As I mentioned with The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings has been on my “to be read” list for well over a decade. I think I have a quite unique history with this legendary epic fantasy novel. I was first introduced to The Lord of the Rings by my 11th grade English teacher. This was around the time The Two Towers movie adaptation was about to be release on theaters. I remember how excited and passionate my English teacher was regarding LOTR. Seeing clips from the movies, from there on. I knew that one day I will eventually read the entire LOTR novel to find out what the buzz is all about (I know, I’m late to party as always).
I’m not much of a movie person (I’ve spent over eight years not watching any movies whatsoever!), so I haven’t seen any of the three LOTR movie adaptations in their entirety from start to finish. I have however, seen plenty of snippets of the movies. I obviously know some of the major protagonists in the story already and I’m certainly aware of the plot and how some of the major events end up. Luckily, not everything is spoiler free for me before I dwelled into this amazing fantasy universe.
Regarding Tolkien’s writing, From what I’ve seen or read on the internet, people either love his writing or don’t like it at all. That is to say, their isn’t much of a middle ground. Reading this first volume, I absolutely love LOTR. So much that I read about 1/3 of this book on a single sit down read! LOTR is massive, this first volume, introduces a massive amount of characters and their back stories. I must say, given the mass amount of character information described in this book, not all of them are completely memorable to me. Theirs simply way to many to remember. Luckily, their many online wiki’s that briefly describe character information. Thus said, for the most part I try to avoid them if possible in case they might have spoilers. However, their are times that it’s simply unavoidable to me to refer to the wikis.
As it happened to me while reading The Witcher saga, the LOTR is so immersive to me. I found myself plenty of times stopped reading, and instead I referenced the online wiki to find out more information about certain subjects that were being mentioned in the book, but not fully described in it’s entirely. In a way I’m already excited about reading The Silmarillion after completing LOTR! The entire Middle-earth lore and background history is absolutely beautiful, that I always found myself wanting to learn more of it!
The main reason why certain people don’t seem to like Tolkien’s writing is because its old school (not modern), long, to slow, and overly descriptive. While I think some of it is certainly true, I felt the chapters in this book were well organized, making it really easy to follow. I don’t have much experience reading epic high fantasy other than The Witcher series. To me, LOTR is a much easier to read since you’re not jumping between difference character point of views, or across different settings in the story. Perhaps the only drawback, is how the geography of Middle-earth is presented and described to readers. The book does have map drawings, but I found them somewhat confusing and at times I kind of felt like Tolkien was introducing a ton of new kingdoms/cities constantly throughout this book.
Finally to end, I feel that anyone wanting to read the LOTR for the first time, like myself; you should read The Hobbit before hand. Events and characters introduced in The Hobbit are mentioned throughout this book, so it’s somewhat important to know what exactly happens in the The Hobbit before reading LOTR.