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Who is your favorite character?

MrUnderhill

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There are a number, though there's a lot of chaff among the wheat, especially from people trying to cash in, in the wake of the movies.

Shippey's other book, The Road to Middle Earth, is well worth reading, even with some overlap. John Garth's Tolkien and the Great War is valuable on the influence of his early life experiences and friendships on his vision.

Of very early studies, Tolkien's World, by Randel Helms, from 1974, is particularly good on structure, but may be hard to find, as I don't believe it was ever reprinted. But Author goes into structural aspects too.

Another one, Master of Middle Earth, 1972, by Paul Kocher, fortunately was reprinted after the films came out, and contains an insightful re-evaluation, and rehabilitation of, Aragorn's character, partly in response to a dismissive, and frankly silly, assessment by an earlier critic.

But don't neglect the additional material published by Tolkien's son Christopher! Want to read about the Battles of the Fords of Isen, where Theoden's son was killed, or how the Nazgul hunted for the Ring? Get Unfinished Tales. And for the First Age -- and a lot of heartbreak -- the Silmarillion is a must.

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After that, there's the 12 volume History of Middle Earth.

Enough reading for a lifetime.
Thank you for all of this info! I really appreciate it!
 

Olorgando

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Books I found interesting were Patrick Curry's 1997 "Defending Middle-earth; Tolkien: Myth and Modernity", Verlyn Flieger's 1997 "A Question of Time; J.R.R. Tolkien's Road to Faërie", and Joseph Pearce's 1998 "Tolkien - Man and Myth; A literary Life". Pearce emphasizes JRRT's Catholicism as an influence on his writing, Curry points out why very secular people also find so much in JRRT's works, and Flieger shows how JRRT was in many ways quite a modern - though definitely not modernist - writer, emphasizing his use of time.
Now some of these books might be a bit hard to get by now. I believe I bought the books by Curry and Pearce fairly close to their publication date, while I bought Flieger's quite a while later, probably more than 10 years after publication - but have not been able to get my hands on another book of hers which had been re-published after the LoTR films came out.
 
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Squint-eyed Southerner

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He seems clearly modeled on St. Francis to me. I think the druid angle comes more from the movies.

I admit to hoping for more of him in the book. An interesting character.
 

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