I am laughing alone in my room because my Google image search for “Lord of the Rings” is producing a truly horrifying combination of slash-fiction fansites and images of Frodo looking both constipated and homoerotically servile: example to the left. But like, we love it, don’t we? We love this tacky, ponderous, Zelda-meets-Renaissance-fair-meets-Medieval-Times trilogy so much that the only books that have sold more copies than the Lord of the Rings trilogy are (seriously) the Bible, the Koran, and the teachings of Chairman Mao.
So yeah, who’s read them? At least 200 million people, and that includes me. Multiple times. I’m smoking myself out of the nerd hole with this post right now and I hope that you’ll do the same! Now, clearly there’s something “great” about these books, something actually epic and lovely and whatever. And Tolkien invented his own languages and shit, so that’s awesome. But honestly, I think that LOTR (the abbreviation, when spoken aloud, is enough to send me into fits of giggles–I mean it’s just ridiculous) can best be appreciated by people with vast reserves of longing in their soul, people who really believe they’re on a quest for something. And although I accidentally threw The Two Towers in my suitcase when I went to France my sophomore year of high school, and thus ended up rereading it nonstop for two weeks, I think my days snuggled up with the Witch-King of Angmar are over forever.
Actually pretty much everything about Lord of the Rings is hilarious to me right now. The names: Deagol Smeagol Samwise Gamgee Boromir Faramir Shelob Denethor Theoden Eowyn. Places: Mount Moria and the Cracks of Doom. Races: elf, dwarf, orc, and the lowly, flawed human. Sure, this story is a monomythical giant but it’s very hard to read any of those words aloud with a straight face. But you know who really loves Lord of the Rings? Led Zeppelin and Rush. “Misty Mountain Hop” and “Rivendell.” I feel less bad about the life-size cardboard cutout I used to have of Orlando Bloom dressed as Legolas. Actually, no I don’t.