Book Reviews

Rereading The Lord of the Rings

“I can’t imagine a man really enjoying a book and reading it only once.” C.S. Lewis

I’ve just finished reading J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings for maybe the 10th time. I’ve read it so many times because it moves me like no other book (besides the Bible). I actually want to be in the story.

And here’s what moves me and draws me back every few years.

First I love the characters. They are noble, humble, live sacrificially and fun-loving. We, however, live in a cynical and jaded world where we’ve come to believe that no one is capable of living for something greater than themselves. Even Peter Jackson’s movie version affirms this view by his portrayal of some of the characters. But Tolkien’s characters provide us hope that it’s possible that the world and Jackson are wrong and we can live above the cynicism that surrounds us.

Speaking of worlds, I also love the world in which the story takes place. I want to live in a world, like the Shire and Middle Earth, where the love of family, friends and the land seem so rooted and intertwined. Instead we live in a transient world where we’re disconnected from each other and creation. To believe a different life’s possible, one as Tolkien created, has a powerful draw.

Finally it has one of the elements I love in any story – a grand adventure. I’m an adventurer at heart and this story has the ultimate adventure – to do the impossible, at any cost, for the sake of others and the world.

So I know I’ll read The Lord of the Rings again someday because I’ll want the old magic to once again rekindle within me the desire for a different world, Tolkien’s, and ours.

In my next post I’ll share some of my favorite quotes from The Lord of the Rings.


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