The Lord of the Rings

Said Gimli, ‘but you too, Pippin. I love you, if only because of the pains you have cost me, which I shall never forget. Nor shall I forget finding you on the hill of the last battle.

Oh man, I have been putting these off for SO long. The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings are both on Times best 100 YA list. Because of that and my love of A Song of Ice and Fire by GRRM that kept me going through The Lord of the Rings.

This series was a challenging adventure. I enjoyed the humor but did not like the singing. I wasn’t sure what I wanted or thought I was getting into. I enjoy fantasy but in stories, I can gobble up. Tolkien’s work made me slow down and savor each word. He is a wordsmith, to say the least. I loved experiencing battles, deaths, goodbyes, and fantasy as a whole written in a poetic style.

The Lord of the Rings is a series of three books.

Briefly, this is a quick summary of the series: 

A ring of extreme power was created and then lost in an epic battle. The ring is found and then passed down to a young hobbit named Frodo. The evil force that once wore the ring and made darkness flood the land has awakened once more, spreading across Middle Earth and it wants its ring back. To put an end to the evil Frodo must take the ring to Mordor, the source of evil, and destroy it. If not, darkness will spread and make life awful. Frodo and company band together to accomplish the near-impossible task of destroying the ring. Everyone plays a part, they laugh, cry, and bare the weight of saving the world.

Whew. There are a slew of characters and beings in this series. With that and the deep lore of the story, it was challenging to keep up, but not unmanageable. Obviously, it is not too complicated if it can be summed up in a poorly detailed paragraph.

BUT the universe is much more encompassing than a trilogy. Below is the reading order of Tolkien’s work in order as it was written. 

  • The Book of Lost Tales
  • The Lays of Beleriand
  • The Shaping of Middle-earth
  • The Lost Road
  • The Hobbit
  • The Return of the Shadow
  • The Treason of Isengard
  • The War of the Ring
  • Sauron Defeated
  • The Peoples of Middle-earth
  • The Lord of the Rings
    • The Fellowship of the Ring
    • The Two Towers
    • The Return of the King
  • The Notion Club Papers
  • Unfinished Tales
  • The Children of Húrin
  • Morgoth’s Ring
  • The War of the Jewels
  • The Silmarillion
  • The Peoples of Middle-earth

OR you can tackle it as I did:

  • The Hobbit
  • The Silmarillion 
  • The Fellowship of the Ring
  • The Two Towers
  • The Return of the King

Honestly, it doesn’t matter which order you read the books in as long as you read the Lord of the Rings series in the right order.

SO was it worth the read? Is the hype real? 

Yes and no. Tolkien has most defiantly laid the groundwork for fantasy, maybe even epic tales as a whole. Because of this, many authors have work in a similar epic fashion that is more appealing to me as a reader because most are easier. If you are wanting to see what series/author has inspired so many authors, defiantly check out Lord of the Rings. If you are looking for a light read, don’t read these.

My biggest complaint is the number of characters. 99% of the time I was reading the books I was wondering who is who, who is from where, and where everything is happening on the map. I was reading the anniversary edition of the ebooks, this may not have been the case if I read a paperback where the maps are easy to access. I recommended looking into dramatic audiobook recording of the series in my review of The Return of the Ring and still stand by that. 

I do not know the target audience of the series, I would say adults but Time’s list makes me doubt myself since they appear on their best 100 YA list. I would not recommend The Lord of the Rings to younger readers, mainly because of the depth of the lore. If you are an adult reader you should have no problems tackling this series.

If you have a younger reader who is into Middle Earth, great! Read it with them, enjoy it. If you already love Middle Earth, wonderful. If you are like me, and late to the game, you may hesitate before diving in. I am not a mega fan after reading The Lord of the Rings, but I have an appreciation for Tolkien, the world he built, and all of the authors he has influenced. I can safely I will never reread these, but will greatly enjoy the films. 

If are interested Tolkien, a book about J.R.R. Tolkien, you should head over and read a review on Perpetually Pastdue.

If you are new to Middle Earth and need guidance or want more information check out The Tolkien Society.

Have you read this epic series? Are you a fan?

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