Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Lord of the Rings Part One: The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien


This is my third time reading this book, but only my first time reading it since having seen the movies. It's been so long since the last time I read it that this reading felt like a re-discovery!

The first thing that stands out to me is how much I had forgotten. I had completely forgotten about Tom Bombadil! I can't believe I forgot such a major character. (Incidentally, a DVD extra explains that Tom Bombadil was left out of the movies because he didn't actually move the story of the Ring along, which I suppose is true.) I had also forgotten how much of the story occurs in the Shire.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that Merry and Pippin played a much larger role in helping Frodo to leave the Shire than was portrayed in the movie. Also unlike their movie characters, they proved to be not unintelligent and rather helpful - though Pippin still acted a fool a couple times. Strangely, though, once the four hobbits got on the road, and particularly after the Company left Rivendell, Merry and Pippin fell into the background, and at times I could almost forget that they were even a part of the Company at all.

One major difference between the book and the movie, it turns out, was the timing at which Aragorn's broken sword was reforged. Apparently, in the book, it occurs right off the bat in Rivendell! In the movies, I don't think it happens until The Return of the King - probably so that the new sword can serve as an immediate harbinger of the King's return.

Anyway, besides finding differences between the movie and the book, this third reading also opened my eyes to some details that I just plain seem to have overlooked in previous readings. Specifically, I didn't know that Galadriel was Arwen's grandmother!! Well, how about that.

I've already started The Two Towers, and I'm looking forward to even more (re-)discoveries.

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