I just finished The Lord of the Rings, which I started way back in March as part of the Mythology Folklore Fairy Tale Fantasy Reading Challenge. This was my second reading of it and I enjoyed it as much as the first time, which is to say I enjoyed it a great deal. I did have some quibbles towards the end, though. I got a bit tired of the perfect nobility and capability of the main characters once they had defeated Sauron, and the emphasis on race, rank, and class, which seems at odds with the book’s general theme of greatness coming from obscure and imperfect places. Yes, a mere hobbit saved the world but once that’s done, and the royal favours have been handed out, everyone can go back to their stations, thank-you-very-much. I know it’s a fairy tale but the concluding vision of feudal harmony seemed a bit simplistic compared to the rest of the book. I also thought the final chapters wrapped things up a bit too hurredly and conveniently, but I wouldn’t blame Tolkien for wanting to end his monumental labour sooner rather than later.
Once the story is over, though, the reader’s labour has not ended. There is the appendix, or rather appendices, six of them, 105 pages worth in my volume. Does anyone read them? I’ve made a start and have gleaned one or two tidbits to fill in some gaps the story, but I’m not sure I can make it through the “Chronology of the Westlands” or “The Languages and Peoples of the Third Age.” I suppose I should read them once so I can feel that I’ve read the whole book, but it’s a bit painful. Has anyone else out there read them?