Is there an annotated Lord of the Rings?

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GaryEA
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Is there an annotated Lord of the Rings?

Post by GaryEA » Sep 20th 2003, 4:16 pm

So I'm trying to read "Fellowship of the Ring", and this is the type of literature - a combination of a rich and deep mythology with a very specific style of writing - that I apparently need all the help I can get. To give you an idea of what I'm talking about, it took me two years to read "Last of the Mohicans", and I gave up on "Dune".

Has there ever been annotated editions of the Rings books? I know "The Hobbit" has one out currently, but I've yet to see anything for Rings.

Thanks! :D

Gary

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lance
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Re: Is there an annotated Lord of the Rings?

Post by lance » Sep 21st 2003, 2:08 pm

GaryEA wrote:So I'm trying to read "Fellowship of the Ring", and this is the type of literature - a combination of a rich and deep mythology with a very specific style of writing - that I apparently need all the help I can get. To give you an idea of what I'm talking about, it took me two years to read "Last of the Mohicans", and I gave up on "Dune".

Has there ever been annotated editions of the Rings books? I know "The Hobbit" has one out currently, but I've yet to see anything for Rings.

Thanks! :D

Gary
Wow.

Are you looking for something like a cliff notes version? Many people have problems with the Lord of the Rings and Dune. Given that you probably should avoid the Silmarillon and Dune Messiah, Children of Dune, God Emperor of Dune, etc. Those are tough to follow.

I still haven't managed to get through all of the Silmarillion.

LanceMan

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Post by GaryEA » Sep 22nd 2003, 1:10 am

Hi lance (and thanks),

I'm not looking for a cliff's notes (and they are out there) guide, but something along the lines of the Hobbit Annotated edition, where notes about the characters or background information are provided in the margins of the pages.

From what I can tell, there are no editions like that, though Christopher Tolkien has a multi-volume series on how his father wrote the entire Middle Earth saga. I picked up "Return of the Shadow" today, his account of how J.R.R. started on LOTR, which should be fascinating.

I've heard a lot of people say that Simmarillion was a tough read. I wonder if that's because it's incomplete (well, somewhat), or it's just that dense, a la Dune.

Gary

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Post by MadMichael » Sep 22nd 2003, 6:21 am

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am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant."

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Post by mglenn » Sep 22nd 2003, 9:16 am

I cheated on Dune, I have it on unabridged audiobook from http://www.booksontape.com/, from which you can also rent it.
"When I disagree with a rational man, I let reality be our final arbiter; if I am right, he will learn; if I am wrong, I will; one of us will win, but both will profit." - Ayn Rand

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Post by Nostradamus » Sep 30th 2003, 2:48 am

For starters, I recall that at least some editions of the trilogy included several appendices after Return of the King. And, as already mentioned here, The Silmarillion contains a great deal of background on Middle Earth, but I didn't finish it either! I don't think there's anything wrong with it, but it is written in a rather dry, textbook style that can be a letdown after the dramatic pacing and personal involvement of the trilogy itself. From what little I remember, there are some juicy bits about the origins of the various races, the holders of the rings, and why someone always seems to be muttering a sad poem about the moldy ruins that inevitably crop up on windswept crags.

One of the things I like about the LOTR (and other fantasy/sci-fi epics, like Dune and Robert Jordan's massive Wheel of Time series) is the feeling of complete immersion that comes from a thoroughly fleshed out world and history. Many of the obscure references made in the books are not just tossed in as filler, but have actually been detailed elsewhere. You can certainly enjoy the story without them, but if you like, it can be interesting to go back and make the connections later.

For an interesting, if somewhat far-fetched analysis of LOTR from a psychological standpoint, you might try The Individuated Hobbit: Jung, Tolkien, and the Archetypes of Middle-Earth, by Timothy R. O'Neill. I didn't agree with all of the author's theories, but it was a good read, and an easy introduction to Jungian psychology.

Finally, Tolkien drew extensively from western and northern European history, particularly the pre-Christian cultures like the Celts and Vikings, so it wouldn't hurt to brush up on the anthropology and mythology in those areas.
I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure.
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I didn't attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it.
-- Mark Twain

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