#41 The Lord of the Rings, J. R. R. Tolkien

The 100 Greatest Books Challenge

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So there’s this hobbit. You may have heard of him. He is unwisely chosen to venture beyond the gates of hell to destroy a powerful ring on which the fate of Middle Earth depends—a quest that should ABSOLUTELY kill him but doesn’t. He’s joined by a few burdensome, incompetent fools, mainly to emphasize that these are unlikely heroes (like most British protagonists), and a few legendary warriors, seemingly to lend a little credibility to the expedition.

Oh, and there’s a wizard. But don’t get excited; he does precisely nothing.

There are some pretty blatant problems within this widely praised and beloved narrativeand because it’s more fun to mock than to revere, I’m going to skip gleefully past its merits and picnic among its many flaws.

Problem #1: Length

Really, Tolkien? Three novel-length volumes to finish one story? Take a cue from Strunk & White and edit.

I take issue with the…

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