Let's Talk Tolkien

Let’s Talk LOTR: On Humor

Let’s Talk LOTR is a weekly series of posts, sparked by my obsession with all things Middle Earth.  It’s also my way of dealing with the wait (for The Hobbit, of course).  Anything Tolkien-related is fair game.  Come join the fun and geekery every Sunday!

*Brace yourselves.  This is a rather long and rambly post.  If it helps, there are some stick figures in here too*

The other week, I came across this article, which basically discusses differences in tone between the LOTR trilogy and the coming-soon Hobbit movie (I suppose referring to December as soon is a bit of a stretch, but when you’ve been listening to Hobbit’s-coming-just-kidding-rumors for a few years, anything concrete seems like it’s just around the corner).  Anyways, PJ talks about The Hobbit being a more playful novel, with child-like comedic qualities.  And then he mentions that LOTR has darker themes and is not aimed at children.

While I will agree that there is a significant difference in tone between The Hobbit and LOTR, I also have to say that the LOTR books are some of the funniest I’ve read in my life.  Maybe it’s because I tend to read them around 1 or 2 in the morning, and everything seems hilarious at that hour, but if you were to stand outside my door past midnight (don’t), you would hear me convulsing with barely suppressed laughter.

This is the main reason I really wish more people would read the books.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the movies just as much, but they seem to be more interested in the epic adventure side of the story than the books are.  The books are just…nonstop.  Delightful humor.

Let’s take Aragorn/Strider/Wingfoot/more names here, for example.  *spoilers ahead*

Here is movie Aragorn whenever anyone brings up the subject that he might one day be king:

And here is book Aragorn:

And then there’s that scene on Caradhras.  I was slightly amused to see Legolas walking on snow while everyone else attempts to shuffle through waist-high slush.


On the other hand, when I read this part in the book, I had to put the thing down so I could grab a tissue and wipe away my tears of mirth.

Now of course, as I said before, it’s entirely possible that my laughter was due to the late hour.  But even if you don’t find this grab-a-tissue-funny, you must find it slightly amusing at least?

The point I’m trying to make here is that it would be extremely sad for you to watch the movies and miss out on the books.  I would say ‘and vice versa,’ but I feel that people reading the books and skipping the movies does not happen nearly as often.

Ah, you say, there she goes, trying to get the whole world to read LOTR again.

I will not say you have to read the books.  I won’t go over there and stand menacingly in front of you (I wouldn’t be very good at it anyways) until you finish FOTR.  But that article I linked in the beginning?  Well, it makes no mention of LOTR-related humor, and I would hate to think that some people might go through life completely oblivious to the fact that the books are funny.

Have you read the books before?  Did you pick up on the humor, or is this just me projecting my late-night demented mindset onto Tolkien’s masterpieces?

See you next week for more Middle Earth shenanigans!

8 thoughts on “Let’s Talk LOTR: On Humor

    • hahahah I was JUST talking to my friend about this the other day. It’s so funny when you hear snippets of the songs in the movie, like when Pippin starts singing that very melancholy piece to Denethor. And then you go back in the books, and it’s actually from the hobbits’ cheery walking song. I love it.

      And, if I haven’t mentioned this a million times already, you are a GENIUS. LOTR musical…we need to make that happen 😛

  1. LOL you’re so funny. You’re going to hate me… but when I was reading your post for the first while, I was like… what the hell is LOTR?!!? But I swear, it clicked and I got it. I’ve never read the books, I probably won’t…. but I don’t doubt that there is humor in them!!

  2. LOL Tracy is right, the singing cracks me up. I usually skip the elf songs. They’re depressing people.

    The books are a masterpiece, there’s no mistake. However, I think that the movies are funnier in some ways, because while there are humorous elements in Tolkien’s books, they are overall a bit stuffy and stodgy. There are no girl hobbits, really, except for Rosie, but she’s more of a womanly hobbit. Female elves are all stoic and elegant and have a total of five words throughout the trilogy, except for Galadriel,who’s nuts. Hahaha. Don’t get me wrong – I love the books, I really do. But they were written for a different generation,, and the movies are definitely made for a different target audience. So I don’t think it’s necessary for people to enjoy both, and really, a lot of people won’t enjoy both.

    But I miss Tom Bombadil.

    • ahahaha this comment is so accurate! I want to hug it, but that’s kind of awkward.

      Tom Bombadil was my favorite part of the entire first book. I can see why that was cut from the movie though LOL doesn’t exactly hurry the storyline along.

  3. OK, I absolutely MUST read these now!! I’m planning on making a list of classics I want to read in my 30th year – these are 100% on my list, right at the top! I love some good hilarity 😛

    You know, I didn’t even notice that Legolas walked on top of the snow while everyone else plugged on through it. Talk about non-observant! Yet another vote for reading the books so I don’t miss out on this stuff! Sooooooo excited 🙂

    • Yes, you must! And then we’ll either have wonderful conversations on how hilarious they are, or you’ll finish the last page of ROTK and go…what was she talking about??

      Well, there are certain things that you start noticing after watching the movies twice a year every year. Legolas walking on snow is one of them 😛 Especially when you also watched them talk about it in the interviews on the Director’s cut dvds.

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