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  • Writer's pictureDani

A Journey Through Middle Earth

On the subject of Danielle and Bob it is important to note that the Lord of the Rings movies were extremely important in the early days of their friendship and the two remained a part of the fellowship long after the rest of the group fell away. I guess you can say he's the Samwise Gamgee to my Frodo Baggins. Those who have heard me wax poetic on the subject of The Lord of the Rings before know I feel that Frodo is pretty useless, like me Frodo wouldn't have gotten very far without their Sam. Bob suggested we read these books, he sent me a set and we embarked on an unforgettable journey - truly! As always I paired each book with the movie and at the start I thought each movie would be themed and I even made me and Bob amazing matching shirts!

Let's begin, I have procrastinated writing this blog post because a lot of my fun theme ideas fell to the wayside as we struggled to get through these books. We in no way were prepared for how long they would take us but Tolkien is a very wordy guy but not all of the words matter or lead to anything. We felt right from the first book that we were going to get to parts that were fun and action packed and as soon as we turned the page we were getting page long songs and descriptions of plants. The characters in the book were nowhere near as developed or loveable as those in the movie and there were some characters that were completely pointless - I'm looking at you Tom Bombadil. Even Peter Jackson when making the movies left good ole Tom out because he did nothing to move along the story. It was a snooze fest in the middle of the book when you are trying desperately to get somewhere.

Fellowship of the Ring was the only movie I stuck to my initial themed meal plan, we had Farmer Maggots mushrooms, eggs, toast and bacon. Food is huge in these books and the movies, they often talk about stopping to eat and what they are eating. Of course I dined in my Hobbit feet slippers and we entered Middle Earth. There are so many differences between book and movie and I'm going to say something you will rarely find me saying - the movies are so much better. The characters are developed, you care about the journey, and you are ready for the adventure at hand.

Two Towers has always been my favorite of the movies, and if I had to choose I guess it would be my favorite of the books as well. It was another slow go, so many songs, so many descriptions of the vegetation and yet the Battle of Helms Deep which is EPIC in the movie is a blip on the radar in this book. I love this movie and it remains my favorite and trust me you haven't lived until you've seen me reenact the scene pictured above (if you know, you know)

Originally I had planned to make ribs for the viewing of Two Towers but I switched it up and made "Looks like meats back on the menu" Mortadella Meatballs, you can find the recipe on Giadzy by clicking here. The meaty meatballs fit in with another of my favorite movie scenes and the pistachio pesto was a nod to Tolkien's clear love of plants and I think he was probably a little nuts as well.

The Return of the King, the final leg of the journey - I really don't like Frodo - not in the book, not in the movie just no. I prefer the end of the movie to the end of the book, I prefer the movie's return to the Shire, we didn't feel we knew the characters any better in book three than we did in book one and still super wordy. At the end of all these books Bob and I choose and MVP and an LVP. For this series we agreed 100% that Sam is the MVP. For the LVP I picked Frodo. It bothers me how he lets everyone treat him like a hero when the end of the book and movie can potentially turn out very differently if my buddy Gollum didn't step in. Bob was more put together in his LVP pick, he chose the villains. He felt that Sauron and Sarumon didn't really do anything, in the books there was never that sense that Frodo and Sam wouldn't make it and beating the villains was so anticlimactic.

The movie - I didn't do anything I had planned as far as a theme meal, but we did watch the close to 5 hour extended edition and I have no regrets!

We were pretty hard on these books but you know, I enjoyed this journey, even the parts we didn't like became memorable as we turned them into more inside jokes. I can now also say I read these books, we finished something we started and we made the absolute most of the journey. In closing I think it's pretty clear we preferred the movies and they really are a true testament of great movie making and an amazing screenplay! Thank you Bob for sending me these books, for traveling to Middle Earth with me and being my Samwise!

Our next group of books we are blowing through at a pretty quick clip, we actually read Jaws after Lord of the Rings and had a blast and the next adventures in books post will be on The Outsiders. Have a book recommendation for me and Bob? Leave it in the comments!

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