I'm going to try to get through LOTR one last time...

Loved the movies. Wait, scratch that. I didn’t care for the movies, but LOVE the extended edition DVD’s. (So does my 7 year-old). So I tried to read the books a year or so ago and… well, I didn’t love them as much. Actually, let’s say that I wonder how Peter Jackson made such great movies from such… well, perhaps it’s better that I don’t say it at all. :wink:

So, I’m in the burstling metropolis of Janesville, WI for a week or so and the only books I brought were the three LOTR books. I’ve already read (in my previous attempt) up through Tom Bombadil, and to tell the truth, I’m not looking forward to slogging through the rest of the story… but I’m determined.

Essentially: does it get better? I found what I’ve read to be a bit juvenile, and possibly (probably) am wanting to read the story I saw in the film (I should know better, of course, but I am human and have my weaknesses).

I’ll keep y’all posted, of course.

The tone of LOTR changes dramatically shortly after the Tom Bombadil section. The first section of the story shows some traces of the original plan, which was a sequel to The Hobbit as a children’s story, and old Tom himself does not fit very well into the rest of the story at all.

So, I think if you plunge on, you should shortly see a distinct improvement.

ETA: Woo hoo! First answer on an LOTR thread!

Wait, if you didn’t like the movies, why did you bother to get the extended edition DVDs? Like…how did you know you’d like that?

Or at least, a distinct change. Whether it’s an improvement or not is definitely a matter of taste.

One thing I’ve noticed is that Tolkien tended to alternate chapters of action and adventures with chapters of temporary rest and respite. So for instance, you’ve got some adventures getting out of the Shire, then a rest in Buckland. Then there’s the adventure in the Old Forest, then the rest with Bombadil, and so on.

Some might kill me for this, but I highly recommend, particularly if you’ve seen the movies and know the story, that if you get slogged down in Tom Bombadil, or in any other portion, to just skip ahead a few pages.

I know the first time I read LOTR (age 8 or 9), I skipped that chapter as I found it unreadable and dull, skipped most of the songs in the book, and I think I may have skipped other portions, such as bits of Frodo/Sam/Gollum’s trip down to Mordor.

I had read The Hobbit and eagerly bought LOTR.

I tried twice to read it, without success…then, on my third try I think I finally got past about page 85 or so and then I could not put it down.

Re-read it several times after that.

I teach a speech class and one thing I try to impress upon my students is that you have to make the intro exciting, or at least attention getting. I tell them that every great speaker and storyteller does this. J.R.R. Tolkien is the exception to that rule.

TNT had them on during one of their LOTR weekends. My daughter absolutely insisted on watching them, so I watched them with her… and didn’t stop.

I then bought the Extended Editions a week or three later and all was lost…

If that’s the problem, then you shoud have much smoother sailing from here on in. Jackson drastically compressed the beginning and the ending (that’s right, the anticlimax is actually longer in the book - much longer). But most of the book after Bombadil and before this little thing called the Scouring of the Shire corresponds more closely to the movie.

Also, as others have written, the tone changes throughout the book. It’s something of a bridge between “The Hobbit,” which was written as an extended fairy tale, and “The Silmarillion,” which is a pseudo-mythology. But the juvenile tone of the beginning also reflects the naivete of the Shire and the detachment of Bombadil in contrast to the wisdom of the elves in their ancient enclaves and the grimness of the men living in sight of the looming shadow.

I’ve tried reading it twice but got bogged down. As someone who tends to skim over extended descriptive passages, I should probably just give up on the damned thing.

They’re good books. They could have just used someone telling Tolkein he wasn’t a poet. I had to skim/skip almost all the “songs.” And the bitching about being hungry and eating all the damn time is annoying, but comes in the context of wartime rationing, so people wanted to read about and imagine good food and tobacco and such. Those sections are a part of history, not literature. Skim those, too. The core of it all remains a good story. It just could have used an edit.

Tolkein fans, flame away!

I read the first two in grade school. Then I kept trying to read the first one & finding the appendices more enticing than the story (but hey, I can write in Tengwar). I finally got through it in high school, by which time I’d pretty much forgotten much of volume two. Of course, this was my program of pretty much flunking out of high school while using my requirement to sit in one place to read things. Also how I read most of Asimov’s Foundation books.

Really, if you’re like me & despise novels, especially verbose self-important novels, skip it. Read something bite-sized. There’s a nice Pukel-man story in Unfinished Tales.

Last night I got through the point where Frodo wakes up in Rivendell. Y’all are right - some of the “juvenile” aspects of the writing are seeming to disappear.

But I rolled my eyes a bit at Butterbur’s “I’m so busy I can’t remember everything, even this VERY IMPORTANT LETTER that this VERY SCARY WIZARD told me to forward to you” line. It wasn’t childish, just a bit clunky. Why not merely have Butterbur hand Frodo the letter saying “Gandalf told me to give you this”?

Tonight: Rivendell! (After “Lost”, of course. :wink: )

Oh, I love novels. Even verbose, self-important novels. But then, I’m a guy who uses a ruler to decide which books to purchase. :wink:

I encourage the OP to keep giving it a chance. LOTR is one of my all-time favorite series ever.

You obviously have not met the stereotypical person he’s emulating with Butterbur. That type of person can’t say in ten words what will be said in 100. You are always thinking as they speak: come to the point!!! :stuck_out_tongue: :smack:
Kinda like lawyers, but without the $10 words. :smiley:

Things indeed pick up after Tom.
Speaking of Tom, may I recommend Bored of the Rings?

"He would have finished him off then and there, but pity stayed his hand. It’s a pity I’ve run out of bullets, he thought, as he went back up the tunnel. . . "

FWIW, I never got through LotR until I got a concordance/encyclopedia-type book (the title is The Complete Guide to Middle-Earth by Robert Foster and yes, you can get it from Amazon). The trouble is everything in Middle-Earth has at least three names and Tolkien keeps digressing to refer to the Elvish name for something. Gah!

I found the middle of *The Two Towers * is where I bogged down. I made it through, but at that point I had to push.

I didn’t expect to like these books at all, but I figured I’d give them a try. The first time I read the Fellowship I watched the movie for the first time immediately afterward, and I, in my boredom reading the book, didn’t even realize that Boromir was a human. So I waited a year, tried the book again, and read all three of them in about three weeks. By no means am I in love with them; it’s unlikely I will ever participate in a discussion regarding them. But if I could do it and find some enjoyment in it, anyone can.

I think “denouement” is the term you’re looking for. LOTR undoubtedly has the longest denouement (day-noo-MAH) in literature. It even includes an additional mini-climax (The Scouring of the Shire).

JRRT must have felt that readers who had made it that far wouldn’t want the story to end, so he drags it out for several more chapters. YMMV, but I love it.