This reading marks the fifth or sixth (one tends to lose count very quickly) time I have spun through the high fantasy saga. And I am finding the going tough, perhaps because I have revisited it so many times or perhaps because of my increasing disdain for “feel good fiction”.
Some may be hesitant to call The Lord of the Rings a feel good piece of literature, what with the several deaths and constant looming darkness: yeah, we get it, Sauron is evil. But everything turns out alright in the end, and all the characters are chummy and no one gets pissed off with Pippin’s incessant whining and stupid statements. And we delight in ignoring the glaring undertones of homoeroticism between Aragorn and every man he meets, not because it scares us (it’s 2017 people, don’t be scared of gays) but because we dare not sully the name of the father of fantasy by suggesting that he might do something as impure as show progressive tendencies. And because Christopher Tolkien has his father’s estate clutched so tightly between his skeletal claws that even a breath about his work makes you liable to be sued for copyright infringement.
Would I still recommend The Lord of the Rings? Of course I would, it is a landmark in literary culture. But please do not try to read it more than twice if you value the nostalgic part of your memory.