One Does Not Simply Read Into Mordor

Yeah, lame title, blah blah blah. Point is that it’s the most accurate I could come up with because I’m tired and don’t feel like wasting time thinking about other titles.

Anyway this is just because I feel a need to rant about Tolkien. Now, I’ve got nothing against the guy. His backstory is fascinating, and there’s no doubt he was a genius. He created 3 full languages (the Elvish dialects Quenya and Sindarin, and the Dwarven tongue), as well as at least pieces of the Black Tongue of Mordor. Legend has it that he wrote his diaries in Elvish. He created an entire world with its own races, nations, and politics; and while countless fantasy authors have done this as well, Tolkien went the extra distance and delved into the history of his world. Most stories allude to the history — “oh, yeah there was a big war and now the world is the way it is” — but don’t go into it. Tolkien wrote  numerous books taking place at various times in the history of Middle Earth. There are literally designations of time corresponding to various “ages” in Middle Earth’s history; the place has its own timeline. Tolkien went so far as to write a creation myth — The Silmarillion. Tolkien’s world is so complete that it feels like it actually existed at one time.

My problem, therefore, comes not from a lack of interest; I own all three Lord of the Rings movies in the 4 disc extended sets, I’m looking forward to the release of The Hobbit, I have the books, etc. But try as I might, I have never been able to read Tolkien. I got most of the way through The Hobbit but could never finish it. I’ve tried at various times to read the first LotR book, and never got past the Mines of Moria. It bugs me, because I know the stories and would love to read them. But I take issue with the fact that it takes hundreds of pages for anything to happen… and in the meantime, everyone spends a lot of time singing. It’s like it’s the singular hobby of everyone in Middle Earth to sing. “Oh, we’re walking between towns? Let’s sing!” “We’re in a pub? Let’s get drunk… and sing!!” I far prefer my stories to have… you know, story.

Let’s face it, you know there’s a problem when the gods who created the world sing the fuckin’ place into existence.

Tolkien should have been a songwriter if he was so obsessed with singing. I respect that Middle Earth is heavily comprised of peoples and cultures different from ours… but I honestly cannot fathom how Frodo ever got the ring into Mordor when he spent so much time singing. Genius though he was, I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to get into Tolkien’s work. I love music… but not when it keeps me from reading a story.


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