The Hobbit & The Lord of the Rings

ISBN: 0345538374
ISBN 13: 9780345538376
By: J.R.R. Tolkien

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About this book

This four volume, deluxe paperback boxed set contains J.R.R. Tolkien's epic masterworks The Hobbit and the three volumes of The Lord Of The Rings (The Fellowship Of The Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return Of The King) in their definitive text settings complete with maps and cover illustrations from the motion pictures. In The Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins is whisked away from his comfortable, unambitious life in Hobbiton by the wizard Gandalf and a company of dwarves. He finds himself caught up in a plot to raid the treasure hoard of Smaug the Magnificent, The Lord Of The Rings tells of the great and dangerous quest undertaken by Frodo Baggins and the Fellowship of the Ring: Gandalf the wizard; the hobbits Merry, Pippin, and Sam; Gimli the dwarf; Legolas the elf; Boromir of Gondor; and a tall, mysterious stranger called Strider. J.R.R. Tolkien's three volume masterpiece is at once a classic myth and a modern fairy tale - a story of high and heroic adventure set in the unforgettable landscape of Middle-Earth.

Reader's Thoughts

Rose

This series was fantastic. The artwork by Alan Lee was beautiful too. That Tolkien imagined this wonderful world so long ago is amazing! He was ahead of his time in creativity & imagination. Seems to me he paved the way for other writers to embrace & run with their imaginations & creativity & even bogus ideas. My beloved Harry Potter series for example is a definite distant relative to Lord of the Rings. They always compare Harry Potter to the Twilight saga but they aren't similar in the least. It is however evident to me that J.K. Rowling has definitely read, & most definitely enjoyed, LOTR. & since Harry Potter is my favorite series ever I also enjoyed LOTR. I recommend this series to anyone wanting to defy reality for a while & enter a magical world full of brave souls full of heart & wonderful senses of humor that will bring a smile to your face every few pages. I shall now give the movies a chance & see how well they fared in comparison to these wonderful books.

Scott

This series is the Yardstick by which I measure all Fantasy stories. Fantastic story-telling, far ahead of its time in the genre. Many an author has stood on the shoulders of Tolkien to try to weave their magic, though few have done so in a way that have equaled his work. Two series have, in my opinion rivaled and one surpassed Tolkien's tales. Though both stood upon his shoulders to get there. Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series struck me and began to rival and then surpass Tolkien as I read it. Something I did not believe would ever be possible. Though the series flagged a bit and is now being finished by Brandon Sanderson.The Series I believe has TRULY SURPASSED Tolkien(while standing upon his shoulders, among others) is The Dark Tower Series by Stephen King. The series blew me away! It left me with the same feeling I had after reading Tolkien, that this was it. The apotheosis of all stories, and that there would never be another that would carry me away so fully and be so deeply rewarding.

Linda Edmondson

My favoritestest series ever!!! I could lose myself in Middle Earth forever. I have read this series cover to cover during every life changing, painful period of my life. Yes, I have read it seven times.

Owen

Given that Tolkien did not just invent a world, new creatures and weapons, but invented an actual freaking language, he gets 5 stars from me (I'm sure he was anxiously awaiting my approval). I could do without the 80 pages on tobacco production, but Tolkien wasn't writing a story; he was writing a history of a place that had never existed. I resisted reading them for years as I thought they were a level of dork I was not ready for. Then I saw the first movie and had to know what happened. I'm so happy I did (if I had only seen the movie's incredibly poor tactical decisions I would have thought Tolkien a moron). An incredible work.

J.C.

Well, I don't really have this boxed set, but of course I've read all the books. I get more out of them with each re-reading. Tolkien would be one of those guys who, if I could invite any 3 people to have dinner with, would get a seat at the table.

Heather's Mum

Who can resist the charm of J. R. R. Tolkien's brave little hairy toed Hobbits, awesome Gandalf the Grey, Aragorn, Tom Bombadil, Elf-lord Glorfindel, Half-elven lord Elrond, beautiful Arwen, Boromir, Lady Galadriel, Gimli the Dwarf, and Legolas the Elf.Tolkien describes Hobbits: "I picture a fairly human figure, not a kind of fairy rabbit as some of my British reviewers seem to fancy: fattish in the stomach, shortish in the leg. A round, jovial face; ears only slightly pointed and 'elvish'; hair short and curling (brown). The feet from the ankles down, covered with brown hairy fur. Clothing: green velvet breeches; red or yellow waistcoat; brown or green jacket; gold (or brass) buttons; a dark green hood and cloak (belonging to a dwarf)." Even Hobbit names are whimsical and bring on a smile. Bilbo Baggins Frodo Baggins Samwise "Sam" Gamgee Meriadoc "Merry" Brandybuck Peregrin "Pippin" Took Fredegar "Fatty" BolgerRecipe for IRREPRESSIBLE, SPELL-BINDING literary entertainment:Find featured, always hungry Hobbits in hobbit-holes in a Shire and/or at Birthday celebration. Mix with good & bad Wizards, Elves, Dwarves, a magical gold ring everyone wants, Orcs, terrifying Ringwraiths, a once "of hobbit-kind" creature called Gollum, a demon Balrog, a giant spider named Shelob, tree-like Ents, Humans, huge elephant-like Oliphaunts and Trolls. Then throw in lots of adventures, battles, magic, love, death, humor, loyalty, friendship, tears and fear. Arrange all ingredients to make the reader stay up for days... unwilling to do anything but read the next sentence, next paragraph, next page, next chapter, then next book until you finally wave goodbye to Bilbo, Frodo, Gandolph and the elves as they ... read the books and find out!!

Madelene Shepherd

It might be a classic, but there are many who have stern reservations about reading this series, partially I suspect due to its length... Well my answer to this is simply: DON'T BE LAZY!My journey within Middle Earth stated as young teenager - my parents gave me 'The Hobbit' as a Christmas present one year and my father and I decided we'd enjoy it together. I think it was the last book he ever read me as a 'bedtime story', but we embarked on the adventures of Bilbo Baggins together and absolutely loved every minute of it! The Hobbit was a stunning example of fantasy and adventure writing at its best. One event after another, crisis after epic excitement, wonder at the enormity of the main character's daring and courage.I am only sorry it took me so long to pursue the ongoing tale of the hobbits at Bagend. The Lord of the Rings was definitely a further step up the scale though. I will not deny that The Lord of the Rings trilogy is a difficult read in terms of perseverance (hence 4 stars). I have always been an avid reader and there were a couple of times as I went through my teens that I picked up the Fellowship of the Ring and gave up before I could really get my teeth into it. Indeed, I didn't finish the trilogy until I was in my early 20s and I'm not ashamed to admit that I was actually quite proud of myself for having finally completed this mammoth journey with Frodo and his companions. I read about 2/3rds of the trilogy in one block in the end as I decided to forbid myself to watch the epic films again until I was done with the books because I knew that every time I grew impatient for the story to continue without wanting to spend the time or the energy reading it, I'd watch the films and that would result in me not feeling the need to continue the book for a good while. I say all this to illustrate a point - don't give up! It's totally worth it!The Lord of the Rings is filled with new troubles and adventures. At first the idea of following several characters quite separately may be quite unusual, even a little daunting. But it truly brings the world of Middle Earth to life! You get a true feel for the scale and even the politics of such a creation by journeying through it with different companions, each with a different purpose. The struggles and hardships are of such importance and value to both the reader and the characters by the end of the journey, Tolkien has spoken volumes about friendship, love, bravery, honour, loyalty, deceit...you name it, its all there.These books are a must read, wherever you are in your lifetime.

Richard Bennett

These are the benchmark by which I judge all other Fantasy Fiction stories.

Tom

My third time to read The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I read all the poetry and verse this time. I loved these books. They are so different from the typical fiction of this genre. These were so well written, so well thought through. I love how they teach loyalty, fidelity, duty, and love of things more than self. They connect back to the greatness of the past. One other thing, we see that evil gets nervous also and that it will eventually collapse in on itself. In many pieces that show good and evil, good win almost by luck and by "tricking" evil in some way. Good will always win as long as there are good men and women willing to give of self for the better good.

Elise Stokes

Tolkien's imagination astounds me. I was thoroughly pulled into the mythical world he creates, and appreciated how he masterfully wove his personal faith throughout, especially in Frodo's quest. A must read for all ages.

Nevey Badr

If my life would be writen between the pages of a book; I wish it be the Lord of the ring. By the master's pen; all became real, so Hail to my inspiration Tolkien who made me feel the beauty of words. Hail...

Lizzie

Some will shout with joy, others will scream in derision. However, we can all agree on one thing:It's long.

Arthur Graham

See my review of Narnia, yo.

Riju Ganguly

This is not the first edition of this book that I had read. I had LOTR & The Hobbit long-back, in different editions, at different stages of mind. Before the movies had been released, LOTR/H used to be our own secret garden where we could have escaped any time we liked, but now oue own images have been replaced or landscaped by Peter Jackson. Nevertheless, if you think that G.R.R. martin is the last word in terms of writing fantastically entertaining fantasy, then read this book, and change your opinion, for ever. Highly recommended (esp. this version, since it brings together everything in a rather convenient and yet pleasant manner).

Keely

Writers who inspire a genre are usually misunderstood. Tolkien's reasons for writing were completely unlike those of the authors he inspired. He didn't have an audience, a genre, and scores of contemporaries. There was a tradition of high adventure fairy tales, as represented by Eddison, Dunsany, Morris, MacDonald, Haggard, and Kipling, but this was only part of what inspired Tolkien.His writing was chiefly influenced by his familiarity with the mythological traditions of the Norse and Welsh cultures. While he began by writing a fairy story with The Hobbit and other early drafts, his later work became a magical epic along the lines of the Eddas. As a translator, Tolkien was intimately knowledgeable with these stories, the myths behind them, and the languages that underpinned them, and endeavored to recreate their form.Contrarily, those who have followed in his footsteps since have tended to be inspired by a desire to imitate him. Yet they failed to do what Tolkien did because they did not have a whole world of mythic tradition, culture, and language to draw on. They mimicked his style, but did not understand his purpose, and hence produced merely empty facsimiles.If they had copied merely the sense of wonder or magnificence, then they might have created perfectly serviceable stories of adventure, but they also copied those parts of Tolkien which do not fit a well-built, exciting story--like his work's sheer length. Tolkien made it 'okay' for writers of fantasy to produce books a thousand pages long, and to write many of them in succession. Yet Tolkien's length had a purpose, it was not merely an affectation.Tolkien needed this length in order to reproduce myth. The Eddas were long and convoluted because they drew from many different stories and accounts, combined over time by numerous story-tellers and eventually compiled by scribes. The many digressions, conflicts, repetitions, asides, fables, songs, and minutiae of these stories came together organically. Each had a purpose, even if they didn't serve the story, they were part of a grand and strange world. Epics often served as encyclopedias for their age, teaching history, morals, laws, myth, and geography--as may be seen in Homer or The Bible.This was the purpose of all of Tolkien's long, dull songs, the litany of troop movements, the lines of lineage, the snippets of didactic myths, and side-adventures. To create a realistically deep and complicated world, he felt he needed to include as many diverging views as the original myths had. He was being true to a literary convention--though not a modern one, and not one we would call a 'genre'.He gave characters similar names to represent other historical traditions: that of common prefixes or suffixes, of a house line adopting similar names for fathers, sons, and brothers. An author who copies this style without that linguistic and cultural meaning just makes for a confusing story, breaking the sensible rule that main characters should not have similar names.Likewise, in a well-written story, side-characters should be kept to the minimum needed to move the plot and entertain the reader with a variety of personalities. It is another rule Tolkien breaks, because he is not interested in an exciting, driving pace. He wants the wealth of characters to match the number of unimportant side characters one would expect from a historical text.The only reason he sometimes gets away with breaking such sensible rules of storytelling is that he often has a purpose for breaking them, and is capable of drawing on his wealth of knowledge to instill further depth and richness in his world. Sometimes, when he slowed his story down with such asides, they did not have enough purpose to merit inclusion, a flaw in pacing which has only increased with modern authors.But underneath all of that, Tolkien does have an appealing and exciting story to tell, of war and succession and moral struggles--the same sort of story that has been found in our myths since the very earliest writings of man. He does not create a straight monomyth, because, like Milton, he presents a hero divided. Frodo takes after the Adam, placing strength in humility and piety, not martial might or wit. Aragorn is an attempt to save the warlike, aristocratic hero whom Milton criticized in his portrayal of Satan.Yet unlike Satan, we do not get an explanation of what makes Strider superior, worthy, or--more importantly--righteous. And in this, Tolkien's attempt to recreate the form of the Eddas is completely at odds with the Christian, romantic moral content with which he fills the story. This central schism makes his work much less true to the tradition than Anderson's The Broken Sword , which was published the same year.Not only does Tolkien put forth a vision of chaste, humble, 'everyman' heroes who persevere against temptation through piety, he also presents a world of dualistic good and evil, of eternal, personal morality, prototypical of the Christian worldview, particularly the post-Miltonic view. His characters are bloodless, chaste, and noble--and if that nobility is sometimes that of simple, hard-working folk, all the better for his Merrie England analogue.More interesting than these is his portrayal of Gollum, one of the few characters with a deep psychological contradiction. In some ways, his central, conflicted role resembles Eddison's Lord Gro, whose work inspired Tolkien. But even this internal conflict is dualistic. Unlike Gro, Gollum is not a character with an alternative view of the world, but fluctuates between the hyperbolic highs and lows of Tolkien's morality.It is unfortunate that both good and evil seem to be external forces at work upon man, because it removes much of the agency and psychological depth of the characters. There is a hint of very alien morality in the out-of-place episode of Tom Bombadil, expressing the separation between man and fairy that Dunsany's work epitomized. Bombadil is the most notorious remainder of the fantastical roots of Tolkien's story which he painstakingly removed in editing in favor of Catholic symbology.Yet despite internal conflicts, there is something respectable in what he achieved, and no fantasy author has yet been capable of comprehending what Tolkien was trying to do and innovating upon it. The best modern writers of fantasy have instead avoided Tolkien, concentrating on other sources of inspiration. The dullards of fantasy have merely rehashed and reshuffled the old tropes back and forth, imagining that they are creating something.One cannot entirely blame Tolkien because Jordan, Martin, Goodkind, Paolini, Brooks, and Salvatore have created a genre out of his work which is unoriginal, cloying, escapist, and sexually unpalatable (if often successful). At least when Tolkien is dull, ponderous, and divergent, he is still achieving something.These authors are mostly trying to fix a Tolkien they don't understand, trying to make him easy to swallow. The uncomfortable sexuality is an attempt to repair the fact that Tolkien wrote a romance where the two lovers are thousands of miles apart for most of the story. Even a libertine like me appreciates Tolkien's chaste, distant, longing romance more than the obsessively fetishistic consummation that has come to define sexuality in the most repressive and escapist genre this side of four-color comic books.I don't think Tolkien is a great writer, I don't even think he is one of the greater fantasy writers. He was a stodgy old Tory, and the Shire is his false golden age of 'Merrie Olde England'. His romance wasn't romantic, and his dualistic moralizing cheapened the story. His attempt to force Christian theology onto a heroic epic is as problematic and conflicted as monks' additions to Beowulf. Tolkien's flaws have been well-documented by notable authors, from Moorcock's 'Epic Pooh' to Mieville's adroit analysis, but for all that, he was no slouch. Even if we lament its stolid lack of imagination, The Lord of the Rings is the work of a careful and deliberate scholar of language, style, and culture. It is the result of a lifetime of collecting and applying knowledge, which is a feat to behold. Each time the moon is mentioned, it is in the proper phase as calculated from the previous instance. Calendar dates and distances are calculated. Every name mentioned has a meaning and a past. I have even heard that each description of a plant or stone was carefully researched to represent the progression of terrain, though I can find no support for this theory.Yet what good is that to a story? It may be impressive as a thought exercise, but to put that much time and work into the details instead of fixing and streamlining the frame of the story itself seems entirely backwards to me. But for all that The Lord of the Rings may be dull, affected, and moralistic, it is Tolkien's, through and through.My Fantasy Book Suggestions

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