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Minas Tirith Forums » The Ivy Bush » Do rereadings of Tolkien change? (Page 1)
Author Topic: Do rereadings of Tolkien change?
Roll of Honor Bethberry
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Greetings all.

Many of you have reread LOTR many more times than I have. How are your subsequent readings different from your first reading? Do you reread to reclaim that first impression/ experience or do you expect something different when you reread it?

Cheers,
Bethberry


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Eorl the Young
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To answer your last question first, I reread to to re-experience the first impression. But if I do see something different, then it's just a grand bonus.

My first answer can aswer your first question ( ). One of the main differences (that I can think of right now [not rereading it just now]) is that you see things you didn't see the first few times. The books keep getting deeper and deeper.

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Disclaimer: If this was a touchy subject, then I'm so sorry and hope you won't take anything I have said or done or in any way referred to personally; nor do I hope you get mad and have the urge to give me a good thrashing. Thank you for your patience.


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longbow
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The more I read it the more I appreciate the deep history that Tolkien wrote into the books. There is always a new connection to find. Some of it is very subtle. He was a master of what he wrote. It never gets "old" for me.
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Roll of Honor Neytari Took-Baggins
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Well, now that I have read the Silmarillion I see a lot more. The Song of Beren and Luthian, for example, has more meaning and it is more than just a pretty song/poem. I still remember how I felt when I first read them (oh what a simple hobbit I was then!), but I am finding new things.
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Star
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When I was reading the Hobbit to my son, I noticed a lot of subtle little things I hadn't noticed before. Like when Gollum remembered way back when he taught his grandmother how to suck eggs..


I might have voted but I'm not sure how.
I did vote on the Yahoo poll.


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Roll of Honor Bethberry
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Eorl the Younger, longbow, Neytari Took and Star,

I thank each of you for responding to my initial questions. * nods courteously *

Do you think this would be a fair generalization to make about your reading experiences: Your initial readings affected you emotionally or psychologically; they in some way changed you; but subsequent readings have a different effect, of changing not you but the books themselves, making them more complex?

And is this experience of change in the initial reading what Tolkien meant in his essay, "On Fairy-Stories": "Fairy-stories were plainly not primarily concerned with possibility, but with desirability. If they awakened desire, satisfying it while often whetting it unbearably, they succeeded"?

Bethberry


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Eorl the Young
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I'm not exactly sure if the first reading affected me emotionally or psycologically as I was quite young, too young to notice, maybe. But of course I could have been affected unconsciously.

I think rather that I have been affected with the next few readings, at the same time as the books get more complex. Maybe it has something to do with your maturity at the time of reading?


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Roll of Honor Bethberry
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You direct the initial thoughts in an interesting way, Eorl the Younger: what is there about the books which "speak" to readers of all ages? For myself, my first reading enbabled me to lose myself completely in Tolkien's 'sub-creation' and I revelled in that artistic achievement. My latest reading has given me a different feeling--I am more awed by the breadth and extent of the meaning than before and the 'adventuring' has become far more serious. The trilogy has become, and I use this word carefully without meaning any disrespect, "holier." I come away with a deep awe for all creation. Maybe it has just taken me this long to reach the kind of response which longbow had on his first reading. But I wonder what it is about Tolkien's work which enables this kind of richness of reading experience. I can't say the same about most other science fiction or fantasy, even stuff by Ursua K. Leguin.

Bethberry


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Virgil
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My first reading was in the early 70's. Very emotionally caught up in it. As I have reread it numerous times over the years, I have noticed that one's perspective changes. I have just finished reading it for the umpty-umpth time at age 42 and my take is more intense, I think.
Hard to describe, but I'm now a wife and Mom, so the danger and sorrowful bits are harder to read without sniffling... But the joyful and fun bits are equally as rewarding.

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Roll of Honor Bethberry
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Virgil,

*nods a cheery hello* Glad to make your acquaintance.

I think you've hit on something, particular as it applies to me. I, too, am now a mum, and despite all of my professional accomplishments I will say that having children has opened the world to me in so many profound ways.

Bethberry


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Snöwdog
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I have read the Hobbit 3 times and Lord of the Rings 8 times. Each reading I gain more insight and alot that was 'skimmed' is revealed in subsequent readings. I have only read Silmarillion once straight through but have read parts of it many times. I also enjoyed readings of Unfinished Tales as well.
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EnderAWiggin
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I see more about the characters, history, and depth of his world. And get the experience all over again.

Especially after reading the Sil.


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Roll of Honor Bethberry
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I'm sure that this confession is going to lead to my doing time here for insufficent devotion, but I can see that I am going to have to read the Sil. *G*
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EnderAWiggin
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I suggest UT and the Essays and stuff as well... And there is one more book other than that, which is good also.
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Primula
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This is a little late in replying, but, Virgil and Bethberry are correct in that it has changed over time. Also in the 70's when I read them, the books helped me find my way in life. Now at 43 and a mom, the sad and tragady seems more intense. Maybe because the books are a part of my life, the emotions are strongly felt. That happens when you have kids, and I feel so strongly about LOTR that just follows that continuium.
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melian the maia
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everytime i re-read it (as right now) i wish it could be my first reading. i was 13 then and now i'm 24, and everytime i read the book i notice that i have changed cause each time i read it with a different perspective. but what i really like is that i always find something new, something which i had not notice or thought about, and that's why i never feel i'm wasting my time, as other people say when they know i'm reading it again. and i think that's the wonderful thing about the book. no matter your age, you always find something, and this doesn't happen with most of the books you read as a child or teenager.

besides, if you read the silmarillion before re-reading the lotr you understant things better (luthien-beren, the elves going west, the story of elrond, etc.), so i think that everytime you read it you have a fuller view of the story.

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I am melian and melian means me


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The Golden haired sayain
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yes i also enjoyed the Lord of the ring books
unfortunately I am still in the middle of The two towers book

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LadyEowynKenobi
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well, the subsequent readings made the details like events, facts, names and places more clear to me. i admit when i first read the books i hardly read the map, and i did get a bit confused with the names and places with their elvish and dwarvish counterparts. each re-reading brings out something new. better yet, you actually get to learn little bits of life's lessons as you read along, which is one of the great things about these books.

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"Nothing is the power of the Dark Lord more clearly shown than in the estrangement that divides all those who still oppose him." ~Haldir

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Roll of Honor Bethberry
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EnderAWiggan,

Hmmm. That reading sounds more like pleasure than doing time. *G*


LadyEowynKenobi,

You state my experience with the maps precisely. *bows courteously*

All,

Happy Holidays, Citizens. I likely won't be around much until 2002.

Bethberry


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EnderAWiggin
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That it is!

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Humble Knight to The Lady Eliana

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Evenspire
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I like what I'm getting to know in this thread. A number of people here are like me. I'm a lady of 42 with career accomplishments and read The Hobbit and LOTR in the early seventies. I really miss the feelings I had during the first reading. What magic! The anticipation! And when Shelob "killed" Frodo, I couldn't BELEIVE it! It COULDN'T BE! I found myself frantic to find him alive and well in the next chapter....which I did...not bothering to wait and find out how he survived...then, releived, I went back and read how he got out of THAT one...WHEW!!!! Frodo had become so very important to me, and I cried like a baby when he left at the Grey Havens. I think I cried the next 3 times I read it too.

I've never had the alarm and surprise that I had during that first reading, but I've certainly had the pleasure and the magic. After reading the Sil., the story became richer. I was glad to learn the history of the Istari and only wish JRRT had written more about where Tom and Treebeard came from.

I hated it the first time I read the book and realized there were only 4 pages left, 3, 2, NOOOOOO! There was nothing left to read. The Sil. had not been published yet. There was nothing left TO DO but read it again. No other book would do. (The Proud Breed by Celeste DeBlasis is the only other book that I have read more than 5 times.)


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Roll of Honor Bethberry
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Greetings and welcome, Evenspire. I enjoyed reading your description of your first encounter with LOTR. You made me feel some of your own excitement.

Cheers,
Bethberry


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Cariendor
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Greetings to all from a new member, but especially to Bethberry, Virgil and Melian. I have been thinking I must be the only female/mother over 40 browsing in here and then I find you! Well met indeed!

I am in the middle of re-reading LotR for the first time in many years and am remembering, whilst doing so, the seventeen year old I was, who could not put the book down.

Anyway to answer the question, I am, like longbow, enjoying finding "new connections" but also rediscoveing the thrill. (I had forgotten a lot of the details)

Thanks for a great place to talk about all this.
Cariendor


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Cariendor
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So Sorry Melian! Didn't mean to age you like that! Evenspire was who I meant.
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Star
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I remember reading the Hobbit to my son for the first time and I picked up on all sorts of things I hadn't caught the first time, didn't understand, or had forgotten. Such as when Gollum teaches his Grandmother the art of sucking eggs.

On subsequent readings of LotR there are indeed opportunities to pick up on details, thoroughly read poetry previously skimmed because of impatience, and reinterpret events.

[ 01-12-2002: Message edited by: Star ]


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This is the end my friend,
My only friend the end...


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