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Dec 02

Return of the King

After a year’s interruption, I concluded reading the Lord of the Rings trilogy. In typical Tolkien style, it meanders a bit in places, but soon snaps back to moving onwards. In terms of intensity and action, each successive book elevates the stakes and level of action, which can only bode well for the sensory feast that awaits us in the movies. It is interesting that Tolkien tends to step further back, the larger the battle is. The siege of Minas Tirith is mainly a summarised account, heard from behind the front lines, although if Tolkien had paused to describe the battle details, the book’s length may very well have doubled. For Peter Jackson, it gives him a lot more freedom in portraying the audio visual spectacle of war.

Although the writing style of Tolkien is somewhat aged (although this lends a medievalist feel to the tale), idiosyncratic, not always ‘exciting’, and mechanical in its descriptions of the environment, the work is definitely a classic – purely because of its scale, imagination, richness and depth. It’s true fantasy, unlike Harry Potter, which is simply competently written fantasy that has been marketed with inordinate skill.

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