I have never read the Lord of the Rings series. I have read the Hobbit (back in 8th grade!) and I have seen all the movies more times than I can count, but the books just never made their way into my circle.
It was time to change that.
This isn’t so much a review of whether the book is good or not as it is going to be me providing you with a roadmap and strategies for getting through this series yourself. It is daunting, and the language is DRYYYYYY, but it’s still beautiful so I have a few tricks and tips.
Trick 1: WATCH. THE. MOVIES.
Please, we live in 2018 and they are on tv at least once a week. Check your listings. Also they have to be somewhere across Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Video, HBO – either free or for rent. I promise, if you watch the movies first you will have an easier time getting through the books. I PROMISE. BELIEVE ME PLEASE.
I am not saying the movies are better. I am saying they are gorgeous and are an amazing mental crutch for the books.
Trick 2: SKIP BORING SPOTS
In this first book (which is actually the first two books, or so Tolkein says in the prologue) there is a LOT of hobbit journey nonsense happening between when Frodo leaves the Shire for Rivendell and when he gets to Bree and the Prancing Pony Inn where Strider/Aragorn is and Gandalf is supposed to be. The movies rightly cut it out and the story stands without it.
So if you find yourself super bored in the first 30%, page forward until you see them walking into Bree. If you read this a second time you can be more patient, but what you don’t want to do if this is your first time reading is to give up. These books are worth it. I promise.
I also skipped over most of the songs. I read them in my head like limericks (same rhythm) and I ended up irritating myself enough to just skip them.
Trick 3: KEEP A LIST
Whether you watch the movies first or dive into the books, I would recommend a small notebook to keep track of who the people are and what their purposes are. There are some characters in the books that were not in the movies, and it’s these people that I am writing down to remember if they pop up later.
Try out these 3 easy tricks that THEY don’t want you to know about and see if you can’t get through one of the most iconic book trilogies of all time. I’ll see you at the end! Long live the king! (Spoilers!)