Tolkien is too big, and too well-known for a simple review. For me, he is the god of the genre, chief of the pantheon, and I don’t accept dissent here. What irks me the most, is any criticism of LotR as not being realistic. It’s not Stendhal, people… But that’s not what I want to talk about today.
Tolkien mythos is way more than Hobbit and The Trilogy, published before his death in 1973. They were finished and polished (almost) to their creator’s satisfaction, but there was so much more. And Christopher Tolkien might not be a giant of his father’s calibre, not even Guy Gavriel Kay, who helped to prepare The Silmarillion for publication, is, but we would be poorer if they didn’t prepare and publish it. And the rest of it, it’s actually quite interesting when we get all the unfinished and lost stories. Children of Húrin might have been a step too far, but even of that I’m not sure. It’s not Tolkien at his best, it’s only partially J.R.R. Tolkien at all, but it might be a nice supplementary reading for someone who’d shy away from The Silmarillion.
Anyway, LotR and Hobbit are only glimpses into the Middle Earth. Not the greatest adventures, not the biggest heroes, and maybe that was Tolkien’s conscious decision, but I always wanted more. Not better, it’s great enough, but more. And from all his creation I always loved elves the most.
And who’s the fairest of them? Luthien. But Galadriel is not far behind her, and was so long before Cate Blanchett played her in Jackon’s movies. Not that it didn’t help.
If someone only knows The Trilogy, it’s easy to complain that seemingly insignificant little hobbits got most of the spotlight. When we go beyond that, it’s clear how they fit into larger context and also the actions of other characters are easier to understand.
When it comes to Galadriel, Jeff LaSala recently posted The Trial of Galadriel, an excellent essay on her on Tor.com that I heartily recommend it, if a re-read of of Collected Tolkien is out of the question for you right now…
It’s been a few years since my last re-read. But once I finish Heroes, and Shadow of the Apt, and new McClellan, and…
Heh, I want my Galadriel: The Movie.