T

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Old 01-13-2002, 07:58 PM   #24
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I think we all had the same problem... I didnt pay any attention to Tom Bombadil when I first read LOTR. In fact I had to re-read that chapter when someone here mentioned him.
I just finished reading the Sil for the second time and I found it even more interesting.
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Old 01-14-2002, 05:38 AM   #25
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I'd be very surprised if anyone picked up everything in LoTR on the first reading, simply because it's such a huge story. There's a lot to take in there, and more in the other books. It amazes me how much people on this forum know about the whole corpus.
I don't think that I noticed the sub-text between Eowyn and Aragorn either until the current re-reading, although I see it more as an infatuation: Aragorn's a hero out of legend; brave, wise, noble and a potential king, who's fighting the Great Enemy without obvious fear; Eowyn's an adventurous girl, who's been nursing Theoden though his dotage, which isn't a great deal of fun, and feels trapped by her various frustratingly boring duties. Adventure and escape are what she really wants and Aragorn's just a focus for that desire. When she's had her fill of adventure, her interest in him must naturally wane. Anyway, the amusing part is that you can see the exact moment when the penny drops and we actually see Elessar, Isildur's heir embarrassed, suddenly realising that there are more perils facing him than those dreamed up by Sauron.
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Old 01-14-2002, 09:27 AM   #26
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I am only 13, and i luv the books, though i doubt I know as much as most of you ppl! I can grasp the things that are right infront of my face on the page, but when it comes to realizes the indepth stuff, i am lost! [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]
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Old 01-14-2002, 10:14 AM   #27
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What's the fun in being an expert anyway? You'll never know everything there is to know about Tolkien's work, and even if you did, your interpretation of it will only be one among many others.

What's interesting is the journey itself, not reaching your destination. Living with these books, cherishing them, sharing them with friends and total strangers.

For example, I am a great fan of William Blake's poetry, but I certainly wouldn't say that I understand it completely - or even partially. But so far, Blake has been a terrific travelling companion in my life.
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Old 01-14-2002, 10:21 AM   #28
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I definitely don't understand the books half as much as some of the people here, but i think re-reading really helps. I've read LoTR 5 times and I plan on reading it atleast a hundred times in my life. If you're having trouble with the vocabulary there's no shame in breaking out the ol' dictionary. I'm reading the Silmarillion right now and i actually find it easier than LotR(i think i'm the only one) and i find that The Silmarillion helps me understand certain parts of LotR better.
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Old 01-14-2002, 03:41 PM   #29
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The Silmarillion defenataly helps you understand LotR better! But i surely dont find it as easy to read... [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img]
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Old 01-14-2002, 03:42 PM   #30
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Quote:
What's the fun in being an expert anyway? You'll never know everything there is to know about Tolkien's work, and even if you did, your interpretation of it will only be one among many others.
In my experience, one can't help learning a lot about the things one enjoys (not that I'm an expert in this field by any standards). You're right, though; simply knowing things is no fun, which is where discussion comes in. Deeper understanding and so forth.

I'm with you on Blake: Great poet.
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Old 01-14-2002, 04:11 PM   #31
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by hegemonmatt:
[QB]<font face="Verdana"><table><TR><TD><FONT SIZE="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Pile o' Bones
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Re: Keep Going Man

Yes, Theodred21 I have read the books 73 times (actually it's closer to Ninety-something now..)

-------------------------

Wow, your in Junior High and have read LOTR more ninety times. I have never read any novel that many times. Except maybe those Calvin and Hobbes Comic Books.

[img]smilies/rolleyes.gif[/img]
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Old 01-15-2002, 06:27 AM   #32
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Malagaerion-may the journey never end [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]
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Old 01-15-2002, 03:43 PM   #33
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I have to agree with all you who say that the first time you read LotR, you didn't really understand it. I first read it when I was about 10 (something like that), and to me, it seemed like a huge fairy-tale of sorts. I re-read it a few years later, after having read 'The Hobbit', and suddenly the world of Tolkien was opened to me.

I sort of went on, consuming every book on or by Tolkien that found itself in my path, but the first time I read 'The Book of Lost Tales', I got a bit scared, so I kinda calmed down for a while. I then found (after the first year in what I think would be the the equivalent of Junior High) out that analyzing books (using a 'checklist' while you read is not cheating) makes them even more fun. Just be sure not to analyze a book the first time you read it. Read it preferably a couple of times first.

I still havea long way to go, on the road which will (as already pointed out by someone else) probably never end, as Tolkien himself is the only one who can fully understand his works.

BUT, we can still appreciate and love his books.

Also, discussing the books in forums like this one is extremely valuable. Learning from more experienced *tolkieners* is both useful and fun.
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Old 01-16-2002, 12:44 AM   #34
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73 times, my god! My Dad couldn't believe I read it 14 times in high school, and still had 100 or so books under the bed (that's where I chucked all the books I owned and read, as opposed to the library books.. uh.. well every now and then a forgotten library book would turn up. Ooops.) After 20 I lost count, though I didn't read it as often as an adult. I did read the Simarillion, but in HS it was like mountain climbing: I got to the top, I finished - now get me out of here. I'm curious about the HoME, 'specially any sections on the languages. As I read other works, I learn the depth of the underpinings needed for a work of this scope. It's through lesser works that I appreciate Tolkien's mastery. In world-building he has no peer.
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Old 01-16-2002, 05:32 AM   #35
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im 13 years old i own the hobbit the lord of the rings and the silmarilllion.
i have read them all at least 5 times but i will never be able to recapture the 1st time iread them [img]smilies/cool.gif[/img]
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Old 03-04-2002, 01:04 AM   #36
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I think that the best thing about all of his books is that you learn something new each and every time, I'd say about 80 per cent of the people that come to this site are huge fans that are still learning new things about middle earth. Very few indeed are the people that consider themselves completely knowledgable about JRRT's writings. I think even Chris Tolkien would have trouble without having a reference beside him. So, be cheered! We are all insane... [img]smilies/biggrin.gif[/img]
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Old 03-04-2002, 01:27 AM   #37
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Wow, I am releived to not be alone here.
Like all of you here, or at least most of you, I could barely grasp Tolkiens world when I read his Trilogy, and I'm still trying my best to do so.
This site has helped a lot, and I am very grateful of that.
I have, sadly, only read LotR once, but now as time goes on, I feel as though I am loseing some of my knowledge of Middle Earth, and so, I think it is time for me to reread Tolkiens greatest masterpiece.
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Old 03-06-2002, 12:25 PM   #38
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hey just thought i would leave a note...i felt the same way when i first came to this forum! everyone seemed to have degrees in Tolkienology! but now iv read the book a few more times, seen the movie more too- as well as talked to alot of people on here which has made me see things more clearly than b4 or changed my views. (actually i think a lot of people are just bluffing! lol). But i still dont claim to fully understand his works, and i dont think anyone should. tolkiens probably the only 1 who ever could understand every detail 4 what its worth, and thats the way it should be.
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Old 03-09-2002, 01:08 PM   #39
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Don't worry!!! I read the books quite l8 b4 i go 2 sleep and i always think ive bin paying attention and then i have 2 read it through again the night after. What really matters is that u enjoy reading it! (P.S u sound really smart so there's nothing to catch up on!) [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img]
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Old 03-09-2002, 01:38 PM   #40
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When you're an old codger of 23. And after you've read "Middle Earth for Dummies" [img]smilies/biggrin.gif[/img]


(In reality, what the other people said) [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img]
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