It occurs to me that I probably should have, at the start of the re-read, talked about my biases and preferences when it comes to The Lord of the Rings, just so everyone knows where I'm coming from.
The last time I specifically remember reading LotR is the end of 1997, when I acquired my British paperbacks. It's possible I read it between then and the summer 2001, when I started the booklog, but I don't remember it. I first read it sometime in elementary school; I think I started the annual re-read around third or fourth grade.
I've already said my favorite (The Two Towers, book 1) and least-favorite (Ioreth) parts of the book. This dates from when I was very young and much more interested in the bright heroics of the epic sections; I don't know whether it'll stay that way now. Ioreth is just jarring.
I think my favorite character is Faramir, in which one may well again spot the workings of a pre-adolescent romantic mind. It doesn't usually occur to me to pick favorite characters these days, so I don't know whether I'll bother to revisit this one.
Problem characters are, somewhat predictably, Eowyn and Sam. With Eowyn, every time I have to re-construct the chain of reasoning that, last time, seemed to make it all make sense; it just never seems to stick. With Sam, it's less comprehending his motives than having issues with the way the text treats him, as the posts to date have probably made clear. For both, I do my best to recognize the context that I bring to the text, and separate out "I don't like/agree with this" from "I don't think this was skillfully portrayed."
I have no deep feelings regarding Tom Bombadil, the other polarizing character.
Other things about the way I've read the text:
- I skim the poetry. I'm not good at poetry anyway, and reading it takes enough effort that I usually leave it in favor of better, or at least more familiar, things. I will make the effort this time, as the goal is to re-read every word.
- I always dread the journey through Mordor, and am always surprised when it's not as bad as I remember.
- Of course I read the Appendices, though I skip the language stuff (and will keep skipping it, thanks). I mean, it's what else happens! (I am the kind of person who likes long wrap-everything-up endings. I can't help it.)
That's what comes to mind now.
[Edit because it keeps coming up: why The Silmarillion makes me cranky.]