Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Lord of the Rings

Confession time: I don't really like The Lord of the Rings.

I read the trilogy two or three times, but I still had a really hard time following the plotline.  The first book was okay, and I was able to kind of keep track of what was going on, because all of the adventurers were together.  But then the book ends with the group splitting up, and that's where the plotline confuses me.

The book sort of jumps around at the start of Book 2.  It has Merryweather and the other hobbit trying to find Frodo for a chapter or two.  Then I think it switches to the Legolas/Gimli Power Hour for a chapter or two, and I'm confused because I have no idea what they're doing besides bickering with each other.  And then Aragorn does stuff for some chapters, and by this time, I'm completely lost because I haven't seen Aragorn in 100 pages.

And then Gandalf is back from the dead, for reasons that aren't fully explained.  And he's fighting Sauron, who...I have no idea who he is.  He must be a bad guy.  The dialogue with Sauron is cool, though.  And there's a huge battle at Sauron's castle.

[Edit: I apparently mixed up Sauron with Saruman.  In my defense, the two bad guys have similar names.]

Eventually, I stumble my way to Part 2 of Book 2, which starts with Frodo and Sam, who are still on the quest to destroy the ring.  And their adventures are...actually, pretty boring.  I remember a whole chapter being dedicated to the fact that they were having rabbit soup for supper.  Even Gollum the Creeper had a hard time making these scenes interesting.

There's a chapter about them going up a long flight of stairs, and Sam conveniently steals the ring from Frodo, shortly before Frodo gets kidnapped by bad guys.  Then The Two Towers ends, and I'm left wondering...when was a tower ever mentioned in the book, much less two towers?

Book Three picks up Aragorn somehow being a king in charge of a huge army now.  Wasn't he just a forest ranger named Strider when we first met him?  Anyway, Aragorn deals with a lot of people I don't remember, and they're fighting other people I don't remember.  I just sort of skip through this, until I get back to the part I can actually understand, the adventures of Frodo and Sam.

Sam and Frodo escape the bad guys, and they have the worst hike ever while going to the volcano and throwing the ring inside.  Only the ring turns Frodo evil, and he doesn't want to get rid of it anymore.  There's a showdown between Gollum and Frodo, and Gollum accidentally destroys himself and the ring in the volcano.

Somehow, somehow, destroying this one ring manages to kill the main villain of the book series.  Even though the villain is hundreds of miles away.  Even though the villain hasn't had the ring in centuries or so.  And then the magical eagles come to save Frodo, and you're sort of confused as to why Tolkein brought back some obscure characters from The Hobbit to save the day.

The book series gets simpler and winds down after that, kind of.  Frodo and the hobbits have a mini-adventure defeating the bad guys in the hobbit village, and that was fun.  And the book ends on kind of a weird note, with Gandalf and Bilbo and Frodo and crew sailing across the sea, and they've all got rings now.  I bet the movie had a slightly different ending.  I only watched the first movie, so I wouldn't know.

...So yeah, that's about what happened when I read The Lord of the Rings.  Re-reading it didn't really help my comprehension of the plotline, and I just sort of focused on the plotline with Frodo, because that's the one I can understand the best.  Maybe I'll re-read the trilogy a fourth time, but probably not.


Jasini said...

In the appendix of the third book, there is a chronology. I've found that very helpful in figuring out what happens when.

Emily said...

Yeah, I'm not much for Lord of the Rings either. You could basically rename that book "a bunch of guys take a really unpleasant walk" and get the same result.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Here's my advice, watch the movies and then (if you don't mind wasting another couple of months reading a book you don't understand) read the books. But your best bet is to just watch the movies, they are REALLY good and they make sense.

Katie said...

Try reading the A Song of Fire and Ice series! lol

Miriam said...

I've never actually read the books, but I thoroughly enjoyed the movies. :) I understand the plot pretty well, though books are almost always better than the movies and the movies usually change at least a few things about the plot..

Sparksbet said...

I've read the books and watched the movies, and loved them. It takes a really close reading to understand what's going on. For this reason, I find it easier to watch the movie before reading the book. It makes it like the movie, with bonuses. I do think some of your issues were entirely your fault (particularly your confusion about certain plot points, like why Sauron is destroyed with the ring - you really should understand that after reading it 3 times), but some of your complains are legit, like how skipping the first half of the third book. I did the same thing, though only because I was so enthralled with the Frodo/Sam plotline that I didn't really want to read about Aragorn.
I think that a lot of people don't like reading the Lord of the Rings series just because it's an extremely difficult read, and that makes me very sad... has this world descended to the level that a small level of difficulty will deter us from enjoying a masterpiece?

Anonymous said...

The "two towers" refers to Barad-dur (Sauron's tower in Mordor) and to Orthanc (Sauruman's tower in Isengard) and the allegiance they form to "destroy the world of men". I'm a big LOTR fan.

Sammy said...

...And this is why I read 'The Hunger Games' and 'Skulduggery Pleasant'. Yes to book series that make sense!

Beth said...

I've yet to read the books. I just watched the first movie for the first time (yeah, yeah, I know, kind of late) and then I watched How Lord of the Rings Should Have Ended and it made a whole lot more sense! Here's the link:
Aragorn: Can you imagine what would've happened if we walked that whole way?
*Everyone laughs*
Sam: Yeah, someone might have died!

Diana said...

I'm doing the play version of "The Hobbit" right now! It was really cool, not to mention random, to see you talk about this at this specific point in time.

Philip said...

It's been years since I read those books, but they are priceless reading. :)

I'm going to have to go back and reread them, but I do remember that the reason why Sauron died along with the ring was because when he made the ring, he had invested almost all of his power into the ring, so that it kind of became part of him.

When it was taken away from him, hundreds of years before Bilbo got it, Sauron wasn't able to function without the ring. He just kind of drifted through the world, and after hundreds of years, he gradually grew stronger, and stronger, until he felt strong enough to start his camaign of evil.

So, when the ring was destroyed, it was the same as whopping off his head or something because it was so closely connected with him.

Anonymous said...

I really enjoy the LOTR series in fact ive been reading them again for the billionth time, but i understand what you mean the books are kind of confusing at first and you might have to flip back & forth a nit. I recomend that you do try them again toough. Oh, and Aragorn isn't just a ranger he is th heir of numenor which means hes supposed to be th eking of Gondor.