When I began the semester in English 427, I had never really read any fantasy before and never read any of the works of these authors that we studied. I had attempted to read The Lord of the Rings Trilogy back in high school but didn't get past chapter 4 in the first book. Sure I had seen the movies and even seen Golden Compass, but I didn't really have any idea of what I was getting myself into.
As we began reading J.R.R. Tolkien's series and discussing it in class, I really began to realize what fantasy was all about and how much detail goes into these works. Tolkien put such painstaking effort into his writings that they often didn't get published for many years at a time. Although his writing style could be very overwhelming at times because of all the details he put in and how long it took to get through the books, I really did enjoy reading his series and found the books much better than the movies in many ways.
While the action in the movies is highly intense and visual is sometimes better than what your imagination can give, the books have much more detail and description to offer along with the many more characters that are included. The movies tend to leave out certain details and aspects that play key roles to the plot of the story. For instance that whole section about the ents and the entwives is basically left out of the movie. The ents are included but they barely touch on the history of what occurred and what happens. Another example is when Frodo is running to get to Rivendale before the Dark Kings catch him, he is saved by a guy elf (I can't remember his name right now) who is completely left out of the movie.
Tolkien did a fantastic job of writing with such detail and description that he draws the reader in and allows the reader to use their imagination to picture almost every detail as if he were right there with his favorite character. He also presents the battle of good vs. evil and many other challenging conflicts that humans must face in life. While he doesn't necessarily give the answers to these conflicts, he does give interesting ideas as to how to solve them or find ways to deal with them. His series definitely was a great selection to start out the semester since I wasn't a fan of fantasy and he made me at least a little bit more interested in fantasy and a lot more knowledgeable about how much better the books are from the movies.