16 November 2012

Book Readings: The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King

...and there you have it, personal challenge met: to start reading and complete reading The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King in 5 days.

My favourite characters were Treebeard/Fangorn and Faramir. Those with knowledge of the books should be able to discern my preferred book of the trilogy through that statement.

Fellowship Of The Ring was great, with some fantastic moments and a general 
sense of discovery and wonder, but I've always felt that it takes far too long to get to a point. The Return Of The King struck me as both exceedingly ponderous and remarkably depressing. The latter I can understand: without it the extended epilogue wouldn't be nearly as cathartic. But the former is quite a letdown- especially considering the abundance of battle sequences scattered throughout the text. The Two Towers I felt had the best combination of story, character, pace and wonderment, and I actually thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

Despite the constant initial difficulties I've encountered with the trilogy throughout my life, and my general reluctance to read it all, I find myself now at the end, and filled with a vague desire to read it again in the future. Perhaps with a better understanding of the multitude of names, people, events and lore that populate the entire journey. But I would say, most importantly of all, I would restart the tale with a more enriched mental image of the geography and landscapes, because during all of Tolkien's many, MANY detailed descriptions of the various locations and landmarks, my brain would just shutdown, make up its own scant visuals and directions, and then proceed to wait patiently until I had read up to a point where the story-essential moments would begin anew.

I used mental images from the films to fill most of the blanks, but I became very confused very often, with the text matching to incorrect visuals in my mind. For instance: I spent the first half of The Two Towers believing that Theoden King was the character played by John Noble in the films (Denethor, Steward Of Gondor, in case you needed a refresher). Regardless, I feel content with what I've taken from the books.

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