Reasons To Read Lord of the Rings: A Trilogy Review

The Lord of the Rings has had an incredible influence in the world of literature and film. The film franchise paved the way for fantasy films, proving that epic fantasy can be visually and emotionally engaging, building a franchise that has a lasting legacy on the industry. None of this would have been possible without J.R.R. Tolkien. This post highlights the many reasons you should read the Lord of the Rings.

Characterisation

The most distinctive difference between the book and the film is in the characters. The changes in the film, especially with Aragorn’s reluctant leader persona, benefitted the dramatic tension in the film. However, the book sees him assert his role quite early on in the series with a clear understanding of his destiny. The dynamic between the fellowship was particularly compelling as the bonds that bound them were tested and loyalty wavered under the influence and threat of the one ring.

There is a subtle nuance in Tolkien’s characterizations, with our understanding of the character’s nature deriving largely from the smaller details found in their words and actions. It’s in these moments that we come to see how varied the fellowship is in terms of culture and race. This attention to detail highlights how our characters provide further insight into Middle-Earth’s history and culture.

While Tolkien’s characters are often crucial to understanding the dynamic between Middle-Earth’s inhabitants, there are a select few that are quite puzzling. This is especially true in the presence of Tom Bombadil. While his introduction in the Fellowship of the Ring was entertaining, his appearance left us with a lot of unanswered questions. He’s an enigma, whose presence felt out of place in the narrative.

Prose

The hardest part of reading Lord of the Rings is having to adapt to Tolkien’s style of writing. His style of writing is graceful, poetic, and highly immersive, but also quite old fashion, which is understandable considering the time it was written. However, that doesn’t make the books any less engaging, and one of the most surprising elements of the narrative was the musicality of it. The films offer a glimpse of the poetic nature of the books, but it barely scratched the surfaced. Characters, like Legolas, often break into song or poetry, and while some may find call them a hindrance to the story, I find that they contributed to the richness of the culture of Middle-Earth.

The biggest criticism would be the lack of dramatic tension. This might be due to the ease in which arising conflicts are dealt with and the lack of a physical villainous presence, but the threat and urgency of the quest weren’t as effective as it should have been.

Richly Imaginative

It is easy to see where Peter Jackson found his inspiration because Tolkien’s world-building is incredibly intricate and vivid, easily capturing the reader’s imagination. The musicality of his prose heightens this richness of Middle-Earth. However, it’s not just the vivid imagery that makes this world feel so real, but also the detailed attention Tolkien dedicates to the language of this world. The appendices, found in Return of the King, highlights Tolkien’s passion for languages with an insightful exploration of the dialect of Middle-Earth. The sheer scope of the world Tolkien has created is incredible and the attention to detail in establishing the history of Middle-Earth is unrivalled.

A product of its time

Looking at this series from the perspective of the 21st century, there is a clear disparity in the representation of females in the book, something which the films rightly expands upon. The lack of female representation was expected and the difference between the role of women in the book and film is insane. Arwen felt like a phantom presence, for the most part, and the dynamic between Eowyn and Theoden/Aragorn was only felt in the unspoken words between them. However, while their roles were greatly reduced, they still made their presence felt when they did appear on the page.

A Timeless Classic

There is no denying the fact that the Lord of the Rings trilogy is a timeless classic and paved the way for fantasy in literature and film. The sheer scope of the world J.R.R Tolkien created is phenomenal. With characters of all over middle-earth uniting to fulfil this quest, we are treated to an adventure that explores the strength of hope and how the courage of unconventional heroes shaped the future of Middle-Earth.

Have you read the Lord of the Rings?
What was your favourite book?
Do you prefer the films to the book?

 

 

12 thoughts on “Reasons To Read Lord of the Rings: A Trilogy Review

  1. Ahh I’m so happy to see this post pop up in my reader! Not many people I know have read lotr and I honestly love it so so much it’s one of my favourite works ever. At first it was really difficult to adjust to tolkein’ s prose but once I did, it was all so beautiful and magical! Great post!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve been such a fan of the films for so long that I had to read the books. It deserves so much love just for the richness of the story. Once I got used to his prose everything clicked.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Sometimes I wonder if the lack of females is representative of the time the book was written or of the time Tolkien was inspired book. There IS actual Middle English literature about women, of course, but I wouldn’t really expect a female knight in a story from the 1300’s, and part of me thinks that adding a woman to the Fellowship would have made the story “less realistic” in some sense. I do think Tolkien actually had great respect for women, and the powerful women that are present in his stories–Galadriel, Eowyn, some of the Valar, Luthien, etc.–reflect that.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I love this comment and you are so right in your view of female representatives. I’ve not read any of Tolkien’s other works, but I have seen comments that praise his characterisation of female characters, and even with their limited role in lord of the rings, they made their presence felt.

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  3. Awesome post! I do get what people mean about it being a product of its time (though I do tend to agree with Briana on the point about women) but I like how you balanced this review with reasons for and against the book- it made it really balanced and let’s people know exactly what they’re in for- and ultimately why they should read it!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Amazing post! ๐Ÿ˜€ I really enjoyed reading your thoughts on The Lord of the Rings. I have read the books, but it’s been many years so my memory of them isn’t the best. I actually read them all in German, though now I own English copies of it as well. ๐Ÿ˜€ I should read them in English as well at some point.

    Like

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