‘And it is not our part here to take thought only for a season, or for a few lives of Men, or for a passing age of the world. We should seek a final end of this menace, even if we do not hope to make one.’
— Tolkien, J. R. R. (2009-04-20). The Lord of the Rings (Kindle Locations 6247-6249). Harper Collins, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
As I generally quite enjoy reading some works again and again, I do embark on some journeys far more than a few times. ‘Lord of the Rings’ is one such book (and I’ll get down to defining it as a book again in a moment), and I have never regretted taking it up once more. There’s so much of a story in here that something new opens in my eyes whenever I take another look. I’ll hopefully be able to pinpoint some of this here and now, but I am also certain that if I were to read it again immediately I would notice something that I missed this time round. I think that is how it is meant to be for me.
What were the main parts that took me in this time round?
I’ve always been a fan of the journeying chapters, first in the Shire and then through the wilderness and the Realm of Gondor. This time round I think I allowed myself a bit more time to take the scenery in — with Mr Tolkien’s words, I never really have the problem of imagining certain scenes, and the descriptions we are given of mountain ranges and forests and rivers enliven my mind with the wondrous possibilities of other worlds.
The characters themselves have grown on me more than before. I know that I took a look at Boromir the last time I delved into the movies and the books, and I would say that a lot of his character was still very much with me this time round. His brother, Faramir, is another person who really has a very compelling story. I have always enjoyed Gandalf as a character, but if I were to name a few more names that were notable this time round, I would rather go with Imrahil and Theoden.
There is such a strong aura that comes with Theoden King — all of the symbolism of standing up for his own fate in the very end; and that of there still being a glimpse of light and hope even if the sky is dark is a most befitting way to bring about a change in the man. And there is such a change: I am very deeply moved every time Theoden states again that he is better healed than anyone can guess, and that he will rather do whatever he can against the Shadow than hide in the mountains. It feels like a change for the better, and I can imagine the King being happy in his end.
Prince Imrahil is a very different character. He came to my mind during this read first when he brought his men and horses into Minas Tirith — the credit that the people of the city award him speaks volumes of what type of a man we are dealing with. And then the sally out of the city! The cry from the walls, “Amroth for Gondor!”, I can imagine that cry from the soldiers on the walls, and I can also imagine the depth of feeling that these men must feel for this great Lord who rides in the lead of his men to save their beloved Captain. Imrahil, as he is for me, is the embodiment of all this depth of emotion, and that gives him a presence that very few can match.
Now, I began with a small note on how I look at this book. That, however, is a difficult question for indeed I look at it as one book, as three books, and as six books. As the story is divided, I would probably prefer to comment on six books while reading one — the three don’t make as much sense to me.
To further the comment above, I would have to say that Book II could well be my favourite of the story. It has these descriptions of history and lands that can be easily construed as a hastily built world, but I rather tend to see the depth of history — the people who have lived and remembered the last six thousand years with all of the losses and victories that have come by in that time. And I also see that depth of history when our Fellowship passes by the lands of Eriador which used to be inhabited, and when they try to best Caradhras, or visit the Golden Forest of Laurelindorenan. There is an ample supply of detail and brilliance in Book II that is indeed rivalled later — but that rivalry is a mimicry of the beauty and purity that we first see here and that remains here.
This will for now suffice as my comment on this reading of ‘Lord of the Rings’. I’m sure that when I read it again, I’ll write something again. And I might not wait that long to say what I think of some of the characters.
“But I will say this: the rule of no realm is mine, neither of Gondor nor any other, great or small. But all worthy things that are in peril as the world now stands, those are my care. And for my part, I shall not wholly fail of my task, though Gondor should perish, if anything passes through this night that can still grow fair or bear fruit and flower again in days to come.”
— Tolkien, J. R. R. (2009-04-20). The Lord of the Rings (pp. 788-789). Harper Collins, Inc.. Kindle Edition.