Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Ridiculous Reviewers On Amazon: One Star Review for Tolkien's Fellowship of the Ring

The Fellowship of the Ring: Being the First Part of The Lord of the RingsLet's be honest. There are plenty of legitimate reasons not to be a fan of The Lord of the Rings trilogy. I completely understand that there are people who will find The Fellowship of the Ring boring. I don't see any need to pick on them. I get it that some people will find the songs and poems and familial histories intrusive. Likewise, I have no gripes with them. I even extend grace to those who say, for instance, that there is "no characterization." I don't expect them to understand that Tolkien was creating his own epic, and that epics aren't meant to be character pieces, but rather stories about what it means to be a hero. And yes, Tolkien did something no one at the time was doing, and he is the Father of Modern Fantasy and yes, absolutely, it is a powerful and wonderful trilogy that I love. I love how he subtly subverts the epic genre not by changing anything in a massive way, but by making the hero a little nobody from the middle of nowhere who has no great power or skill or history in fact no greatness at all other than a desire to do what is right. I love the unflinching boldness to call evil what it is and to focus on the good, and I love the imagination and the deeply textured world that makes you believe it might, just might really exist. I love the books. But I can see where certain readers wouldn't care for it.

Having said that, here are two reviewers on Amazon who gave it one star out of five who I think deserve to be mocked and then need to watch the extended DVD version of the movies while a real Tolkien fan explains to them every single little detail of what is happening:

Here's the first. I've enbiggened my favorite bit:

1.0 out of 5 stars Really, truely, one of the most boring books ever., April 16, 2002
Bill (Albuquerque, New Mexico United States) - See all my reviews
Although many people believe that "The Fellowship of the Ring" is a classic novel of its time, it is not. Granted it opened up many doors for the half hearted fantasy writing of today, it still used plane, boring and ohhhhh so long descriptions. What I don't understand is how JRR Tolkien could take a great idea about four young chaps (who happen to be midgets which kills alot of the drama for me) on a harrowing adventure to destory the ring that the evil one wants so he can take over middle-Earth. The whole book went through a phase of Duex Machinea where Frodo, Sam, Merry and Pippin where either saved by friendly hobbits, not so friendly hobbits, friendly Elves, not so friendly Elves, or friendly Men or not so friendly Men. Startaling trasitions from numbly simiple to madingly difficult dialog made the book jump from one pace to another. Tolkien didn't use mounting suspense through the book, but manic-depressive, spasmatic jumps. Putting a song in the middle of one of the few exciting scenes breaks the pace, and leaves the reader starting all over again, feeling bland. Altogether, the book was my least favorite "classic."
Apparently that guy doesn't care what happens to "midgets."

And lastly, a review that causes you to wonder what book, precisely, the reviewer was reading:

1.0 out of 5 stars this book is awesome, October 9, 2002
This is the absolute worst book ever written. I still can't believe they killed off Frodo, the supposed star of the trilogy, within 175 pages. That's just ridiculous. Also, what's the deal with the zombies??? I re-read that section 3 times and I still didn't get it. Did they eat Gandalf or not? I still don't know. If you're looking for a confusing book filled with wordy descriptions of fish and the walking dead, you're in luck. Otherwise, you'd better find a new book. A great boook.


  1. Considering that for most folk these days, anything other than a full five star review means 'bad', I'm deeply suspicious about a one-star review of anything other than 'Mein Kampf'.

    Come to that, 'Mein Kampf' did have that unintentionally funny 'a dog ate Hitler's homework' bit, so I'd have to give even THAT 2 stars....

  2. I am now typing with a droll, blank stare of incredulity. Whaaa? And, by the way, this is a great series you're on to here. It could be your first non fiction book. (But is it non fiction?)

  3. Are the zombies not in the movies? And did they leave out Frodo's death there too? I am getting ready to read the trilogy and now I think I will be let down as I hope to find these things...

  4. "...Duex Machinea..."

    Oh, no he did NOT!

  5. impartial2 wrote an apology for his review in the review of The Hobbit -- check it out :)

  6. MyCoffeeName12:26 AM

    I've always hoped that Philip Glass would turn this into an epic opera (The Hobbit included) tetralogy (a la Wagner's German magnum opus "The Ring Cycle")! :D