Sunday, November 1, 2015

Favorite "Books" of LOTR

Before this class, I was not aware that Tolkien had originally wanted The Lord of the Rings to be published as a single volume, rather than as a trilogy.  I had noticed that the "books" within each volume continued one through six, but I suppose it never clicked in my brain that this is because The Lord of the Rings is, truly, one continuous story.

In discussion with my friends (many of whom I must admit have only seen the movies), I am often called crazy when I say that The Fellowship of The Ring is my favorite installment of the series.  Perhaps others do not enjoy The Fellowship as much because it does not contain as many battles as the other two volumes, but it is my favorite nonetheless.  I especially enjoy Book II, when the story follows the Fellowship's formation and initial adventures.  I love the captivating descriptions of Rivendell and Lothlorien, which engage my imagination and sensibility.  Perhaps even more so though, I enjoy the sense of wholeness that exists when the Fellowship travels as a single, unified group.  It is sad to me when the group is forced to split up and go their separate ways, although it is, of course, necessary to expand the weight of the story.

What is your favorite volume/book of The Lord of the Rings and why?


Vana said...

My favorite volume is Return of the King. Not because of all the battles, I actually don't like all the war scenes. I love the ends of stories, and not necessarily happy endings. I love homecomings, heartache, and what looks like just the beginning of some new tale. That's why the Return of the King appeals to me.

Tulkas said...

My favorite is The Fellowship of the Ring as well. I've always thought that if I lived in Middle-earth I would want to divide my time among the Shire, Rivendell, and Lothlorien. The Fellowship is the only book that gives you all three, and in greatest detail.

Aulë said...

This is a very difficult decision, but I think I agree with Vana. I love all the great beginnings and great endings of Return of the King, however one thing I remember from the last time I read LOTR is that the whole first half didn't have much interest to me (that whole section describing in great detail how the Riders of Rohan journeyed to Gondor). It has been a few years, so hopefully I will enjoy it a lot more in this read-through.
An interesting thing I've noticed for me personally is that if you asked me when I was younger which of the three volumes was my least favorite, it was Two Towers. Now, I have honestly no idea why I would say that; so much awesome and crazy stuff happens in Two Towers! For some reason, I used to look at TT as the fuzzy stuff in the middle, and the only thing I can think to explain it is that TT is stuck between the Elves and Aragorn's kingly bad-assery, which were the things I cared about the most.

Ossë said...

I'm not sure which book is my absolute favorite...I think it's a tie between The Two Towers and The Return of the King. I love all the new places (especially Rohan and Fangorn Forest) and characters. I also like the Battle of Helm's Deep because it's the first full-scale battle we get in the trilogy (I think). But I also love ROTK. I love the battles, and I also really like the romance between Éowyn and Faramir.

Nessa said...

Aule: I agree with kid-you! I could not pick a favorite, but the fourth book is easily my least favorite. I have always loved that Tolkien specifically writes: if this were a story at this point I would close the book. The fourth book just feels so hopeless because you can feel Frodo’s confidence in his mission fading. He presses on, but without hope of completing his task. Tolkien is often and surprisingly self-aware within his novels; there are times like this in other pieces he writes as well where he knows that we won't necessarily enjoy it, but it has to be written and read, so he gives it to us anyway. Then, he makes a comment to let us know that he understands our pain.

Of course, if I had to pick a favorite book, it would be the sixth. I love it because, honestly, it emotionally destroys me EVERY TIME. I am just broken when they split up for the last time. I love any book that can make me feel any emotion that strongly.