Hello Planet, I know its probably faux pax for a newbie to post a new thread, so I submit to any torture that's in store for me. ;) I searched the site for this topic (THANKS for getting Search back up), and was surprised that no one mentioned the audiobooks. I felt compelled!
How many of you have listened to the Rob Inglis audiobooks of LotR and The Hobbit (unabridged)? They are not cheap but they are available for purchase. And if you are even the slightest bit a Tolkien fan, it is money waaaay well spent. I have some thoughts and questions to those who have heard it...
First of all, can you imagine how how long it must have taken to record?? Seriously... open a few random pages tonight and read it aloud to yourself. How long does it take to get through two pages? How many times do you stumble? As for myself the answer is several. And I'm big into public speaking and so forth. Now, imagine reading it aloud with emotion and slipping in and out of dozens of characters on the fly. It must have taken incredibly long, even if Inglis is a master reader and performer and hardly makes mistakes. But stop for a minute and truly imagine what it took to read and record. There are hundreds of unique words to learn and pronounce properly. There are dozens of characters per scene in some cases (Council of Elrond), and he gives each character their own voice. Then there are the songs. I don't know if there is a canonical book out there that gives the tunes to the songs, but if not, Inglis or someone had to invent the tunes for the words. And he sings it, and its mind blowing. I used to (I'm ashamed to admit) skip a lot of the songs the first few times I read it. They just didn't "speak" to me. But now, I love to read them (and listen to them). Like when Gandalf overcomes Wormtongue and "possessed" Theoden in the Golden Hall.... I used to think it was kind of cheesy that Gandalf partially "defeats" them with a song. But having heard it performed, an given its emotional impact, when Gandalf sings "Galadriel, Galadriel!" it actually sends chills up my spine. His reading is terrific.
He gives inflections in all the right places. When I read the books I now hear his voice in my head. He says everything with such panache. I mean, wow. And with the audiobook, you can "live" in the secondary universe virtually anywhere. In the car, while hiking in nature, at work, while playing a LotR video game or board game. Listen to your favorite chapters over and over, or maybe learn to appreciate passages in new ways. I for one was never really that wild about the second half of TT. A lot of 3 characters talking and wondering around without much in the way of plot development or action. I mean, how long do they sit in front of the Black Gates talking about what to do next? But the audiobooks made me appreciate that stuff even more, especially when Faramir gets involved, and REALLY especially Shelob's Liar. And the way Inglis voices Sam in The Choices of Master Samwise, as poor Sam is debating within himself and later kicking himself... its all rather touching.
Another question... how much do you think Inglis got paid?! GIven how long it must have taken, how many words to read, how many unique words to memorize, how many characters to perform... I mean, how much do you think he got?? I imagine quite a bit. Perhaps those of you in the UK are very familiar with who he is, but, I mean, is he a genius? Or did he really just take his time, read it multiple times, make corrections? Is he a savant or something? I'm sure there are other audiobooks, but Inglis's is the definitive one as far as I know. Any others to recommend?
Anyway, I just had to start this topic because truly it is mindblowing and something every fan should hear. We need to talk about it. ;)