Wednesday, July 17, 2013

A way with words

Sorry that posting has been so light here recently.  I've been reading The Lord of the Rings, which has cut into my blogging time somewhat.  It seems like every time I think about posting something it gets put on the back burner or I just end up snarking about it on Twitter instead.

At some point I'd like to do a writeup comparing what I liked about the books versus what I liked about the Peter Jackson films, but for now I just wanted to mention a passage from The Two Towers that jumped out at me.  I was quite taken with the way Tolkien chose to describe the general awfulness of the Dead Marshes:
It was dreary and wearisome. Cold clammy winter still held sway in this forsaken country. The only green was the scum of the livid weed on the dark greasy surfaces of the sullen waters. Dead grasses and rotting reeds loomed up in the mists like ragged shadows of long-forgotten summers.
It's such a horrible place, a filthy disgusting place, yet the way Tolkien describes it sounds so poetic.  I love that contradiction.

Some people prefer The Hobbit to The Lord of the Rings because the pace of The Hobbit was much quicker and it was far less verbose.  I've heard more than one person half-jokingly complain that Tolkien describes every blade of grass seen on the way to Mount Doom.  But when you can write as well as Tolkien writes, I really don't mind you taking a few extra words to describe the scenery.

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