The first time I read The Lord of the Rings I was thirteen years old. I had started it about four times previously and just couldn’t get into it. I wanted to love it, but it was just so dense. I had grow up with my dad reading The Hobbit to me and my sisters and parents insisted that if I could just make it to Rivendell, I would be sucked in and thanking them later. They were right. I took those books with me everywhere and read every second that I could, which was a new thing for me. I had, for some inexplicable reason, decided that I did not like reading and went a few years avoiding it at all costs. The Lord of the Rings is what made me love books again.
One weekend, I spent the whole day in bed reading. My mom even brought me lunch to my room. When the inevitable happened and the Balrog killed Gandalf in the Mines of Moria I was sobbing and ran upstairs in disbelief. How could Tolkien do this to me?! How could my family convince me to read a book that KILLED GANDALF?! I was so engrossed that it never crossed my mind that Tolkien would be so vicious as to just kill main characters. Let’s not even talk about the nightmare fuel that is Shelob. Suffice it to say, by the time Orcs were hurling men’s heads over the out wall of Minas Tirith, I thought Tolkien a bloodthirsty creature capable of anything and I loved him for it.
I cried several times throughout the books, but what surprised me the most was the sense of loss I felt upon finishing them. I wasn’t ready to leave Middle Earth or the characters. We had been through so much together! As I re-read the books, I felt the same way. I took DAYS reading the last two chapters, just so that I could put off finishing the books a little while longer. Fortunately, I have Mark in his constant un-prepared-ness to continue reading, even if I have finished.
Having loved and watched the movies about a million times, I really enjoyed going back to the books. There were things that I had forgotten, and I had been disappointed that certain stories and characters had been left out of the films, but I could revisit them in text. Not to mention that the whole end of the books felt new and exciting, since they were never put into the movies. As much as I LOVE the movies, I have a few minor gripes:
- Tom Bombadil. He wears yellow boots and prances around singing songs. As Mark over at Mark Reads would say, he is the sassy friend that the books need. (Along with Gandalf, everyone’s favorite sassy gay wizard.)
- Faramir. The whole point of him in the books to me was to show that there is strength i
n mankind. He gives hope by not letting his desire for power interfere with the job Sam and Frodo have to do. He helps them on their way and “proves his quality.” In the movies he takes the hobbits to Osgiliath and only through much debate and battle, decides to let them go. I know that the end result is that same,but I it changed his character in a way that I didn’t care for.
- SAM NEVER LEAVES FRODO. There is no way that Sam would have EVER left Frodo. It goes against his character. I know in the movie he comes back, but he never would have left to begin with (and he never did in the books.)
I know they are trivial points, but they were important ones to me.
Lastly (and not entirely related), as I re-read the series, it struck me that Gollum talks about how the Ringwraiths lived in Minas Morgal for years waiting for Sauron to return. I couldn’t help picturing them waking up & making toast, waiting for the Dark Lord to rise again over morning coffee. It really made them less terrifying for me. This made me and Captain Awesome start to wonder… What Would the Nazgul do?
- Play D&D all night. Witch King: For the last time, no, you cannot be a paladin!
- Complain that the Orcs keep them up all night with their clan songs. Singing at 9p.m. The nerve!
- They sat in rocking chairs on the porch of Minas Morgul talking about how back in the day they were kings of men.
- Lament the fact that black is the “in color” for yet another season. Green would look so lovely against their shadows.
- Lock themselves in their room with Dashboard Confessional albums…the only artist that truly understands their pain.
- Manage their Etsy store, “Black Velvet Uruk-Hai Portraits”
- DDOS the Lothlorian message board for the LOLz.
- Photoshop themselves into Taylor Swift pictures
Thanks to @TimBird @Alyjack and my sister The Llama for their Nazgul contributions. Please feel free to join in the fun and add your own WWND.