An extremely devout Lord of the Rings fan whom I am acquainted with has relentlessly been persuading me to read the series. Or rather, as he is fond of saying, the book, as it was not originally a series but meant to be consumed as a single book. I read (and enjoyed) The Hobbit, but it did not really give me a sense of urgency to read the rest.
The thick, scarlet red volume lies on the coffee table, staring at me with the enormous gold eye emblazoned on the cover. The size of the thing does not daunt me, the child who happily devoured one installment of Harry Potter after another. No, it’s the other things.
The other things being various odd gaps in the story itself. First, (and oddest), why are the characters all men? There is like, one woman who pops up, and she’s part of a husband-and-wife couple. Bilbo throw what sounds like the craziest birthday party in the history of the universe, and there’s just this one female worth mentioning. Moving on to after Bilbo vanishes, there are still no females.
I do know that the story involves Frodo setting out on a journey, because that’s where I reached the last time I started reading it. Somehow, I kind of doubt that there will be (significant) female characters along the journey. The author doesn’t seem to think important characters can be female, or that female characters can be important. Whichever way you look at it, it amounts to the same sentiment.
I have now come to where Frodo is in the midst of a long conversation with Gandalf, who is explaining the One Ring’s long murderous history, and I am falling asleep, because I cannot find it in myself to be invested in this story.
Will the potent combination of the hype around this book and my very persistent acquaintance be enough to combat my unwillingness? Will I finish reading this after all?
Now there’s a cliffhanger.