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#1 Posted by Jay444111 (2639 posts) -

J.R.R.Tolkien SEVERLY needed an editor back then. I mean, damn, just... damn. I am 200 pages into fellowship and it feels like I could rip out 100 of those pages in terms of proof reading the overly descriptive stuff out... which INFECTS the book so far.

The book is cool when things ACTUALLY HAPPEN, however the descriptions are so damn boring and interrupt the damn story so damn much that I can feel my hand wanting to reach to my DS to relieve the boredom of reading such huge descriptions, now, if there was a glossary it would be good if he had just put them in the back of the book, but by putting them right in the middle of things going on, it feels more like a chore reading this book so far then anything else.

Now, I love the movies, love them to death. However... I am amazed by how BORING this book is so far.

J.R.R. Tolkien is so damn good at overly describing things, that he could probably describe a leaf dropping from a tree in over one hundred pages. I am unsure if this is a gift or not however... should I continue, or does his overly descriptive story interrupts keep happening at an even worse rate?

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#2 Posted by Pinworm45 (4069 posts) -

I agree. I love the movies, but I can't stand his writing.

That dude has a fucking fetish for commas, too. His paragraphs are single sentences. Makes my eyes bleed.

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#3 Posted by Jay444111 (2639 posts) -

@Pinworm45 said:

I agree. I love the movies, but I can't stand his writing.

That dude has a fucking fetish for commas, too. His paragraphs are single sentences. Makes my eyes bleed.

Dude, I know it. Now, sure, You can make a LONG sentence every once in a while, but an entire paragraph as a sentence EVERY DAMN TIME???? WTF???

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#4 Posted by Crash_Happy (809 posts) -

Yep. Exactly why I used to end up in arguments with friends that were super-fans. I gave up reading Tolkien and went and read better stuff instead.

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#5 Posted by SpencerTucksen (444 posts) -

I honestly found them to be quite terrible. I love vivid descriptions in my books, but I want descriptions of things that I give a fuck about. And honestly, I just don't like the man himself since...well, he was rather controversial, to put it very lightly. I do love the movies to death, though. Great films, but the books are, in entertainment value, somewhere between watching paint dry and watching grass grow.

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#6 Posted by WinterSnowblind (7598 posts) -

It's always been a complaint that he wasn't that great of a writer. He does spend an insanely long time describing things like tree's and cakes, but when you get to something like the Battle of Helms Deep, it's barely two pages long. They are great books and he created the quintessential fantasy universe.. but the movies did a much better job of telling the story.

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#7 Posted by EvilTwin (3316 posts) -

Try The Hobbit if you haven't.  It's much more readable.

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#8 Posted by McGhee (6128 posts) -

Lord of the Rings is amazing because of its richness and depth, part of that is all of those descriptions. If you weren't lazy and allowed yourself to be immersed into the world, you might start to see it. There's never been a greater work when it comes to world building.

Do you ever create a thread that doesn't just involve you complaining about shit?

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#9 Posted by Doctorchimp (4186 posts) -

Didn't you already read these?

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#10 Posted by Barrock (3918 posts) -

Give In the Name of the Wind a shot.

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#11 Posted by Oldirtybearon (5626 posts) -

@McGhee_the_Insomniac said:

Lord of the Rings is amazing because of its richness and depth, part of that is all of those descriptions. If you weren't lazy and allowed yourself to be immersed into the world, you might start to see it. There's never been a greater work when it comes to world building.

Do you ever create a thread that doesn't just involve you complaining about shit?

There is a world of difference between world building as you put it, and doing so with good pacing. A lot of the premium writers on this Earth, both past and present, have had a deft touch when it came to crafting a world and its characters through the best choice of words. Nobody is saying that purple prose are not welcome, but they need to be used in moderation, the same as anything else. Tolkien's issue was that he never edited his work. A decent writer can write a hundred pages of purple prose, but a good writer knows which words to use and get across their point in a concise manner.

As for your closing point, I have no idea if the OP is butthurt all the time. I do know that in this case, his butthurt is warranted.

@Jay444111 said:

J.R.R.Tolkien SEVERLY needed an editor back then. I mean, damn, just... damn. I am 200 pages into fellowship and it feels like I could rip out 100 of those pages in terms of proof reading the overly descriptive stuff out... which INFECTS the book so far.

The book is cool when things ACTUALLY HAPPEN, however the descriptions are so damn boring and interrupt the damn story so damn much that I can feel my hand wanting to reach to my DS to relieve the boredom of reading such huge descriptions, now, if there was a glossary it would be good if he had just put them in the back of the book, but by putting them right in the middle of things going on, it feels more like a chore reading this book so far then anything else.

Now, I love the movies, love them to death. However... I am amazed by how BORING this book is so far.

J.R.R. Tolkien is so damn good at overly describing things, that he could probably describe a leaf dropping from a tree in over one hundred pages. I am unsure if this is a gift or not however... should I continue, or does his overly descriptive story interrupts keep happening at an even worse rate?

Just quit reading where you are. You aren't missing much that the Extended Edition of the LOTR trilogy doesn't provide.

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#12 Posted by Gamer_152 (14476 posts) -

I have to agree. I tried reading the books when I was in my early teens so part of me thinks if I tried again I'd enjoy them a lot more, but I found the Hobbit to be fun and very palatable, while the Lord of the Rings was a largely boring trudge through page after page waiting for exciting things to happen.

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#13 Posted by icoangel (49 posts) -

philistine

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#14 Posted by MideonNViscera (2269 posts) -

I never understood how people got through this shit. I got halfway through the 2nd book in 8th grade. My teacher was impressed for some reason that I could read them (great standards, public schools) but much less impressed with my review of Tolkien's writing style haha

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#15 Edited by Contro (2346 posts) -

What you say you dislike is largely what appeals to me and other fans of his work. The descriptiveness and detailing adds richness to the world like no other literary works of it's kind, and it still remains unparalleled to this day. I loved reading them all, I didn't expect to steam through the work of a professor trying to get to the good bits, as you seem to have endeavoured to.

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#16 Posted by sirdesmond (1389 posts) -

You are just discovering that Tolkien reads like a textbook? That's how it has been and should be. It may not be the most exciting all the time, but his lack of editor, as OP put it, is the reason his worlds, races, languages, etc. are as detailed and amazing as they are. Tearing out those pages of description would have meant not nearly as great movies, games, and other things taking place on Middle Earth.

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#17 Posted by TobbRobb (6047 posts) -

It's a bit of a grind, but I really like how well realised that world is. He made freaking timelines for EVERYTHING, shit elvish is an actual language. I just think it's cool how the world basically feels real.

I kind of wen't in to it with a Jrpg mentality, that helps. You know, just accept that it's going to be overly describing, slow and kind of boring.

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#18 Posted by Kaineda77 (159 posts) -

I remember the beginning being pretty nerdy, with all of the hobbit descriptions, but apart from that, I liked it all. It makes it feel like a very rich world.

And please - the movies are competent, but with all the stuff they had to leave out and all the strange decisions they made in changing the story they don't come close to the books.

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#19 Posted by Neferon (269 posts) -

As some other people already suggested, try The Hobbit :)

I never finished reading the LOTR books, got stuck on Elrond's place. Didn't like the writing style, awesome story though.

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#20 Posted by kaedeno (10 posts) -

If you think LotR is bad, try The Silmarillion. That shit will sunder your soul.

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#21 Posted by WinterSnowblind (7598 posts) -

@Kaineda77 said:

I remember the beginning being pretty nerdy, with all of the hobbit descriptions, but apart from that, I liked it all. It makes it feel like a very rich world.

And please - the movies are competent, but with all the stuff they had to leave out and all the strange decisions they made in changing the story they don't come close to the books.

Was there anything left out that really impacted the story? Bombadil was completely pointless.. a nice little intrigue, but it served no purpose and detracted from the flow of the book. Ditto for the scouring of the shire, which was completely anti-climactic after the destruction of the ring.

I don't think any of the changes were unnecessary either. Introducing Arwen sooner (and in the actual story, in the books she's only mentioned in the appendixes, despite being very important!) made a lot more sense than introducing us to Glorfindel, a random elf who had no bearing on the story past his introduction. Most of the other changes were things like Faramir taking the Hobbits back to Gondor, which was done to make the ring feel more threatening. In the books almost every character who comes into contact with it is able to reject it very easily. It has been a long time since I read the books though, so feel free to point out anything you did think was negative.

Again though, I'm not saying the books were bad. I absolutely loved them, and think he did an amazing job creating an insanely detailed universe. I just think the Peter Jackson movies did a better job at telling the actual story.

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#22 Posted by NickLott (833 posts) -

If you're not enjoying it, definitely stop reading. But what I would say in defense of the book is fantasy like that had never been done before and while we all have touchstones for dwarves,hobbits, elves, etc from various sources, at the time of writing those books, it was all completely new and demanded explanation which other people were able to run with.

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#23 Posted by BionicRadd (627 posts) -

This thread sounds like me when I tell people why I hate Nathaniel Hawthorne. I see no reason to feel bad about not appreciating an author's style. The manner in which they tell their stories is a big part of what draws us to our favorite writers. If the words don't speak to you, you're going to have a hard time finishing the book.

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#24 Posted by sickVisionz (1307 posts) -

I've read the Hobbit twice and afterwards I always want to get into the Lord of the Rings. Whenever I try the book bores me to death and I end up dropping it after 50 pages of nothing. I thought the first movie was the same way too. A good 30-45 minutes of nothing before the story finally gets going.

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#25 Posted by bio595 (319 posts) -

I think that it's worth reading the book to discover the differences between the book and the original.

But if you're not enjoying it put it down and come back to it later.

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#26 Posted by fini_fly (789 posts) -

Tolkein was an etymologist, so he was really concerned with the study of words and their roots. The Lord of the Rings is actually only a small narrative in the larger Middle Earth mythology dealing with the end of the Third Age. 
 
I think the problem you have is that you saw the movies first and are now trying to read a book to live up to the production value of the movies. Personally, I have read the series 4 or 5 times and yes parts are slow, but they are important in establishing the overall feel of the world in which the events take place. Tolkein spent a great deal of time detailing the entire history of Middle Earth and the Lord of the Rings just scratches the surface. The descriptions given are to help the reader immerse themselves in that world, something which the movies did not do well at all. The more I think about it, the more I feel Peter Jackson did a great disservice to the books as he left out crucial events that make the story a whole. In retrospect, the Lord of the Rings should have been a 6 part mini series, with 2 parts or movies for each book.  A lot of people feel that leaving out Tom Bombadil, Glorfindel, Prince Imrahil and the Swan Knights were justified, but replacing them with nothing, Arwen, and the Undead Army, respectively took away from the story by leaving out an interesting and semi-important figure in the overall world, making Arwen more important that she actually was, and having the worst ending to an epic battle ever. 
 
At any rate, you need to appreciate those descriptive parts of the books and immerse yourself. It will actually make the experience better. Things pick up, and in the end you will not be disappointed. All of this talk has made me want to pick up the books again. And I will.

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#27 Posted by Still_I_Cry (2521 posts) -

@BionicRadd said:

This thread sounds like me when I tell people why I hate Nathaniel Hawthorne.

How dare you D:

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#28 Posted by Puchiko (369 posts) -

I listened to all three books and The Hobbit via audio book read by Robert Englis. It made the experience much more enjoyable cause he had a soothing british accent and he was able to do characterizations of all the voices resonably well. So I didn't mind the extra long background stuff cause I had already seen the movies several times now (and played LOTRO) and wanted to know more backstory. It was like listening to a serial radio play every day at work. But I do agree that early parts of the Fellowship were tedious and could have been put in one of the appendixes.

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#29 Posted by Veektarius (6071 posts) -

I still love Tolkien, read it a half dozen times, have an $80 copy of the Lord of the Rings. If you think he needed to edit his work you aren't reading it for the right reasons. There is plenty of good (well, that's an exaggeration) fantasy that tells a story in a gripping way. There's really not a lot of fantasy that spends more time filling in all the tiny details of a world. It's like I imagine reading a D&D manual would be like, except with fewer 20-sided dice.

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#31 Posted by NegativeCero (3136 posts) -

I've never got around to trying the books. I still will even though apparently they're boring. But its more of a historical "so this guy pretty much created a genre" look at it than pure interest.

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#32 Posted by Meowshi (2917 posts) -

I made it halfway through The Two Towers before I gave it up. I just couldn't take it anymore. He spends so much time describing nature and these fictional cultures, but the plot never fucking advances. The characters never talk. There's no inner conflict. It's just 40 fucking pages describing the etching on a Hobbit's door. I don't care! I don't care, damnit! Once I realized that the two Hobbits were going to be talking to the trees for another chapter, I closed the book and never opened it again.

I liked the Hobbit, and love the movies, but these books just aren't for me.

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#33 Posted by SeriouslyNow (8504 posts) -
@fini_fly said:
Tolkein was an etymologist, so he was really concerned with the study of words and their roots. The Lord of the Rings is actually only a small narrative in the larger Middle Earth mythology dealing with the end of the Third Age.  I think the problem you have is that you saw the movies first and are now trying to read a book to live up to the production value of the movies. Personally, I have read the series 4 or 5 times and yes parts are slow, but they are important in establishing the overall feel of the world in which the events take place. Tolkein spent a great deal of time detailing the entire history of Middle Earth and the Lord of the Rings just scratches the surface. The descriptions given are to help the reader immerse themselves in that world, something which the movies did not do well at all. The more I think about it, the more I feel Peter Jackson did a great disservice to the books as he left out crucial events that make the story a whole. In retrospect, the Lord of the Rings should have been a 6 part mini series, with 2 parts or movies for each book.  A lot of people feel that leaving out Tom Bombadil, Glorfindel, Prince Imrahil and the Swan Knights were justified, but replacing them with nothing, Arwen, and the Undead Army, respectively took away from the story by leaving out an interesting and semi-important figure in the overall world, making Arwen more important that she actually was, and having the worst ending to an epic battle ever.  At any rate, you need to appreciate those descriptive parts of the books and immerse yourself. It will actually make the experience better. Things pick up, and in the end you will not be disappointed. All of this talk has made me want to pick up the books again. And I will.
This.  The books weren't written for an audience bred on King, Potter and Twilight.  They were written for an audience bred on Blighton, the great poets, Poe and Wilde.  It's a shame that people are so impatient and poorly read these days.  It really is.
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#34 Posted by Aether (97 posts) -
@Puchiko said:
I listened to all three books and The Hobbit via audio book read by Robert Englis. It made the experience much more enjoyable cause he had a soothing british accent and he was able to do characterizations of all the voices resonably well. So I didn't mind the extra long background stuff cause I had already seen the movies several times now (and played LOTRO) and wanted to know more backstory. It was like listening to a serial radio play every day at work. But I do agree that early parts of the Fellowship were tedious and could have been put in one of the appendixes.
This is exactly what i did. They are also a pretty decent length too so it helped work and sometimes class go by far faster on some days. 
I generally can't read as much as i like because for whatever reason i have a hard time looking at print for to long. It becomes super fuzzy and i get a headache, so if i do choose to read a book i always try to see if there is an audio version. If you are really still interested in the fiction try to see if you can find someone who has the CD's or something.
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#35 Posted by Meowshi (2917 posts) -

@SeriouslyNow said:

@fini_fly said:
Tolkein was an etymologist, so he was really concerned with the study of words and their roots. The Lord of the Rings is actually only a small narrative in the larger Middle Earth mythology dealing with the end of the Third Age. I think the problem you have is that you saw the movies first and are now trying to read a book to live up to the production value of the movies. Personally, I have read the series 4 or 5 times and yes parts are slow, but they are important in establishing the overall feel of the world in which the events take place. Tolkein spent a great deal of time detailing the entire history of Middle Earth and the Lord of the Rings just scratches the surface. The descriptions given are to help the reader immerse themselves in that world, something which the movies did not do well at all. The more I think about it, the more I feel Peter Jackson did a great disservice to the books as he left out crucial events that make the story a whole. In retrospect, the Lord of the Rings should have been a 6 part mini series, with 2 parts or movies for each book. A lot of people feel that leaving out Tom Bombadil, Glorfindel, Prince Imrahil and the Swan Knights were justified, but replacing them with nothing, Arwen, and the Undead Army, respectively took away from the story by leaving out an interesting and semi-important figure in the overall world, making Arwen more important that she actually was, and having the worst ending to an epic battle ever. At any rate, you need to appreciate those descriptive parts of the books and immerse yourself. It will actually make the experience better. Things pick up, and in the end you will not be disappointed. All of this talk has made me want to pick up the books again. And I will.
This. The books weren't written for an audience bred on King, Potter and Twilight. They were written for an audience bred on Blighton, the great poets, Poe and Wilde. It's a shame that people are so impatient and poorly read these days. It really is.

It was a book about orcs.

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#36 Posted by ultimatepunchrod (361 posts) -

I think he was proud of the world he created and didn't know how successful they would turn out to be, so he wrote a lot about the history and injected it into the main narrative. I think it's all really interesting, but I also haven't finished any of the books. I want to though. Also, people just have shorter attention spans now than when those books were written.

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#37 Posted by Still_I_Cry (2521 posts) -

@SeriouslyNow: Poe is/was awesome. I love the older writers much more than the contemporary ones. I have no clue why though D:

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#38 Posted by Red12b (9360 posts) -

@Jay444111: skim the fellowship to bits that you know are good, all the elvish shit, skip

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#39 Edited by falling_fast (2905 posts) -

I think the Lord of the Rings is one of the foremost works of literature of the last century. The movies are a great achievement in their own way, but they don't really capture quite the same feel as the books do. In particular, the movies don't really do a great job getting across the idea that the world is changing, that this is the end of the elder days, and the beginning of a new era, and the wistful sadness and sense of something slipping away/fading, never to return. One of my favourite things about the books actually is all the description, so you know, to each their own I guess. In particular I love the descriptions of nature, which ties in perfectly with the aforementioned major theme. Also, the quality of writing throughout is very high.

I feel like lumping lotr in with other "fantasy" works does it a disservice. I mean, sure, it's inspired a ton of shitty books, but The Lord of the Rings itself is basically a modern take on/inspired by texts from the Dark Ages like the Ring of Nibelung and Beowulf's saga. I mean, just look at the style of writing used, especially in the later parts of the series. Not so much in the parts with the hobbits, obviously, who are meant to be like the rural English folk Tolkien grew up around, but the men of Rohan and Gondor, and Aragorn, for certain.

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#40 Posted by Hameyadea (388 posts) -

If you've seen the movies, than there isn't really a reason for you to continue reading. I for one have seen the movies a few years ago and now I am just about to finish reading The Return of The King (a single, complete book containing each of the 3 books + additional material like the songs, the riddles, family trees, timeline and index). I can find myself reading for nearly 2 hours straight without even realizing, but each has its own personal flavour.

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#41 Posted by Rattle618 (1505 posts) -

Im sorry to say this, but I think your imagination passed away.

My LotR movie is way better that what came out on theaters, I made it in my mind several years before Peter Jackson`s and I have Tolkien`s lengthy descriptions to thank for that.

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#42 Posted by falling_fast (2905 posts) -

thinking further on the subject, it occurred to me that I would fucking love to see Terrence Malick's take on The Lord of the Rings. based on watching The Thin Red Line, anyway, he seems like he would really "get it".

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#43 Posted by Ventilaator (1569 posts) -

I found the thing completely unreadable.

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#44 Posted by ape_dosmil (515 posts) -

I agree with previous posters that The Hobbit works much better as a novel, it's far more readable. I think a lot of people feel the way you do about Lord of the RIngs. Tolkien obviously had a great imagination, and he was meticulous in his approach to creating a fully realised universe, but he wasn't a great writer. His prose is often dry and lifeless. Tolkien's contemporary (and friend) C.S. Lewis was a much better writer in my opinion.

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#45 Posted by nick_verissimo (1445 posts) -

@kaedeno said:

If you think LotR is bad, try The Silmarillion. That shit will sunder your soul.

Yep, I bought that book 6 years ago and I only read the first chapter. Loved LOTR and the Hobbit, but man, Silmarillion is damn near impossible to get into.

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#46 Edited by Evilsbane (5555 posts) -

Read the Hobbit first, loved it, then started reading the First one for a book report in 6th grade what A Goddamn Awful Mistake that was, longest book report Ever.

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#47 Posted by SeriouslyNow (8504 posts) -
@Meowshi said:

@SeriouslyNow said:

@fini_fly said:
Tolkein was an etymologist, so he was really concerned with the study of words and their roots. The Lord of the Rings is actually only a small narrative in the larger Middle Earth mythology dealing with the end of the Third Age. I think the problem you have is that you saw the movies first and are now trying to read a book to live up to the production value of the movies. Personally, I have read the series 4 or 5 times and yes parts are slow, but they are important in establishing the overall feel of the world in which the events take place. Tolkein spent a great deal of time detailing the entire history of Middle Earth and the Lord of the Rings just scratches the surface. The descriptions given are to help the reader immerse themselves in that world, something which the movies did not do well at all. The more I think about it, the more I feel Peter Jackson did a great disservice to the books as he left out crucial events that make the story a whole. In retrospect, the Lord of the Rings should have been a 6 part mini series, with 2 parts or movies for each book. A lot of people feel that leaving out Tom Bombadil, Glorfindel, Prince Imrahil and the Swan Knights were justified, but replacing them with nothing, Arwen, and the Undead Army, respectively took away from the story by leaving out an interesting and semi-important figure in the overall world, making Arwen more important that she actually was, and having the worst ending to an epic battle ever. At any rate, you need to appreciate those descriptive parts of the books and immerse yourself. It will actually make the experience better. Things pick up, and in the end you will not be disappointed. All of this talk has made me want to pick up the books again. And I will.
This. The books weren't written for an audience bred on King, Potter and Twilight. They were written for an audience bred on Blighton, the great poets, Poe and Wilde. It's a shame that people are so impatient and poorly read these days. It really is.

It was a book about orcs.

My point exactly.
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#48 Posted by fini_fly (789 posts) -
@nick_verissimo said:

@kaedeno said:

If you think LotR is bad, try The Silmarillion. That shit will sunder your soul.

Yep, I bought that book 6 years ago and I only read the first chapter. Loved LOTR and the Hobbit, but man, Silmarillion is damn near impossible to get into.

Try reading a Book of Lost Tales. You'll want to murder yourself.
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#49 Posted by Marcsman (3592 posts) -

A Song of Fire and Ice is the best fantasy read out there right now.

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#50 Posted by BlinkyTM (1057 posts) -

I liked the Lord of the Rings books. Who doesn't enjoy cake?