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PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2009 6:55 pm 
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I first read LOTR at age 13 some 41 years ago (can't believe it has been that long). One of the things I still remember is how much this chapter frightened me at the time. I had never read anything like LOTR before. The Black Riders in the Shire scared me but the Barrow Downs chapter scared me considerably more, probably as much as (or maybe more than) anything in the entire book.

I've now read LOTR over 30 times and it is interesting how the scary stuff is no longer frightening on rereading, I guess because the fear of the unknown is no longer there - I know what will happen. But more than ever, I am emotionally moved by certain sad and happy moments in the book. My wife and I have read the book aloud to each other maybe 8-10 times in the last 25 years and there are multiple places that I cannot read (aloud) anymore without choking up and being unable to continue properly (for example, the cockcrow paragraph). This emotional response to these particular passages seems to increase as the years go by. And it did not happen (as far as I can recall) back in 1967. I appreciated those parts of the book but was not nearly as emotionally moved as I am now. So, when we first read the book aloud to our (then) 8 year old daughter in 2006, I made sure that the chapters I read did not contain the passages in question - my wife was able to read them in a more composed manner than I could have. Has this phenomenon happened to anyone else?


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2009 6:58 pm 
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Húrin, I've never had the experience of reading the book out loud, but I certainly find certain passages move me to deep emotions more now than when I was younger.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2009 11:12 pm 
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Húrin, I am reading LOTR outloud to my son right now (well, not this minute, but most nights before sleep). He is well capable of reading it himself - he's 11 and a good reader - but I started reading it to him more than a year ago now, and I read maybe 6-7 pages a night before he falls asleep. It is a shared experience of the book and we both treasure it; he asks me to read it to him most nights and when I can't he looks quite grim!

In any case...yes, I have had that experience throughout the reading, passages which make me tear and choke up and I have to stop reading for a moment to collect myself. He notices this and asks me about it and we've had myriad conversations through the last 16 months or so leading from passages in the book as we share the emotional experiences and excitedly anticipate what's coming or reflect sadly on the implications of actions and thoughts and travails of our heroes. I've really treasured this experience with him, because he is so open to exploration of the themes and we are reading so slowly.

And yes, the emotional impact of some passages -- the cock's crow, the king recrowned by nature, the star's beauty up high, Gollum's almost-penitence - these touch me more and more deeply as I get older.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 03, 2009 7:29 am 
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Húrin, I'm the same way. I read LOTR to my husband soon after we were married, and as far as I recall I was able to get through it without becoming overly emotional. However, thirteen years later when I read The Hobbit to our son I had to pause at times when I choked up. I didn't get far with LOTR.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2014 1:42 am 
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There's been so much to say in this thread. I can hardly remember what it was like to read this chapter the first time--that was almost 47 years ago. But the writing is wonderful. The descriptions are especially powerful; You Are There!

I always wondered why Frodo alone of all of them was not dressed in white and under that long sword. In practical terms, it could be because he was the last one taken and the wight had not had time to deal with him before he revived on his own. But in cosmic terms, it is, as someone here pointed out, one of Frodo's tests. However, there's no reason why the two reasons couldn't coincide.


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