enhanced] DD-B

Book Note: J. R. R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

I read this book about 22-Sep-2001. I've read this book before. The book is copyright 1965. This note was last modified Tuesday, 06-May-2014 13:07:25 PDT.

This is book 1 of the "Lord of the Rings" series.

This note contains spoilers for the book.


The copyright given in the book is 1965, but that must be the revised edition American copyright (remember that the American copyright was actually allowed to lapse through failure to renew). The ISFDB shows this as having been published in 1954—the same year as me, in fact. (And Frodo and Bilbo's birthday is the day after mine, too. I'm starting this reread of the book on their birthday.)

Unlike The Hobbit, I've read this dozens of times before. I frequently read it in the fall. This seems an especially good fall for it, and I haven't read it in some years. I've been known in recent years to skip the icky parts of The Two Towers, but I don't currently intend to do that this time.

All quotes and page citations are to Ballantine Books U7040, fourteenth printing, September 1967. Which means you probably can't find the exact pages in your modern editions; sorry, this is the first copy I owned, and I see no need to buy the latest edition (especially since I also own at least two other editions already; and Pamela has more).

It's usually held to be bad form to answer critics; but this is a really excellent jab at them, while remaining quite non-specific. I'm especially fond of that first subordinate clause. (From the Foreward, p.x). "Some who have read the book, or at any rate have reviewed it, have found it boring, absurd, or contemptible; and I have no cause to complain, since I have similar opinions of their works, or of the kind of writing that they evidently prefer."

Boy, this has been a slow reading week. Not the book's fault, I've been focused on system administration issues and photography more than on reading. And feeling faily energetic about those things.

But I have finished it now, and enjoyed it as usual. It still bothers me that Gimli warns them not to drink from the spring because the water is cold. That makes no sense to a Minnesotan, or to any American used to getting a glass full of crushed ice with his drink.

I'm liking Aragorn more and more. The dwarves and elves have different drives and different powers than us, and I don't learn what they are well enough to be really impressed by what they do. Aragorn is human, so he has the same capabilities and limitations as we do. (So do the hobbits, and they're very deliberately set up to impress us with their hardihood, and they do, but I've been enjoying that from the beginning.)

Gandalf and Aragorn both have a rather endearing tendency to fling themselves into doing something without worrying about whether there's any possibility of succeeding. I guess that's what comes of believing that failing is so total and permanent that despair cannot be contemplated. Gandalf in particular also, I think, believes in both destiny and intervention by higher powers. Given his place in the world I guess he's right to do so. While this book isn't avowedly mystic, it's very much there in the structure of the world, especially the historical bits. One of the oft-noticed omissions from the world is anything we'd recognize as religion (which may be part of what I like about it).

I wasn't annoyed enough to take detailed notes (after all, these are old favorite books), and didn't find enough new to keep me explaining it much longer, so I think it's time to head of to the next volume.

[dd-b] [dd-b's books] [book log] [RSS] [sf] [mystery] [childhood] [nonfiction]
[dd-b] [site status] [pit]

David Dyer-Bennet