Blogging A to Z Day 14: The Lord of the Rings

The Lord of the Rings is my favorite fantasy story. My mother read it to me when I was eight. She read me The Hobbit when I was six. I begged her to read LOTR for a year and a half until I persuaded her I was old enough to understand it and keep up.

A few years later I picked it up and read it on my own and the appendices gave me my first glimpse into the art of world building. My secret codes in middle school were all substitution ciphers using Tolkien’s alphabets. By the time I was 17, I was building my own world.

Two things set the Lord of the Rings apart from other fantasy epics set in constructed worlds. It’s set on this very planet in prehistoric times, and Tolkien used the languages as the starting point for building the world. That’s a neat trick if you can pull it off; I knew better than to even try it, and started with realistic geography instead.

When Diana and I started blogging in 2013, I decided to do a short series about The Lord of the Rings for Part Time Monster. That series is now in its 18th installment, and you can find the whole thing archived here. I’m planning to start it back up, and hopefully finish it, sometime this summer.

If you’re on the hunt for great Tolkien-related internet content, you might want to check out Sweating to Mordor, A Tolkienist’s Perspective, The Leather Library, and Middle Earth News. I follow them all and check in with them as often as I can. And do stop back by on April 23 to read what I have to say about the good professor himself.


51 thoughts on “Blogging A to Z Day 14: The Lord of the Rings

  1. Ooh, I’ll definitely be back on the 23rd if we’ll be discussing Tolkien 🙂 What a fine, fine choice for the letter T! Lord of the Rings is one of my favourites too, though I have a soft spot for The Hobbit because it was my first 😉 I’ll juggle things round on the 23rd because Age of Ultron comes out (just had to get that in!) Great post.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. “PIPPIN: I didn’t think it would end this way.
    GANDALF: End? No, the journey doesn’t end here. Death is just another path, one that we all must take. The grey rain-curtain of this world rolls back, and all turns to silver glass, and then you see it.

    PIPPIN: What? Gandalf? See what?

    GANDALF: White shores, and beyond, a far green country under a swift sunrise.

    PIPPIN: Well, that isn’t so bad.

    GANDALF: No. No, it isn’t.”
    ― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

    Great Book , great post!

    Liked by 4 people

  3. I read part of Lord of the Rings when I was about 11, and I got as far as the swamp full of dead people, at which point I was so terrified I blanked out the entire story. I read the book again when I got it for my 14th birthday, and I absolutely loved it – it was also absolutely new, because I didn’t remember a thing, not even that it was fantasy XD This was before the movies came out, which I am really grateful for. I was a huge Tolkien fan all through high school. I am kind of over the active fangirling now, but I still care 🙂

    @TarkabarkaHolgy from
    Multicolored Diary – Epics from A to Z
    MopDog – 26 Ways to Die in Medieval Hungary

    Liked by 2 people

    • I got as far as The Departure of Boromir when I was 11 and reading on my own, so you did way better. I was about 14 when I finally read the thing for myself from start to finish.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. It’s always been a particular annoyance to me that Mom didn’t read these aloud when I was young, too. But I got there anyway, because I just couldn’t stand listening to you guys talk about the books without knowing what you were talking about. lol

    Liked by 4 people

    • This is what happened: I couldn’t stand listening to her talking to her friends about it so I insisted on being read to. I understand.

      And yes, you missed out. It is different when you hear it aloud, before you are old enough to read it for yourself.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. I grew up reading everything I could get my hands on. I think I was in 6th grade when I found the LOTR. I’ve loved fantasy every since. Although, Asimov and science fiction are my first love as a reader.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m a fantasy guy all the way. Didn’t really get into sci-fi until I was in my 20s.

      Here’s a sci-fi book I love: “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.” Do you know that one?

      Liked by 2 people

      • Great book – and another one that seems to have its grounding in language before everything else! Sadly I don’t think I have a reference to it for A to Z this month, but there’s room for it on my U or X posts I think… ah well.


    • haha! Very good. So do I. I have the set I use when I need to trace page references, and the set I was read from as a little kid that no one is allowed to touch — not even me. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Well wow! I knew you loved LOTR but i did not know why. 🙂 I read the LOTR books only after I’d seen one of the movies. I was about 18 when I did read them. It really is an excellent series of books to read. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. The Lord of the Rings may be the only novel I will never read on an electronic device (Kindle, tablet, etc.). I fear it would cheapen the experience of appreciating the masterpiece.

    Liked by 2 people

    • urrr . . . I might use an e-copy to trace references because it is very convenient to look up page numbers with the phone. But no. Would not sit down to read them with the Kindle. The feel of the paper beneath one’s fingertips adds something to the experience.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. You have a wonderful mother if she read that entire story to you! I love to read out loud, but I admit that long of a book might give me troubles. I first read it when I was ten and was gripped right from Bilbo’s birthday party.

    Liked by 2 people

    • it took weeks, if not months, but yes she did, and she is wonderful.

      I am amazed by the ages some of the people on this thread got through it on their own at. I couldn’t do it when I was 11. (I tried).

      Liked by 1 person

      • I can’t claim I understood all of it, but I was able to get through it (and was biting my nails during Frodo and Sam’s journey). It was a better read when I tackled it the second time.


  9. So, I liked all the comments and will answer them all in awhile. I am so glad to find this many people having things to say about LOTR!

    I’m a bit behind on my thread-answering, and the series finale of Justified is almost upon me, and I MUST watch it, because once that series is finished, I have no reason to not cut the cable cord and be a Netflix/Amazon/Hulu sort of dude.

    Gotta go get this done so I can disrupt the cable billing cycle while I am having my coffee tomorrow. See you awesome peeps in a bit.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. There’s so much to say about these books – Hobbit included – that, with your series, the links to other blogs about it, and decades of scholarship on the subject, it’s still not enough. I like Stephen King’s remark on how important the books are (paraphrasing): Generations of fantasy writers have tried to bring Sam and Frodo back from the Grey Havens, because Tolkien is no longer around to do it for them.

    I like these books. These are good books.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. I loved the Appendixes. It completely softened the blow of that story, with all of its characters, ending. I have only the utmost respect for Tolkein’s vision and ability. It’s hard to create a world in that genre after him!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Have my original copies from the 1970s and still re-read them. LOTR has always been my No 1 book, although it wasn’t the first Tolkien writing that I discovered – nor was that The Hobbit. No sure what Beowulf The Monster and the Critcs says about my reading habits though?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have 70s copies — the boxed set with Tolkien’s own art decorating them. They are the ones I was read from as a child, but they are in such bad shape, I rarely take them out of the box, and do not allow other people to touch them. They’re a relic of sorts, at this point.


      • Definite relic. Mine are the hardbacks that I bought in my mid teens – they’re aging nicely on the edges. Might have to buy a modern edition for re-reading.


  13. I resisted any kind of fantasy until I was in my twenties. Just upset I was so stubborn for so so long. I had no idea what I was missing out on.
    I have rectified that though, reading LOTR and The Hobbit many times in the last eight years.
    I have listened to the audio books. That’s how I first heard the story because didn’t have easy access to the books in braille. I am currently reading Fellowship with my brother, in braille, on his display.
    I would love to own actual print copies of all the books, just because I love books in general and these books specifically, but I don’t have all the money in the world, unfortunately, to buy things I can’t see. Maybe one day, when I have enough cash to set aside. I love owning books when I can.
    BTW: ow was Justified?
    Saw the first three or four seasons with my ex, but haven’t gotten a hold of the show recently. Basic cable for you. Guess I’m going to have to search them out on that pesky thing known as the Internet.


  14. Pingback: Ten Bloggers. 26 Blogging A to Z Posts. All on One Blog. | Sourcerer

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