Beginning Fellowship

Wow, it has been a long time since I read Lord of the Rings.  I own a shiny hardback box set of them, which I got on sale at Bongs & Noodles for $15, and which I now discover are the editions with fold-out maps in the back.  I want to snip the maps out with careful snips and hang them around my room – except I know my snips would not be tidy, and even if they were, the maps would get all Blue-Tac-y in the corners and need to be folded up and stored next time I move, and eventually I would wish the maps were back inside the books.  My cover looks like this:

It says "Being the first part of THE LORD OF THE RINGS".  I love it when books say stuff like that.

My edition of Fellowship starts out with an introduction that explains that Tolkien made a lot of revisions.  A LOT.  He revised different texts, in different ways, so that different editions ended up with different information.  Including the well-known case of “Estella Bolger”, which the writer of this introduction seems to think everyone knows about.  This is very boring and several pages too long, and could have been condensed so it said this instead:

Dear Reader,

The edition of Lord of the Rings that you now hold in your hands is the best and most authoritative edition of all the editions that have ever been published.

A Bigger Tolkien Geek Than You

Now that I have written this letter, and been all snarky about the introduction guy, I’ve expanded my mental imagining of what it will be like when I meet Tolkien in heaven. The scene now includes the person who wrote this introduction, Douglas A. Anderson, who will have been talking to an interested and appreciative Professor Tolkien when I interrupt, and who will proceed to stand around looking smug until I realize who he is, remember this blog post, and retire in embarrassment.

I am like, ridiculously excited to be reading this again.  Gandalf mentioned Aragorn in passing to Frodo, and I was all Yes!  Aragorn!  Bring it, Tolkien! though in fact, when I am not being all screen-plagued (“gone Hollywood” did not win the word contest although I wanted it to) by Viggo Mortensen hotness, I actually really like Boromir better, in the books.  Because he is more interesting, and Aragorn is heroic but a bit dull.  I am looking forward to seeing Boromir again.

20 thoughts on “Beginning Fellowship

  1. Well now I’m all kinds of intrigued. Who is this Estella Bolger? Clearly I’m not much of a Tolkien geek.

    And now I’m picturing heaven as a place where all the real geeks will look down on those of us who mostly just love the books but haven’t bothered so much with memorizing family trees and learning about events outside the books themselves. Hmmm….

      • Aw, I was kind of hoping there had been some sort of MAJOR MISTAKE with Estella Bolger, where maybe Tolkien had put in a revision that was really ridiculous, and among Tolkien Geeks who are In the Know, Estella Bolger is an exceptionally hilarious in-joke.

        …I am still kind of hoping that.

    • But I shouldn’t, in fact, pull them out, right? They are more beautiful where they are, and just getting pulled out when I want to inspect the relative geographical positions of Rohan and Gondor?

  2. Although I know I should attempt to read these books, they’ve always intimidated me. Maybe after enjoying them vicariously through you I’ll pluck up the courage to take one down from our bookshelf. Because yes, my husband owns them and so they are on our bookshelf and I really don’t have a good reason not to read them.

    • I always expect them to be far more intimidating than they are. The hobbits are sweet and accessible, and we see most of the world from their perspective. Plus, if you bog down, you can always skip ahead and depend on the movies to fill in any major plot points you might be skipping. I am sure that sounds like deplorable advice to proper Tolkien fans, but that’s what I did. Fellowship was actually the LAST of these books that I read, because I was just going by the movie.

    • Join us! It is very much not too late to join the readalong. 🙂 And they are wonderful; I’m enjoying Fellowship enormously, it’s exactly what I was in the mood for.

    • I do like Aragorn better than Boromir in the movie. Because of all the sexiness. But in the books he really is a bit dull, Aragorn, whereas Boromir’s the man with the interesting life and the interesting might-turn-evil-ness.

  3. When I first read the books, being a severe moralizing eleven-year-old twit, I didn’t like Boromir because he let the ring tempt him and was bad. That first impression never really matured until I watched the movie and saw that Boromir is only human; that the ring would do that to anyone who didn’t have super-human control. Yay for Sean Bean!

    • *cracks up* I know I’d have had that exact same reaction when I was eleven! And I bet I wouldn’t have liked Gollum either! But yeah, Sean Bean rocks the part of Boromir pretty hard. (Did you see him in Troy? He totally owned Odysseus – I wanted them to make The Odyssey next with Sean Bean playing Odysseus and it would be ALL SEAN BEAN ALL THE TIME.)

  4. I love all that foreshadowing and the hints — little mentions of cities, the tree, Aragorn — Elrond musing over the fact that he was one of the few people who knew what Aragorn was leaving behind when he left with the fellowship. A little note that some birds had come from Fangorn Forest. The mention that the trees might move in the Old Forest…. The more readings, the more you catch.

    • That is definitely true! I’m reading it slowly so I can catch those things – though right now I’m reading slowly because I can’t stand more than a few paragraphs of Tom Bombadil.

  5. I didn’t hate Boromir, but I felt incredibly betrayed when he was all tempted. My little 3rd grade self stared at the book in horror, riding home on the bus, going what what what? HOW COULD THAT HAPPEN?

    It was so upsetting I almost stopped reading, despite the fact that I was near the end of the book, had been thinking that this was the Best Book Ever, and had been utterly and completely enthralled, (and somewhat terrified) up till that point.

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