Discussion:
Spoiler - good on Lindy!
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J. P. Gilliver (John)
2018-03-29 18:33:11 UTC
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Good on L. for being honest about Tolkien!

I actually enjoyed LOTR (I won my copy in, IIRR, an essay-writing
competition at BFBS), and then quite enjoyed The Hobbit [yes, I know
that's nominally in the wrong order].

But I was, IIRR, about 12. It was a good adventure story, and a whole
world to get involved in. (I read a lot of SF - the "hard" variety - at
that time.) But I've never felt any inclination to read any of his other
works, certainly since adulthood. (My brother has all Tolkien's works
[and even co-wrote a book - "The Ring of Words" - about JRRT's time at
the Dictionary], but even he referred to them as they came out as "the
next volume of marginal scribblings" or something like that.)

Basically, I think Tolkien's works are over-analysed beyond all reason,
thus spoiling what are quite good stories. In much the same way as a lot
of literature, or art in general - especially Shaksper. I'm not saying
that analysis _can_ reveal extra detail, which sometimes isn't perceived
at first or second reading/experience/whatever; I have experienced such
and enjoyed. But some people don't know when to stop ... (-: [And also,
some element of mystique _should_ be left: if I understand _why_ all of,
say, a certain composer's music is so good, I might enjoy it less.]
--
J. P. Gilliver. UMRA: 1960/<1985 MB++G()AL-IS-Ch++(p)***@T+H+Sh0!:`)DNAf

Of course some of it [television] is bad. But some of everything is bad -
books, music, family ... - Melvyn Bragg, RT 2017/7/1-7
Rosalind Mitchell
2018-03-29 18:54:14 UTC
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Post by J. P. Gilliver (John)
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Good on L. for being honest about Tolkien!
<languid wave>
Post by J. P. Gilliver (John)
I actually enjoyed LOTR (I won my copy in, IIRR, an essay-writing
competition at BFBS), and then quite enjoyed The Hobbit [yes, I know
that's nominally in the wrong order].
The Hobbit is a nice children's adventure story. LOTR is mostly
enjoyable but not great: it's overlong (needed a good editor) and sags
horribly in the middle. And it's got Tom Bloody Bombadil in it. The best
thing about the first of the films was that it left Tom Bloody Bombadil
out. The Silmarillion is self-indulgent wankery of the first order.
Tolkien didn't even want it published, maybe his son succumbed to
publisher pressure after his death. Maybe he needed the money.

Rotaa
Vicky
2018-03-29 20:47:36 UTC
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On Thu, 29 Mar 2018 19:54:14 +0100, Rosalind Mitchell
Post by Rosalind Mitchell
Post by J. P. Gilliver (John)
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Good on L. for being honest about Tolkien!
<languid wave>
Post by J. P. Gilliver (John)
I actually enjoyed LOTR (I won my copy in, IIRR, an essay-writing
competition at BFBS), and then quite enjoyed The Hobbit [yes, I know
that's nominally in the wrong order].
The Hobbit is a nice children's adventure story. LOTR is mostly
enjoyable but not great: it's overlong (needed a good editor) and sags
horribly in the middle. And it's got Tom Bloody Bombadil in it. The best
thing about the first of the films was that it left Tom Bloody Bombadil
out. The Silmarillion is self-indulgent wankery of the first order.
Tolkien didn't even want it published, maybe his son succumbed to
publisher pressure after his death. Maybe he needed the money.
Rotaa
Oh! That was something I liked as well as the elves; the walking
trees. I am sure the ones in Bricket Wood, which is an ancient wood
near here, are Ents.
--
Vicky
Rosalind Mitchell
2018-03-29 21:30:28 UTC
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Post by Vicky
On Thu, 29 Mar 2018 19:54:14 +0100, Rosalind Mitchell
Post by Rosalind Mitchell
Post by J. P. Gilliver (John)
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Good on L. for being honest about Tolkien!
<languid wave>
Post by J. P. Gilliver (John)
I actually enjoyed LOTR (I won my copy in, IIRR, an essay-writing
competition at BFBS), and then quite enjoyed The Hobbit [yes, I know
that's nominally in the wrong order].
The Hobbit is a nice children's adventure story. LOTR is mostly
enjoyable but not great: it's overlong (needed a good editor) and sags
horribly in the middle. And it's got Tom Bloody Bombadil in it. The best
thing about the first of the films was that it left Tom Bloody Bombadil
out. The Silmarillion is self-indulgent wankery of the first order.
Tolkien didn't even want it published, maybe his son succumbed to
publisher pressure after his death. Maybe he needed the money.
Rotaa
Oh! That was something I liked as well as the elves; the walking
trees. I am sure the ones in Bricket Wood, which is an ancient wood
near here, are Ents.
There are Ents the other side of Perth too, in Birnam Wood.

I think JRRT pinched the Ents from the Scottish Play (he certainly
pinched one of the other predictions of the Weird Sisters for the baddie
who wasn't going to be slain by any man, but was slain by a woman
instead). I liked the Ents, it's Tom Bloody Bombadil and his floozy I
can't stand.,

Rotaa
Btms
2018-03-29 21:38:15 UTC
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Post by Rosalind Mitchell
Post by Vicky
On Thu, 29 Mar 2018 19:54:14 +0100, Rosalind Mitchell
Post by Rosalind Mitchell
Post by J. P. Gilliver (John)
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Good on L. for being honest about Tolkien!
<languid wave>
Post by J. P. Gilliver (John)
I actually enjoyed LOTR (I won my copy in, IIRR, an essay-writing
competition at BFBS), and then quite enjoyed The Hobbit [yes, I know
that's nominally in the wrong order].
The Hobbit is a nice children's adventure story. LOTR is mostly
enjoyable but not great: it's overlong (needed a good editor) and sags
horribly in the middle. And it's got Tom Bloody Bombadil in it. The best
thing about the first of the films was that it left Tom Bloody Bombadil
out. The Silmarillion is self-indulgent wankery of the first order.
Tolkien didn't even want it published, maybe his son succumbed to
publisher pressure after his death. Maybe he needed the money.
Rotaa
Oh! That was something I liked as well as the elves; the walking
trees. I am sure the ones in Bricket Wood, which is an ancient wood
near here, are Ents.
There are Ents the other side of Perth too, in Birnam Wood.
I think JRRT pinched the Ents from the Scottish Play (he certainly
pinched one of the other predictions of the Weird Sisters for the baddie
who wasn't going to be slain by any man, but was slain by a woman
instead). I liked the Ents, it's Tom Bloody Bombadil and his floozy I
can't stand.,
Rotaa
When it comes to pinching plots Will has little right to complain. And I
guess he wouldn’t, as it is the way he told ‘em.
--
BTMS - Equine Advisor Extraordinaire.
Chris McMillan
2018-03-30 17:42:43 UTC
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Post by Rosalind Mitchell
Post by Vicky
On Thu, 29 Mar 2018 19:54:14 +0100, Rosalind Mitchell
Post by Rosalind Mitchell
Post by J. P. Gilliver (John)
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Good on L. for being honest about Tolkien!
<languid wave>
Post by J. P. Gilliver (John)
I actually enjoyed LOTR (I won my copy in, IIRR, an essay-writing
competition at BFBS), and then quite enjoyed The Hobbit [yes, I know
that's nominally in the wrong order].
The Hobbit is a nice children's adventure story. LOTR is mostly
enjoyable but not great: it's overlong (needed a good editor) and sags
horribly in the middle. And it's got Tom Bloody Bombadil in it. The best
thing about the first of the films was that it left Tom Bloody Bombadil
out. The Silmarillion is self-indulgent wankery of the first order.
Tolkien didn't even want it published, maybe his son succumbed to
publisher pressure after his death. Maybe he needed the money.
Rotaa
Oh! That was something I liked as well as the elves; the walking
trees. I am sure the ones in Bricket Wood, which is an ancient wood
near here, are Ents.
There are Ents the other side of Perth too, in Birnam Wood.
I think JRRT pinched the Ents from the Scottish Play (he certainly
pinched one of the other predictions of the Weird Sisters for the baddie
who wasn't going to be slain by any man, but was slain by a woman
instead). I liked the Ents, it's Tom Bloody Bombadil and his floozy I
can't stand.,
Rotaa
I came to JRRT when I made friends with uni students/teacher training
students. I was in my mid-20s.

Sincerely Chris
Vicky
2018-03-29 20:45:40 UTC
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On Thu, 29 Mar 2018 19:33:11 +0100, "J. P. Gilliver (John)"
Post by J. P. Gilliver (John)
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Good on L. for being honest about Tolkien!
I actually enjoyed LOTR (I won my copy in, IIRR, an essay-writing
competition at BFBS), and then quite enjoyed The Hobbit [yes, I know
that's nominally in the wrong order].
But I was, IIRR, about 12. It was a good adventure story, and a whole
world to get involved in. (I read a lot of SF - the "hard" variety - at
that time.) But I've never felt any inclination to read any of his other
works, certainly since adulthood. (My brother has all Tolkien's works
[and even co-wrote a book - "The Ring of Words" - about JRRT's time at
the Dictionary], but even he referred to them as they came out as "the
next volume of marginal scribblings" or something like that.)
Basically, I think Tolkien's works are over-analysed beyond all reason,
thus spoiling what are quite good stories. In much the same way as a lot
of literature, or art in general - especially Shaksper. I'm not saying
that analysis _can_ reveal extra detail, which sometimes isn't perceived
at first or second reading/experience/whatever; I have experienced such
and enjoyed. But some people don't know when to stop ... (-: [And also,
some element of mystique _should_ be left: if I understand _why_ all of,
say, a certain composer's music is so good, I might enjoy it less.]
Shakespeare was worth studying and doing so with good English teachers
improved the plays for me. Tolkien not so much. I didn't study his
books, don't think anyone did when I was at school. I did read some as
an adult and saw the films but both books and films were too long and
the battles scenes very much too long. I did like the elves though,
and grandson loves the books. He's 11 though. Maybe it's a small boy
thing and I was wrong sex and age for them.
--
Vicky
Kate B
2018-03-29 22:34:00 UTC
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Post by Vicky
On Thu, 29 Mar 2018 19:33:11 +0100, "J. P. Gilliver (John)"
Post by J. P. Gilliver (John)
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Good on L. for being honest about Tolkien!
I actually enjoyed LOTR (I won my copy in, IIRR, an essay-writing
competition at BFBS), and then quite enjoyed The Hobbit [yes, I know
that's nominally in the wrong order].
But I was, IIRR, about 12. It was a good adventure story, and a whole
world to get involved in. (I read a lot of SF - the "hard" variety - at
that time.) But I've never felt any inclination to read any of his other
works, certainly since adulthood. (My brother has all Tolkien's works
[and even co-wrote a book - "The Ring of Words" - about JRRT's time at
the Dictionary], but even he referred to them as they came out as "the
next volume of marginal scribblings" or something like that.)
Basically, I think Tolkien's works are over-analysed beyond all reason,
thus spoiling what are quite good stories. In much the same way as a lot
of literature, or art in general - especially Shaksper. I'm not saying
that analysis _can_ reveal extra detail, which sometimes isn't perceived
at first or second reading/experience/whatever; I have experienced such
and enjoyed. But some people don't know when to stop ... (-: [And also,
some element of mystique _should_ be left: if I understand _why_ all of,
say, a certain composer's music is so good, I might enjoy it less.]
Shakespeare was worth studying and doing so with good English teachers
improved the plays for me. Tolkien not so much. I didn't study his
books, don't think anyone did when I was at school. I did read some as
an adult and saw the films but both books and films were too long and
the battles scenes very much too long. I did like the elves though,
and grandson loves the books. He's 11 though. Maybe it's a small boy
thing and I was wrong sex and age for them.
I haven't seen the films, but I read The Hobbit aged 10 and then LoTR in
the wrong order (I started with The Two Towers for some reason - I think
I was very impatient and the Fellowship had been out from the library
for weeks) aged 11 to 13. I liked the story, fell deeply in love with
Strider (Aragorn not so much), and simply adored the world and its
languages and history. So much so that when I discovered a minor error
in the chronology I wrote to Tolkien and pointed it out. He very kindly
sent me a handwritten note all about it, which I suppose I should keep
in a safe. I also possess a first edition of The Silmarillion, I have
just discovered, but I don't seen to have read very much of it....

I am positive he didn't want every single page he'd ever scribbled to be
published, which it more or less has been. But I think he was probably
quite proud of the consistency of his world and its languages, and would
have been amused, if possibly baffled, by all those people who can speak
fluent Elvish. His style is over-heroic, and terribly dated, and all the
rest of it, but his enjoyment of the world he created is patent
throughout, and that delight is still evident. He was really just a
marvellously nerdy nerd with an extraordinary imagination.
--
Kate B
London
Sid Nuncius
2018-03-30 08:46:42 UTC
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On 29/03/2018 23:34, Kate B wrote:

<Tolkien>
Post by Kate B
I haven't seen the films, but I read The Hobbit aged 10 and then LoTR in
the wrong order (I started with The Two Towers for some reason - I think
I was very impatient and the Fellowship had been out from the library
for weeks) aged 11 to 13. I liked the story, fell deeply in love with
Strider (Aragorn not so much), and simply adored the world and its
languages and history. So much so that when I discovered a minor error
in the chronology I wrote to Tolkien and pointed it out. He very kindly
sent me a handwritten note all about it, which I suppose I should keep
in a safe. I also possess a first edition of The Silmarillion, I have
just discovered, but I don't seen to have read very much of it....
I am positive he didn't want every single page he'd ever scribbled to be
published, which it more or less has been. But I think he was probably
quite proud of the consistency of his world and its languages, and would
have been amused, if possibly baffled, by all those people who can speak
fluent Elvish. His style is over-heroic, and terribly dated, and all the
rest of it, but his enjoyment of the world he created is patent
throughout, and that delight is still evident. He was really just a
marvellously nerdy nerd with an extraordinary imagination.
That's my experience, too, expressed perfectly - including First Edition
of The Silmarillion and having read very little of it, but perhaps not
the infatuation with Strider. I did fancy Éowyn something rotten as I
read the books, though. I never thought much of the films.

I re-read LoTR about 10 years ago and still enjoyed it, although I
completely agree with Rosie about Tom Bloody Bombadil, which episode I
largely skipped. It's a good story, well told and a remarkable feat of
imagination/reworking of old myths. But that's all it is, IMO, and I
also agree with JPG that it has been over-analysed beyond all reason and
that Tolkien really wouldn't have wanted every scribbling published.

I am guilty of the sin of Envy of your note from him, Kate. (I do have
a note from Graham Greene to my mother in response to a letter she wrote
to him, which I am very glad to own but which doesn't seem to have have
quite the same sparkle, somehow.)
--
Sid (Make sure Matron is away when you reply)
BrritSki
2018-03-30 09:04:26 UTC
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Post by Sid Nuncius
I re-read LoTR about 10 years ago and still enjoyed it, although I
completely agree with Rosie about Tom Bloody Bombadil, which episode I
largely skipped.  It's a good story, well told and a remarkable feat of
imagination/reworking of old myths.  But that's all it is, IMO, and I
also agree with JPG that it has been over-analysed beyond all reason and
that Tolkien really wouldn't have wanted every scribbling published.
<languid wave> to all that and similar opinions by other literats (see
what I did there?)

I have all 3 books of LoTR in a single volume with very fine paper and
quite a small font and it was a must-read every summer when I was in my
20's so it's a bit battered now but still on Mount ToReRead.

I think I got most of the way through the Silmarillion, but it really is
not very good mostly and I can't believe Robert thinks otherwise - I
reckon he's taking the p***.

The JRRT work that is revered in this house is the Letters to Father
Christmas
<https://www.amazon.com/Letters-Father-Christmas-J-R-R-Tolkien/dp/0618512659>

When our children were young enough to still believe, I copied this idea
and painted or drew (or computer generated) a picture to illustrate the
latest disaster befalling FC and North Polar Bear, all written in shaky
writing with a red pen. 15 months ago with the grandchildren being the
right age I started doing them again, much to their apparent delight...
Rosalind Mitchell
2018-03-30 11:36:03 UTC
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Post by Sid Nuncius
<Tolkien>
Post by Kate B
I haven't seen the films, but I read The Hobbit aged 10 and then LoTR
in the wrong order (I started with The Two Towers for some reason - I
think I was very impatient and the Fellowship had been out from the
library for weeks) aged 11 to 13. I liked the story, fell deeply in
love with Strider (Aragorn not so much), and simply adored the world
and its languages and history. So much so that when I discovered a
minor error in the chronology I wrote to Tolkien and pointed it out.
He very kindly sent me a handwritten note all about it, which I
suppose I should keep in a safe. I also possess a first edition of The
Silmarillion, I have just discovered, but I don't seen to have read
very much of it....
I am positive he didn't want every single page he'd ever scribbled to
be published, which it more or less has been. But I think he was
probably quite proud of the consistency of his world and its
languages, and would have been amused, if possibly baffled, by all
those people who can speak fluent Elvish. His style is over-heroic,
and terribly dated, and all the rest of it, but his enjoyment of the
world he created is patent throughout, and that delight is still
evident. He was really just a marvellously nerdy nerd with an
extraordinary imagination.
That's my experience, too, expressed perfectly - including First Edition
of The Silmarillion and having read very little of it, but perhaps not
the infatuation with Strider.  I did fancy Éowyn something rotten as I
read the books, though.  I never thought much of the films.
I re-read LoTR about 10 years ago and still enjoyed it, although I
completely agree with Rosie about Tom Bloody Bombadil, which episode I
largely skipped.  It's a good story, well told and a remarkable feat of
imagination/reworking of old myths.  But that's all it is, IMO, and I
also agree with JPG that it has been over-analysed beyond all reason and
that Tolkien really wouldn't have wanted every scribbling published.
I am guilty of the sin of Envy of your note from him, Kate.  (I do have
to him, which I am very glad to own but which doesn't seem to have have
quite the same sparkle, somehow.)
Bill Woodgate, Head of English at my school, had JRRT as his tutor at
Oxford. He said that he and his fellow tutees were unaware that all the
time he was writing books about hobbits. Is that worth knickerflash points?

He only taught me for one year, and that was when I was the problem
5th-year (Y11) class of those who had already done English Lang/Lit
O-level and had no intention of doing it at A-level but the rules said
it was still compulsory. Being experienced and canny he devised the plan
of setting suitably vague project work that we could research in the
library. Not in the school library but the Welwyn Garden City Central
Library. Hence Friday-morning-before-lunch double English – cannily
timetabled I'm sure – saw a stream of 15-16 year-olds streaming up the
Parkway to pass the time in the Frying Pan Café or hanging round the
record department in the Welwyn Stores (of fond memory).

Rotaa
Penny
2018-03-30 15:35:38 UTC
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On Thu, 29 Mar 2018 23:34:00 +0100, Kate B <***@nospam.demon.co.uk>
scrawled in the dust...
Post by Kate B
I also possess a first edition of The Silmarillion, I have
just discovered, but I don't seen to have read very much of it....
If you still have the dust jacket that was the last bit of camera artwork I
did at Allen & Unwin. I haven't read it either.

I did acquire all the books I didn't already own* while I worked there. I
think my favourites are those with Pauline Baynes illustrations.

* along with a lot of Roald Dahl - staff discount was about 50%
--
Penny
Annoyed by The Archers since 1959
Kate B
2018-03-30 17:25:43 UTC
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Post by Penny
scrawled in the dust...
Post by Kate B
I also possess a first edition of The Silmarillion, I have
just discovered, but I don't seen to have read very much of it....
If you still have the dust jacket that was the last bit of camera artwork I
did at Allen & Unwin. I haven't read it either.
Coo! Yes I have, and very impressive it is. The whole book's in very
good condition, due to not having been read :) My LoTR books, which are
the first printing of the second edition, wouldn't qualify, having been
very thoroughly read and with a sadly adolescent 'Belonging to' written
in ornate script and red ink on the flyleaf.
Post by Penny
I did acquire all the books I didn't already own* while I worked there. I
think my favourites are those with Pauline Baynes illustrations.
* along with a lot of Roald Dahl - staff discount was about 50%
I loved the Pauline Baynes illustrations too (and for the Narnia books
as well, which I don't have any more). I have a copy of the Adventures
of the maligned Tom Bombadil which is again a bit too well-read and the
dustjacket a bit torn, but wonderfully pretty.
--
Kate B
London
Penny
2018-03-30 20:56:15 UTC
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On Fri, 30 Mar 2018 18:25:43 +0100, Kate B <***@nospam.demon.co.uk>
scrawled in the dust...
Post by Kate B
Post by Penny
scrawled in the dust...
Post by Kate B
I also possess a first edition of The Silmarillion, I have
just discovered, but I don't seen to have read very much of it....
If you still have the dust jacket that was the last bit of camera artwork I
did at Allen & Unwin. I haven't read it either.
Coo! Yes I have, and very impressive it is. The whole book's in very
good condition, due to not having been read :)
I didn't design it - that was my bullying boss - I just did the paste up.
The background design is one of Tolkien's doodles. The best part of the
whole exercise as far as I was concerned was the chance to see sheaves of
such doodles, many on envelopes and around crosswords. Tolkien completed
his crosswords in lower case.
--
Penny
Annoyed by The Archers since 1959
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