I decided to read “The Fellowship of the Ring” about a week ago. Even though I already know that fantasy fiction is not my favorite genre of book I thought I should probably read at least one of the series because they are considered to be classic. I am now just over halfway through the book and am only sort of enjoying it. Tolkien is a great writer—but he’s killing me with details. Did you know that it takes Frodo and the other three hobbits half of the book just to get out of the Shire? In the movie it takes like ten minutes. And then there are all these names of people and places that pop up without any explanation. Look at this excerpt from the Council of Elrond:
“Only to the North did these tidings come, and only to a few. Small wonder it is that you have not heard them, Boromir. Form the ruin of the Gladden Fields, where Isildur perished, three men only came ever back over the mountains after long wandering. One of these was Ohtar, the esquire of Isildur, who bore the shards of the sword of Elendil; and he brought them to Valandil, the heir of Isildur, who being but a child had remained here in Rivendell. But Narsil was broken and its light extinguished, and it has not yet been forged again.”
One or two names I don’t recognize is do-able, but this mess just made me want to quit. It’s no wonder the biggest fans of these books tend to be (and there are exceptions, Gracie) real freaks—you need a PhD in Middle-earth history to understand a lot of this stuff. So kudos to Peter Jackson and whoever wrote the screenplay for the films. While they’re not my favorites, so far I enjoyed them better than the books—which almost never happens.
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