Fellowshippin’ with the LOTR Readalong Bunch

Lord of the Ring readalongWell, we are in our second month of the Lord of the Rings Readalong, andClare at The Literary Omnivore is our Fellowship of the Rings host.  Here’s her first set of questions:

  1. When did you first hear of The Lord of the Rings?
  2. Have you read The Fellowship of the Ring before?
  3. What’s your plan of attack, now that we’re dealing with more “mature” literature?
  4. Have you ever seen the movies? If so, do you think they’ll influence your reading? If not, well, why haven’t you seen them?

When did you first hear of The Lord of the Rings?

  Honestly, I don’t remember a time when I DIDN’T know of Tolkein and Hobbits and The Lord of the Rings.  I grew up in a household of readers, more than one being a total fantasy nut.  Let me put it to you this way… ONE of them even read stories of Merlin in Gaelic, even.  Yeah, he could tell you how the sorcerer’s name is spelled in it’s original form, but I can’t remember how, just that it was about 13 or so letters long.  Somewhere around the age of 8 or so, The Hobbit came out in cartoon form, with the Trilogy following suit. I watched those movies every chance I time one of them came on (that was before VCRs even, let alon DVDs and OnDemand).  Frodo, Bilbo, Gollum, orcs, Gandalf, etc… all these were as familiar to me as the names of my own family memebers, more so than some, even.

Have you read The Fellowship of the Ring before?

I thought I’d read the first quarter or so of it, but now that I’m reading it, none of it is familiar.  Once I finally got to Farmer Maggot’s scene, it was familiar, though, so maybe I did.  I’ve never read it through to the end, so it’s a first read for me, anyway.

What’s your plan of attack, now that we’re dealing with more “mature” literature?

You know, I don’t know what everyone means when they call this “mature” literature.  Does that mean slow? boring? work? bloody?  Long?  IDK what “mature” is and why it applies to the LOTR books, but my plan of attack on this book, and the rest of the trilogy, too, is to read the book an hour a day.  I’m into chapter 5 now, and they’ve just now spied the bald hill outside the Old Forest.  The Dark Riders have been pursuing them for quite  a while, but it’s not been as scary as the root scene in the movie, nor as intense as the chase to Bucklebury Ferry was in the movie, either.  Oh, and they’ve already met some elves and spent the evening with them in Woodhall.  Galindor seems to be a fascinating character whom I’d like to see more of, or again later, maybe.

Have you ever seen the movies? If so, do you think they’ll influence your reading? If not, well, why haven’t you seen them?

Yes, I have seen the Peter Jackson LOTR movies, of course, and have watched them more times than I can count (but probably not as much as I’ve watched the cartoons when I was a kid).  To an extent, of course they influence my reading; it would be impossible to not be influenced by them.  But here’s the thing about the movies:  I can thoroughly understand why fans of the book would HATE, HATE! with a passion the recent movie-versions.  The book is so far different from the movie’s story line that it’s about like two people writing about the same events, but from different POVs.  BUT… I understand why Jackson did what he did, too.  The pace of the book is very slow.  Almost 20 years pass between Bilbo’s farewell party and Frodo’s.  Also, the Dark Riders in the book have more of a sense of ill-ease, maybe a bit of suspense, but no where near the heighten sense of danger and DOOM they give off in the movie, at least not by the point I’m at right now.  There would just be no way you could make the movie be like the book without losing the audience’s interest.  I don’t think I would’ve liked the movies AT ALL if I’d read the books first.  I don’t know WHAT Jackson’s going to do with The Hobbit, to be honest, and I’m not sure I’ll like it, but I do still love the LOTR movies, still.

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