Lord of the Rings Read-Along: The Two-fer Edition

I’m going to combine two Lord of the Rings Read-Along posts this week because I’m way behind on my posts and my reading and I want to catch up and this is the way I’m going to do it. 🙂

First, thanks to Teresa at Shelf Love for hosting The Two Towers discussion in March and to Maree at Just Add Books for hosting The Return of the King this month.

Here are the final questions for The Two Towers:

1)The last half of The Two Towers covers fewer characters than the first half. For some, this makes Book 4 slower than the rest of the book; others love the intense focus on Frodo, Gollum, and Sam. Where do you stand on this question?

I’m in between on this one. I understand why it was done (at least I think I do) but it’s odd when you’re reading. Yes, the fellowship is now on two separate quests and writing it as two stories only heightens that reality but it does sometimes make me wonder why they don’t seem to think about each other and how they’re doing.

2)If you’re a first-time reader (or even a rereader), what surprised you most about this half of the book?

I starting feeling very different about Frodo. I tend to think of him as sappy but I think that’s more a movie impression since Elijah Wood always looks like he’s going to cry in the movie (just my two cents and not meant to be mean-spirited). While reading, I started to remember that Frodo was a bit tougher than I really gave him credit for and I liked that.

3)Are there any specific moments that stand out as favorites or least favorites in this section?

I don’t think I have any least favorite moments but I really enjoyed meeting Faramir again.

4)What are some themes or ideas in this book (or the trilogy as a whole so far) that stand out to you?

Sam’s undying, unwavering friendship always stands out for me. He’s so loyal and true that I always want to hug him for just being who he is, not apologizing for it, and not feeling sorry for anything he does to help Frodo.

5)And the obligatory movie question: Many LOTR readers take the biggest issue with Jackson’s treatment of this part of the trilogy than with any other? Did the changes bother you? Are there any ways in which you think the movie was more effective?

I don’t think of the movies as more or less effective. It’s just a different medium and somethings that work so well in the book just don’t translate on screen. I like to think of them as separate but connected entities. So, no, I don’t think there was anything in the movies that was changed that bothered me intensely enough to mention here. I walk the middle line on this question. I like the books. I like the movies.

Here are the intro question for The Return of the King:

1) We’re coming to the end of the quest. Where are you in your reading?

I’m on chapter 4, The Siege of Gondor. Not all that far yet but I plan to catch up this week.

2) Have you read LOTR before? If so, what are you anticipating most re-reading in ROTK? (er … try to avoid spoilers, although I suppose that question makes that a bit tricky)

I have read the books before and I’m really looking forward to the refresher on ROTK since I don’t remember much from this book. Yep, that was a smooth avoidance wasn’t it. 😉

3) Who’s your favourite character in ROTK?

Aragorn. Just cuz he’s hot. 🙂

4) Favourite scene?

There is a speech that Aragorn gives to the gathered armies that starts, “Today is not the day…” I really am hoping that I’m not remembering something from the movie and not the book here but I have this very Julius Caesar/Marc Antony, Shakespearean like, speech vision in my head and I am starting to wonder where I remember it from…I hope it’s the book.

5) How do you feel about the overall series now that we’re getting near the end?

I’m feeling very nostalgic about the whole thing. I’ve read these books a few times and have very fond and different memories of all of them. Re-reading the books now has brought back some wonderful memories.

6) Have you seen the movies? Have they coloured your reading of ROTK?

Avoidance tactic two — yep, saw the movies. Yep, like the movies. Nope, not hurting my experience.

Man, this movie question just won’t walk on in to the sunset will it?

7) Does reading the books make you want to watch the movies, or run screaming in the other direction?

Uh, see 6. I’m planning to re-watch the movies when I’m done reading to see what was different. I’ve convinced the hubby to go along with me and he said, “What, so we’re planning to do nothing for the whole month of May but watch movies?” We only have the extended versions on DVD. So, if no on hears from me for a while…send popcorn.

Have any thoughts about the Lord of the Rings?

Lord of the Rings Read-Along: The Two Towers Progresses, Rather Slowly I Might Add

First, thanks to Teresa at Shelf Love for hosting The Two Towers this month. She put together a few questions to help in our discussion for the mid-month check in.

1.Where are you in your reading? Are you finding it slow going or is it a quick read?

2.If you’re a rereader, how does this reading compare to past readings? If you’re a first-time reader, how has The Two Towers met—or not met—your expectations? What has surprised you most in your reading?

3.In Book 3, we visit lots of new places and meet lots of new characters. There’s Fangorn and the Ents, the riders of Rohan, Saruman at Isengard. Which are your favorites? Least favorites?

4.Have your opinions of the main characters from Fellowship changed at all in The Two Towers?

5.Are there any scenes that strike you as particularly memorable? Anything you could do without?

6.And the obligatory movie question: If you’ve seen the movie, has it affected your perception of The Two Towers? If so, how?

For some reason, it’s slow going for me. I’m just about done with Book Three but where I had trouble putting the first two books down, I now have trouble picking this one up. I read a chapter or two and put it down and then I get sucked into another book and don’t read it for several days. I hope it’s not Middle Earth fatigue?! No, I think it’s that I’m a one book at a time person and reading only a few chapters throws me off. I enjoy the story when I’m reading, but I think the idea of reading only a bit at a time has been the wrong approach for me and I will be sitting down to finish the book in the next few days.

Update – I moved on to Book Four last night. I unexpectedly got some extra reading time in thanks to the start of the NCAA Mens Basketball Tournament. I came home to see that my husband had The Setup going on which means he had both laptops on the coffee table in front of the TV watching three different basketball games at once. He was quite proud of himself. I never got a chance to post this but instead got to spend some quality time with my book which worked out just fine for me. 🙂

I’m a re-reader and I was surprised to find myself annoyed with Gandalf this time around. He comes and goes, offers some vague advice when he blesses people with his presence, moves on, and comes back when he has the time. He’s like this in the other books as well so I’m not sure why it’s bothering me here. Also, and this has been mentioned by others, the master/servant thing with Frodo and Sam. In past reads, I’ve been able to ignore it for the most part but this time it’s troubling me.

I love the Ents and Fangorn. The Ents are the most amazing creations and I love the way that no one can really describe them and in a way are just as amazed by them as I am. And while I know Fangorn is supposed to be this forbidden place, I always want to know more about it because it sounds so fantastic. As for least favorite, I wasn’t so much interested in Helm’s Deep. I always have trouble reading battle scenes and this one was no different. Although, I did enjoy the battle count going on between Legolas and Gimli. The relationship between the two is one of my absolute favorites in the series.

Other than feeling put out by Gandalf, no, I don’t think I radically changed my opinion of any of the characters.

The scene that I enjoyed most was the chapter Flotsam and Jetsam. I loved Merry and Pippen’s welcome to the group and the reunion of part of the fellowship. I also liked the way you got caught up with this group without having to re-live anything. It all fit together nicely for me. I am finding it odd though that there hasn’t really been any mention of Frodo and Sam by anyone. I know they are dealing with their own problems — battles, orcs, Saruman,etc. — but it seems like no one is even giving them a second thought. I get what Tolkien is doing and why he breaks up the story but it’s odd for me this go round.

Yes, I have seen the movie. Honestly, the battle for Helm’s Deep worked better in the movie for me and the entire time I was reading that chapter that’s all I pictured. I think the sea of orcs vision I had in my head, which is courtesy of the movie, at least gave me something to grasp when reading. I’m looking forward to more of Book Four and catching up with Frodo and Sam. Sam was and is a favorite character of mine and I miss him a bit.

Any thoughts about The Two Towers you’d like to share?

Lord of the Rings Read-Along: The Fellowship of the Ring & The Two Towers – A Final Look Back & A Look Forward

I’m going to combine two Lord of the Rings Read-Along posts this week otherwise that’s all you’d be reading about here. Wait, all Tolkien all the time…how can that be bad! 🙂 I do have a few other things I’d like to post this week so here we go with a look back and a look forward.

First, thanks to Clare at The Literary Omnivore for hosting The Fellowship of the Rings discussion in February and to Teresa at Shelf Love for hosting The Two Towers this month.

The Fellowship of the Ring – A Final Look Back

1.Since we’re dealing with a third of a novel, instead of the first novel in a series, do you find anything different? In a way, I have always thought of these books as one big book broken up into sections so I guess I don’t really think about it as the next book so much as the next chapter. Besides, I love big chunky books so I’m happy thinking of it as one ginormous book in the end.

2.Do Books One and Two have significant differences to you? I think of book one as more of a build up and book two as the action. In book one, I feel like I’m waiting for something to happen. Frodo and the others are running from something but in many ways they don’t quite know what that is yet or how evil it is. In book two, they know and that makes everything that much more urgent.

3.Who’s your favorite character so far into the novel? I have two major favorites and a few minor favorites. Major favorites — Sam and Aragorn. Sam because he is so loyal and practical. Rope anyone? He’s also the one to give little pep talks to Frodo which at least lifts some of the depression from him. I know Frodo is supposed to be scared and weighed down by the ring but sometimes he depresses me. At least Sam lifts that dreariness a bit. And Aragorn, well, how can you not like him! He’s handsome — in my head he is Viggo Mortensen which doesn’t hurt the image — and strong and fearless and, OK I have a slight crush and I won’t say anymore but I think you all get the point. I also love Merry and Pippen as the comic relief. As a minor character, I really like Galadriel. She just so lovely and exactly how I would envision an elf queen.

4.What surprised you the most? I hate to admit this but I remembered a few scenes better from the movie than the book.

5.What was your favorite scene? It’s more a favorite chapter. I love all the descriptions and the role Galadriel plays in The Mirror of Galadriel. When I finished, all I could think was, “Yes, that’s how it’s supposed to be.”

The Two Towers – A Look Forward

1.Where are you in the trilogy right now? What do you think of the books so far? I haven’t started yet but I have taken it down off the shelf so that’s a start!

2.What’s your past experience with The Two Towers? If you’re rereading, how does it stack up against the other two books? I’m light on the details for The Two Towers so I’m looking forward to getting started. The last time I re-read these books, I read them all in a row with no breaks and everything sort of mushed together. My guess is that I will remember more as I get going.

3.If you’re a first-time reader, what big questions do you have at this point? What are you hoping to see Tolkien deal with in The Two Towers? If you’re a re-reader, what are you most looking forward to? I can’t wait to meet Treebeard again. The Ents are some of the most wonderful characters ever imagined.

4.What about the movie? If you’ve seen it, what did you think of it, and how much do you think it will color your experience with the book? I’ve seen all the movies and liked them but I’m also one of those odd people that disconnects movies and books, although I always like to read the book first if there is one! I enjoy them for the separate mediums they are and don’t mind that certain aspects and events of the books have been changed to work in the movie better. I know for a fact though that I like the books better than the movies. 🙂

I plan to read The Two Towers at lunch and maybe a few chapters on the odd night. I’m going to make an effort to make this a month long reading event.

Have any thoughts about the Lord of the Rings?