Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Silmarillion... my nemesis

Josh and I just watched the Rifftrax of "Fellowship of the Ring" last night (while I crocheted elf ears; never has my art matched what I was watching at the time so well!), and once again, the guys are hilarious! I don't think it's quite as funny as "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone", but then again, that's been the funniest one so far, so it set the bar really high.

In my opinion the best lines from the FotR Rifftrax were when Frodo is reading a book at the start of the movie, and Kevin and Mike make these comments:
"Ah, he's reading The Silmarillion and trying desperately to pretend he's enjoying it."
"Ughh... 'FĂ«anor imprisoned the light of the two trees that illuminated Valinor'... oh god, I can't make it through this thing."

That just had me laughing so hard because I'm in that boat! I've found that The Silmarillion is nearly impossible; it's... well, the Bane of an English Major. I can read anything, no matter how dry, and enjoy it (and usually want to write a thesis on it, but that goes with the English degree and is to be expected), but The Sil is giving me so much trouble! Never in my life have I been working on a 400 page book for a month; usually it takes me three days, tops, to finish a book that size. I'm determined to finish it, though (I already gave up halfway through once, years ago), but between the Elvish names for people and places that keep running together and sounding the same (yes, there's an appendix with all the definitions of said people and places, but it annoys me to have to keep flipping back every paragraph), not to mention how each character and place has at least three names, and it being especially dry- well, it makes for very slow going. I just want to finish it so I can move on to something else! I would have started the next book in my queue, but then I know I'd never get back to this one and I will have forgotten what little I'm retaining from it.

The only other book I had this much trouble with was the first Twilight one that I started on the recommendation of one of my friends. I only got about 1/3 of the way in before I abandoned that one in disgust; the difference, though, is that The Sil is well-written (verbose, but well-written) and something I want to finish, even if it is my nemesis, and Twilight was extremely poorly written and edited. It made my aforementioned English degreed self cringe and want to break out a red pen to do corrections. Of course, the fact that everyone is head over heels in love with vampires and I just don't get it (seriously, was there brainwashing going on that I somehow missed?) could be what's making me even more cynical about it; I never did like popular things and I just don't get the appeal of vampires, especially poorly written ones (I have read Dracula and a lot of the Anne Rice books, though).

...except now that I think about it, I don't think I ever finished The Iliad, either, which is weird because I've read a lot of ancient Greek plays and stories. That one, though, I put aside for something else saying that I'd get back to it right after, but never did, so my short attention span and memory were to blame. ;) I'll have to finish that one of these daysyears.


Cecily said...

I'm totally with you on the Twilight books (although I have read them all). I am not in love with vampires (except Spike from Buffy).

I hate how so many adults! are in love with Twilight and think it's so well written. It's not. They are a completely guilty pleasure of mine (I hate to admit it but I enjoyed them).

I dislike Tolkien (excepting the Hobbit), I respect what he did but hate his style (way too dry and not enough character for me).

Merily said...

Oh, I can definitely relate to liking books that aren't too well-written; I love fantasy, and those books often aren't the most epic kind of things, but I enjoy them anyway- heck, I really love Harry Potter, and while that's written pretty well (Rowling does have creative writing skills and knows how to put together sentences well), it's not the greatest work of literature, you know?

It's probably the fact that so many people like Twilight that made it so sour for me; it gets so old to hear people constantly talking about them! And that combined with them not being written at all well just really make me hate them, lol.

Tolkien *is* dry, but with "The Hobbit" and LotR, that never bothered me- it's just "The Sil" that's causing me so much trouble. At least the other books had more developed characters and some humor; "The Sil" is like reading a really dry history text.

luthien said...

lol!! i like them both! i've read the sil and actually found it quite interesting esp the beginning where genesis happens :) but yea... the rest can be quite tedious... it's like reading a history book only this is far more diff to remember :)but nicer to visualize upon :) (i visualize when i read :) good thing i didn't have to take an exam on it tho!

as for twilight, i can't deny that i really enjoyed it.. sort of a guilty pleasure where it brings you back to the days where you were a teenager and reading love stories and being in love. :) i guess that's what attractive about the twilight saga. of course it appeals to the teens and young adults who are still in the "romance" stage... however there are a handful of "women" such as myself who is a teenager at heart and not ashamed to admit it :) who simply loves to be swept into the make believe world of vampires and eternal love once in a while :)

Merily said...

It is a lot more fun to read than a history book- Middle Earth is far more interesting than our world. ;) But since the names aren't English, it's harder than a regular history book. Not that I'm any good at remembering human names, either, LOL!

Ahh, that makes sense. I've never been much interested in romance and stuff like that, so that's probably part of my problem with Twilight, lol.

mermaiden said...

*lalalalalalala* (fingers in ears so i can't hear you cecily ;P)

i'm with luthien- i loved the silmarillion. i felt like i was reading the bible. i have never read the actual "bible" because when i read historical fiction, i actually want to be entertained. (oh, i am a bad, bad girl.)

Melissa said...

Totally agree with everything you said. I read The Silmarillion back in high school and I had a horrible time trying to get through it. It doesn't help that I have the attention span of a goldfish. I love Tolkien, but it was just too hard for my ADD-ish brain to handle.

And as for Twilight... ugh. I must've missed out on the vampire-loving brainwashing as well. Two of my friends at college got degrees in English education and are obsessed with Twilight. I found it funny when one of them was going to tell her professor about Twilight and tell her that she'd love it. I couldn't help but laugh.

Reading other comments, as for the whole romance thing, I love reading romance stuff. I have no desire to even touch Twilight. Give me a more adult romance any day. I can't really stand angsty high school romance anymore. To each their own, I suppose.

threadsofmagique said...

Wow! Loved the post and the comments! I thought I was the only one who didn't like Twilight. Glad to know there are a few other rebels left. I like romance novels but I don't get the whole vampire thing either and I like my heroines on the mature side (I wasn't into teenage angst even when I was a teenager, lol).
Love LoR but couldn't get through Silmarilion (and I read history books for fun, believe it or not). I loved the Iliad, though. Maybe you got a bad translation?

FunkyMonkey Girls said...

I read the Silmarillion when I was younger & got lost....then again, got lost, then finally after the movies, read it & almost got everything figured out LOLOLOL....

Twilight, never understand the vampire love BUT I LOVE True Blood on HBO, that I will definetly sink my teeth into, sorry couldn't resist!

Funky Monkey Girl,

Rose Works Jewelry said...

*guilty grin* I actually like the Twilight books - but I admit that they are really poor writing! I've read Dracula too - and I keep meaning to pick up Anne Rice, but not getting to it. Then again, I have so many books checked out from the library right now that I think I'll keep putting that off :P

Next "heavy book" on my list? Hunchback of Notre Dame (I think I spelled that wrong)

Merily said...

Julie- I finally finished the Sil today- I'll do a real book review of it soon. I didn't dislike it; it was just a tedious read, if that makes sense. I'm glad I finally finished it, though! LOL! You bad girl. ;)

Niere- Yeah, it was so hard to keep my attention on the book! I only got through it because I was determined to finish it this time. LOL! I wonder what the professor really thought about Twilight?

threadsofmagique- lol! Yeah, I'll pass on the teenaged angst. Teenagers annoyed me when I was one and they still do. ;) Maybe the problem with The Sil is the same one I had- I had so much trouble remembering what everything was that it made reading more difficult than a regular history book. Yeah, I may have a bad translation of The Iliad; I think I picked it up at a used bookstore, which could be why it was there, lol!

Jolene- I think I may have to reread The Sil again to really get everything, but I'm not going to do that for a while. ;) I bet True Blood is probably better written that Twilight, right?

Ruthie- Gasp! But since you'll admit that they're not good writing, I'll let you slide. ;) I think I read the first three or four of Rice's vampire books; they're pretty good, but I'm not really a fan of vampires so even the well written books aren't my thing, lol. I've been meaning to read The Hunchback for a while, but haven't gotten to it yet. Someday!

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