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Old 12-30-2012, 05:01 PM   #1
KamexKoopa
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White Tree Parts we read without reading the whole book

Partially inspired by a post in the Parts We Skip thread.

Are there any parts in Tolkien books you read on their own? Any chapters, or parts of the respective stories you can read over and over, without reading the rest of the book they're from?
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Old 12-30-2012, 05:15 PM   #2
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The Silmarillion, and especially Unfinished Tales, lend themselves much more readily to piecemeal reading than do TH or LOTR.

In UT I'll sometimes read Aldarion and Erendis, The Hunt for the Ring, and The Battles of the Fords of Isen at a moment's notice.
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Old 12-30-2012, 05:38 PM   #3
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I have to admit that I haven't done a thorough reread since forever ago. I mostly use the books as references now, and that means I open them to the page of the durrent discussion topic. But there are some parts that I would reread just for the sake of it.

I never reread the Appendices fully. I mostly reread the half-a-page dedicated to Thorongil, and sometimes an odd story or two. The Pelennor Fields is a chapter I love to read. At one point I used to be quite taken with the Faramir chapters and the Houses of Healing. From TH, I love to go over Bilbo's little chat with Smaug, as well as Thorin's death.

The Sil, I suppose, is easier to read in parts, like Zil said. I usually open it to read about a death or two of one of the many heroes in one of the many stories.

Now the one book that I try to read fully instead of in bits is the Children of Hurin. I do read the especially epic parts by themselves, but it's just stronger when you read it all as one.
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Old 12-30-2012, 06:12 PM   #4
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In the appendices, I frequently reread the passage on the death of Aragorn and Arwen. I think it's some of the most moving writing Tolkien ever did.
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Old 12-30-2012, 06:49 PM   #5
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I often read the passages featuring The Shire as stand alone pieces, purely because I like Hobbits so much. And also The Voice of Saruman; and The Old Forest through to Fog On The Barrow-downs. I'm still sad that everyone sees fit to cut these chapters out.
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Old 12-30-2012, 07:24 PM   #6
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As far as The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, I tend to do complete read-throughs and avoid reading excerpts. In part, that's because once I've started reading either of them, I find it very difficult to stop. The chief exception is the poetry, which I'll sometimes read in isolation - particularly a few favourites like Aragorn's song of Beren and Luthien or 'Earendil was a Mariner'. The appendices to LotR, though, I frequently read piecemeal; and also the prologue.
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Old 12-30-2012, 07:50 PM   #7
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The chief exception is the poetry, which I'll sometimes read in isolation - particularly a few favourites like Aragorn's song of Beren and Luthien or 'Earendil was a Mariner'.
Indeed! I also tend to single out my favourite poems and songs.
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Old 01-01-2013, 08:11 AM   #8
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My stand-alones:
  • "Riddles in the Dark"
  • "AinulindalÚ"
  • "On Faerie Stories"
  • The gift-giving at Lorien, particularly the exchange between Gimli and Galadriel
  • Sam with the Ring
  • The Scouring of the Shire
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Old 01-03-2013, 01:10 PM   #9
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My favorite re-reads are the dramatic and dangerous parts:
1. Eowyn defying the Nazgul
2. Galadriel and her Mirror
3. Frodo confronting Saruman at Bag End
4. The hobbits passing through Shelob's Lair
5. The whole Moria journey
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Old 01-03-2013, 01:30 PM   #10
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Sting

1---Unfinished Tales, esp. The Battle of the Fords of Isen
and The Disaster of the Gladden Fields. and The Quest of
Erebor. (It's a pity PJ and
Friends apparently didn't read it or they might have not made
some of their sillier "improvements in their 3 LoTR movies).

2---The Ride of the Rohirrim. That chapter is really meant to be
read aloud. Again, PJ botched it in RotK. Not only Eowyn but the
whole charge. Theoden should have (in the dark with figures in
shadow) have blown Guthlaf's horn and then charged with a
bright light breaking through first on the flag (white horse upon a
field of green) and then gradually bringing light to the field as
the Rohirrim charged (not saying ""Death!"- that comes later) but
breaking into singing.
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Old 01-03-2013, 02:12 PM   #11
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Sorry, I overlooked the Silmarillion, but I have the same taste there:
6. Fingolfin fighting Morgoth
7. Beren and Luthien in Morgoth's throne room
8. The killing of the Two Trees, and the creation of the Sun and Moon
9. Nirnaeth Arnoediad: even though it's a disaster, there's a lot of heroism I like
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Old 01-03-2013, 05:32 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Galadriel55 View Post
I have to admit that I haven't done a thorough reread since forever ago. I mostly use the books as references now, and that means I open them to the page of the durrent discussion topic.
That's a sign of terminal Tolkienitis right there.

However, it takes one to know one and I am right there in that boat, I haven't read the series from beginning to end in years.

I read stuff about dwarves by itself, though...and battles.
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Old 01-03-2013, 08:56 PM   #13
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I love The Fellowship of the Ring so much, especially Book Two; I've read it four or five times without going onto the other volumes. I'm particularly fond of the beginning of journeys and meeting characters, and in Fellowship, we have two: the hobbits to Bree/Rivendell, and the Fellowship out of Rivendell. Individual parts I've returned to many times - The Shadow of the Past, The Council of Elrond, the end of The Bridge of Khazad-dűm when the company loses Gandalf.

After first reading The Hobbit when I was younger, I returned several times specifically to the parts where Gandalf showed up to save the day: the trolls, goblin cave, stopping the battle.

I also enjoy reading last lines. How the author chooses to end his story's final page has always been interesting to me.
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Old 01-03-2013, 11:29 PM   #14
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Quote:
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I often read the passages featuring The Shire as stand alone pieces, purely because I like Hobbits so much. And also The Voice of Saruman; and The Old Forest through to Fog On The Barrow-downs. I'm still sad that everyone sees fit to cut these chapters out.
These chapters are also my favourites! When I first read Lord of the Rings, I was particularly drawn to hobbits. During my first read I was anxious to get the story rolling, so I rushed through the beginning, but since then those have become my most loved chapters. When I first read FotR, Bilbo's Bath Song caught my fancy. I always thought it so funny. I have always liked the banter between Frodo, Sam, and Pippin. When Merry was added to it, that made it even better!
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Old 01-04-2013, 12:57 PM   #15
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and The Quest of
Erebor. (It's a pity PJ and
Friends apparently didn't read it or they might have not made
some of their sillier "improvements in their 3 LoTR movies).
They couldn't have used anything in it though because they don't have the rights to UT... and my guess is that the Estate might have sued them if there had been anything that looked even remotely Quest of Erebor-ish. (Sometimes it feels like they didn't read The Hobbit either. )

I rarely reread just parts, especially if I'm reading one of the more coherent stories, but sometimes you get a craving. Poems are easier to single out (and I have lots of favourites), but there are also some chapters - even though usually I prefer thinking back to a chapter, recalling its atmosphere and tone and then saving it for a later read-through. The ones I get back to regularly:
  • Old Forest, Tom Bombadil, Barrow-downs
  • the Bridge of Khazad-dűm
  • the Window on the West
  • the Gondor stuff in Book Five in ROTK (and the Ride of the Rohirrim too - I agree with Tuor it's amazing)
It covers my main interests: dwarves and the d˙nedain of the south. Similarly in the Sil, UT and HOME, I mostly reread passages about dwarves and N˙menor.
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Old 01-04-2013, 03:28 PM   #16
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These chapters are also my favourites! When I first read Lord of the Rings, I was particularly drawn to hobbits. During my first read I was anxious to get the story rolling, so I rushed through the beginning, but since then those have become my most loved chapters. When I first read FotR, Bilbo's Bath Song caught my fancy. I always thought it so funny. I have always liked the banter between Frodo, Sam, and Pippin. When Merry was added to it, that made it even better!
Those three chapters go right to the heart of what Tolkien means to me and they're really evocative of ancient Britain - the wildwood, the rain, the barrows, the megaliths...When I first read about Old Man Willow I knew exactly why he was frightening and dangerous, it was like getting some atavistic thrill.
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Old 01-04-2013, 04:14 PM   #17
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Quote:
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Those three chapters go right to the heart of what Tolkien means to me and they're really evocative of ancient Britain - the wildwood, the rain, the barrows, the megaliths...When I first read about Old Man Willow I knew exactly why he was frightening and dangerous, it was like getting some atavistic thrill.
Was there a reason other than his hobbit eating tendencies?
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Old 01-04-2013, 04:31 PM   #18
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Was there a reason other than his hobbit eating tendencies?
It reminded me of being a child and how my parents and grandparents used to warn me about going near the willows that still grew along the brooks and ditches (which were also full of 'Jinny Greenteeth') where we lived. And of the vast, old weeping one that grew in our garden, that I used to hide under. My mum would say she was scared the tree would eat me up.

Willow is very odd. My dad had to chop some down once because they were stopping his apples from fruiting, and he re-used the wood to make a fence. It sprouted again! It's hard enough to make a cricket bat from but soft enough to make a basket.
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Old 01-05-2013, 01:30 AM   #19
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I love the rich history of Middle Earth so two of my favourite chapters are the Council of Elrond and the Shadow of the Past. Another favourite though for different reasons is the Scouring of the Shire.
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Old 01-05-2013, 10:13 AM   #20
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I often read the chapter In the House of Tom Bombadil from LotR, and An Unexpected Meeting, Roast Mutton, and Queer Lodgings from TH. I admit to my shame I haven't picked up The Silmarillion in a long, long time.

To be honest, I haven't read any of the books cover to cover in forever. XD Bad me!
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Old 01-05-2013, 11:34 AM   #21
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AinulindalŰ (because it's beautiful) and The Uruk-Hai (because it is the best chapter ever written in world's history), ev. The Scouring of the Shire (because Saruman is amazing beyond possibilities).

I also used to read various different passages because they involved food, especially in: An Unexpected Party, Roast Mutton, Queer Lodgings, Barrels Out of Bond (when Bilbo is stealing food), A Short Cut To Mushrooms/A Conspiracy Unmasked (when they are receiving/eating mushrooms), At the House of Tom Bombadil, At the Sign of the Prancing Pony (when Barliman and Nob bring them dinner), Flotsam and Jetsam (when Merry and Pippin are listing what was in Saruman's storagehouses!!! Drool.), Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit, The Window of the West (the decription of dinner they had with Faramir), Minas Tirith (basically the whole passage when Pippin is left alone, meets Beregond and they are discussing food all the time). The underlined chapters are the ones containing passages I consider honestly unbearable to read without eating something at the same time (regarding A Conspiracy Unmasked, it is similarly difficult not to take a bath when reading it, but that's a different thing).
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Old 01-05-2013, 01:19 PM   #22
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1420!

Quote:
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Flotsam and Jetsam (when Merry and Pippin are listing what was in Saruman's storagehouses!!! Drool.),
When reading that chapter I make sure to have a large plate of fried pork roll,
bacon, and thick bread and butter. And a few bottles of lite beer. Any of
elvish persuasion may feel free to substitute some red wine. Hobbits
definitely more beer fanatics.
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Old 01-06-2013, 12:16 AM   #23
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The Silmarillion: Turin Turambar, The Tale of Beren and Luthien and Akallabeth.
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Old 01-22-2013, 06:53 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LalwendŰ View Post
...willows that still grew along the brooks and ditches ...the vast, old weeping one that grew in our garden...

Willow is very odd. ..and he re-used the wood to make a fence. It sprouted again! It's hard enough to make a cricket bat from but soft enough to make a basket.
I grew up in the Severn Valley and willows don't just line the banks, they preserve them. Their roots get everywhere binding ground that the river would otherwise erode. Many rivers still have willows that were deliberately planted and kept either coppiced or else pollarded (their heads cut off above browsing height) to provide a constant source of basket canes. One of my favourite paintings, The_Lady_Of_Shallot by John William Waterhouse, is set against such a managed riverbank.

Of course, left to himself Old Man Willow will grow taller and taller until he falls over and then send up new shoots. I used to enjoy playing in a marshy area where this had happened and the fallen trunks had become bridges over pools.

Whenever I read LotR I love to arrive at the next woodland. They each have their own character (and we meet characters in them) and we get to pass through every wood on the map east of Hobbiton:

Woody End
The Old Forest
Trollshaws
Lorien
Fangorn
Firion Wood
Druadan Forest
Ithilien

and of course, in The Hobbit, we get to visit Greenwood the Great/Mirkwood.

I wonder what kind of character the woodlands to the north and south of the Gulf of Lhun would have. Given that they lie in the realm of Cirdan the shipwright perhaps they'd be, in part, managed for his purposes like the New Forest in Hampshire?
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Old 01-22-2013, 09:56 PM   #25
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Old 01-23-2013, 04:55 AM   #26
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I actually just started a sort of weird "project" - I was feeling like reading some LotR chapters, on their own, simply because I felt like it. Originally, I wanted to read "Scouring of the Shire" (which is pretty normal for me - see above). Then I decided that I wanted to read a bit of the stuff before it, especially since "Homeward Bound" is a sort of prelude, in "Many Partings" there is Saruman, but I rarely read the other parts of the chapter (which I felt a bit of deficit on my part, especially since I had not noticed for years the "telepathy" part until somebody mentioned it here on the 'downs). So I read second half of "The Steward and the King" (starting from Beregond's trial) and the two following chapters. The day after that, I suddenly felt the urge to read In the House of Tom Bombadil, because I think I never do, or never considered the chapter so interesting by itself (whereas now I have discovered it has really beautiful descriptions, some of which I knew, but never actually realised it is almost fully composed of them). Then I continued naturally to the Fog on the Barrow-Downs.

And then I got that funny idea about reading the whole of LotR, not in order, but in the order I pick, depending on my momentary mood. It will be an interesting experiment, to say the least. I think it can be done, since I know the book by heart (mostly), and the random order makes it a bit different, so that you are not just "oh, I know what comes next". Here, it doesn't matter.

So far, it has worked perfectly
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Old 01-27-2013, 06:14 PM   #27
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For my part, I read Aladrion and Erendis frequently. Deem it to be one of the best parts of all Tolkien's works. And then the whole of Quenta Silmarilion (if I were to chose, then the part from 'Of Eldamar and the Princes of the EldaliŰ' to 'Of the Sindar' is in my opinion the best, or I like to read it the most, quality is rather difficult category).
I should add AindulindalŰ, but that limps after those two, I deem it unfinished, or rather unpolished (if such a thing ever can be). 'Scouring' and The Last Stage would come close after.
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