Question about the prologue
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Author:  Johnny's Fan [ July 5th, 2008, 2:09 pm ]
Post subject:  Question about the prologue

Well I am about to, for the first time, read The Lord of the Rings. All of them that is. I have read FOTR and TTT about 4 years ago, but I never got to the ROTK.

I have since tried to read FOTR, but to be honest by the time I am halfway through the history of the pipeweed my interest has waned slightly, as I just want to delve into the story.

So my question is: can I bi-pass all the history at the beginning and read it later, or do I really need to know it all beforehand?

Author:  Nurrantiel Mashiara [ July 6th, 2008, 8:26 pm ]
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The prologue is not important to the story, unless you care to hear just exactly how pipeweed is so hobbitish. It's really just history and explanations, which, having seen the movies, you get the general gist of anyway.

Author:  Hanasian [ July 17th, 2008, 8:45 pm ]
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I assume you have already got pre-conceived ideas about the story from the P.J. movie interpretation?

Go ahead and read all the chapters, then if you're interested in background and such, read the prologue and appendices.

Enjoy reading!

Author:  Altariel Frodo [ July 23rd, 2008, 10:40 am ]
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I have to agree - the prologue is interesting, but honestly, I didn't read it until maybe my third time through the books. It's fine to dive straight into the story; you won't be missing anything crucial. ;-)

Author:  mephiston, lord of death [ July 26th, 2008, 6:29 pm ]
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Yep. You can. I say so :P

Nope, on a more serious note, the Prologue can be read after, but I think it adds something to the whole experience to read it all the way through before. :P


Author:  Esteleth [ July 26th, 2008, 11:49 pm ]
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Well, I felt that I had to read it the first time through...but if I remember correctly, it sort of lost me, and there wasn't really anything crucial to the story in there. Go ahead and just dive in. :)

Author:  Nessameldë [ July 27th, 2008, 4:35 am ]
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I remember I felt that too when I start to read it: it was before the movie was released and I was like "Ok, pipeweed, ok, mathoms, ok, family lines that I don't get at all, when does the story actually begin???"
I have to admit that I put the book aside at that time... :P When I started it again, some years later and a bit older, I skipped it "I remember that! I saw it in the movie!" :P

Lazy, laziness... :P

Author:  Larael [ July 27th, 2008, 10:45 pm ]
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Oh, yay! I'm so glad to see our dear JF finally reading the novels, officially! :) I don't even remember there being a prologue. Is it in all versions of the novel or in newer/older versions? I have a copy from the 1950s and a newer copy from a time after the movies came out. Speaking of laziness, I should probably look it up myself. :P

Author:  Hanasian [ September 4th, 2016, 7:19 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Question about the Prologue...

For me, when it came to reading Fellowship the first time, I had just read 'The Hobbit' and was really interested in Hobbits and Hobbit Lore in general, so I jumped right on to reading the Prologue because it's titled 'Concerning Hobbits'. However, starting with the 1st chapter of Lord Of The Rings' 'Long Expected Party' is fine, whether one has read 'The Hobbit' or is going right into the tale anew.

Author:  Héalic [ November 17th, 2016, 5:38 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Question about the prologue

I am one of those people who doesn't really like prologues and tends to skip over them, especially when it's a book I know is going to be good. I didn't read the prologue until my 2nd read-through. There's a lot of great stuff in it though, and it should definitely be read at some point!

Author:  Hanasian [ December 30th, 2016, 8:33 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Question about the prologue

Héalic wrote:
"I am one of those people who doesn't really like prologues and tends to skip over them, especially when it's a book I know is going to be good. I didn't read the prologue until my 2nd read-through. There's a lot of great stuff in it though, and it should definitely be read at some point!"

Yes, definitely! I suppose it could have been incorporated into the Appendices, but due to the interest in Hobbits brought on by people having read 'The Hobbit' and desired more information on them, it was a smart move to put that in as a prologue.

Author:  Gandolorin [ April 2nd, 2017, 1:43 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Question about the prologue

LoTR was expected as a "New Hobbit" (as JRRT continued calling it for a very long time while reading excerpts to The Inklings), so for the first expectant readers of FoTR, the prologue was probably highly fascinating, as Hanasian mentioned above. For movie-firsters, it was probably confusing (as comments above indicate - but then what to say about the long chapter "The Council of Elrond", which I consider my favorite, when pressed to choose a favorite chapter in this so very much polished and unified book). I was a LoTR-firster, without having read TH, but I found the prologue fascinating. (But then again, I have become an appendices nerd, very much so with all six movies). I have heard and read that another hurdle some people found insurmountable was Tom Bombadil ...

Author:  Hanasian [ July 2nd, 2018, 5:10 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Question about the prologue

I always found the Tom Bombadil part of the book a bit out there, for he was really an all-powerful 'get out of trouble free' card for the hobbits.
I loved the Old Forest, and I loved the Barrow Downs, but Tom the Enigma was just 'there'.

The prologue in Fellowship really pulled me in when I first read it as I was right off reading The Hobbit (the one and only time).
It propelled me into something that would be with and dear to me the rest of my life.

Author:  Gandolorin [ July 2nd, 2018, 2:49 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Question about the prologue

This is all very much rule of thumb (and If you prefer you could envision the thumb as being thickly bandaged after an unfortunate incident with a hammer ;-) ), as tastes are unique.

If you arrive at LoTR the book via LoTR the movie, skipping the prologue is OK, because I’d say getting around to the action (or at times lack of it if you’re a battles buff) of the story, and comparing how book and movie differ.

Arriving at LoTR the book via TH the movie but without LoTR the movie … *scratches head* … I would tend to recommend the prologue, as Bilbo is practically the only Hobbit in TH the movie (except for short parts at the beginning and the end), and despite being the title character, is something of a peripheral character when compared to TH the (children’s) book.

Arriving at LoTR the book without having watched either film trilogy (probably a very rare bird nowadays), and with or without having previously read TH the book, definitely read the prologue. Hobbits are a variety of humans, but with some quirks (quite a few of which would not seem so quirky to people living in earlier centuries …)

Just a side note: I pretty much skipped most if not all of the poems in my earliest readings (1980s and 1990s), as they kind of bored or even annoyed me – though oddly, poems set to music (aka songs) were OK. Go figure. Later, especially having read Christopher Tolkien’s massive “additional appendices” – Silmarillion, Unfinished Tales, HoME volumes 1 to 12, and books about Tolkien by several people, Humphrey Carpenter’s “Biography”, “Letters” and “Inklings”, books by Tom Shippey, Katharyn Crabbe, Patrick Curry, Joseph Pearce, and Verlyn Flieger, I definitely no longer skipped them.

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