Last week, I explained what I loved about the Lord of the Rings trilogy by J. R. R. Tolkien. (Check out Part 1 of this book review here!) In that post, I mentioned that I disliked the series as a whole, and today I’m going to tell you why. If you are a die-hard LotR fan, then I’d recommend clicking off this post right now because I am going to give you the brutal and honest truth of what I truly thought of this series. And I have a feeling that my opinion will upset quite a few people. All things mentioned in this post are my own thoughts and opinions about the series, and I apologize if I offend anyone by them. And now, buckle up because I have a lot to say.
THINGS I LOATHED ABOUT THE LORD OF THE RINGS
The Writing in General – Now, I understand that Tolkien was writing in the style of his day, and it was very different compared to how we write now. However, because of his writing style, I had an extremely difficult time reading these books, understanding the side-plots, and relating to the characters. Tolkien wrote out long and detailed descriptions of things that I could have easily pictured in my mind with one simple sentence. Instead, I had a hard time imagining the events and places because of his lengthy and often confusing descriptions. I also found that Tolkien was determined to inform the reader of every single name of every single place in Middle Earth. For example, in the beginning of The Return of the King, Gandalf is riding his trusty steed, Shadowfax. Gandalf is urging the horse on, and says this: “‘See, there is the fire on Amon Dîn, and flame on Eilenach; and there they go speeding west: Nardol, Erelas, Min-Rimmon, Calenhad, and the Halifirien on the borders of Rohan.’” He. Is. Talking. To. The. Horse. (Yes, I know Pippin was present during this scene, but the book states that Gandalf was addressing Shadowfax rather than the hobbit.) I don’t think the horse cared what cities they were passing or which ones were going to war, and lots of the dialogue in the books was unrealistic and very similar to the quote above. I believe that the writing style was one the major reasons why I disliked this series so much.
The Majority of the Characters – To be completely honest with you, I found the majority of the characters in this series extremely boring and unrelatable. I began to dislike Frodo more and more as the series went on, I found Gandalf highly annoying and rude, it felt like Aragorn was just there for the fight scenes, Legolas and Gimli were also there for basically no reason, Elrond was dry, Sauruman and Wormtongue were just weird, etc. I think you get the picture. I found that I was having trouble relating to and bonding with the characters because they were undeveloped. Many of them had practically no backstory, and their only obvious purpose was to drag out the plot. I often found myself skimming through or sometimes even skipping over the parts in the The Two Towers and The Return of the King that focused solely on the characters who were not on the road to Mordor, which was basically everyone except Frodo, Sam, and Gollum. I didn’t understand or relate to any of the character’s internal struggles and motivations, and it felt like none of them had any personal goals other than the united goal of protecting Middle Earth. I think that most of the reason I disliked the characters was because of the issues I had with the writing style, which I explained above. If you have a hard time reading the book itself, it’s even harder to understand and relate to the characters.
The Repetition and Predictability – This series was extremely repetitive and predictable, and it was very easy for me to see into the future and determine the outcome of the story, long before I was at the end of the final book. There was almost no variation, and Frodo became increasingly annoying and whiny after a while. Yes, I know he was under a lot of pressure from the ring and its power, but the guy was just so frustrating. It seemed like all the characters did was walk and walk, but they never got anywhere. Tolkien also spent a lot of time elaborating about the walking and complaining, but whenever an actual conflict arose, he would spend 2 pages on it and move on. Speaking of that…
The Climax – After all those long, frustrating, and if we’re being honest, boring pages about walking and lembas, we finally make it to the climax we’ve been waiting for, only to discover that it spans about 3 pages. wHaT. I spent all that time slogging through 3 books, 62 chapters, and 1,241 pages to have the most intense and intriguing part of the series last only a few pages? Are you kidding me?! At this point in the series, I had officially decided that I was done caring about it, and skimmed the last 50+ pages of the book just to be finished. I was expecting a really intense show-down between Sauron and Frodo or something like that to change up the dynamic of the story, but we never even see Sauron other than his “all-seeing-eye” thing. (Was that his current form in the story because he was too weak to take any other? I’m not sure, the book wasn’t very clear on that.) He’s not present at the Cracks of Doom in the end, or if he was, I missed it because that part was over in just a few paragraphs. Overall, the climax was incredibly disappointing, considering that I had spent countless hours trudging through this dull and tiring series.
Because of the reasons mentioned above, I’m giving the Lord of the Rings series 1-and-a-half stars out of 5. The reason I couldn’t give it a solid 1 was because there were elements of the story that I liked, which you can read about here.
In conclusion, I can understand why many people have fallen in love with the Lord of the Rings series, but it just wasn’t my cup of tea. I found it altogether boring and dry, and, in my opinion, it lacked the depth that every good story needs. The characters were undeveloped, and they didn’t seem to change at all over the course of the series. A lot of time was spent on the descriptions and walking parts, and not enough was spent on the problems that arose. Overall, the Lord of the Rings series was long and dull, and did not appeal to me at all. I have, however, accomplished a “life goal” (as my brother would say) by crossing the Lord of the Rings series off my TBR list, and my Mom finally got to watch the movies. ;)
I hope you all have a fantastic day, and I’ll see you next week! Toodles!