I always loved books. Reading is a passion of mine which I can justify wherever I want. Even though I am not up-to-date with the latest books or maybe the award-winning ones, I have been reading a lot. And all this was an experience worth writing. ‘The Lord of The Rings’ by J.R.R.Tolkien is the book that changed everything in me.
The English-speaking world is divided into those who have read The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit and those who are going to read them.
I seem to agree with this quote more and more as I read it again and again. And I introduce this book to anyone who seems to take the slightest of interest in my reading habit.
I had the first touch of the book in 2002, or was it 2003. I think I saw the trailer of one of the three movies. I don’t remember which one I saw, it has to be The Two Towers which was released around that time. But I felt thrilled by the caption, the shots, the scenes. At that time I was hooked up to the Harry Potter series. It was only late 2004 that I saw the book lying around in a book exhibition. I didn’t have the money to buy it that day. The next day I got the money from my father, came to the exhibition again and bought it. That was the beginning. I would sit down and read the book whenever I could find time. My mother would scold me because whenever she came in our room, either me or my brother would be sitting with this heavy book in hand, which was too difficult to conceal :-).
Then came the time I started using internet more and I came to know that the book was released way back in 1954 and there were some die-hard following around the book. The book was really something. I went on to read a history of how the story developed.
Tolkien had started writing this one as a continuation of his previous book, The Hobbit, for his son who was out in the army somewhere. Then he went on writing for his son and continued till a whole big world was born in through his literature.
As I said earlier, I introduced the story to many a people in my circle. Some were not interested at all in the book because of the thickness of the book. I had always wondered why Tolkien published the whole novel as a collection of six books and set of appendices. (Yes, Its not a trilogy – it consists of six books sometimes printed as three volumes) This might have been the reason – to lure small book readers in. 🙂 Some others I talked to about the book had already read the book and considered it as a just a story of a very lengthy walk just to put a ring in the volcano.
But for me, this was paradise. All my reading habit kicked off to another level with Tolkien. It helped me explore unknown territories. I came out of my small circle of Enid Blyton and Tintin books. I would start on big well-known authors like Grisham, Chase, and what not. I also had the courage to pick up and read books by authors who I had no idea about like Carsten Stroud, Carl Hiaasen and more. I enjoyed all the books. But I still read the Lord of The Rings every now and then, I should say, atleast once a month.
My mother says she doesn’t like the kind of movies that I like. I love it when people walk backwards and kill themselves (or for that fact any Shyamalan movie) or when people go back in time in their car, or when martians land on earth and becomes friends with a man, or when there is some bear-like clan invades a village and so on. I like it when I see things that don’t exist. I like it when things I see or read don’t happen or won’t happen. Some of my friends dont want it that way. They want reality. They want to see things that can or might happen in our life. I dont have anything against them ( I love them too ). Its the same with books for me. I would say it would be great if what happened in the book or the movie is impossible. But like many authors taking this subject in hand, Tolkien also brings in the subject that the characters do exist in real world, but they are hidden from the human eyes. Tolkien doesn’t give them any super powers to these people to make themselves hidden from humans like in The Spiderwick Chronicles, but he says they are all nimble footed and sharp eared which helps them hide away while we come to them. 🙂
I like the way the story goes. The adventure in it. The details given seem to be the right amount as far as I am concerned. The maps, the scripts, the poems put in here and there, everything!! The work put into it becomes obvious when you see the small footnotes and other notes given in the appendices which take the whole story to another level.
I should say I didn’t stop with The Lord of the Rings, I read The Hobbit, Silamrillion, some essays on the Third World and many other works by Tolkien all revolving around the same world, though not the same set of characters. But still, some connection with some character I was familiar with in The Lord Of The Rings.
The movies are also awesome, but of course, it cannot bring out the true beauty of such a big book as such. And I dont blame them, bringing a 2000 page book to say 9 hrs is different. But they do bring together the essence of the story altogether.
I have no doubt if the question arises as to which my favourite book is, I would say The Lord Of The Rings by J.R.R.Tolkien. Even the movie would come almost up in the top levels in my favourite movie lists.