I tried reading ‘The Hobbit’ and ‘The Lord of the Rings’ years ago. It took me a year to finish ‘The Hobbit’ and I gave up halfway through ‘The Two Towers’ as I found it so dull. My husband doesn’t read much, but this is one of the few series he’s finished, and it’s one of his favourites. So I recently gave it another shot, to see if I could finish and enjoy it this time.

Image result for the hobbit book

One thing I always loved however was the cover and the illustrations. The picture above is the version of the books I have.

This time round I finished ‘The Hobbit’ in a day. Whether it was because I was motivated this time or I enjoyed it, I can’t say. It’s a short, cheerful book with very little fighting. Those were perhaps my two favourite things about it. When reading it, it felt like Tolkien had a lot of fun writing it. It’s not a feeling I get often when I read something. It just felt fun. As for fighting, there’s very little fighting and magic. Most problems are usually solved with tricks or running away. It’s unusual and clever, and I enjoyed that aspect of it. Luck also plays a huge part in the story, as Bilbo can apparently wander down hillsides in the dark, completely lost, and run into his companions in a matter of moments.

On to LOTR. These books have quite a different feel to ‘The Hobbit’. Perhaps because the stakes were higher than in ‘The Hobbit’, they have more a feeling of sadness and loss. This is perhaps intentional, as there’s a feeling of change in Middle Earth, and of decay. The elves are leaving, and most of the lands the companions wander through are mere shadows of what they once were.

Image result for the two towers book

To say the world-building is impressive is an understatement. There’s immense detail in the history and also the landscape. This can be a bit of a downside sometimes, as in places it really drags. I struggled with the end of ‘The Two Towers’ and the beginning of ‘The Return of the King’, when Frodo and Sam were near Mordor and it didn’t look like I had anything to look forward to for hundreds of pages but descriptions of rocks. Further, most of characters (barring Aragon) don’t really develop a personality until the second book, ‘The Two Towers’.

Image result for the return of the king book

At least I can say I finished it this time, and I even enjoyed. I’ll no longer be one of those annoying people who hates that thing everyone else loves. Now I can be one of those annoying people who points out all the differences between the books and the movies. Though considering how often the characters break into song, perhaps they should have made it a musical instead.