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Minas Tirith Forums » The Ivy Bush » Do rereadings of Tolkien change? (Page 2)
Author Topic: Do rereadings of Tolkien change?
Mithril
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Cariendor, please add me to your list of over 40 mothers! I have read LoTR many times since first reading at 16. Every time is different and totally involving. The first time I could hardly bear to put the book down so anxious was I to find out what happened next, now I linger over passages. I love all the history behind the names and the depth of experience that I feel in every page. I always feel desolate when Frodo and co leave the Grey Havens. As a teenager I desperately wanted Gandalf to be real and I still feel a deep fondness for him.
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Cariendor
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Greetings to Mithril and all,


When I was a teenager who loved to read there were many books that I couldn't put down but LotR was the first one that really moved me. I think because it works on so many levels.

What moved me most was the courage that Frodo showed in taking up the quest (mission, thing !! ) and his seeing it through to the end. This courage is IMHO the essence of the story and, well, wouldn't we all like to be a bit more courageous?

But, back to the topic, Bethberry, I don't think I saw any of the many archetypal themes and characters back then. Like Pippin, I just went along for the ride! Now with a few years and a bit of life experience behind me I am enjoying reading it again even more. There is a little bit of each of Tolkien's characters in all of us. We can be a hero and a failure all in one day just like Boromir and seemingly immortal and yet vulnerable like Gandalf. What a wonderful creation is Middle Earth!

Kind regards to you all
Cariendor


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Roll of Honor Bethberry
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Hello Cariendor, Mithril, Star and All,

I really liked the analogy, "Like Pippin, I was along for the ride." It is a connection which makes your point so much easier to relate to!

I found, when I reread LOTR last November, that I too had forgotton so many of the details but it is the shift in my interest in the characters which is interesting. I bow down before the depiction of Gollem. What is also exciting now, especially since we have seen the movie, is how I can discuss the novel with my son, for he brings the excitement of a first read alive for me.

There are, I think, quite a few 'mature' readers here who quietly go on with their interests amid the hustle and bustle of the frenetic youngsters.

Bethberry

.

[ 01-14-2002: Message edited by: Bethberry ]


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Evenspire
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As a teenager, I didn't have the patience to grasp everything in the forward written by JRRT. Now it all has special meaning. And the prologue is a long one too, but is better when read as an adult in my opinion.

I am reading LOTR much, much more slowly, and picking up on details that didn't mean much at the time, but overall, are even profound.

I got as much pleasure out of the first reading as I have ever squeezed out since, but the depth grows with rereading. The history, and the awe knowing who these people are at the council and later, at Aragorn's wedding. Wow.

I am also awestruck at how violent these books are, and yet, look how many never get a scratch! Legolas and Aragorn are going for a typical romp rather than a great adventure. I think Aragorn should have sprained a wrist at least. And for all they went through, Pippin and Merry never did mature the way Frodo and Sam did...but that says a lot for hobbit endurance. Again, Wow!

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Roll of Honor Miz Lobelia
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The first time I read Lord of the Rings i was reading so fast that I missed a lot of stuff - this was in the early 70s. I remember being so upset when I picked up ROTK and we were back to - PIPPIN? I didn't care about Pippin at that point I was so worried about poor Frodo and Sam! I must have read through the first part of ROTK very quickly because when I re-read it I found that I had totally blacked out the Paths of the Dead. Not to worry - I read LOTR six times in succession that year (my freshman year in college) so I caught up on things missed that first time through. []

In those days there were not only no Silm and no HoME, but really not a lot of other good fantasy that I could find, so there was nothing to it but to re-read LOTR. I must have talked about it a lot in my letters home because my parents bought me the hardcover set for Christmas. I loved the foldout maps and consulted them often. (I still do, even though I own the Atlas.) The pages in those books are turning yellow now. It can't have been 30 years!

Changes? Well, I like Bombadil a lot more now - he is a deeper and more serious character than he appears at first blush. And Helm's Deep doesn't seem so interminable. I welcome the return to our beloved Pippin in ROTK now that I know Frodo and Sam will make it. Having read the Silm and HoME adds much as well, particularly to my understanding of the position of the elves.

I once spoke to a woman who read the books as they came out. I don't think I could have stood the wait between the publication of TTT and ROTK!

After all these years and innumerable readings LOTR is still my favorite book.

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Roll of Honor bombadil
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I'm currently reading LOTR to my 7-year-old son. We just finished The Hobbit. It's my fifth reading (at least), but I understand and appreciate it in a whole different way now. I'm seeing it through a child's eyes again. It's pretty cool.
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Fëanáro
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I too have had the experience of gradually uncovering important and moving details each time I reread LotR of TH. I think that for me, I have had the opportunity to discover more than most people each time I read it. This is because I think that I missed quite alot of the historical referenses and complexities of the characters and plases since I was only six (now 14)when my parants read it to me for the first time after reading the Hobbit three times.

I have never quite understood how many people do not like the Old Forest and the Tom Bombadil bits and am horrified when people tell me that they 'hated the bit with the annoying little man who danses round and sings for 100 pages doing nothing' [] I always loved Bombadil!

Another thing which is good about having it read to you when you're young is that the whole thing seems so much more 'grand' and 'overwhelmingly vast'.That and you get to hear your parents character voices. My dad went all out when he read me 'THE VOICE OF SARUMAN' and he sounded almost exactly like the actors who do the voices in the BBC radio series.

As with so many others needless to say, LotR is, always has been, and always will be my favorite book. []

ps. I'd recoment the lost tales as well as the silm. for interesting history and deeper understanding. I'm reading them at the moment. []

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It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door, you step into the Road, and if you don't keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to.

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Elanor the Fair
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I can't remember how many times I've read Tolkien over the years, but I do find that my response changes with each reading.

Part of JRRT's appeal is that he draws so deeply on mythology, and that speaks to something deep in the collective psychology. He did say that he wanted to write a mythology for England. Myths appeal to deep, probably unconscious strands in human beings, and different strands of the books appeal differently at different times in our lives.

All classic literature has these layers of meaning and possible response, which is what makes it classic, but LOTR has the added bonus of mythology - tapping into deeper strands.

Also, no work of literature in complete when it is written - it only has true existence when it is read - and as all readers are different from each other, and from themselves from day to day, the response is infinitely variable.

I'm not sure I've explained this very well, but I'm in a hurry at the moment!

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Roll of Honor Bethberry
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Greetings All,

When I set up this topic, I forgot to request email notifications of responses, so I am tardy replying. There are some very interesting stories here!

The responses from and about young readers make me regret that I didn't find Tolkien until adulthood, that I have no 'child-like' response to think back to.

I wonder if, for young readers (or those 'read-to'), LOTR in fact begins their acquaintance with mythological questions and values, so that it becomes a kind of memory-echo which gives life and form to the formal study or meeting of mythology in later years?

And perhaps another interesting point: My son recently, in an essay on ROTK, complained that the only point of the settings was to provide more struggle and frustration and challenge for Sam and Frodo. So this got us into a talk about heroism being the act of rising above challenges. But it also made me wonder if the 'pure' enjoyment of landscape description is more an adult taste than a child's/teenager's taste? It is also possible that he identified so intensely with Sam and Frodo that he could not distance himself from the struggle.

Bethberry

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Snöwdog
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I will be setting out to re-read the trilogy for the tenth time as soon as I'm done with the Black Compang series, of which I have 2½ books to go. I did read Fellowship after seeing the Fellowship movie, and decided I would wait til all three of the PJ'isms were done before reading it all again. The reason I did read Fellowship again was I wanted to make sure my miond's images were still intact after the onslaught of the movie. It was, with a couple (good) notable exceptions.

So, have anyone read the books again since they saw the PJ'isms? If so, did it change at all for you?

[ 05-25-2004, 05:22 PM: Message edited by: Snowdog ]

-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-
"I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve."
- Bilbo Baggins

"These Lord of the Rings movies must be taken deep into Mordor and cast back into the fiery chasm from whence they came."

Middle Earth Angling Guide

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Artwork by Jonathon Earl Bowser

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Erinti
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I've been reading different parts of it constantly, and I have to say that, having seen the movies helps me picture some places better. The films haven't had much effect on how I imagine the characters, though - some of them were dead-on as I had always imagined them, and in my mind, Frodo still looks like Micky Dolenz instead of Elijah Wood...
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Roll of Honor Thorin
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Snowdog - yes. Specifically regarding how PJ changed some of my "mental images" : First Time - After Peter Jackson
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Snöwdog
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quote:
Do rereadings of Tolkien change?
Actually no, for all the same exact words are there in the same order I read it the first time. []
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Roll of Honor Lord Mithrandir
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Really, Snowdog?
I've had editions with typos and others that have been revised...

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Snöwdog
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Yeah, but if you read the same book... []

I'm up to 11 reads through the Trilogy, complete with appencices and relevent chapters from Unfinished Tales. I don't think I'll ever get "tired" of reading it.

And now I'm into my 2nd read of the Black Company... []

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Mablung
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I first read it while I was a freshman in high school, after someone in the D&D group told me that it was an important part of understanding the game; so I figured it was just a D&D-type adventure to destroy an artifact. So I had an D&D vision of it.

Later on, I began to realize it was more of a real-world fable about empires and politics, much like Shakespearean works and literature, and not at all a simple adventure-story. And the more I read, the more interested I became. So it's like anything else: the more you know about it, the more you can derive from pursuing it.
quote:
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.
That line was actually used in a Ren & Stimpy cartoon: "I'll teach your grandmother to suck eggs!"

[ 09-01-2009, 01:10 PM: Message edited by: Mablung ]

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faithfull
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Hmmmm - []
I've just read the Sil for the first time, followed by a reading of the LotR.
I don't know how many times I've read LotR in the past, but after taking a break of several years before picking up the books this time, I will say, it is obvious I am very much more aware of many things. I am happy to say that I am much more like the person whom I have always wanted to become.

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Snöwdog
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I've been re-reading specific chapters to regain the context of the tale. Passing of the Grey Company is one such chapter. It is good at flushing out the horrible depiction of this by PJ Boyens & Co.

[ 08-06-2016, 06:05 PM: Message edited by: Snöwdog ]

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Iarwain
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It's amazing how reading critiques from other writers in Tolkien changes how you read it. We realise Tolkien is a genius story teller, yes. Now read a chapter in Meditations on Middle Earth that is penned by Ursula Le Guin. She uses one chapter (Fog on the Barrow Downs) to show how Tolkien uses language and our own conceptions of the world to drive the story and create unease in us as readers. Now re-read Tolkien. Genius, definitely!
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Snöwdog
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Fog On The Barrow Downs is one of the great, if underrated chapters of the book. I do like the perspective that Ursula Le Guin gives to the tale in her Insights'.
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Iarwain
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Her explanation really makes you think when you re read and adds to the uneasy feel Tolkien is creating. Being answered by the Barrow Wight is now chilling.
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