Following close on the heels of the travails of The Hobbit books (both here and in my life) was the logical (or do I mean ironic?) follow up.
I remember asking for The Lord of The Rings in my school library. I must still have been pretty young (12, 13? Twelve years old, I think). How the idea was pooh-poohed by the stern yet smiling ma’am with a clipped accent and hardly a wisp out of place in her immaculate bun- “Pooh pooh! You are too young for that sort of stuff. Run along”. I languished in that confusion for sometime- how could I not read that which my beloved book was the prequel to? Then time blurred by (or so it seems now) before intelligent parenting saw to it that I had my own copy. It was a white book, an oval frame of gold on the cover that had this classic image:
I can’t seem to find an image of that edition anywhere at all now. This book was my discovery, love and relationship with Tolkien all rolled into one. The plastic cover on it was replaced more than once, and despite great care slight dog ears began to form. It was, of course, the single volume edition, and it’s bulk fortunately never translated to it coming apart at the seams, or tearing. This, even though it saw time in school and college bags that travelled in buses and trains.
Then, many years later, and a few years ago even this was obliquely affected by that irresistible culprit- alcohol. I read it as I waited to enter a respectable drinking establishment. When I left the said place, though hardly buzzed (poverty was slightly worse than even now), I did not have it with me. I went back to the pub, checked everywhere possible…no luck.
Guilt pangs still assail me tirelessly, and how can I blame them?
Needless to say I hunted high and low for a decent edition then- hoping, most likely, to find this one or a variation, which I had seen often over the years.
But by now New Line Cinema and marketing campaigns would have none of it. The movie trilogy was upon us all, and all I could find was a ‘movie’ edition. It has this still on the cover:
…and the style of the cover is thus:
Of course, I cannot seem to find the exact cover for this either, hence the breakup. The second image, by the way, is the what I have on a T-shirt. That, I am quite happy with.
Then an aunt who knew I loved LOTR but had not met me in years got me another ediion, but it was another movie edition, similar to the one above.
So here I am, saddled with not one but two editions, and both movie covers. Now much as I liked the films, I need to have a proper print. Soon.
Oh, and unbelievably, this is not the end of this book saga...