So, my great The Lord of the Rings re-read stalls after The Fellowship of the Ring. This is due to the arrival of the new Wallander novel (the first in ten years), so everything must be dropped to get to it. You understand.
Anyway, like Tolkien needs another review. Instead, here are some thoughts on the ageing process (it’s a good six or seven years since I last read through it).
1. I don’t like to say it, but the language is, uh, not quite how I remembered. Not at all. Was it pedestrian even in its own time, I wonder? Compared to other books written in that period, it seems so. There is no great mythical language being evoked here. It just plods on.
2. Hobbits still seem pretty charming, naive fellows, and their ways even more bucolic. You can’t help but smile at them.
3. Strider is cooler than I remember; he has much more presence.
4. Samwise Gamgee seems a much stronger character.
5. The descriptions go on and on and on and on and on. Paragraphs of visual details – and not all of them that precise. Much of the description (stars especially) seem to repeat themselves.
6. The worldbuilding still knocks the socks of all modern fantasies. The background seems richer this time around. There are far more subtleties than a lot of fiction.
7. The films seem far darker than Tolkien presents this world in the novels. The Black Riders so far aren’t that scary this time around.
8. Tom Bombadil… Hmm… (to be fair, I felt the same the first time around).
9. The films dominated my reading experience, and you could even say removed some of the pleasure.
10. Class and status isn’t as much as an issue as I thought it would be.