33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A comment on the product
While a Lord of the Rings fanatic myself, I don't see a reason to write an extensive commentary on the trilogy. If you want a review on the book there are more than sufficient amounts of widely varied opinions below my own that should satiate one's curiosity as to the virtues (or lack thereof) of Tolkien's most acclaimed work.
I feel it more important to note...
Published on Oct. 11 2006 by S. Peters
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars This Edition is a Disgrace!
This is not a critique of Tolkien's work; rather it is a condemnation of Houghton Mifflin's hardcover boxed set. Thirty years after first reading "The Lord of the Rings" I decided to read it again. Besides the engrossing and detailed story, I had a renewed interest in the technical aspects of Tolkien's craft and his use of the English language. I am not...
Published on Nov. 6 2000 by Robert S. Truesdell
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Lord of All Books!,
"The Lord of the Rings" is usually found in a single volume, or in three volumes: 1) "The Fellowship of the Ring", 2) "The Two Towers", and 3) "The Return of the King". My recommended reading age is 13+ years old, and I recommend reading "The Hobbit" first.
When I was 15 years old in high school, I had to read "The Hobbit" for an English class. After reading that book, the teacher then let us borrow "The Lord of the Rings". Before I had started "The Return of the King", I had bought my own set of books. After I had read both books, I actually liked "The Hobbit" better than "The Lord of the Rings" at first - because the "The Hobbit" was brighter: a fun, grand adventure with more humor, whereas "The Lord of the Rings" was darker: a serious, grim life and death struggle for world survival. But by the time I was about 16, the historical significance of "The Lord of the Rings" began to appeal more to me. This is especially true if you read Appendices A and B of "The Lord of the Rings", and also read the "The Silmarillion". You begin to understand the rich history of Tolkien's Middle-Earth/ Beleriand creation. How the "The Silmarillion" brings out the significant events of the First and Second Ages, while the events in "The Lord of the Rings" are the culmination of the Third Age...each Age lasting thousands of years and ending with an immensely significant event.
It was 25 years before I read "The Lord of the Rings" again, but Bilbo, Frodo, Sam, Gandalf, Aragorn, Galadriel, Legolas, Gimli, and many more had become household names! I had matured over those years, and my tastes changed. I was no longer a big fantasy/science-fiction reader: instead I was reading military history. I didn't expect to still love "The Lord of the Rings" the way I did as a teenager. I was happily wrong! This is still an exciting book, but I discovered what I really love...it is allegory-type stories. J. R. R. Tolkien himself has said that "The Lord of the Rings" is not allegory, because he hated allegory where he felt the author is dictating to the reader what is in their story...and that any other interpretation is incorrect. Tolkien wanted a reader to apply their own experiences and tastes to influence what they were reading. OK, but in real history one can still get allegory if their own experiences and tastes allow it. How many can learn about World War II and not apply the basic allegorical interpretation that good triumphs over evil? I've heard of, and can understand, several allegorical interpretations of "The Lord of the Rings". Frodo is like Jesus Christ: bearing the greatest of burdens for world salvation while being tempted to stray from his purpose, and the weight of the ring is similar to Christ's cross . The One Ring is like the atomic bomb: the ultimate weapon that corrupts whoever uses it, despite even good intentions, into a power-hungry creature of evil. There's an ecological message with the Ents trying to protect trees; and also the natural beauty of various places throughout Middle-Earth, while evil beings try to destroy it all (including the use of mechanical and polluting progress). I also get out of "The Lord of the Rings" a sense of a military mission: that Frodo & Sam are behind enemy lines on a mission that could end a war, and that Frodo realizes that getting back home or even staying alive doesn't matter - just completion of the mission...that's also sacrifice, perseverance, & camaraderie so prevalent in the military history I've read. There's prejudice with years of animosity between elves and dwarves, and how small, kind gestures can begin to erase all those blighted years...also, how people or races can put aside differences to solve a common problem. There's the recognition of the small, common people (citizen soldiers) that perform the greatest, toughest, and most necessary duty in any war. There's world peace in peril and that something needs to be done before it's too late. There's avoiding the easier way out, and facing one's problems and seeing them through to a conclusion despite severe hardships.
I feel that Tolkien saw a little bit of himself in many of the good races of his world. The hobbits are like Tolkien because they love food, company, and talking about family. The ents are like Tolkien because of their unbounded love of trees. Gandalf the wizard is like Tolkien because of his exceptional intelligence and purpose of guiding others along the right path. Some men are like Tolkien because of their inner strength and gallantry, while other men show weakness by succumbing to evil...very realistic. But I believe he saw the beauty and enchantment of the elves in his wife, and why he loved both most dearly: that's why on their gravestone Luthien appears after his wife's name, and Beren appears after his name. The dwarves don't seem to resemble Tolkien, but they are present in much folklore, which is linked to his personal love of medieval languages.
"The Lord of the Rings" is a masterpiece in my opinion, and it's size (over 1000 pages in any printed format) is pretty daunting, but give it a shot! It'll be time well spent. And get ready for adventure, terror, excitement, love, treachery, devotion, monumental historic events, unforgettable battles, military strategy, exotic languages & culture, etc. See what you get out of the book! I think most people will enjoy it and/or be moved by it. And who knows, maybe it'll become your favorite book too!
5.0 out of 5 stars Lord of the Rings: Two Towers,
If you want to read the best book in the world, Lord of the Rings: Two Towers, by J.R.R. Tolkien is the one! This fantasy, adventure-filled novel, takes place in Middle Earth. Frodo Baggins continues his journey to Mount Doom to destroy the Ring of Power, with his guide and best friend, Samwise Gamgee. With the death of Gandalf in the Mines of Moria, and Boromir in the woods, Frodo and Sam must be strong to continue their long, dreadful, and dangerous road to Mordor. They had been separated from their fellow companions Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli. Meanwhile, Merry and Pippin were kidnapped by the Uruk-Hai, and now Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli are in hot pursuit. Frodo and Sam soon realize that they aren't alone. While they are sleeping, Gollum attacks Frodo and tries to take 'The Precious' (the Ring) from him. Gollum is held captive until he offers to take them to the Black Gates of Mordor, and in return he will be set free. Gollum make a solemn promise by swearing on 'The Precious.' After making it to the Black Gates, Gollum says that there is another safer and more secret way to get to Mount Doom. Frodo and Sam unknowingly agree, and don't know that Gollum actually has another plan in store for them. To find out what happens in this exciting, page turner epic, you must read this book! Having reading this book, I can truly die a happy person, knowing that this is the best book I will ever read in my entire life!
3.0 out of 5 stars Addendum!,
This review is from: The Lord of the Rings (Audiobook Boxed Set) (Audio CD)
I'm a big LOTR fan. I hoped to find this a way to enjoy the books while walking, etc. And up to now it has been wonderful.
The production of this audiobook is great (five stars)--the care in putting it together physically is nil stars--so I've opted for three.
Inglis manages to bring Middle Earth and its inhabitants to life--and while some say he sounds bored at times, I think it may be that curious "story-telling" inflection, not boredom at all. It's like having someone tell you a rousing good story without being over dramatic and loud. No musical distractions No bombast, no sound effects. Just a warm, jolly voice telling me a great tale. Although I must say I was disappointed not to hear the prologue.
However, I am missing disk 16. I see someone else is missing disk 15. I wonder if the makers were in a rush to get some product out there after the success of the films, and were a bit lax in quality control.
I wish to make it clear that in NO way do I blame AMAZON for this problem. They have been more than fair...and I am quite happy with their service and wouldn't hesitate to deal with them again. I will also say that the package arrived almost a full month before I expected it! I will put it down to a freak of packaging.
Still...one anticipates, and I am disappointed.
5.0 out of 5 stars Two Towers is the Best,
Ever have had something that many want people want to possess? Try overcoming being chased by nonliving warriors riding dragons. Have you ever felt like the fate of the world hung around your neck? If you have experienced this then you know how Frodo Baggins from the Lord of the Rings felt. Frodo was young hobbit from the Shire who really looked for adventure when ever he could find. He wanted to meet new people and see different creatures he had never seen in his life. But the only reason Frodo got to go on adventures was because his uncle gave him the ring of power. Frodo had to get the ring to Mordor and not let the ring get into the wrong hands. The ring has such power that it could conquer the whole world.
I really liked the Two Towers. It is a great fantasy novel because it contains all elements that a good fantasy novel should contain. In my opinion J.R.R Tolkien created the greatest quest in the entire fantasy genre. If you read the story very carefully you can see that Tolkien kept on switching settings between characters. For instance in one chapter Tolkien would focus on Pippin and Merry then in the next chapter he would focus on Aragorn, Legalos, and Gimli. The best battle in the book in my opinion was the Battle of Helm's Deep. The only flaw was in the beginning Tolkien only focused on the other three companions that Frodo abandoned. I would highly recommend the Two Towers to any who is a fan of fantasy.
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Edition for Money,
If, in the past, you tried to read these books, but found them hopelessly complex or difficult, have now fear anymore. I had the same problem with this book when I read it the first time, it is so hard to keep track of character names and places.
Now that I have seen the movie, though, I find this book an absolute joy to read again. Passages that once were difficult slogs, are now emminently easy to read. So, if you have seen the movie, but are discouraged from reading the book because of past failed attempts, go for it. You are going to find it much easier than you remembered. There are enough differences between the book and movie versions of the story that the book will remain interesting.
This particular edition -- the paperback with a close up of the ring on Sauron's finger -- is a great deal and is my choice for the best paperback edition of the book.
The page size is bigger than the small Del Ray versions of the book, but the book is not so big that it is too heavy to hold. In a nice touch, the front and back covers fold out to reveal very nice detailed versions of the maps. These larger scale versions of the maps are MUCH nicer than those usually found in paperback versions and prove to be very helpful reading aids.
The paper quality itself is a little bit too much like newsprint, but it will do. There is a hardback version of this edition that uses much nicer quality paper, but being hardback, it is a little heavier.
5.0 out of 5 stars Yes! You should hear this, even if you've seen the movie!,
This review is from: The Lord of the Rings (Audio CD)
I have owned a copy of this remarkable BBC radio dramatization of the Lord of the Rings for probably 15 years, and still remember its appearance on National Public Radio over twenty years ago. I read the books thirty years ago. I have loved the movies.
I feel I'm qualified to answer the question: "Is hearing this worth it?" "Do I really need to own this?"
You need this. The books are wonderful (and unlike all other versions are of course "unabridged"). However, how often can you read them? The movies are wonderful, however again how often can you find the time to commit to watch them. Plus, everything is "invisioned" for you. This is a work of imagination! Shouldn't you use your own imagination?
This radio drama sits in the pleasant middle ground. You can use your mind to see what your ears hear. This is a portable experience, you can take it with you, and multi-task while you're experiencing it.
Artistically, this production is as wonderful as the movie production, and has a more quiet charm. You have high quality actors in top form (Michael Hordern, Robert Stephans, Ian Holm to name a few). You have quieter music (chamber strings and harp mostly) You have more of Tolkien's own lyrics and poetry. You also have more of Tolkien's original plot, the Scouring of the Shire is not in the movie.
I will restate what other reviews have said: "Stay away from the Mind's Eye version!" Unfortunately, only the BBC really knows how to turn out high quality, aurally detailed radio drama. (Well, so does ZBS media, but that's another story.)
4.0 out of 5 stars Please remember Tolkien's intentions,
By A Customer
This review is in reference to what Jacobs (see review below) and others have written. I have not listened to this audio narration, but I have read the books. It's true that the story goes a little overboard when it comes to details. But it's important for everyone to realize that Tolkien was a linguist. He was most interested in languages, not fantasy. He had invented a completely new language (Elvish) and wanted to share that language with the world. Plus, he was very interested in what kinds of songs & stories different races would have. The Lord of the Rings was the best way he saw to present his new language and songs to the world, to wrap it up within a story. He researched ancient myths and runes from countries around the world and put them all together to create a world called Middle Earth. So if the story seems to go too slowly for you, just remember that it was NOT Tolkien's aim to tell a great fantasy story. His primary aim was to share with the world the songs/stories of the different races, the Elvish language, and his invented Hobbit race. Naturally, that means that he'll go a little overboard describing every little detail about Hobbits and Elvish. Tolkien was surprised by the big response his trilogy recieved, and even more surprised by how many people tried to make his story into something it wasn't intended to be.
Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the world he created and I enjoy how he brought so many old, mythological creatures to life. If it wasn't for Tolkien, the modern fantasy genre wouldn't have taken off the way it did. If it wasn't for Tolkien, the Dungeons and Dragons world (Forgotten Realms, Dragonlance, etc. books) wouldn't have existed. In fact, if it wasn't for Tolkien, many of our modern fantasy novels wouldn't be full of the dwarves, elves, and other creatures in the form they are in now. All those things took off because of the hype over his trilogy during the 1960's. I'm very grateful for the impact his story had. It's just important when you go back and read his trilogy to realize that his aim wasn't to cause any of that. His main aim was not to tell a good story. His main aim was to teach everyone what he had invented (namely, the languages and folklore of the races). I know this because Tolkien himself said so many times. Don't go into the story expecting something different.
5.0 out of 5 stars One volume to tell the tale, one book to own....,
When I was a teenager, I bought the Lord of the Rings boxed set -- which included The Hobbit -- and attempted to read the whole Tolkien saga over the summer. My intentions were good, but both the scope of the quest and the tiny type on the standard sized paperback defeated me. I did not so much "read" The Lord of the Rings as "skimmed" through it. Even though I got the gist of Frodo's quest to destroy the One Ring and was astounded by the narrative of the War of the Ring, I could never say with a straight face that I had read The Lord of the Rings completely.
That is, until I found this one-volume edition in a trade paperback format. Even though I still had to fight off the temptation to skip through the various poems, songs and other embellishments Tolkien added to the basic "Gandalf-enlists-the-reluctant-but-brave-Hobbit-to-go-on-a-great-Quest" plot, at least with a more eye-friendly page/typeface size I could read The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King in their entirety and in a single book (which, as I found out last year, was Tolkien's intent; it was his British publisher who, for business reasons, divided the gigantic novel in three).
Considering the cost of books these days, this one-volume edition is quite a bargain!
5.0 out of 5 stars "Lord" still rules,
Though Tolkien was not the first or most critically-acclaimed fantasy writer, he remains the most beloved and influential, even though the book is decades old. With the advent of the epic movie trilogy based on this book, new waves of readers are discovering the unique power of the "Lord of the Rings." It has quietly created the fantasy genre as we know it, set the tone for most fantasy ever since, topped many "best book" polls, and helped spawn such entertainment phenomena as "Star Wars."
Following up on events in "The Hobbit," "The Fellowship of the Ring" stars the quiet, good-natured hobbit Frodo Baggins, who has inherited a golden Ring that allows its user to become invisible. But his friend, Gandalf the wizard, informs Frodo that the Ring is really the Ring of Power, a tiny invulnerable token that the demonic Dark Lord Sauron has poured his essence and power into. And if Sauron can regain the Ring, he will be able to conquer Middle-Earth. Aghast, Frodo joins a fellowship of Elves, Dwarves, Hobbits, Men and a wizard, to go to the one place where the Ring can be destroyed: Mount Doom.
"The Two Towers" begins directly after "Fellowship," after Frodo Baggins flees with his friend Sam into Mordor, with no one to protect them; his cousins Merry and Pippin are kidnapped by orcs of the renegade wizard Saruman. Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli begin a frenetic search for the hobbits, and receive unexpected help from unlikely allies. Meanwhile, the Ring weighs more heavily on Frodo, as he is forced to get help from one of the people he most despised, the Ring's slave Gollum.
"Return of the King" brings the trilogy to an action-packed, slam-bang and ultimately poignant finale. Sam barely rescues Frodo from Sauron's orcs, and the two resume their journey to Mount Doom, barely escaping Sauron's forces. As Aragorn leads the desperate battle against Sauron's armies at the city of Minas Tirith, Frodo falls increasingly under the seductive spell of the Ring.
"Lord of the Rings" is indeed a powerful book, speaking to virtually everyone who has read it. J.R.R. Tolkien drew from legends and myths, ranging from the ancient Norse mythology to more recent legends, mingled with his love of the British country folk and his Roman Catholic beliefs. Though there are no direct linkages or lessons in the trilogy, Tolkien probably drew on his experiences in World War I for the ravaged battlefields and breakneck action sequences, and the mechanization of the countryside for the most moving passages of the book. His beliefs are equally misty but present: they fueled the ethics of the good guys, the fall of formerly-good wizard Saruman, and the themes of temptation, redemption, evil and good that run through every character.
Frodo Baggins is an everyman hero, who dreams of adventure but begins to treasure the simple, boring life that he had once he is deprived of it. His deteriotation is saddening, all the more so because he is aware of how he is influenced by the Ring. Sam Gamgee is his loyal gardener, a shy young hobbit who grows in confidence and courage over the course of the trilogy. Gandalf is the quintessential wizard -- crabby, kindly, powerful, with a hidden unique streak that elevates him over the usual Obi-Wan Kenobi wizards. Merry and Pippin start out as a chirpy boy and a well-meaning flake, but are matured and made more multi-dimensional by their harrowing experiences. Aragorn is noble, kind, kingly, and intelligent, but with darker streaks in his personality that make him ultimately human. Legolas the elf and Gimli the dwarf initially grate on each other, but overcome their prejudices to become close friends.
Tolkien's writing is evocative and descriptive, though not to extremes; Mordor, for example, is best described through the way that Sam and Frodo react to it. The dialogue ranges from absolutely hilarious to solemn and biblical, or to some combination of the two. And the pacing is gradual but necessary; if you don't have a good attention span, then you won't be able to handle this story. If you do, then probably you can.
Even after all the years, "Lord" still rules the fantasy genre and has become an integral part of modern literature. It's an epic for all ages, and no one book has even come close to equalling it.
5.0 out of 5 stars The Lord of the Rings,
By A Customer
This review is from: The Lord of The Rings (Hardcover)
"The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring", "The Two Towers", and "The Return of the King" are wonderful books written by a great author named J.R.R. Tolkien. These three fantastic books are packed with fantasy, adventure, and literature. I have only read "The Lord of the Rings" book trilogy once, but I will one day read them all over again. "The Hobbit or There and Back Again" is another wonderful book written by the author J.R.R. Tolkien. But, if I were you, I would read "The Hobbit" before "The Lord of the Rings" book trilogy because they are a sequel to "The Hobbit". You would be sort of lost if you read "The Lord of the Rings" book trilogy before "The Hobbit" because there are certain things that happen in "The Hobbit" that are mentioned in "The Lord of the Rings" book trilogy. So read "The Hobbit or There and Back Again" before "The Lord of the Rings" book trilogy like I did. Anyway: Each book from "The Lord of the Rings" book trilogy are my favorite books because, unlike other fantasy books, they sent me to a world that was unbelievably similar to ours even though they were fantasy books. There are many fantasy characters in "The Lord of the Rings" book trilogy. And they are: phantoms, trolls, orcs, wizards, elves, dwarves, hobbits (which are halflings), and much more. If you want a very good fantasy/adventure book to read then buy "The Lord of the Rings" book trilogy boxed set.
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The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R Tolkien (Hardcover - Oct. 21 2004)
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