A few weeks back, I read The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers in succession for (only) the second time. Here is my insightful and unique and perspective-deepening review: They are absolutely wonderful.
Quick side note: After reading Tolkien for a couple hours one Saturday, I was desperate for some philosophy — something meaty I could sink my brain-teeth into. So I picked up Kripke’s Naming and Necessity and it was as enjoyable and thrilling as being immersed in the imaginary and epic story of Middle Earth. It’s funny how my reading brain craves imaginative and intellectual stimulation and will get annoyed at me if I spend too much time in either. This isn’t to say there aren’t philosophical elements or overtones in LOTR — all good fiction contains some philosophy — but I do so enjoy the rigorous articulating and laying out of principles, assumptions, and rationally argued conclusions of pure, focused, no-frills philosophy.
But I very much digress. (Lady Philosophy charms me into rhapsody sometimes.)
So much of Tolkien is worth quoting, but a couple passages had me scrambling for my phone so I could make a note and return to them. Without commentary, I give you my favorite of Tolkien (from FOTR and TTT, anyway!):
Torment in the dark was the danger I feared, and it did not hold me back. But I would not have come had I known the danger of light and joy.The Fellowship of the Ring
There are some things it is better to begin than to refuse, even though the end may be dark.The Two Towers
But perhaps you could call her perilous because she’s so strong in herself.The Two Towers
I was talking aloud to myself. A habit of the old: they choose the wisest person present to speak to; the long explanations needed by the young are wearying.The Two Towers
Be not too eager to deal out death in the name of justice, fearing for your own safety. Even the wise cannot see all ends.The Two Towers