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some books on Amazon.com a couple of weeks ago I noticed a "review" of
Lord of the Rings which made me really furious. In a fit of rage I wrote
a chunk of text to slap the guy who wrote it with, but the censors at
Amazon told me they couldn't publish it because "it didn't focus on reviewing
the book". I'll leave any expletives out here for the sake of decency.
So not to waste the time spent writing it, here is the page with the "review" I'm talking about (scroll down
to the one by "A reader from Spokane, WA United States"), and my reply
"Oh please. It looks like a "review" written by an unhappy powergaming
munchkin that didn't get his dose of sex, magic and swordfights in the
first 10 pages and therefore decided that the whole book sucks and simply
isn't even worth reading. He even goes on to compare it to D&D...
For God's sake, people who don't realize that there wouldn't BE any D&D
or the fantasy genre to compare it with if LOTR didn't exist simply should
not be allowed to voice their opinions.
I know many people who love the story but aren't especially enthusiastic
about Tolkien's poetry, but that doesn't make the rest of the book any
You simply cannot judge Lord of the Rings by today's standards for fantasy
because this epic masterpiece was written over 50 years ago by a pioneer
in the genre. To achieve something similar to what Tolkien did is something
all of the modern fantasy authors strive to do, but few even come close.
Reading that review made me think of Beowulf, which was regarded as total
nonsense and not worth bothering with in the literary sense only a couple
decades ago, but these days everyone realizes how important the work was.
I'm sure it's hard for people who grew up on D&D novels and such to
appreciate Tolkien, but I simply can't stand to see their uneducated opinions,
which are usually based on less than 1/10th of the book read, which the
author of the "review" below calmly confessed.
The truth is, if it wasn't for Tolkien and his most widely known works
such as The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, the fantasy genre probably
wouldn't exist today. We would today stand where the genre was 100 years
ago. Fairy tales. That would be it. Stories for little children.
What fantasy is today is owed directly to Tolkien. He was the first, and
did a damn good job which allowed fantasy to gain a respectable position
among literature. If it started with the kind of crap as some of the D&D
novels are, well, it's a pretty sure bet it'd take it 500 years instead
of 50 to be accepted on the bookshelves of every respectable bookstore.
I have read The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, Silmarillion, Unfinished
Tales and some other works by Tolkien. I have also read many D&D novels,
and many different fantasy authors so I can say without any trace of guilt
that Tolkien, as far as making an epic masterpiece goes, beats them all.
That is not to say that I hate everything but Tolkien, quite on the contrary.
I enjoy many of today's fantasy writers, but I know where they all came
from and what differentiates them from one another. Of course they can't
all carry on with Tolkien's style, that would get boring pretty soon.
But seeing someone say that The Lord of the Rings is an "annoying drivel"
just shows their lack of intelligence and knowledge of the subject. I
wouldn't even dare to judge a book before reading it through whole, no
matter how awful it is. Seeing people write such "reviews" then, based
upon 100 pages of something they don't comprehend, agitates me immensely.
Especially since I know how many people read these reviews at Amazon and
actually think that the "review" below is valid.
Sure, it could have been. Had the writer read the whole thing, presented
us with examples of things he didn't like and argument his opinions. But
as it is, it reads simply as scribbling of a lowbrow casual reader. (I
won't even bother to comment on those comments about overuse of exclamation
marks and misspellings, because it is blindingly obvious he doesn't know
what he's talking about.)
Lord of the Rings deserves, and always will deserve 5 stars. Even if you
don't like it for one reason or another, you cannot ignore what it represents
and how huge its influence is."
Feel free to submit your own reviews of LoTR there, just watch out not
to comment on the ignorant in the same way I tried to. You'll be wasting
your time if you do.
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