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Understanding the Lord of the Rings

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2004

    Don't bother

    Short version: There were so many inaccuracies about the story The Lord of the Rings itself, that credibility for this entire book is undermined. I was curious to see what information had been gleaned and distilled for this short little book. In my local library, the book is categorized as part of the 'Adult Literacy' collection: easy-to-read material with instructional or classic value. As a fan of Lord of the Rings, I expected to find no facts that were new to me, but I was hoping for a concise overview that I could recommend to others. What I found was an appalling collection of both explicit and implicit misinformation. I won't attempt to evaluate the chapters on 'Tolkien's Life and Works,' 'Influences and Sources of the Ring Trilogy,' or 'Major Themes Explored in the Trilogy' as I do not have the time to do research and fact-checking for these. But I will address the chapter that I DO know something about---'The Major Characters and Races.' As a former teacher, if a student had handed me a book report on LOTR with as many inaccuracies as the author included in this one chapter, I would have immediately questioned whether the student had even bothered to read the book. I don't think even a Cliff's Notes version would have made these mistakes. No one who knows LOTR would declare that 'Aragorn . . . hailed from the kingdom of Gondor' or that it was Aragorn who had 'fulfilled the promise of destroying the One Ring.' Only someone who had seen Peter Jackson's film The Two Towers but had never read Tolkien would write that 'During the War of the ring, Elrond sends his elves to fight against Sauron's evil hordes.' And only someone who had never read the story of Gollum nor yet seen it on screen would suggest that Smeagol 'eventually' [yes, that is the word used in this book!] murdered Deagol. Those are only four of many misstatements in this one chapter. So if the author and publisher allowed so many inaccuracies about the story and characters in LOTR, how many more errors were included in the background information and discussion of the work?

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