Dog Days Classics: Tolkien and Martin in Love and War

by Nemo Williams

Tropics of Meta

tolkien and martin

By the time I gave up on finishing The Lord of the Rings, I like to think that I had outlasted a good portion of those who try.

It was early on in The Return of the King, the third book of J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic fantasy series, when the cumulative weight of the sheer number of pages, the chapters full of elf poetry, and the walking—God, the endless walking—finally beat me down. My middle-school-aged brain, prompted by nothing in particular, told me that I was done.

This was unexpected. I had cruised through The Hobbit, a compact fairy tale that was divided into neat little easily digestible episodes. It was fast-paced, exciting and, though ostensibly a children’s book, contained hints of darkness that remain chilling. Though mostly tame in its contents, it was not a sanitized story. It had the fearsome attraction of a movie that I…

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