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View Diary: Books Go Boom! How 'Lord of the Rings' is Not a Very Good Book - and Yet, is a Great One (296 comments)

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  •  I've tried to read other fantasy after LOTR (12+ / 0-)

    and while I have slightly enjoyed some of it, I can't get into anything like I can his world. It's not just because it is such an intricately crafted world, but the foundation it was built on.  I don't sense that other writers are building from the same depth of love or knowledge of Northern European mythology or languages that JRRT had.  No one can touch Tolkien with a 10 foot pole because they didn't read Old Norse for fun!

    Another thing, I don't get the same sense of horror of our present world/society.  Tolkien tapped into a fear of modernity and bridged a gap from the ancient to allow us a (temporary) escape from it.  I see our world full of double-dealing and destruction of the natural environment and want to escape to his world where a person's word is their bond and trees are honored.

    Following on from xaxnar's comment, that sense of everything fading - the triumph of entropy - also makes Middle Earth so relatable.

    I  respect other people saying they get bogged down in the description or are bothered by sexist/racist things they notice, but as bad as those things are, they help to create a sense of  'oldness' as well (as well as being foibles that I don't expect a man of Tolkien's time and place to overcome).  

    Specifically as to the tedious descriptions: I felt that way when I tried to read some 19th century American stuff, so I relate. I guess I'd become enamored enough of M.E.  that I didn't mind the description of every leaf of it. :) Besides, if everyone could have zipped from here to there, while it would have technically helped the pacing, it wouldn't be a real journey. People in M.E. took time to sing songs. They walked. They trudged, like JRRT did as a soldier at the battle of the Somme.

    Tolkien's real creation is the Silmarillion-related mass of writings, anyway. LOTR is just wrapping-up and synopsis, if you will, of a body of even older legends.  

    •  You speak for me; thanks for your comment. n/t (6+ / 0-)
    •  There are so many Epic series out there - I bet (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      poco, RiveroftheWest

      there are a couple you'd enjoy, but haven't found yet. Though I do get what you're saying, and I'm sure there's nothing to grab your heart like Middle Earth. It has several distinct flavors in it; it is it's own cuisine, in fact. I wonder what else there is that delves into all those Norse roots - they're so rich that I'm certain other authors have plundered there.

      I liked your insights into what worked for you in LotR, and why some "flaws" I mentioned never bothered you. I've found that many readers are more invested in Middle Earth, with both their heart and their mind, because they first traveled there as teenagers, when they were hugely receptive to such a rich field of imagining, and not remotely jaded by too many books and responsibilities.

      "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

      by Brecht on Mon Apr 07, 2014 at 09:30:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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