Why Tahereh Should Read The Lord of The Rings

My favourite question!

Tahereh asks "YAY OR NAY on Lord of the Rings?" and who better to answer than someone who named her blog after a J. R. R. Tolkien reference? Well, of course there are Tolkien scholars that may be more qualified - and I hope to join their ranks someday if I start my Master's degree - but for now, I'm the most Tolkien-obsessed person I know, so...

Here are my top ten reasons to read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings:

1. They are, in no particular order, exciting, scary, funny, lyrical, sad and satisfying all at once. And so much more.

2. Authenticity! The languages, landscapes, histories and so on were each painstakingly created and checked for continuity by the author himself (and sometimes by his son) and form a seamless whole.

3. "Most modern fantasy just rearranges the furniture in Tolkien's attic." It's true! Heck, even dumbledore - as a word not a name - was used by Tolkien before Rowling (others used it before Tolkien, but in between? I haven't seen it at all). (Just in case - yes, I am a Rowling fan as well!) But to understand and appreciate many new stories, it helps to read the man that influenced them all.

4. Language. Tolkien was a master of English, from its very beginnings to its use as current in his day, and is an unmastered reference for authors on how to describe scenery and action, how to write witty dialogue, and how to seamlessly move from the heights to the most regular forms of speech.

5. Adventure. I know many people don't read fantasy; I know many don't care for so-called other worlds and quests. Please bear in mind that Dungeons and Dragons came after The Lord of the Rings. Everything about the movies, the role playing, the costumes and so on was inspired by the books, but do not even scratch the surface of the meaning and depth of character that are in the written words. And adventure? Oh yes, emotional and in real time!

6. The books are applicable to every situation - not allegorical, of course, as that's not what Tolkien set out to do, but they relate to nearly any theme you can think of, whether that's relationships, loss, standing up for yourself, sacrifice, homecoming, ambition, etc.

7. All the poetry! Comic songs, ballads, sad refrains... the books are chock full of 'em and are mere teasers to Tolkien's canon.

8. England! Wales! Now, granted, this has more meaning if you're an Anglophile (or, I should say, UK-o-phile) like myself, but for those of you that are (are you, Tahereh?), well, it doesn't get any better than this.

9. Men. Wait a minute! Before you all jump on me, there are women - strong women - in the books. That's not what I meant and I don't wish to have that argument here. But, at the risk of starting a different argument, one of the many reasons I reread The Lord of the Rings every year is to read about real men. The kind that go out and get the job done, that are afraid but do it anyway, that don't whine or moan or primp and cream or... Well, you get the idea. Men with cojones. No metrosexuals allowed [g].

10. Beauty. Not to say that darkness and dread don't exist in Middle Earth, but there is much in the scenery and population that is beautiful and it's pleasant to have Tolkien's words on that beauty echo in your mind long after you've finished reading.

Thanks to Tahereh for leading me to reflect on Tolkien this morning!

And PS - Don't forget to enter my 100 Followers Thank You Contest!
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