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  1. #1
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    Are the books boring?

    Well, personally I do not feel that the books are boring, but others feel that it is. Some of my friends feel that J.R.R. is too descriptive in his writing. I'm the complete opposite. I find that being descriptive allows you to fully picture the scene, whether it is the battle of Helm Deep, or the journey through the Old Forest. His use of descriptive words creates such alluring images in my mind as I read through the books. In doing so, he has been able to make us readers be part of Middle-Earth; be part of that fellowship. Anyways, let me here what you guys think. Do the books feel boring to you, or are you fascinated by the way the book is written? Post below!
    "Pure mathematics is, in its way, the poetry of logical ideas."

  2. #2
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    You are asking that question in the wrong forum.
    It seems obvious to me that anyone that would wander in to a forum titled "J.R.R. Tolkien" would not find the professor's writing boring.
    "Just like Mary Shelly, Just like Frankenstein, Break your chains, And count your change, And try to walk the line"

  3. #3
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    One thing that must be remembered is that these were written starting in 1937, writing styles were much more descriptive in this period and earlier for a reason. Now you can write "an open field" or "a mountain" and everyone has seen an area described as such on television. Before TV/video became so omnipresent, authors had to describe the area minutely as everyone had not seen such a scene and could not immediately pull up a visual image to correlate with a bare description.

  4. #4
    The younger you are, the more likely you will find them boring. I personally think they are brilliant and that all the comments about antiquated writing style, and poor writing technique are from people that couldn't tell the difference between a sentence fragment and a banana peel; but the only way to find out is to actually read them and form your own opinion. Some will like them, others, obviously, not.

  5. #5
    The books do tend to drag at times. I could do without the poetry and wish his writing had been more mature. REH wrote a darker style of fantasy that I prefer over Tolkien actually.

  6. #6
    I'd say Tolkien is too detailed for some when it comes to the history and language in his writing, making many parts of the trilogy boring for them. He created not just a thrilling tale, but an entire world with a history of its own.

    Much of his writing reads like a text book, rather than a story. Here are some examples of that detail from The Fellowship of the Ring; "There is another thing about the Hobbits of old that must be mentioned, an astonishing habit: they imbibed or inhaled, through pipes of clay or wood, the smoke of the burning leaves of an herb, which they called pipe-weed or leaf..." and another, "There were many Bagginses and Boffins, and also many Tooks and Brandybucks; there were various Grubbs (relations of Bilbo Baggins' grandmother), and various Chubbs (connexions of his Took grandfather); and..." His level of detail, while altogether unnecessary to tell us the tale, is the very reason Middle Earth is so interesting to so many people, and so cumbersome to read for many others.

  7. #7
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    Boring? Nonsense!

    You must remember that Tolkien first created languages( Sindarian and Quenya) and his writings are merely to explain who spoke these languages and why they were sundered from each other.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zoronoa View Post
    Well, personally I do not feel that the books are boring, but others feel that it is. Some of my friends feel that J.R.R. is too descriptive in his writing. I'm the complete opposite. I find that being descriptive allows you to fully picture the scene, whether it is the battle of Helm Deep, or the journey through the Old Forest. His use of descriptive words creates such alluring images in my mind as I read through the books. In doing so, he has been able to make us readers be part of Middle-Earth; be part of that fellowship. Anyways, let me here what you guys think. Do the books feel boring to you, or are you fascinated by the way the book is written? Post below!
    I don't find them boring myself, but I do understand the people who do.

    Reading the Lord of the Rings trilogy is like taking a leisurely walk through an interesting landscape. If you know in advance that that's what you're doing, it's a wonderful experience. If you thought you were just trying to get from A to B, preferably at a reasonable speed, you're going to wonder why everything is going so frustratingly slowly.

    When I first tried to read the books (I was probably about ten), I didn't get beyond page 11. (It's one of two books I ever put down; I never got back to the other one.) I've heard that the Dutch translation (that would be my native language) is poor, but I think it was mainly that I just didn't realize what kind of story this was. I was so used to having a good idea of what a book was about after just a few pages that when almost a dozen pages weren't sufficient, I gave up.

    I think the main 'trick' is to be patient and accept that the story unfolds at its own pace, and that there's plenty of good stuff along the way.

    ... Actually, I want to refine that analogy I gave above... You know how some theme parks have slow rides; perhaps a boat ride or something like Disneyland's Small World? It's like getting into one of those when you thought you were getting into a rollercoaster. (Without meaning to imply that LotR would be for kids and 'other books' for teens and adults, obviously.)

  9. #9
    Kind of the wrong forum to ask this on, but hey, I don't really like Tolkien's writing style at all. I'm attempting to read the Hobbit again and there's something... sterile about his writing that I don't like. It doesn't pull me in at all. Plus there's also how the writing is different because of when it's written, and me wishing that there's women in significant roles or maybe non-white but also non-evil characters.

  10. #10
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    No, they're not.

  11. #11
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    There are a few paragraphs in the LotR (describing landscape and such like) that I tend to skim-read. Overall they're not a bad read but I prefer The Silmarillion and The Children of Hurin.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Annariel View Post
    I don't find them boring myself, but I do understand the people who do.

    Reading the Lord of the Rings trilogy is like taking a leisurely walk through an interesting landscape. If you know in advance that that's what you're doing, it's a wonderful experience. If you thought you were just trying to get from A to B, preferably at a reasonable speed, you're going to wonder why everything is going so frustratingly slowly.

    When I first tried to read the books (I was probably about ten), I didn't get beyond page 11. (It's one of two books I ever put down; I never got back to the other one.) I've heard that the Dutch translation (that would be my native language) is poor, but I think it was mainly that I just didn't realize what kind of story this was. I was so used to having a good idea of what a book was about after just a few pages that when almost a dozen pages weren't sufficient, I gave up.

    I think the main 'trick' is to be patient and accept that the story unfolds at its own pace, and that there's plenty of good stuff along the way.

    ... Actually, I want to refine that analogy I gave above... You know how some theme parks have slow rides; perhaps a boat ride or something like Disneyland's Small World? It's like getting into one of those when you thought you were getting into a rollercoaster. (Without meaning to imply that LotR would be for kids and 'other books' for teens and adults, obviously.)
    same here. English isn't my native language, too and after years of reading contemporary literature it takes a while to appreciate fantasy especially the professor's works, which style is dated. I forgot where I read it but it was said the professor wrote about the middle-earth as if he's a historian of this ancient world, so the books were not meant to be read leisurely but as a study. so I guess for me the books were challenging rather than boring.

  13. #13
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    Depends on my level of sanity.
    If I am sane, relaxed, rested, and sober, No, they are not boring.

    However, some parts do drag on(Council of Elrond once you know what happens, a few other chapters).

    It definitely is a book you need to be ready for, its not like the dime novel you pick up to pass the time, but its not the Brothers Karamazov or Les Miserable or Moby Dick.

    Tolkien is probably one of only a few authors who successfully made a long book with very intricate details that is not boring. He did not write about one person(like one of his wannabes, J.K Rowling) or about a war(like another, Christopher Paolini) but about a language and an entire World. His work created Fantasy, before him fantasy did not exist.

    Oh, and chieth, in most of history, women would have been insulted to be treated as if they were no different than men, and even Eowyn was unhappy and sour until she fell in love with Faramir and settled down. That is one of Tolkien's points. There is a method to his madness. Of course, if you just wanted more women mentioned, but treated with the respect women deserve, then the problem is that there was a war going on, which tends to be the province of men, given that they can more easily swing swords. I believe Tolkien wrote a letter concerning this, although I don't know which one off the top of my head. On swarthy skinned folk, the free people are those who had contact with the elves, who stayed in the northwest. Also, LOTR is supposed to be a myth for the people of England, and the English had little or no friendly contact with Africans. Even most of Europe had trouble with them(goes back to Christian[European]/Muslim[Arabian/North African] Rivalry, not to mention the slave trade). So he is not being Racist or Sexist.
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  14. #14
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    I remember when I was about 10/11 I kind of skimmed through The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, I gave up on Sillmarillion after a few pages. After reading them again in my teenage years I found them too be quite extraordinary, didn't skip a single page .
    Last edited by Andunion; Feb 17 2013 at 05:12 PM.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by chieth View Post
    Kind of the wrong forum to ask this on, but hey, I don't really like Tolkien's writing style at all. I'm attempting to read the Hobbit again and there's something... sterile about his writing that I don't like. It doesn't pull me in at all. Plus there's also how the writing is different because of when it's written, and me wishing that there's women in significant roles or maybe non-white but also non-evil characters.

    Political Correctness did not exist in 1937. And also, there are no non white characters because The Hobbit and LOTR is like European Mythology. I said "is like" because I am not sure if his works are based on European Mythology.

    As for as women goes, The Hobbit is about 14 DUDES going on an adventure.
    Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, totally worn out & proclaiming "WOW, what a ride!"
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Magdon1 View Post
    The younger you are, the more likely you will find them boring. I personally think they are brilliant and that all the comments about antiquated writing style, and poor writing technique are from people that couldn't tell the difference between a sentence fragment and a banana peel; but the only way to find out is to actually read them and form your own opinion. Some will like them, others, obviously, not.
    There are also big changes between the different books: the Hobbit is purely for children, the Lord of the Rings is written for a more advanced set (I tried a few times before 10 and couldn't read past the "long expected party"), and the more scholarly Silmarillion (which for some reason I had abandoned after heroic tries in my teens, and then noticed I owned the book and happily read it when I was 30).

    I'd say an adult who finds the lotr books boring probably doesn't like books.
    An adult who finds the Silmarillion boring might not like studying the lotro lore wikis to get background.

    There is a bit of a difference.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Mellonbeleg View Post
    Oh, and chieth, in most of history, women would have been insulted to be treated as if they were no different than men, and even Eowyn was unhappy and sour until she fell in love with Faramir and settled down. That is one of Tolkien's points. There is a method to his madness. Of course, if you just wanted more women mentioned, but treated with the respect women deserve, then the problem is that there was a war going on, which tends to be the province of men, given that they can more easily swing swords. I believe Tolkien wrote a letter concerning this, although I don't know which one off the top of my head. On swarthy skinned folk, the free people are those who had contact with the elves, who stayed in the northwest. Also, LOTR is supposed to be a myth for the people of England, and the English had little or no friendly contact with Africans. Even most of Europe had trouble with them(goes back to Christian[European]/Muslim[Arabian/North African] Rivalry, not to mention the slave trade). So he is not being Racist or Sexist.
    I'm not sure how your points really help you there. Women can't swing swords (were they all double amputees?) and aren't happy unless a man comes along and they "settle down". And you say "myth". As in, a fantasy. As in, fictional. As in, if the creator of the fiction so chose, they could have made everybody blue or all the colours of the rainbow. You also seem to think that there were no non-white people in Europe in the middle ages, which is very, very untrue. And even then, having all the good characters be white and all the bad be non-white? That's an issue still going on today.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nymphonic View Post
    Political Correctness did not exist in 1937. And also, there are no non white characters because The Hobbit and LOTR is like European Mythology. I said "is like" because I am not sure if his works are based on European Mythology.

    As for as women goes, The Hobbit is about 14 DUDES going on an adventure.
    Uh, okay, is that a euphemism for "things were really racist/sexist in 1937"? Well, yeah. I'm going to point out that yes, he was a product of his time. I don't believe any of these choices I'm talking about were done in a conscious attempt to be racist or sexist. But intent doesn't always matter, the subconscious choices or actions that people usually don't even consider are usually the most damaging. And you say 14 dudes (in bold!) as if any of them couldn't just as easily be a woman instead.

    tl;dr It's very possible to like something and realize its flaws, and even critique them. I enjoy the films and am trying to enjoy the books. I'm not particularly happy with the white dudes saving the day again from the black evil darkness!!! stuff but that's basically how things were back then.

    and adding that I am also not calling anyone racist or sexist for enjoying his works. My original comment was that I enjoy reading stories that at least have some central female characters and I'm disappointed how there aren't any.
    Last edited by chieth; Feb 17 2013 at 09:27 PM.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by chieth View Post
    And even then, having all the good characters be white and all the bad be non-white? That's an issue still going on today.
    Saruman the White a good guy? Three of the Nazgul were former Numenoreans. Ar-Pharazon and his followers were Numenorean. The followers of Castamir were Dunedain. Elves were capable of evil as in the case of actions based on the Oath of Feanor. There were definitely bad 'white' guys.

    As for non-white, it is true that the armies of Harad and Rhun fought on the side of Sauron in the War of the Ring, but that does not make them all bad. Sam's thoughts on the slain Harad warrior are a reflection of Tolkien's own views on enemy combatants: they are ordinary good people forced to serve evil and are not evil themselves. In the First Age, there were two clans of Ancient Easterlings who became involved in the Wars of Beleriand: one betrayed their oath of allegiance, the other held true. That Tolkien chose not to tell their stories can possibly be seen as a deficiency, but he left plenty of evidence that such stories were possible.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by chieth View Post

    Uh, okay, is that a euphemism for "things were really racist/sexist in 1937"? Well, yeah. I'm going to point out that yes, he was a product of his time. I don't believe any of these choices I'm talking about were done in a conscious attempt to be racist or sexist. But intent doesn't always matter, the subconscious choices or actions that people usually don't even consider are usually the most damaging. And you say 14 dudes (in bold!) as if any of them couldn't just as easily be a woman instead.
    What is wrong with a story concerning 14 males on a mission? I see nothing wrong with it. It's not like Tolkien said " NO GIRLS ALLOWED!" I don't see why that it is inappropriate for a story to have only one gender instead of mixed.


    tl;dr It's very possible to like something and realize its flaws, and even critique them. I enjoy the films and am trying to enjoy the books. I'm not particularly happy with the white dudes saving the day again from the black evil darkness!!! stuff but that's basically how things were back then.

    .
    The black evil darkness is the night, as in absence of light. It has nothing to do with skin pigmentation. That's why Mordor always had an over cast sky. Darkness=Evil.

    Why do you think Angmar has an over cast sky? It's a dark, evil place.
    Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, totally worn out & proclaiming "WOW, what a ride!"
    [I][FONT=comic sans ms][COLOR=#ffff00]Continuing the never ending battle to keep Lobelia Sackville-Baggins in check[/COLOR][/FONT][/I]

  20. #20
    I'd like to first comment on the "issue" of sexism in LoTR. I really don't understand where that idea comes from. I challenge you to find in ANY story telling medium- book, movie, video game, comic book, etc. with female characters that are elaborated deeper and portrayed as stronger and more feminine than Tolkien's female characters like Galadriel, Luthien, Eowyn, and Arwen among others. I find Galadriel specifically to be one of the most mystifying, beautiful, and strong female characters written in any kind of medium. And all without giving her a metal bikini, making her try too hard to "be one of the guys", or ignoring the fact that she IS in fact a female. The issues Eowyn deals with are the real issues of females. These aren't females made strictly to appeal to a male audience like most other females characters, especially in the fantasy genre.

    As far as Tolkien's writing being boring...it's obviously subjective. I find passages in LoTR to range from too long and too many details to tear jerkingly beautiful and inspiring to incredibly badass to truly terrifying. There are many passages in LoTR that I consider must reads. The parts that ramble on for too long come across to me as Tokien writing for himself, rather than a reader. Even though it's considered a kids book, I love reading the Hobbit the most. It's so playfull and everything is described "just right".
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  21. #21
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    Well, in cases like this one I think like this:

    1. J.R.R. Tolkien has a really distinctive writing style.
    2. You can either love or dislike his style.
    3. I love his style.
    4. I am glad I have a couple of friends that love his style.
    5. I am glad there are a lot of people around the world that love his style.
    6. I don't care that there are people that dislike his style and I don't judge them for it.

    I wouldn't want to be judged by a lot of people because I think "The Hunger Games" is one of the worst films ever... So I don't judge others and don't try to push things on them that they don't like.

    Conclusion: I... friggin'... LOVE J.R.R. Tolkien's writing style!
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by chieth View Post
    I'm not sure how your points really help you there. Women can't swing swords (were they all double amputees?) and aren't happy unless a man comes along and they "settle down". And you say "myth". As in, a fantasy. As in, fictional. As in, if the creator of the fiction so chose, they could have made everybody blue or all the colours of the rainbow. You also seem to think that there were no non-white people in Europe in the middle ages, which is very, very untrue. And even then, having all the good characters be white and all the bad be non-white? That's an issue still going on today.
    Men have a greater aptitude to swing swords because men are naturally, scientifically stronger physically than women. It can be overcome, but why would you overcome a crutch in one area instead of excelling in an area where you have the advantage. Eowyn was bitter, sour, passed over, frozen, trapped, etc. until Faramir came along, and then her personality completely changed to a more pleasant state. (read the chapters The Houses of Healing and The Steward and the King)

    Not that there were not non whites, just that they weren't treated nicely.

    By myth, I think you should read On Fairy Stories and the Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien to see that myth and Fantasy are not synonyms


    Quote Originally Posted by Darkheart06 View Post
    I'd like to first comment on the "issue" of sexism in LoTR. I really don't understand where that idea comes from. I challenge you to find in ANY story telling medium- book, movie, video game, comic book, etc. with female characters that are elaborated deeper and portrayed as stronger and more feminine than Tolkien's female characters like Galadriel, Luthien, Eowyn, and Arwen among others. I find Galadriel specifically to be one of the most mystifying, beautiful, and strong female characters written in any kind of medium. And all without giving her a metal bikini, making her try too hard to "be one of the guys", or ignoring the fact that she IS in fact a female. The issues Eowyn deals with are the real issues of females. These aren't females made strictly to appeal to a male audience like most other females characters, especially in the fantasy genre.
    THANK YOU, I would add rep if I could. This is exactly the point. J.R.R.Tolkien is not a sexist, because he shows the true beauty and strength of women, WITHOUT forcing them to be like men like most people for the "empowerment
    of women do.
    Lore-Monkey(not a Lore Guardian) and proud of it.

    .

  23. #23
    When I read the books, the thing that struck me is that they really read as a sort of old saga or mythology - which was exactly what Tolkien intended since he wanted to make up for the fact that there isn't extensive English mythology. They also almost feel like history in my hands despite the fact that they're fictional. I happen to be a fan of history as a subject so it works out.

    The setting and the world is well thought out, and the characters aren't flamboyant or defined by a single trait and they fit the world they live in. I find Tolkien's mythos fascinating if nothing else and it's still a great read today. It also helps that there was such a Catholic influence on his writings, something which I can identify with even more.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zoronoa View Post
    let me here what you guys think.
    I watched the movies first. I loved them. The movies were absolutely fantastic. I then went to read the books. I'm not much of a bookreader, but I found them to be an easy read and very enjoyable ONLY becuase I had such wonderful and lively characters created in my mind from the movies.

    However, the movies changed things. Too many things. And, many of things changed seemed more personal than necesary (i.e. It appears Mr. Jackson and co. were more interested in making the movies theirs than retelling the story from the books). This caused a problem. Reading the books were frustrating as I mulled through constant changes made in the movies, but it was the movies that empowered me to read the books.

    So, while the movies helped me read the books, reading the books was working towards destroying the movies. So, in my timeline... the books are frustrating, not boring. But, they are frustrating to the point that I find them better off un-read as they sit.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by hucklebarry View Post

    However, the movies changed things. Too many things. And, many of things changed seemed more personal than necesary (i.e. It appears Mr. Jackson and co. were more interested in making the movies theirs than retelling the story from the books). ...

    So, while the movies helped me read the books, reading the books was working towards destroying the movies. So, in my timeline... the books are frustrating, not boring. But, they are frustrating to the point that I find them better off un-read as they sit...
    Every teller twists the tale... and so the stories come down to us.
    "Just like Mary Shelly, Just like Frankenstein, Break your chains, And count your change, And try to walk the line"

 

 
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