Against The Lord of the Rings?

Here's what I had: a kid who started at The Boxcar Children, then went to Secrets of Droon, to Animorphs, to Warriors, and ever onward. There were many side trips: to all things Pokénon, an ongoing love affair with The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, many, many, many manga. A long, deep dance with The Sword in the Stone. The Princess Bride continues to make appearances. Throughout it all, Dungeons & Dragons has been, shall we say, an abiding interest.

If there was anything I thought I could predict, it was a trajectory. What did I see? I saw fantasy. Magic. Other worlds.

I sat back with my arms crossed and (possibly) a smug look on my face, and waited for The Hobbit to make its appearance, followed closely by The Lord of the Rings.

And waited.

And waited.

Then, a year or two ago, I asked her if she'd read The Hobbit. She had, she said. "Meh." I said, "Really?" Her dad said, "Try The Lord of the Rings. It's better."

She read The Lord of the Rings. "Meh."


Before I go further, full disclosure: I was not a Tolkien kid. My sister was. She had the full on "Come to Middle Earth" poster on her door, she read The Hobbit many, many times. And I don't know whether it felt like her turf, or I needed to assert my difference, but I just didn't go for it. I didn't like The Hobbit, I didn't even try Lord of the Rings

I've read Lord of the Rings as an adult and I really liked it, but that's a different thing, isn't it? But Diana? I kept waiting for her to discover them, it just seemed too obvious—inescapable! But it just didn't happen. There was no love, only indifference.

And then this year—things changed. She was in the middle of talking about something else and she said, "—so I was explaining why I hate Lord of the Rings, and then—."

"Wait, what?"

Yup. She will now go—happily!—on the record as being out and out against The Lord of the Rings. "But why?" I asked. And she knew! She said, "It is utterly without humor."

Wow. I just…. I don't remember thinking about books that way. And the thing is: she's not wrong, exactly. It's just that I didn't expect things to go like this. 

Being a parent is weird.

7 thoughts on “Against The Lord of the Rings?

  1. what about the part in Return of the King–after the battle of Pelennor Fields, I think–where Merry and Pippin are conversing and one addresses the other as “My dear ass.”
    And I think there are moments in the scouring of the shire that are humorous.
    What does Diana think of the lack of female characters in the Lord of the Rings?


  2. “Utterly without humour”. Brilliant (but I don’t agree!)
    Has she read Terry Pratchett then? My kids adore the Tiffany Aching and the Nac Mac Feegles Discworld books.


  3. I too could not get the Lord of the Rings. Maybe people are Hitchhiker/Pratchett-y or LOTR-y, but not often both? I think she’s spot on about the humor.
    Idle aside: Is she reading Wodehouse yet? I also think Jane Austen is hilarious, but I must admit it took me a while to find the humor that my mother assured me was there. That seems far afield from your discussion, but they live in the same folder in my brain sometimes. Sorry!


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