What impresses you most about the books?

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What impresses you most about the books?

Postby FrodoTook » Fri Jan 11, 2013 5:33 pm

I want to hear what impresses you most about the books.

=================

What impresses me most about the books is...

The rich history....The depth and scale....The descriptions....

I can feel

the wind blow

the trees bark

the grass under my feet

and

the terror of the Nazgul.

I can smell

the sweet flowers

and

the foulness of Shelob.

I can see

the mountains

the reflecting lakes

and

the Balrog.

I can hear

the voices of Gandalf, of Galadriel, of Treebeard

and

the cries of the Ringwraiths.

I can taste

the Lembas

Stewed Coney

and

the bitter ( but very welcome ) water of the Morgai.

===============

The story touched all my senses.

May the stars of Elbereth shine brightly upon all of us.

===============
What impresses you most about the books?

And why.
Last edited by FrodoTook on Sat Mar 09, 2013 3:13 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: What impresses you about the books?

Postby GreyWitch » Sat Jan 12, 2013 2:34 am

What impresses me about Tolkien's books is basically the same thing that impresses you: the richness of the fictional world created by Tolkien. It is so rich in detail of all kinds that the stories come alive and the reader can't help but believe in them. I'm fascinated by his ability to create his own mythology, his own languages, his own history. To me, Middle Earth is like a parallel universe that exists in reality and that I can just step into whenever I open a Tolkien book. The author's wild creativity, that's what impresses me the most.
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Re: What impresses you about the books?

Postby tgshaw54 » Sat Jan 12, 2013 8:38 am

I'll just quote Peter Beagle --

"For in the end it is Middle-earth and its dwellers that we love, not Tolkien's considerable gifts in showing it to us."

I could write pages, but that says it pretty well.
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Re: What impresses you about the books?

Postby Morwenna » Sat Jan 12, 2013 6:44 pm

Wherever would I start?!

When I first read LOTR (right after The Hobbit) I was what C.S. Lewis would call "knocked flat." I can hardly think of anything that didn't impress me! I fell right into the story, the landscapes, the perils; I felt I'd recognize the characters anywhere. And after devouring the books, and the appendices, there was one thing I wanted: MORE!! Unfortunately I had to wait a whole decade for The Silmarillion, and as good as that was it still didn't scratch my itch for more of the Middle-earth I had come to love, that of the Second and Third Ages. And for that matter the Fourth: I'd have loved to see more of the hobbits as they refit themselves into the life of the Shire and had families, and I would have loved seeing what Faramir, with the help of Legolas's elves, made of Ithilien.
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Re: What impresses you about the books?

Postby Chubb » Sun Jan 13, 2013 10:28 am

I would echo much of what Morwenna has mentioned - the way the books leave the reader wishing there was more is indeed very impressive; not every good book necessarily makes you feel like that, it's a rare trait and one that is very strong in LOTR.

Also:
The genius use of the (apparently) mundane and the small, as a foil for the grave and important.

I am not sure I am expressing it properly, but there is dignity in the writing, which I love.

And I have always been especially impressed by the internal historical and geographical accuracy of the books :) . That was some feat from Tolkien!
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Re: What impresses you about the books?

Postby siddharth » Mon Jan 14, 2013 3:12 am

What a surprise! I've been wandering myself to find what impresses me most.
I do not know what impresses me about the books. Yeah, the things you mentioned Frodo Took are some of the reasons but there's definitely something more which mesmerizes me, but I can't figure out that.
However I can say what things make the books stand out. Perhaps the most astonishing part of Tolkien's tales is that Middle-earth has it's own history, own languages ( complete languages with pronunciations and grammars, mind you) it's own places and each race has unique charactersitics, habits ,history and more. I mean, can anyone cite another book with this level of realism in a ficitious world? I don't.

PS: Still thinking about the thread question... :? :D :? :D
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Re: What impresses you about the books?

Postby Morwenna » Mon Jan 14, 2013 10:26 am

That was a biggie for me too--the completeness of his world. I can't think of any other invented world that so cries out for visitors!
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Re: What impresses you about the books?

Postby solicitr » Mon Jan 14, 2013 8:57 pm

The subtle and multifaceted appreciation of the nature of Evil, and the temptations thereto.
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Re: What impresses you about the books?

Postby truehobbit » Tue Jan 15, 2013 4:27 am

I read LOTR first, so that's what got me into Tolkien. What impressed me most, for me (and I know there are a lot of readers who perceive this quite differently), was the richness of the characters and of the questions they were all faced with. The fact that there were no easy choices, nothing where I could have said 'well, that was obvious' - even though everything (concerning the hobbits, at least) was so recognisable and 'normal' - expectations were constantly surpassed and yet, in the end, fulfilled. I was fascinated by the dilemmas the characters faced and awed by their responses to them, coming from who they are. I'm not sure I've ever felt so emotionally connected to a character in any other book as I did to every single member of the fellowship.
The rhythm and sound of the writing also appealed to me very much.
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Re: What impresses you about the books?

Postby Elmtree » Tue Jan 15, 2013 6:47 am

what truehobbit said. :) Pretty much how I feel as well. the characters caught me right away, as did Hobbiton and everything Hobbit. I cared about the characters, I cared about what happened to them. The richness of the world helped-- the whole thing felt 'real'- both characters and place.

Also, much of the story doesn't read like a book. That is, the structure is not what one would expect. Often that means you have a poorly told story, but not in this case. In this case it made the story feel all the more real.
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Re: What impresses you most about the books?

Postby tgshaw54 » Wed Jan 16, 2013 9:37 am

I also agree with truehobbit. It was the created world that first drew me in (I was hooked before I finished reading "Concerning Hobbits") but it was the characters and the way they reacted to their challenges that kept me there - and still keeps me there over 40 years later.

That last statement brings out one incredible thing about the book -- No matter how many times it's read, there's always something new to discover. Something that makes me say, "I never thought about it like that." I had a theology professor who was excited about mysteries, saying they're "infinitely knowable." The Lord of the Rings is a mystery - I'll never completely know it.
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Re: What impresses you most about the books?

Postby FrodoTook » Sat Jan 19, 2013 9:25 pm

tgshaw54 wrote: No matter how many times it's read, there's always something new to discover... I'll never completely know it.


Well said by you and by all.

I thank you all for sharing your love of Tolkien and hope to hear more voices sing high praise.

I love to hear your voices.

My appreciation is enhanced by you.
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Re: What impresses you most about the books?

Postby Adenydd » Tue Jan 22, 2013 5:51 pm

Languages- If I am interested in linguistics, especially phonology, it is all because of Tolkien.

Nature- Only a few pages into the FotR, I started to see all aspects of nature more vividly, as if Tolkien's expression of them had made everything more real than before.

Morality- Gandalf's words about not dealing out death for justice, and all the messages between the lines has had a lasting effect on me. Tolkien's story was not about our good guys battling somebody else's good guys whom we called evil. It was about what lust for control, God-like authority leads to, and how there was another way: You could just destroy the ring, not decide who gets to wear it.

I could go on and on, for no other work comes close to Tolkien's in providing a whole new world, or rather turning the world into a whole new place.

But now, after all these years, and as I see that the world is getting so modern that anything less shallow than a puddle of a dog's making is being disapproved of, I appreciate Tolkien's gentle, reserved, noble attitude more than ever. There is nothing cheap in his works, nothing that appeals to the baboon in most of us.
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Re: What impresses you most about the books?

Postby Chubb » Tue Jan 22, 2013 6:04 pm

^ a great post Adenydd :) as are all the above!
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Re: What impresses you most about the books?

Postby Adenydd » Tue Jan 22, 2013 6:20 pm

Thank you, Chubb. :)
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Re: What impresses you most about the books?

Postby FrodoTook » Tue Jan 22, 2013 6:27 pm

Well said Adenydd and well met.

Welcome to TORC.
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Re: What impresses you most about the books?

Postby Adenydd » Tue Jan 22, 2013 6:41 pm

Mae govannen, Frodo Took. :)
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Re: What impresses you about the books?

Postby FrodoTook » Tue Jan 29, 2013 12:25 pm

tgshaw54 wrote:I'll just quote Peter Beagle --

"For in the end it is Middle-earth and its dwellers that we love, not Tolkien's considerable gifts in showing it to us."

I could write pages, but that says it pretty well.


It does say it pretty well and I thank you for sharing.

Middle-earth feels so very real to me.
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Re: What impresses you most about the books?

Postby Melwa » Sat Feb 16, 2013 7:48 pm

I agree that the detail Tolkien gives to his world is impressive, and I love that the good guys are good, the bad guys are bad and the good guys win!

The most impressive thing to me is how Tolkien writes "Providentially." The bad things that happen are ultimately used for good. For example, Boromir succumbing to lust for the Ring was awful. If Boromir had not frightened Frodo by trying to take the Ring, the Company would not have split up, and they probably would have all gone on straight to Mordor. If the Company had not split up, there are many things that had to happen for the whole beautiful ending that could not have been. Aragorn would not have brought aid to the battle of the Pelenor Fields. Gimli would not have seen the Glimmering Caves, where he later settled. Pippin would have been unable to save Faramir from burning, and therefore Faramir could not save Eowyn, who could not comfort Eomer for the loss of Theodred. Merry helped kill the Witch-king. Frodo probably would have never gotten to Cirith Ungol if he was with Aragorn, who knew ways to go, and so quite possibly would have been captured at the Black Gate.

Another example: It's awful that Sam thought Frodo was dead at the end of TTT, right? But if he hadn't been sure Frodo was dead, he never would have taken up the Ring. Or put on the Ring to hide from the Orcs. Only one person could hide using the Ring, so if Frodo had been conscious, both hobbits would have been captured. Therefore, the Ring also would have been captured.
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Re: What impresses you most about the books?

Postby siddharth » Sat Feb 16, 2013 9:01 pm

Good post Mel!!

I have noticed two key things in the legendarium. One you said was how the bad events lead to their success. It suggests that even if you are in the worst kind of situations, if you remain
focussed on your goal, success can be finally gained. Gandalf is the best example. He fell at Moria only to be resurrected as the more powerful Gandalf the White.
Another concept pivotal to the Professor's work is the concept of pity.
The whole saga is so full of it. The most important being Bilbo's. After that, Frodo too pitied Gollum. They were able to get into Mordor because of that.Again, on the slopes of Orodruin, even Sam was moved by Gollum's state and decided not to kill him. So Gollum became the last Ring-bearer before it was destroyed. Again Gandalf didn't kill-off Saruman and gave him another chance. It was by this meeting they get the Palantir, important for the later events at Minas Tirith. Also. Saruman moves into the Shire and assumes command.. As a result, the four hobbits help in the last fight and gain respect in the Shire too, where the outside events were unknown.

So I think these two are very important themes to the books.
And a very insightful thread this has been. Reasons why the books are the most popular even in this hi-tech 21st century. And all the posts above cover it very neatly.


(Mel. still following ya!!!)
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Re: What impresses you about the books?

Postby Hobospartan » Mon Feb 18, 2013 10:15 pm

tgshaw54 wrote:I'll just quote Peter Beagle --

"For in the end it is Middle-earth and its dwellers that we love, not Tolkien's considerable gifts in showing it to us."

I could write pages, but that says it pretty well.


Sums it up better than I ever could. Perfect quote.
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Re: What impresses you most about the books?

Postby naias » Sat Mar 09, 2013 2:33 pm

First of all it was the journey that got me hooked. After only a few pages I was feeling I was part of it all. Started with LoTR and moved on to Sil and the rest and it was every time like taking off to a new adventure. I honestly can not shed this feeling I get every time I open one of the books. It is like visiting again places I have been before and and where I have lived my greatest adventures.

And then there are the heroes. Some of them are amongst my most beloved heroes in all literature.

and last, but certainly not least, is the morality of the tales. I find it very efficient to discuss all the big ethical issues our society has to face through fairy tales. It somehow seems appropriate. Since myths and tales are supposed to express the collective subconscious of the human race, I find it the proper context in which to put forward issues of good and evil, personal responsibilty and hybris.
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Re: What impresses you most about the books?

Postby Frodome » Fri Mar 14, 2014 3:23 am

There is so much that I'd say I like about the LotR books. The Words. The way Professor used the Words was beautiful. Characterization- all the characters are so deep and beautiful. All of them are honourable. Depth- yup! Story is multi-layered. Mysterious and tragic.
'tis quite hard to put in words. :)
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Re: What impresses you about the books?

Postby Eucatastrophe » Fri Mar 14, 2014 4:00 am

Hobospartan wrote:
tgshaw54 wrote:I'll just quote Peter Beagle --

"For in the end it is Middle-earth and its dwellers that we love, not Tolkien's considerable gifts in showing it to us."

I could write pages, but that says it pretty well.


Sums it up better than I ever could. Perfect quote.


And I fully disagree. :)
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Re: What impresses you about the books?

Postby tgshaw54 » Sun Mar 16, 2014 7:36 am

Eucatastrophe wrote:
Hobospartan wrote:
tgshaw54 wrote:I'll just quote Peter Beagle --

"For in the end it is Middle-earth and its dwellers that we love, not Tolkien's considerable gifts in showing it to us."

I could write pages, but that says it pretty well.


Sums it up better than I ever could. Perfect quote.


And I fully disagree. :)


Eucatastrophe, I agree that Tolkien also had considerable gifts in showing us Middle-earth and its inhabitants (if I'm interpreting your disagreement correctly). I'll often read a magnificent passage and find myself wondering how some people can say that he didn't write well (which some people do say). But it's still the very existence of that world and its inhabitants that impresses me more.
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Re: What impresses you most about the books?

Postby Tsalagi_Phoenix » Sun Mar 16, 2014 11:55 pm

A lot impresses me about the books. The story, the characters, Middle Earth and its history. Middle Earth just feels so real at times, and not all fictional worlds feel like that.
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Re: What impresses you about the books?

Postby Eucatastrophe » Mon Mar 17, 2014 4:31 am

tgshaw54 wrote:

And I fully disagree. :)


Eucatastrophe, I agree that Tolkien also had considerable gifts in showing us Middle-earth and its inhabitants (if I'm interpreting your disagreement correctly). I'll often read a magnificent passage and find myself wondering how some people can say that he didn't write well (which some people do say). But it's still the very existence of that world and its inhabitants that impresses me more.


Your intepretation of my disagreement is quite near the mark. Certainly, his world-creation is the most impressive thing and I do not disagree, but the reason the world absorbs the reader so completely and entirely is the lyrical flow of the language. I doubt Tolkien would have hardly been as popular a writer had his language been average (and by that, I mean the language most books have nowadays including GRRM).
So in the end, it is Tolkien's use of words, his language which completes his world to it's entirety and makes it one of the most enjoyable reads ever.
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Re: What impresses you most about the books?

Postby Galin » Mon Mar 17, 2014 6:47 am

I disagree with Mr. Beagle as well.

'To make a Secondary World inside which the Green Sun will be credible, commanding Secondary Belief, will probably require labour and thought, and will certainly demand a special skill, a kind of Elvish craft. Few attempt such difficult tasks. But when they are attempted and in any degree accomplished then we have a rare achievement of Art: indeed narrative art, story-making in its primary and most potent mode.' JRRT, On Fairy-stories

Unless, perhaps, Mr Beagle means that Tolkien has so succeeded with his skills that we don't 'notice' them as much compared to the characters within the Secondary World, and Middle-earth itself?

Or something.
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Re: What impresses you most about the books?

Postby Eucatastrophe » Tue Mar 18, 2014 1:19 am

Galin wrote:Unless, perhaps, Mr Beagle means that Tolkien has so succeeded with his skills that we don't 'notice' them as much compared to the characters within the Secondary World, and Middle-earth itself?

Or something.


Aye. That I agree with.
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Re: What impresses you most about the books?

Postby fatty*lumpkin » Tue Mar 18, 2014 10:59 pm

its so much more than a book, its another world we can explore. past & present. languages & races. cartography & geography.
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