Since I just finished FotR, it's time for another LotR Read-Along post! :) These questions are from February's host of the read-along.
1. Since we’re dealing with a third of a novel, instead of the first novel in a series, do you find anything different?
I've read this book so many times that I don't think I can really answer this. To me, this book does feel like the first in a series. Lots of different series continue like this- following a few characters over the course of a short time, but each book connecting to the one previous. Also, the first time I read this book (well, had it read to me), it was years before I read the next one, so for me FotR feels separate from TTT. The fact that FotR is generally more upbeat than the following two is definitely a reason I can see this as a separate book. I know FotR, TTT, and RotK are all one, but I still see them as separate books.
2. Do Books One and Two have significant differences to you?
Like I said, I feel that FotR is more upbeat and happy than TTT and RotK, but even within this book that fact is split. Book 1 of FotR is before anything bad really happens and the hobbits are still pretty clueless about what lies ahead. It isn't until Part 2 (after the fellowship leaves Rivendell) where things start to get heavier. Still, FotR is probably the most enjoyable of the trilogy, if just for the fact that so much time takes place in elven lands. What can I say, I love elves.
3. Who’s your favorite character so far into the novel?
My favorite main character, hands down, is Meriadoc Brandybuck. Merry's always been my favorite character and as I'm rereading this I remember why- he's so smart! I said this before in a previous LotR-Along post, but it still holds true. Hobbits are certainly not dumb; they may be naive to start, but they're intelligent, brave, and loyal.
I'll admit that I also really like Radagast (he's pretty much a D&D-style druid- yay!) and wish he'd had a bigger part in the story.
And I mentioned this in an earlier post, too- I really liked Gildor at the very start of the book. If only he'd been the elf in the party instead of Legolas! Legolas is cool and all (he's a Mirkwood elf- I'd like him just for that fact), but Gildor was more witty and interesting. Legolas is all "Alas! Alas!" and too busy prancing about for most of the book. I totally blame Gollum's escape from Mirkwood on that particular scatterbrained elf. And I have to laugh about the fact that despite being around for what? Three thousand years or so? Legolas never bothered to visit Lothlórien which is pretty much next door to his forest. (Okay, so no one goes into southern Mirkwood at that point so it would be a roundabout trip, but still, three millennia without visiting a neighboring forest that apparently he was so interested in? What the heck, elf.) So yeah, now I remember why Legolas never became a favorite character, despite being the son of one of my favorite minor characters- he can be so annoying! Don't get me wrong, I certainly don't hate him, but geez- this is the elf that gets fangirls? Why?
4. What surprised you the most?
Boromir. I don't recall ever disliking that character on previous reads (I even thought he was pretty cool), but this time around he sorta rubbed me the wrong way. Probably because I was already rolling my eyes at Legolas that I noticed shortcomings in other members of the fellowship. Poor Aragorn! This was the ragtag bunch he was stuck leading for a while? I think I envy Sam and Frodo going on alone. ... I jest, I jest! I'm just in a silly mood tonight. ;) Really, I think the fact that it is a ragtag bunch that don't get along at first (and really don't work well together for a while) that really makes this book. I like to see Legolas and Gimli becoming friends, I like seeing Aragorn start to take on the roll of leader as the company comes to terms with losing Gandalf, I love Sam's loyalty to Frodo, and you always gotta love Merry and Pippin.
And I'd forgotten that I never disliked Frodo at all; that was all influenced by seeing the movies recently. Movie-Frodo definitely got on my nerves but book-Frodo so far has been a lot less... well, pathetic. I can't even put my finger on why... maybe because Frodo is more strong and defiant after getting stabbed by the Ringwraith in the book verses in the movie where he just kinda passes out? Movie-Frodo has been into book-Legolas' strange over-emotional "Woe! Alas! Alas!" spiel, but instead of being over-dramatic like Legolas, always looks like he's going to cry.
5. What was your favorite scene?
Hmm... I'm not really sure if I have a favorite. Lothlórien is beautiful and Rivendell is almost as pleasant, and I enjoyed the scenes with Tom Bombadil, but nothing really jumps out as something I like above all else (if I recall correctly, my favorite LotR scenes are in Fangorn, with the Rohirrim, and when the hobbits come back home and kick butt at the very end of RotK, and those are all much later).
My favorite quotes from the second part of the book are Gandalf's words to Saruman "And he that breaks a thing to find out what it is has left the path of wisdom" and some of Elrond's words at the Council: "Yet such is oft the course of deeds that move the wheels of the world: small hands do them because they must, while the eyes of the great are elsewhere".
I'm glad I did a reread of this book- I hadn't read it in a few years and a lot of things I'd forgotten. I'll admit that most of the characters I originally had in my head have been replaced with the actors from the movies, which is fine because the actors all look the part, even if the acting is somewhat off. (Frodo, I'm looking at you. Legolas, I think you actually took a turn for the better in the movies.)
This isn't my favorite of the trilogy, but I very much enjoyed it. Yes, I pick on the characters but that's because I love them. They're like old friends by now. ;)
I'll be posting about The Two Towers in the next few days when I start rereading it, but right now I'm taking a short break from Middle Earth to spend some time in Tortall.