on editions II

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...

7 thoughts:

Rat Tuesday, June 14, 2005  

never read any of the LOTR books. But that was a nice post. Your blog is looking diff. Did you change the template ?

Jay Tuesday, June 14, 2005  

I've got a paperback copy with that cover! I think it must be about 15 years old now - and I still haven't finished Book 2!

Now that I've watched the movies so many times I'm thinking it's probably not neccessary anymore. :-p

Anonymous Tuesday, June 14, 2005  

rat: Thanks...my, it has really been a while since you have come here, no? I changed the template quite a while ago...

jay:you have a copy with with which cover? 15 years old...must be Gandalf.

And it really is a pity (that you have not got past Book 2). You could give it a shot, though yup- the movie would have forever altered the book for you- taken away the power of your own imagination that would conjure up images from his words.

Jay Wednesday, June 15, 2005  

Yes, the one with the hurrying Gandalf.

I've actually stalled at Book 2 twice now - there's something about that book I just can't get into.

But you're right; I've always preferred to read the book first before watching the movie.

Now I'll never be able to think of Frodo without picturing Elijah Wood, or Galdalf without being reminded of Ian McKellen.

Anonymous Wednesday, June 15, 2005  

yes, and excellent as the casting might have been, that is truly the pity for the vast masses of people who have not read the book.

As the back covers often said:
"the english speaking world is divided into those who have read the LOTR and those who still have to"

Laura Castelino Wednesday, June 15, 2005  

I've got the LOTR collection! I don't keep with tradition though because my favourite out of them all is The Silmarillion.
Always nice to find a fellow Tolkien fan.

Anonymous Thursday, June 16, 2005  

hmmm...as I said..the saga is yet incomplee...

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