Saturday, 9 May 2015

Lev Butts Reviews The Hobbit/The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien



As far as I'm concerned, these are the best covers ever bound.
As a kid, I loved the Rankin/Bass cartoon version of The Hobbit. I watched it every time it came on television. This was so long before DVD's, mind you, that we didn't even have VHS yet.

This is how we DVR'ed back when the world was young and dinosaurs ruled the earth.
This meant that I could only watch it once a year if I were lucky, so for the weeks before it aired, I was the best behaved kid you ever saw. I'd eat all my vegetables and possibly even liver to avoid running the risk of being restricted or sent to bed early on broadcast night.

I'd sing the songs along with the television. I'd climb over the furniture while the dwarves were in the lonely mountain. I didn't miss a minute of it.

Except for this guy; I hid behind the couch for him.
And this is why I'm arachnophobic to this day.
Imagine my surprise, then, when I found out there was a book, too!

And a sequel!

Three of'em!

And they all came in one convenient box!
It was the only thing I asked for that Christmas. I finished the entire series in a month.

And that's when Tolkien ripped out my still beating heart and stomped on it.

In short, The Hobbit tells the story of a little guy who goes off with some dwarves to regain their treasure. On the way, the little guy finds a magic ring that makes you invisible. The Lord of the Rings tells about the little guy's nephew who has to go on a journey to destroy the ring in a volcano. Amid all the walking to and from treasure, the little guys learn that they can affect the great events of the world, but even if they win, they will be forever changed and not all for the best.

The Lord of the Rings wasn't the first time I encountered a story with a sad ending (The Empire Strikes Back did that for me), but it was the first time I encountered a story where the heroes win and are so depressed in spite of this victory that they can't live in the world anymore.

Spoiler alert
It may be the first adult life lesson I ever learned:

Sometimes you can get exactly what you want and still be miserable, and there's very little you can do about that.