I am so late writing this post! But the Lord of the Rings Readalong is continuing, and I am combining the end-of-Fellowship questions from Clare and the start-of-Towers questions from Teresa all in one post. I can do that.
Since we’re dealing with the first third of a novel, instead of the first novel in a series, do you find anything different?
The pacing would be sort of whack if this were the first novel in the series. Book 1 of Fellowship spends all this time being hobbits and getting the hobbits out of the Shire, and then in Book 2 they go lickety-split through Rivendell and Moria and Lothlorien, and then Frodo and Sam ditch everyone else, and you have no clue what the rest of the Fellowship is doing while Frodo and Sam are ditching them (fighting Orcs, it turns out, or if you are Boromir, getting shot repeatedly while redeeming yourself for your previous naughty behavior). I think the film of Fellowship found a pace that was far more first-in-a-series than first-third.
Do Books One and Two have significant differences to you?
Book Two went much faster, but I enjoyed Book One more (apart from horrible, horrible Tom Bombadil). To me, the time the characters spend in places-not-the-Shire is ridiculously short, compared with the time they spend in the Shire. I kept thinking, Sheesh, slow down, people. Moria’s not that bad. It’s atmospheric. Enjoy it. So Book 2 felt rushed in a way that Book 1 didn’t.
Who’s your favorite character so far into the novel?
I actually felt very fond of Bilbo in this book. I know he’s not around much, but he’s a darling. The bit in the Council of Elrond where he offers to take the ring to Mordor is the sweetest moment. After Bilbo I love Sam, of course, who could fail to love Sam, and I like Boromir a lot.
What surprised you the most?
DID Y’ALL KNOW that Legolas is one of those MEAN ELVES? Remember those MEAN ELVES from The Hobbit, those elves from Mirkwood that were MEAN and they imprisoned the gang and Bilbo had to pull a cunning trick with his ring and some barrels in order to get them out? Legolas is one of those MEAN ELVES! Those elves, they are not only MEAN, but they are also incompetent, because they first let thirteen dwarves walk out of their prisons, and then they lost Gollum. Nice going, mean incompetent Mirkwood elves. Elrond should have sent a Rivendell elf for the Fellowship. Mirkwood elves are plainly no good.
What was your favorite scene?
I always enjoy Bilbo’s birthday party. The Council of Elrond, maybe my favorite scene in the Fellowship movie, is super boring in the book, apart from the mind-blowing revelation (seriously, I was so surprised) that Legolas is Legolas Mirkwood of the Mean Elf Mirkwoods.
So much for Fellowship. On to Two Towers.
What’s your past experience with The Two Towers? If you’re rereading, how does it stack up against the other books?
Last time I read Lord of the Rings, which was in high school or early college so it’s been, ah, a few years, I liked The Two Towers best. I love it the best, including the fact that it ends on a wretchedly despairing note. I like The Empire Strikes Back best out of the Star Wars movies too. That is just my taste. I am hoping The Two Towers lives up to my memory.
If you’re a rereader, what are you most looking forward to?
Frodo and Sam in Mordor. I love those parts. Love. I cannot wait for Gollum to show up.
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 liked Fellowship of the Ring best of the films, though it’s my least favorite of the books. I don’t know whether this is, in fact, an accurate reflection of the respective merits of film and book, or a prejudiced assessment based on my encountering the film of Fellowship before the book, and the books of the other two before the films. Whatever the case, The Two Towers is not my favorite of the films. I hate what they did to Faramir, and I do not like the guy they got for Wormtongue, and that foolishness with Aragorn and the Warg and the horse was just totally unnecessary. On the other hand, Eomer is wonderful (nice teeth on the man), Aragorn continues to be amazing, I love the actor who plays Faramir, and Rohan is bloody gorgeous and so its is violin theme song. Oh, and I cry every time at the end of the film during the Battle of Helm’s Deep.
There! Finally! I managed this post at last. Now to start reading The Two Towers.