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The Lord of the Rings

Author

J. R. R. Tolkien

Publication date

1954-55

Genre

High fantasy

Series

Middle-earth

Preceded by

The Hobbit

Followed by

The Silmarillion

Read twice and I own two separate editions. Originally published in three volumes:

  • Part 1: The Fellowship of the Ring (Books One and Two, 1954)
  • Part 2: The Two Towers (Books Three and Four, 1954)
  • Part 3: The Return of the King (Books Five and Six - plus the appendices, 1955)

I was bought the first book of my first copy by my friend Fiona for Christmas 2001 (it has a note in the front :)), not sure how I got the following two, but I won my second set (which included The Hobbit) in a library competition at school (a quiz about classic mythology and superheroes, if I recall :P).

LengthEdit

478537 words according to this analysis, which would be 1367 standard pages, but it doesn't give any detail. There are appendices, for example, that I wouldn't want to include in the count.

Derived by me from character counts of the full texts[1]:

  • The Fellowship of the Ring - 509 standard pages
  • The Two Towers - 428 standard pages
  • The Return of the King - 368 standard pages

(total 1304 pages)

First read (2002 presumably)Edit

FormatEdit

Paperback trilogy, the first and last with covers from the Peter Jackson films, the middle basically all black, 535 pages, 439 pages, and 378 pages respectively (minus the appendices). Total 1352 pages.

JournalEdit

I remember I tried to read The Fellowship of the Ring but couldn't get in to it, until a holiday in France when I had nothing else to do, and I remember intending to read each book after Peter Jackson's film came out, and after deciding I could read the first chapter of The Two Towers due to it being included in the first film accidentally reading the whole book. Apart from that, I can't remember exactly when I read what. I would guess I read all three in 2002.

RatingEdit

3

Second read (March-May 2011)Edit

11 05 23 The Lord of the Rings

The Lord of the Rings - May 23rd '11.

FormatEdit

As above.

JournalEdit

Since my first read a desire to reread it has waxed and waned, though never disappeared entirely, and I've read the first chapter quite a few times now... The first film, particularly its soundtrack, made a big impression on me. On March 13th 2011 I grabbed my copy of The Fellowship of the Ring to take to work after abandoning The Ice People and became determined to read the whole thing once again!

On April 20th I finished Fellowship at work. I was surprised at how much essentially completely unjustified nonsense there is throughout it, I felt the whole atmosphere the book is famous for is often owed to silly statements like Aragorn's warning Gandalf not to go in Moria - he obviously had no tangible reason to say that but it isn't even hand-waved as a dream or whatever. And there are a LOT of dreams and feelings and visions in which characters know things without having any means to know them. So it was a bit odd. Possibly after reading so much sci-fi and rationalist stuff during the preceding years I'd stopped being as loyal to true high fantasy as I had thought. Anyway, it's certainly well written and better than the films (although I was also surprised how much the soundtrack to the films evokes my feelings more than the actual book!), and I'd recommend it to anyone who could get through it. It's just a bit puzzling how much of the setting involves basically God(s) puppeteering the little mortals with select prophecy and clairvoyance. I was determined to continue reading them, and I'd like to read The Silmarillion etc. too to get the bigger picture.

I started reading The Two Towers on the 23rd of April at work and got through that quite quickly, finished it at work on the 9th of May. It definitely seemed massively shorter and to the point than Fellowship, but I couldn't work out if that was just because it's only the second time I've read any of it so it was more interesting. Loved the ents and everything, but it certainly seemed quite short and less epic.

Started The Return of the King on May 10th and finished on the 23rd, while on placement. Two Towers was definitely condensed, as if Tolkien had a lot to get through but wasn't that enamoured with it or something, or maybe the other way round, that he found it more difficult to write Return of the King and waffled. Anyway, it wasn't that impressive, I was kinda bored most of the time, but the ending was nice and made you feel fuzzy again :)

Overall, the books would be a lot better I feel if all the silly bits where characters know more than they should or otherwise had absurd luck, as if the whole thing were being played out by the Gods, were taken out.

RatingEdit

2

Reading recordEdit

Previous book: Maggie Gee, The Ice People (first attempt)

Simultaneous books: Ted Hughes, The Iron Man, Matthew Stover, Star Wars Episode III

Next book: Ben Goldacre, Bad Science

AwardsEdit

Number 1 on the BBC's Big Read.

Number 3 on the 2006 World Book Day poll.

Links and ReferencesEdit

  1. Found online, counted with Notepad++. No fluff detected, but no guarantees of quality.

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