Thoughts on The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

I just finished reading The Lord of the Rings. I started this the week between Christmas and New Years - some five months ago. 1,008 pages in the printing that I read (see below).

I have the impression that a good, serious reader and fan of science fiction and fantasy is supposed to read Tolkien's classic when in high school. I guessed I missed out. At 50, I may be too old to read this.

What really "ruined" the books for me is that I saw the movies before reading the books. While reading, I would be confused because I was thinking of what I saw in the movie and wondering why I wasn't reading that in the book. Let me write the obligatory words, "The books are better than the movies." There, now Tolkien fans won't crash this web site.

I also started searching the net for writing about Tolkien's writing. Overwhelming. Wikipedia alone has what seems like volumes on The Rings Trilogy.

I am glad that I waited until age 50 to read the trilogy. Perhaps God wanted me to wait. I found a lot of religious significance these past five months while reading. I doubt I would have done so at age 16. For example, I have a much greater appreciation for the Psalms now than I did before reading the trilogy. Those songs the trilogy characters would sing and create and dream of some one else creating. They desired to be remembered in a song. Those are the Psalms of the Bible. That is what David was doing when he wrote Psalms. He was recording the trials and triumphs of serving God. It must have been a thrill to be alive in David's time and to hear something of your life and relationship with David sung in a Psalm.

Have you ever heard a hymn sung about an event that you were involved in personally? We don't do those kinds of things anymore.

The symbolism in the trilogy came to life. The wind blew from this direction and that depending on the swings in battles and the war. We sometimes feel good and evil ebbing as a tide. In the trilogy, the characters saw it and felt it.

Tolkien was a Christian. He helped persuade C.S. Lewis to become one. It must have been fun to sit with them in Oxford and hear them talk about their writings. Then again, maybe that is a writer's fantasy. Perhaps they only spoke of the weather and university politics.

So, 1,008 pages behind me. The story is finished. Perhaps I will read some more of Tolkien or perhaps some Lewis. Maybe I will go back to reading about engineering (my chosen profession).

For now, I am thankful for having read Tolkien.

The printing the trilogy had these three volumes: 1 2 3