The Lord of the Rings is the ultimate ‘marmite’ book. Those who have an opinion about it one way or another either love it with an undying passion or – well – don’t. Very few people will tell you that it’s just ‘okay’ or that they ‘quite enjoyed it’. The Tolkien middle ground is about the size of a postcard.
For many years, however, I was one of ‘the very few’. I think.
I first read The Lord of the Rings in my late teens or early 20s, ploughing through it (and skipping all the ‘dreary’ poems) because it was a ‘must read’ book and I was at an age when I felt that I must read the ‘must reads’ (if you get my drift) or I would never gain access to the social circles I thought I wanted to be a part of (the ones inhabited by irritating little…
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