Howdy, Shieldmaiden, welcome and enjoy your stay. The College Board is on your side; they let my AP English free response essay on the Trilogy slide (if a perfect score counts as sliding.) So I guess it's a "work of recognized literary merit." I'm really tired of all the "how can you compare TLotR to [insert Brooks or Williams novel here]" arguments. I just came from a wotmania post about "A WoT movie would suck because it couldn't live up to our expectations, but since I read TLotR after the movies the books disappointed me." How can you argue with that logic? Fortunately, folks here at PT are (mostly) sane. Welcome aboard, and be seeing you.