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  #1  
Old Sep 1st, 2022, 11:53 PM
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The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

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This month's book club selection is The Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien because we all need a place to talk about the Amazon Prime show, The Rings of Power, which is starting in September, and releasing weekly until October 14 arrives or a billion dollars have been spent. Okay, we have all already read this series, and probably the Silmarillion too and whatever marginal notes and retrieved rubbish has been cobbled together and published by Tolkien's descendants. This is not that month in book club where we read something. Hey, we read something last month and we are still traumatized. Now let's talk about elves on TV.

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Is it wonderful? Is it dumb? Is it expensive? Is it ruined? Is it what Gandalf would have wanted? Here is a place to crank or rave about the show, and also discuss the actual books. How did you encounter them? Do you love them the best or the most? Do you find them to be wordy and annoying? Which hobbit is your favorite? Join us in earnest discussion as we all find out together who the bloop these guys in the picture are!

Who are these guys!? Discuss.
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Last edited by lostcheerio; Sep 2nd, 2022 at 12:00 AM.
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Old Sep 2nd, 2022, 08:11 AM
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I'm not going to re-read this books now, mostly because I just listened to them on audiobook this summer as we drove the kids around the midwest. But I'm here for he discussion.

Discussion item #1: Why isn't there more Tom Bombadill on every page?
Discussion item #2: (my wife's biggest pet peeve about the books): is all the singing (cut entirely from the movies!!) really necessary?
Discussion item #3: is Aragorn purposefully a cipher? He has like no personality in the books. Is "nobility" the absence of humanity?
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Old Sep 2nd, 2022, 10:41 AM
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I'm not rereading them either! Whee!

#1: I love Tom Bombadil and Goldberry and his song (see #2!) but I think he creates a problem like in most games, where you're like, good grief I'm a level 1 character facing down these challenges -- why don't these NPCs take care of it! Heh. I really love about LOTR how you see these remnants of an older age and feel their lingering effect on the world while still feeling that urgent "it's down to us" sensation of the present day. I suppose him being so ancillary is why he got cut from the movies but I would have liked to see him on screen.

#2: I love the songs! SO necessary! We have even sung one of them in my kid choir. I had a bunch of nerd kids who loved LOTR, particularly one who really wanted to sing The Song of Durin" the Clamavi De Profundis version, so I agreed I would arrange this for a *children's choir* if he would stop using so many parentheses in his essays. It was a good deal. But srsly I think that the songs and poems are just Tolkien entertaining himself and taking obvious joy and delight in his own world, which I think is cool.

#3. At first when Viggo Mortensen got cast as Aragorn I was like wtf no, but then I realized, only Viggo Mortensen could take this essentially cardboard character and infuse him with depth and life while only moving his face in millimeters.
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Old Sep 2nd, 2022, 11:28 AM
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How did you and the family like the audio, Wyn? Did you do FULL CAST or the Serkis (one reader) version?

I read the trilogy multiple times as a kid and young adult, but I admit I SKIMMED the war parts. I LOVED all the hobbit parts.


My favorite of all the Tolkien books is the Hobbit. I freaking LOVE the Hobbit and still read it. So I want to add the Hobbit as things we can talk about.

Whole series, I especially the songs, sorry, Mrs. Wyn. I used to make up tunes for them and sing them as a kid.

HOT TAKE: I loved the Peter Jackson LOTR movies and HATED his Hobbit movies.

I stan Tom Bombadil with you all.
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Old Sep 2nd, 2022, 11:52 AM
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I was 14 or 15 when I first read the trilogy and instantly became enamored with the world and especially the Hobbits. Samwise is my favorite but the fellowship would not have been the same without Pip and Merri. Like, I admire Sam but I want to hang out and steal cabbages with those two.

Tom Bombadil is the best and was criminally under utilized. But, as Cheerio points out, it wasnhis story nor his Age. I could watch an entire 20 hour movie of him frolicking through the woods while singing, smoking, and smiting barrow wights though...

Loved the songs and I feel like they make the world more real and tangible. Music is everywhere so it's only natural to find it in fiction as well.

Aragon, I think was supposed to be that classic silent brooding guy who always broods in silence and never smiles. Was it an intentional foil to the warm and welcoming Hobbits? I dunno. But, I do agree that Viggo made Strider a whole complete character.

Filly, that isn't a hot take at all. It is simply the truth.

Who is everyone's favorite Hobbit, and why is Boromir so awesome?
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Old Sep 2nd, 2022, 12:07 PM
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favorite hobbit: sam
boromir: because his loyalty fail makes everyone else's loyalty real
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Old Sep 2nd, 2022, 12:09 PM
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another thing that really struck me about boromir that makes so much more sense now looking at it as an adult than when i first read it as a kid -- the fact that even after he betrayed frodo and the mission, they all loved him and respected him and treated him with honor. that was so powerful! when i first read it i was like, furious with him, and felt like they should have fed him to the lake monster or something. but they understood why he did what he did. it made the ring real. and in terms of destiny, fracturing the party right there was what was really needed to take everybody down, down, down.
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Old Sep 2nd, 2022, 12:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fillyjonk View Post
How did you and the family like the audio, Wyn? Did you do FULL CAST or the Serkis (one reader) version?
We listened to the Serkis Hobbit, which was good, but the Trilogy we heard was the version on Audible. The reader was a very british gentleman, and it must have been read many years ago. Rob Inglis, it seems. I liked him, as did my wife. I'm not sure how much the kids actually paid attention, what with their Spootifies and Nontendoos and Chromeybooks.

I don't have the burning rage that my wife does about the songs, but I'd say you could cut about 30% of them without losing much (especially in Fellowship).

I agree that Viggo's Aragorn is much more compelling than the book's depiction!

Peregrine is definitely the best hobbit. I have a theory that the entire triolgy is actually a stealth story of Pippin's quest to become Sherrif of the Shire. Why else would they end with the Scouring? He's head honcho once everything wraps up! He's a bit too much of a doufous in the movies, but that also makes him pop more on screen (he's often undifferentiated from Merry in the books).

If it redeems my wife's reputation at all, Boromir is probably her favorite character, with the possible exception of Faramir.
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Old Sep 2nd, 2022, 01:25 PM
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Favorite Hobbit: Bilbo. I also love Sam, and Rosie Cotton, and I know she is a nightmare but I loved Lobelia Sackville-Baggins. Oh the spoons thing made me laugh and I loved her name.

When I was a kid I swore that if I ever had a daughter, I would name her Lobelia (Which I pronounced, inexplicably, LOW-bee-ella).

I did one day have a daughter, and I did not do this.

Why I love Boromir: Because he owns his bad choice in the end, and he is a hero in spite of his imperfection.
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Old Sep 2nd, 2022, 02:43 PM
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I don't remember how old I was when I first read the "Hobbit." I do remember sitting on the floor of the Book Mobile, reading and reading and reading....that story caught me then and continues to do so today. It is the only Tolkien I reread for pleasure. That is more a time issue for me than anything else. There are so many other books and shows and things to do...I need longer days.

1. On the Songs: I feel the Songs are essential and wish Peter Jackson would have figured a way to bring them into the movies. The scene where Tom Bombadil rescues the hobbits, is part of his magic, the magic he uses against the Wights is in the singing. The sound is part of the power. That also refers back to the beginnings of the of World of Middle Earth, which is depicted as having been created by Song. For a D&D perspective, I very much see Bards and Druids using that kind of magic or chant in their spell casting.

Two other poignant and revealing scenes for me are when Samwise sings of Gil Galad on the journey to Weathertop and once there, Aragorn sings of Beren and Luthien. Sam's scene for me, so enhanced the story and revealed some of the history that led to Frodo becoming the Ring Bearer. It also revealed another side of Samwise we wouldn't normally have seen. The same can be said for Aragorn. He is this stern, stoic, heroic figure and yet he sings this beautiful song to help comfort the hobbits. A sure sign of his compassion that helps balance his character.

2. On Boromir: Next to Aragorn, Boromir may have been the greatest human warrior of his day. He was courageous and selfless in many moments. His failure to hold out against the ring, I felt, showed more the power of the ring than Boromir's weakness. If not one of the Fellowship 'fell' to the Rings lure, would we really believe it was that seductive? Boromir's fall also only enhances Aragorn's honor and steadfast will, only proves Aragorn's qualities. In the Illiad, Achilles defeating Hector was a defining moment for both characters; Achilles proved he was the greatest warrior, while Hector proved the most honorable.
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Old Sep 2nd, 2022, 07:42 PM
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Favorite hobbit: Smeagol, hands down. Both in the books and the movies.

On Boromir: The movie version is foremost in my mind, so I think Sean Bean gets some credit for his awesomeness. One does not simply walk into Mordor.
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Old Sep 2nd, 2022, 09:09 PM
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I've read these books, but only about 20 times in my life. The first time I read it was the summer between 6th grade and 7th when I started Jr High. Now, the Silmarillion I've read at least twice that much.

JRRT is a master. So we can probably leave this point at that.

My favorite Hobbit is Merry. I love him because he is fallible and real...and he grows when he drinks Ent-draught. Don't get me wrong, I love all the characters, I truly do. But Merry and Pippin are real because they are so fallible and their friendship mirrors Frodo's and Sam's. This speaks well of Hobbits in general.

Boromir, he is also fallible and full of life and gusto. What isn't to love about him. They absolutely picked the right person to portray him in the movies. Of course, they nailed it on the all the characters I think. I liked him so much I named one of my first PCs after him back in the, oh, mid 70s.

And I loved Aragorn...am I the only one? Of course, I loved him even more after I joined the Army and actually went to Ranger School.

I'm pretty sure I'm the oddball here because Tom and I were not friends. Sure, I read that part every single time but it seemed out of place. It broke the action for me rather than enhancing it. But I can tell you this, the 12 year old boy that was me sure was in love with Goldberry.
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Old Sep 2nd, 2022, 09:28 PM
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Sorry folks but I always skip poor old Tom Bombadil and half the time I skip most of the first book until they are in the mines. Maybe it’s because that’s about where my aunt interested me in the books after I had put the first one down the first time I read them.

Favorite Hobbit: Bilbo though he’s old and worn by the Lord of The rings books I still really like him
Favorite non-hobbit: Eowyn “I am no man” badass that she is then after her Galadriel and looky looky who is the main character of the Amazon series….
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Old Sep 3rd, 2022, 10:20 AM
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Are people aware that there is a BBC radio play version of The Lord of the Rings, in which Ian Holm played the role of Frodo Baggins?
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Old Sep 3rd, 2022, 10:35 AM
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I wasn't aware -- wow, a RADIO PLAY!? How interesting. Can't imagine trying to tell this story in just dialogue when there is so little of it. Did you listen to it? Is it great?

 
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