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Deconstructing Tolkien: A Fundamental Analysis of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit [Kindle Edition]

Edward J. McFadden III , Jane Yolen , Tom Piccirilli

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  • Length: 188 pages
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Book Description

"DECONSTRUCTING TOLKIEN has something to offer just about everyone, no matter where your particular passions may lie. In this collection of essays, stories, discourses, and tributes, Ed McFadden has gathered together a wide range of topics, perspectives, and outlooks on some of the most intriguing factors concerning THE LORD OF THE RINGS. LORD OF THE RINGS is a masterpiece that can be examined and re-examined through the course of one's life. The complex narrative, written with nonlinear gambits, plot-twists, stratagems, and a fusion of secondary stories, offer themselves up to continual review and analysis." -from the introduction by Tom Piccirilli, author of Mean Sheep, The Night Class and Grave Men

This special e-book edition contains new analysis of The Hobbit not available in the print edition.

Praise for Deconstructing Tolkien: A Fundamental Analysis of The Lord of the Rings-

Nth Degree Magazine – “[DT] is one of the most approachable analyses of Tolkien that I’ve read. McFadden alternates between his own opinions on Tolkien and fiction from authors that he feels had some influence on The Lord of the Rings. I found myself disagreeing with McFadden’s points almost as often as I agreed with them but, most importantly, McFadden’s analysis always made me look deeper at a story that I thought I knew pretty well already. And isn’t that what all good analyses should do?” by Jennifer Walford. “Mcfadden’s choice of layout for this book using essays and short fiction is innovative and works quite well for the purposes of providing a rich understanding of the Tolkien phenomena. Blending essay with notable fiction, Mcfadden provides thought provoking evidence on Tolkien’s inspirations, especially from his contemporaries and friend C.S. Lewis, and the influence of writers like H.G. Wells. Even more impressive was the inclusion of a story by self-proclaimed protégé of the Tolkien school of style, Jane Yolen. This inclusion solidified McFadden’s arguments on how pervasive LOTR has been, and in light of the films, will continue to be for many generations.”

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Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2802 KB
  • Print Length: 188 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Padwolf Publishing Inc.; 2 edition (16 Nov. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00A969KY2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #354,392 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.0 out of 5 stars  13 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tolkien Analysis 20 Jan. 2013
By S. Cornell - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Interesting views. I have read Tolkien's books several times and I must say I never really thought about any deep meaning in any of them. I just considered them entertaining fantasy. This book made me think and that is a good thing.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bravo! A must read for continuing appreciation of Tolkien 11 Dec. 2012
By Danny T - Published on
I just finished reading E Mcfadden's Deconstruction of Tolkien and found it really well written and insightful. It brought back to me many fond memories of my youth and this is perhaps the single most important thing I got from reading it, that, and the hopeful idea that my young son will also be enthralled by these works as much as I am.
I first read the books in high school -and reread them during my grueling wrestling season every year. Some of the other teamates also read them and I remember times when we had drinking parties in the woods and would crazily playact the characters in the book. The fact that I wanted such a place as middle earth to be real shows me how much the books meant to me as an adolecsent. I have read them all again (as well as the Hobbit) many times as an adult but have lost touch with any peers that share my continued interest so it was very nice to hear of Mcfadden's passion for them and also his in depth knowledge. I skipped ahead to the chapter "When Gandalf Talks " as I was eager to hear if my favorite passage was there. There are so many gems within the narrative and one of them hit home during an audio book version I listened to some 20 years ago. It is the part where Frodo tells Gandalf that Gollum deserves to die only to hear Gandalf answer that "there are many that live that deserve death and many are dead that deserve life -can you give it them? Not even the wisest among us can see all ends. " As Mcfadden writes that passages in the books could indeed help form social and moral beliefs for individuals, the unexpected liberal mindedness of Gandalf 's answer to Frodo helped me to solidify my personal position on the death penalty. It truly was an ephiphany that I had missed in many readings prior. I am sure there is still more to learn and Mcfadden has brought out this desire for me. I am 53 years old now and I just read the Hobbit to my 7 year old son. I am now faced with the decision as whether to take him to see the movie (my wife will help of course!) as it may be too violent. Mcfadden's comparisons on the LOTR written works and films as well as his expectations on the upcoming Hobbit film are helpful in making a decision. Being a disciple of Neil Postman as well, I fear the impact of visual media on the written works. Mcfadden's offering helps counter any negative effects because it keeps an intelligent, critical, written dialog on-going with the subject. Still, it is my hope that my son and many other children will have the life lessons in the books to help guide them and the fantastic stories they contain to inspire them. Mcfadden's work is great. I am much indebted to him for rekindling my passion and providing me with a scholarly yet readable analysis that allows for a deeper connection to the books on a personal level.
Danny Thibeault
Sterling, Massachusetts USA
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars McFadden, Yoken Deconstruction 25 Dec. 2013
By Judith - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
Second guessing is always a good discussion with a group...what might happen..well that remains to be seen..the book would have been more enjoyed had it been written After the second movie it's Christmas Day and I Plan to see the movie tonight finish analyzing after you have seen Jackson's movie and I will read your assumptions again yes I will share with my daughter ..Ed and Jane, I look forward to your own epic novel with all this S F knowledge you have invested in your time
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Looking into Tolkien 17 Feb. 2013
By S. Cranow - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Deconstructing Tolkien was a good ,entertaining read.Edward J.McFadden is a definite fan of JRR Tolkien as can be evidence by the forwards and the introduction. The first chapter goes into the biographical details of his life as do most book which is all good fine and well. But then the author makes supposition that I have no way of verifying, it is all guess work. The author rotates on two concepts, authors that may have influenced JRR and writer that he has influenced. First a chapter on who influenced Tolkien and then the next chapter on someone influenced by Tolkien. Figuring out Tolkien's influences is sketchy especially in light of the the fact. That he does not reveal his sources that inform the reader about how he came up with this conclusion. Now this does not make the book terrible but it does in fact detract from the book. There is a very interesting discussion where the author debates whether Lord of the Rings is in the genre of fantasy or science fiction. The author debates both sides of the coin but then falls to Science fiction. Most of us would consider Star Wars or Star Trek science fiction. Star Wars does have elements of fantasy but by the notion of space ships, distant galaxies and light sabres we would have to call it science fiction. Tolkien's Middle Earth happened a long time ago and the characters do not use space ships but rather magic, swords and dragon.I am left wondering.

The book does have some very strong points in it's favor. The first point is an analysis of Lord of the Rings. It is very hippyish. Hobbits like to smoke pipe weed and they love festivities. The pipe weed is stronger then your common pipe tobacco yet it does not waste you like Hashish or marijuana. Rather it induces socializing and the need for conversation. It's use is therapeutic. The author also makes note of the fact that Middle Earth tends to stagnate meaning things stay the same. How can life go for millenia, age after age and remain the same? That is the one unrealistic thing in the book. Sexual relations themselves are almost left out of the picture, In fact there are no lovemaking scenes what so ever. There is some level of physical affection between Sam and Frodo when Frodo is injured. Some have read into that homo erotic love. The author makes note of this and then , much to his credit, informs the reader that critics and others have made the mistake of thinking that Tolkien is writing an allegory or getting some hidden message across. Tolkien himself clearly blasted such a notion. The author rightly agrees with him. Tolkien was writing a fantasy story plain and simple. What I liked was his analysis of Gandalf. I will not go into detail but Gandalph has five virtues that make him a great leader, courage, loyalty,patience and honesty. In this analysis Gandalph is portrayed as a wandering wizard who helps heal middle earth. He is also the leader that everyone hearkens to.

It is with Gandalph that I would like to draw in my criticism. According to the back story Gandalph was no mere human but was a Maia, a god like being who used magic. Kind of a step below that of the Varda. The author leaves out the whole surrounding mythology behind the creation of Tolkien's middle earth. He doe rightly mention that Tolkien invented language for the Middle Earth that had various levels of completion. Most were skeleton languages and could not be used to right a major treatise but at most basic communication. Most denizens of the Middle Earth use Westron the common speech.

Perhaps my main contention is that the author asserts that writer such as HG Wells, HP Loveraft, Edgar Allan Poe who are more like Horror writer had an influence on his writing. To my knowledge there is no documentation elsewhere to support this supposition. Tolkien was influenced mostly by Norse Mythology, Faery tales and Old English Lore and Catholicism. There are parallels between him and these writers to be sure. But darn it is a long shot. HG Well chapter on "The Valley of Spiders" may parallel Frodo's capture by Shelob and Edgar Allan Poe's "William Wilson" may have parallels into the nature of multiple personalities in conflict with each other. Then again so do many authors and their pieces of work.

When it comes to the works of writers who were inspired by Tolkien, McFadden brought forth three examples. The first one was an excellent piece by Jane Yolen called "Winters King" an excellent fairy story. The next two are pieces written by him. Ok what gives are you trying to promote yourself or what? He should have had more variety. His works of fantasy are not bad and are rather entertaining but when you do an analysis of another great author you do not quote yourself or rely on your own examples.

The book does finish off with a analysis of the recent movies "Lord of the Rings" and the "Hobbit". He does acccurately note that things have been left out or completely lifted and other stuff has been added in. The author is critical of the lengthy battle scenes but over all he does seem supportive. Tolkien never thought his books should be rendered to film. Then again technology has changed. I know that I myself will have to go back and reread those classics.
3.0 out of 5 stars Ok book diagreed with a lot of the assumptions made about LOTRs 14 Jan. 2013
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
For a free book it’s not a bad read. I did find myself questioning some of the opinions of the author about the book being Science Fiction or not and the role of sex (or the lack thereof in the book). The author would go in to great depths to make a point then at the end the author would say she did not agree with that that point of view. I am no Tolkien scholar by any means and I would defer to greater minds than mine when discussing his books in any great depth. Just sometimes you don’t have to read between the lines. What is written is exactly that.
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