21 February 2010

Readalong 2: Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien

This is the second installment of this month's readalong of The Fellowship of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien. Clare from The Literary Omnivore is our host.

For more on how my reread (relisten) is going, check out my earlier thoughts (#1, #2). There is still time to join in the Lord of the Rings Readalong.

Here are the mid-month questions for The Fellowship of the Ring:

1. If you’ve been with us since the beginning, how do you feel about the narrator compared to the narrator in The Hobbit?

I have never had a problem with the switch in tone between The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings. I love the deeper look into the history of Middle Earth, the tales and hints of a much earlier time and the changing politics and relationships among the different beings. LOTR is much more complex; the plot lines are intertwining. Each member of the fellowship has his own reason for being on the journey, and those reasons affect his decisions and his behavior. The characters grow and change, face doubts, and find strengths (and weaknesses) within themselves.

2. How’s your pace going? Is it smooth sailing or have you found passages that are difficult to get through?

I finished last week. I flew through; I always do. Once I open the first page or listen to the first disk, I am immediately pulled in and just can't turn away.

3. If you’ve read this series before, is The Fellowship of the Ring, for the most part, as you remembered? If not, is it what you expected or something else?

I mentioned in a previous post that I always seem to get something else out the book with each reread. For some reason, I am picking up a lot more on the foreshadowing this time through. A casual mention of a place that is later the scene of an important event or battle or a hint at a person or ancient legend that will prove the key to success in the final book.

I know that many people shy away from rereading for a variety of reasons, but this trilogy seems to beg for multiple visits. Tolkien presents the world of Middle Earth in such a way that you understand that there is a deep history. Every place the characters pass through has a story, and you learn more about those stories with each reread. The first time you are concentrating on the battle taking place within the city's walls; the second time you are noticing the layout of the city and why it was built that way. The first time you are seeing the landscape almost as if you were a tourist; the next time you are learning about the peoples who once lived there.

Although it is impossible to absorb everything that Tolkien created on just one or two readings, the basic story itself is accessible enough that ten- and eleven-year-olds can read and enjoy it.

4. Are you using any of the extra features- maps and indexes, for instance- in your book?

As I said in one of the write-ups for The Hobbit, I love the visuals, and I frequently referred to both the map and the illustrations of Middle Earth to enhance my reading. In the unabridged audio edition, I am treated to the music of Middle Earth as well.

Bonus notes: If asked on a pop quiz with only two seconds to answer, I would likely say that The Fellowship of the Ring is my favorite of three books. But when I have time to think about it, I'm not sure. Each book has its own flavor and level of action. Some of my favorite characters are in The Two Towers and some of the darkest moments are in the The Return of the King. I'm not sure that I really do have a favorite.


Many editions are available; try Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2004ISBN-13: 9780618574940Source: Have owned for years (see review policy).

7 comments:

veronica 3/16/10, 11:06 AM  

I haven't gotten myself to read this yet, though I grew up with the story. My sister was a HUGE fan and I've always kind of felt like I've read it since I've known the characters through her for so long. One day I'll actually manage to read it. Also, you had some great insights about rereading books. I reread favorite books over and over, and like you said there's always something new to discover.

Lenore 3/16/10, 11:06 AM  

Still don't want to read this, but I do want to watch the movie again....the director's cut even!

Dawn 3/16/10, 11:07 AM  

Maybe I should try these on audio. I never made it past THE HOBBIT. Glad the readalong is going well for you!

Kay 3/16/10, 11:09 AM  

Since this is my first time reading FotR, it is nice to know that it is a book I will want to come back to! I am loving it so far... and is it odd to say that I am looking forward to re-reading it?

Alice Teh 3/16/10, 11:09 AM  

I wish I could say I flew through too, but I'm still reading THE HOBBIT! I need to pick up speed.

Stacy 3/16/10, 11:48 AM  

I love this one!

Dorte H 3/16/10, 11:49 AM  

If you re-read a great book, you will always notice something new, I think. If not, it may not be the kind of book you should reread.

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