I’m reading The Lord of the Rings trilogy for the first time. I inwardly cringed when I wrote that, as I cringe whenever anyone asks me what I’m reading right now.
Despite his reputation among the beloved Inklings and many others I admire, I’ve always lumped Tolkien in with Dungeons and Dragons and Renaissance fairs, or at least with fanatical teenaged boys.
The Peter Jackson adaptations didn’t do much to convince me otherwise. They came out when I was in graduate school, and when I saw them I was unmoved. I realize now I was mostly uncomprehending—so much that gives the story its emotional heft is necessarily glossed over in whispers and asides—and distracted by the violence.