The Lord of the Rings: A Classic

 

I was very young when I was first introduced to The Hobbit. I could not have been older than seven when I was swept completely into the journey with Bilbo and the dwarves on their way to reclaim treasure from the dragon. When the story was over, I wanted the magic to continue, so I sought out my father’s copy of The Fellowship of the Ring, which was much more difficult to understand. (Tolkien loved him some semicolons, and I was a second grader.)

The truth was, I wasn’t quite ready for Frodo’s epic adventure then, so I had to put it aside for a while, disappointed by my first introduction to Tolkien’s next generation. I thought Bilbo’s nephew, Sam, Pippin, and Merry were a bit boring. It took them too long to do anything. I did not get beyond them stealing mushrooms, as if that was even noteworthy. Already cynical, I snapped the cover shut and quietly returned that tale to the bookcase to collect dust again in my parents’ home.

Fortunately, very soon after this, I had a birthday. I unwrapped a boxed collection of books about a place called Narnia. (I still have that same, now battered box in my office today, the spines of the well-loved novels contained within, cracked and fading from a girl’s constant rereading.)

Upon adult reflection, that proved to be the exact right time for me to meet Lucy, Susan, Peter, and Edmund. I could understand Aslan before I understood Aslan. I think now that C.S. Lewis kept me enthralled with fantasy and, in this way, he would serve as a kind of bridge that would take me back to his fellow Inkling.

Time rolled by, as it inevitably does, and there was a summer evening on which I went with my mother to the library with no particular agenda apart from having something to do. Wanting to escape from the mundane of an endless August, I somehow found Smith of Wooten Major, which I read sitting cross-legged on the commercial orange carpet in the middle of the fiction aisle as grownups walked around me as if I were an island. (If you’ve not heard of it, this is a wonderful Tolkien tale about magical cakes and the Land of Faery that lingered with me long after I forgot the title.)

By then I was a mature 10 or 11, and my hunger for Middle Earth began to rumble again.

Something must have changed about how I read stories because the next thing I knew, I had blown the dust off The Fellowship’s cover and consumed The Lord of the Rings in full. The complex sentences that had once meandered aimlessly like the feet of homeless rangers now rang with the music of elves, the rhythm of poetry.

Looking back at my own intellectual development, I suppose that was the exact right time for me to meet Strider in Bree. I could understand the clash between evil and good that is illustrated by Mordor and the West long before I understood the nature of evil and good. I felt I had entered a realm that helped me see my own world in a different way while entertaining me as much as The Hobbit had once done. That is something only a masterpiece can accomplish.

Of course, I understand Tolkien is not everyone’s cup of tea. His style is that of a man who reveled in classic works. He takes his time on paper, though I find this builds suspense if one is patient enough to let the action unfold. To be enveloped by his story … to start to like his semicolons.

For some reason, I felt inspired to pick up Tolkien’s magnum opus a couple nights ago and have started reading again from the beginning, and I feel thus far as if I’m spending time with a very old, very good friend.

Additionally, I know I will get something new from the story this time around because I have changed, as we tend to do, since the last time I read it. I am already annoying my husband by keeping the reading lamp on late.

I know I am not alone in my own taste in literature as Tolkien’s works are loved by many. Still, I wonder what other books have meant as much to others as The Lord of the Rings does to me. What works do you reread with joy? Why?

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  1. Lois Lane Coolidge
    Lois Lane
    @LoisLane

    TBA (View Comment):

    Spin (View Comment):

    Lois Lane (View Comment):
    I agree that Catholics are also Christians, but they have some pretty distinct attributes that make them different from their Protestant cousins, i.e. you could make a great Ven diagram for Protestants and Catholics, and you would have a lot of Christian overlap, but you would have a lot to contrast as well.

    It depends on who draws the Venn diagram. From my perspective as a former Catholic and now protestant: there is a sliver of difference that many of us like to make in to a big deal. I’ve met Catholics who won’t refer to themselves as Christians. I’ve met protestants who think Catholicism is from the devil. For me: we are all children of the King, and on the most important issues, we agree!

    Magnifying or diminishing the importance of differences is a powerful tool for retention, and for dehumanizing.

    Christians in the US are probably more cohesive now than in the past because they are more concerned about outside secular forces than internecine bickering.

    Sure.  I’m not trying to highlight major differences, but I don’t think it’s bad to say they’re there.  Of course Catholics and Protestants are both Christians, and we all believe in the resurrection of Christ, but there is a different perspective from either position… 

    It’s interesting that Spin was raised Catholic and became a Protestant.  I was baptized a Protestant and converted to Catholicism!  Why?  Not because I no longer respect the church I left.  I simply agreed more with the theology of the church I entered.  

    • #121
  2. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    TBA (View Comment):
    And btw, suddenly every kid was reading – how is that not sinister? 

    Indeed. We can’t let that happen.

    • #122
  3. Lois Lane Coolidge
    Lois Lane
    @LoisLane

    Paul Schinder (View Comment):
    I probably shouldn’t jump in after 4 pages of comments, but I can’t help myself. Seeing Harry Potter compared with Lord of the Rings is just wrong.

    Your comments are welcome!!!  LotR has my heart, though I certainly enjoyed Harry Potter.  These are different things.

    I totally understand what you’re saying.  

    • #123
  4. Spin Coolidge
    Spin
    @Spin

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Arizona Patriot (View Comment):
    I was inclined to the Protestant view that these Catholic doctrines were akin to pantheism

    Some of us figure the whole Trinity thing smacks of pantheism, but that’s another war.

    <iframe src=”https://giphy.com/embed/Y3slr8XU1GDRe” width=”452″ height=”480″ frameBorder=”0″ class=”giphy-embed” allowFullScreen></iframe><p><a href=”https://giphy.com/gifs/how-i-met-your-mother-Y3slr8XU1GDRe”>via GIPHY</a></p>

    I don’t know how to embed a GIF….

     

    • #124
  5. Hank Rhody, Acting on Emotion Contributor
    Hank Rhody, Acting on Emotion
    @HankRhody

    Spin (View Comment):
    I don’t know how to embed a GIF….

    I think I’m going to take a moment and count my blessings.

    • #125
  6. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Spin (View Comment):
    I don’t know how to embed a GIF….

    Drag and drop.

    • #126
  7. Spin Coolidge
    Spin
    @Spin

    Lois Lane (View Comment):
    It’s interesting that Spin was raised Catholic and became a Protestant. I was baptized a Protestant and converted to Catholicism! Why? Not because I no longer respect the church I left. I simply agreed more with the theology of the church I entered.

    Same same…

    • #127
  8. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    nobody asked you patrice | Tumblr

    • #128
  9. Spin Coolidge
    Spin
    @Spin

    Arahant (View Comment):

    nobody asked you patrice | Tumblr

    How did you do that?

    • #129
  10. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Spin (View Comment):
    How did you do that?

    I figured out from what you had posted what the original URL was and determined the GIF you wanted. It’s not easy (or necessarily safe) from the site you were on, so

    1. I just went to duckduckgo and searched for the text.
    2. The gif was the first picture to come up, so I dragged and dropped it from that tab into this one.
    3. When one uses duckduckgo to do that, one winds up with two pictures that are linked.
    4. I removed the link and the picture that was not the active gif, and then
    5. posted the comment.
    • #130
  11. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    If you need to practice, @spin, you can always come to the PIT.

    • #131
  12. Lois Lane Coolidge
    Lois Lane
    @LoisLane

    Spin (View Comment):
    How did you do that?

    Arahant did that because @arahant is a genius.  :)

    • #132
  13. Lois Lane Coolidge
    Lois Lane
    @LoisLane

    Arahant (View Comment):

    If you need to practice, @spin, you can always come to the PIT.

    That Pit?  HOLY ….  I mean….  Are there words?  (Apparently yes because there are a LOT of them in that thread!!!!)

    • #133
  14. Boss Mongo Member
    Boss Mongo
    @BossMongo

    Arahant (View Comment):

    If you need to practice, @spin, you can always come to the PIT.

    For the love of God, @spin, don’t do it!!

    • #134
  15. Boss Mongo Member
    Boss Mongo
    @BossMongo

    Hartmann von Aue (View Comment):
    And Gandalf is as Mayar supposed to be a mixture of elements of Christ (the resurrection) and the Archangel Michael (slaying the Great Dragon/Balrog). 

    @hartmannvonaue, as stated previously, I’m not a LOTR guy.

    But not sure you can mix these elements.

    Archangel (and Saint) Michael: Commander of Heavens Hosts.  Pitiless.  Implacable. 

    Christ:  He who will redeem the wicked through forgiveness and love.

    • #135
  16. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Arizona Patriot (View Comment):
    Briefly on the Catholic issue and in praise of Ricochet: I think that I’ve come to a greater appreciation of the Catholic view of both Marianism and the veneration of the Saints over the past couple of months, based on posts from some thoughtful Catholics here at Ricochet. I was inclined to the Protestant view that these Catholic doctrines were akin to pantheism, and I think that it is true that some Catholics may tend into this error, but I am no longer convinced that the error is inherent in the doctrines.

    Did you mean to say polytheism?

    • #136
  17. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Lois Lane (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    Every kid reading them is not sinister.

    Every kid reading nothing but is.

    Na. They read The Hunger Games, too. :)

    Not all of them.

    • #137
  18. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Boss Mongo (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    If you need to practice, @spin, you can always come to the PIT.

    For the love of God, @spin, don’t do it!!

    You don’t need to protect him, Boss. He’s a tanker.

    • #138
  19. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):
    Did you mean to say polytheism?

    Probably. Mixing it up with the word pantheon, but I think we knew what AP meant.

    • #139
  20. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):
    Did you mean to say polytheism?

    Probably. Mixing it up with the word pantheon, but I think we knew what AP meant.

    Don’t count on it.

    At any rate, never do so with me.  I rarely know what people mean.  I read what they write and listen to what they say.

    • #140
  21. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Don’t count on it.

    At any rate, never do so with me. I rarely know what people mean. I read what they write and listen to what they say.

    Yeah, in the PIT the other day, I said something about having to ask lots of questions because I’m easily confused. Same t’ing. Comes from knowing too much. You’re never certain of anything anymore. Pantheon, pantheism, panentheism, so many words.

    • #141
  22. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Don’t count on it.

    At any rate, never do so with me. I rarely know what people mean. I read what they write and listen to what they say.

    Yeah, in the PIT the other day, I said something about having to ask lots of questions because I’m easily confused. Same t’ing. Comes from knowing too much. You’re never certain of anything anymore. Pantheon, pantheism, panentheism, so many words.

    Knowing much of one thing, too little of another.

    • #142
  23. Lois Lane Coolidge
    Lois Lane
    @LoisLane

    I don’t know about the correct translations of characters in the LotR per different ways to look at it, but I’ve heard about what hangs out in pits…. They should be avoided at all costs!!!  :)

    • #143
  24. Boss Mongo Member
    Boss Mongo
    @BossMongo

    Lois Lane (View Comment):
    but I’ve heard about what who hangs out in pits

    FIFY.  Who darling.  Miscreant as they may be, they are “who” not “what.”

    Except for maybe Soto.  @franksoto.

    He’s a what.

    • #144
  25. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):
    Did you mean to say polytheism?

    Probably. Mixing it up with the word pantheon, but I think we knew what AP meant.

    Don’t count on it.

    At any rate, never do so with me. I rarely know what people mean. I read what they write and listen to what they say.

    How postmodern of you!

    • #145
  26. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):
    Did you mean to say polytheism?

    Probably. Mixing it up with the word pantheon, but I think we knew what AP meant.

    Don’t count on it.

    At any rate, never do so with me. I rarely know what people mean. I read what they write and listen to what they say.

    How postmodern of you!

    I’m more medieval.

    I like Augustine and Kierkegaard. But my dissertation/book is on Augustine.

     I am more an antique Roman than a Dane.

    • #146
  27. Lois Lane Coolidge
    Lois Lane
    @LoisLane

    Boss Mongo (View Comment):

    FIFY. Who darling. Miscreant as they may be, they are “who” not “what.”

    Except for maybe Soto. @franksoto.

    He’s a what.

    Is Soto a balrog?  

    (I know you’re not a big LotR’s guy, so just imagine something really, really mean, super powerful, and really, really ugly.)

    • #147
  28. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Lois Lane (View Comment):

    Boss Mongo (View Comment):

    FIFY. Who darling. Miscreant as they may be, they are “who” not “what.”

    Except for maybe Soto. @franksoto.

    He’s a what.

    Is Soto a balrog?

    (I know you’re not a big LotR’s guy, so just imagine something really, really mean, super powerful, and really, really ugly.)

    One out of three.

    • #148
  29. Arizona Patriot Member
    Arizona Patriot
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Spin (View Comment):

    Arizona Patriot (View Comment):
    I was inclined to the Protestant view that these Catholic doctrines were akin to pantheism

    Protestant who hold this view do so out of ignorance. I have the benefit of having been raised Catholic and having attending Catholic school through 10th grade, so I have a clearer understanding of the doctrine.

    I don’t think that it’s solely out of ignorance.  I’ve read reports of some Catholics who do have superstitious views about these issues.  A recent one that comes to mind was a Catholic woman who recommended burying a statute of a specific saint in the yard, in order to bring about the sale of a house.  However, I think that Catholic doctrine is not in accordance with such actions.  Individual Catholics, like individual Protestants (including me) can certainly make a variety of errors.

    • #149
  30. Valiuth Inactive
    Valiuth
    @Valiuth

    Arizona Patriot (View Comment):

    Spin (View Comment):

    Arizona Patriot (View Comment):
    I was inclined to the Protestant view that these Catholic doctrines were akin to pantheism

    Protestant who hold this view do so out of ignorance. I have the benefit of having been raised Catholic and having attending Catholic school through 10th grade, so I have a clearer understanding of the doctrine.

    I don’t think that it’s solely out of ignorance. I’ve read reports of some Catholics who do have superstitious views about these issues. A recent one that comes to mind was a Catholic woman who recommended burying a statute of a specific saint in the yard, in order to bring about the sale of a house. However, I think that Catholic doctrine is not in accordance with such actions. Individual Catholics, like individual Protestants (including me) can certainly make a variety of errors.

    Oh I’ve seen people do that. But I always ascribe these kind of things to various folk magic traditions. I don’t really thing anyone actually views them as theological in nature. Anymore than one views a broken mirror as bad luck. Superstitious folk traditions aren’t part of some comprehensive world view. They are quirks. Kind of like giving Saints specific domains of intercession. There is no practical theological rational why one Saint should be asked for intersession by a doctor and another by a lawyer. Sure in life one Saint might have been a lawyer, but in death all saints presumably plead on your behalf to the same God so St. Andrew is as good as St. Moore. But again people have strange hang ups.  

    • #150
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