How good are the Lord of the rings books in your honest opinion?

I will probably pickup the fellowship tommorrow. I read the hobbit as a kid and can't remember if the following trilogy was also meant for younger readers. Or if Tolkien's popularity comes from the influence the books had rather than their quality.

5 Answers

  • Lomax
    Lv 4
    1 month ago
    Favourite answer

    The Lord of the Rings grabbed hold of my imagination at an impressionable age, and has never let go several decades later. It will be my favourite book until I die.

    Note "favourite." By no means do I regard it the as best book ever written, merely the one that has given me the most pleasure down the years.It's gestation was curious. It started out as a sequel to The Hobbit in the same style, but more and more of Tolkien's (much older) mythos got sucked in. The result is something darker and more magnificent. The tone of the writing changes - quite deliberately - over the course of the novel. It starts out rather chatty (a bit like The Hobbit), but ends up almost mythic.

    Yes, it is the cornerstone of modern fantasy. There is not a single fantasy book written since that doesn't owe it a great deal. This is not to say that Tolkien invented the genre (E R Edison and Lord Dunsany were two of his precursors), but he did make it what is is now. Without LotR there would be no Wheel of Time or Song of Ice and Fire, for example.

    Some of Tolkien's successors have been mere imitators, other have created something new out of the landscape he created. The fact remains, however, that Tolkien did it first, and very few have done it better.

    Oh, and LotR is NOT a trilogy, but a single novel that was originally published in three volumes. A nerdish distinction, perhaps, but there you have it. 

  • 1 month ago

    I think the books are very good.

  • 1 month ago

    I read the Lord of the Rings books before I read the The Hobbit and after I'd seen the first film.  The LotR isn't as good as the H', but it's still a good read.

  • Zac Z
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    How come you ask this question an hour after you talk about how you read the books and that their content "despite it's length, it held my attention all the way through":

    If you'd read the books you'd know that they are targeted at an older audience than "The Hobbit".

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  • Andrew
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    It has never crossed my mind to give them some sort of definitive ranking. I first read them when I was quite young and have re-read them several times over the years, the last time being ten or so years ago. 

    It's true that "The Lord of the Rings" is widely seen as being the quintessential work of the fantasy genre. There are many other books and series that are well-known and respected, but Tolkien's works are often elevated above the others and seen as being the granddaddy of them all. 

    I think that when it comes to fantasy, there are three things to consider when gauging the quality of a book - how creative and immersive the fictional universe happens to be, how compelling the plots and characters happen to be, and how good the writing happens to be. 

    I think Tolkien was rather longwinded in many respects, and while there's nothing wrong with detail, we don't really need the back-story on every stone and twig in Middle Earth to be able to enjoy the tale being told, but Tolkien seemed to think that his readers might require several thousand years of back-story in painstaking detail, and admittedly it does get old after a while to listen to people introducing themselves to one another and going through several pages of "I am the son of __________ of __________ who was in turn the son of __________ of __________..." 

    I think a lot of the aura and the atmosphere that he created would have been better served with more of a sense of mystery, but I suppose that doesn't really detract from the overall quality, though it certainly makes things a lot more confusing with all of those names and places and details of events. 

    As with nearly any other work that incorporates such a large cast of characters and branches off into so many different plots and sub-plots, some of them were more engaging and interesting than others, but the characters that do hit home with me are well evoked in my mind. I think Tolkien was a fine storyteller, but I think it's abundantly clear that there are bits that made it into the story because he was adamant about featuring one aspect or another of his created languages into the saga. Have a butcher's at the appendix and see how practically every main character has two or three names - one in the Common Tongue, one in their own language, and possibly one or more names in other languages as well. That definitely contributes to a bloated feel here and there. 

    Lastly, I wouldn't consider Tolkien a master prose stylist by any means. That's not to say that I don't think he was a talented writer, but I certainly wouldn't elevate him to being particularly brilliant, even by the standards of the fantasy genre. He was certainly better than a lot of other authors, but there are still quite a few who could write circles around him. One that comes to mind is Mervyn Peake who was infinitely superior just in terms of the quality of the prose and the appeal of the style. 

    "The Lord of the Rings" wouldn't make my short list of the Top Ten, the Top Twenty, or the Top Fifty novels of all time. It probably wouldn't even make it into the Top One Hundred. But the again, neither would any of "The Chronicles of Narnia" or "Discworld" or "His Dark Materials" or "A Song of Ice and Fire" either. 

    "Gormenghast" most certainly would though. 

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