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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
History of Middle-earth series?

The Shire

Oct 21 2018, 11:31am

Post #1 of 7 (1129 views)
History of Middle-earth series? Can't Post

Are they worth reading? Or is it rather dry reading material? Just wondering what people think of this series, as I've been looking into grabbing it.


Oct 21 2018, 12:43pm

Post #2 of 7 (1111 views)
Do you really, really love the Silmarillion? I mean really, really, really? [In reply to] Can't Post

And if you could do graduate-level study on a complexly-layered textual history under the guidance of an Oxford don, would you?

Just sayin.

Maybe take one out of the library, if possible, or just buy the first two, which are probably the easiest to read on their own. By no means buy a 12-volume set without absolute certainty that you'll at least use, if not read, it.

squire online:
RR Discussions: The Valaquenta, A Shortcut to Mushrooms, and Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
Lights! Action! Discuss on the Movie board!: 'A Journey in the Dark'. and 'Designing The Two Towers'.
Archive: All the TORn Reading Room Book Discussions (including the 1st BotR Discussion!) and Footerama: "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
Dr. Squire introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary

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The Shire

Oct 21 2018, 3:05pm

Post #3 of 7 (1095 views)
😄 [In reply to] Can't Post

I was gonna wade in one book at a time.


Oct 21 2018, 3:29pm

Post #4 of 7 (1087 views)
I really like the ones that are about LOTR [In reply to] Can't Post

I had trouble reading the earlier ones but I really enjoy re-reading the ones that are about LOTR. How Strider started out with a different name. Frodo had a different name to begin with. The deciding of who shall make up the Fellowship. I think it's fascinating what LOTR was like in the early drafts and what changes were and were not made to become the story we know. Those I reccomend reading if reading how a story changes from the early drafts to its final version interests you.

"I name you Elf-friend; and may the stars shine upon the end of your road!" - Gildor

"If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world."- Thorin

(This post was edited by Ithilisa on Oct 21 2018, 3:31pm)


Oct 21 2018, 5:42pm

Post #5 of 7 (1074 views)
I enjoyed the LOTR ones too [In reply to] Can't Post

An interesting thing about ‘the HoME volume The Return of the Shadow” (which covers JRR trying to get LOTR started) was for me the insights into JRR’s writing process. The impression I got was that he started wherever he could- outlines, chronologies, sometimes full drafting. And then he jumped forward to a bit he though he could do now, or back to something that wasn’t working. That ‘do what you can approach’ was something I found encouraging for my own writing.

Also, it’s this period where there are the biggest changes in the plot, and I found it fun to find out what might have been.

The next 3 volumes ofHoME cover the rest of LOTR, but I didn’t enjoy them as much. With fewer big changes happening as the story emerged, more of the text is details about small changes between drafts. It’s a magnificent achievement of true scholarship, but too detailed for me! I haven’t tried the rest of HoME.

"Go down to the shovel store and take your pick." Traditional prank played on dwarves when they start down the mine.


Oct 21 2018, 7:42pm

Post #6 of 7 (1058 views)
I like Return of the Shadow best of the LOTR ones as well. [In reply to] Can't Post

The writing process, the jumping around, the amount of changes, etc. do make it a very fascinating book. I do also like The Treason of Isengard and The War of the Ring though, or I should say I read parts of them. I'll read the parts that corrspond to my favorite parts of LOTR. I haven't been able to get a copy of Sauron Defeated yet. I hope to get it at some point.

"I name you Elf-friend; and may the stars shine upon the end of your road!" - Gildor

"If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world."- Thorin


Oct 23 2018, 8:46pm

Post #7 of 7 (942 views)
I got my copies about 20 years ago [In reply to] Can't Post

And have used them a lot for references, also just for joyreading, even translated parts into Danish for fun. My favourite is ‘The Shaping of Arda’. There’s parts of every volume that’s hard to digest as they are recaps (or ‘precaps’) of other versions, but I really enjoy the more essay-like chapters like ‘Laws and Customs among the Eldar’

"Don't take life seriously, it ain't nohow permanent!" Pogo


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