This is the first time I read Tolkien. I'm one of those heartless people that haven't read The Lord of the Rings yet. This book caught my attention because I love the legend of King Arthur. I became a bit obsessed with it during my early years (actually, anything Middle Ages related; again, yes, I was a very popular kid at school, you can imagine...; I sang BSB songs to seem more normal—yes, that was normal back then!). I even created a website and wrote a couple of short stories that never saw the light of day (and never will). So, I thought this book was going to be an amazing ride. However, it was more like those little walks you take after eating an enormous amount of food and you can hardly move a toe.There are few pages written by Tolkien and the rest is all about notes, and footnotes and handnotes and necknotes written by his son, Christopher. I must admit I skipped some of those fascinating notes, but others were quite helpful. This was written in Old English and three verses contained a lot of words I've never heard of. So you can imagine how I suffered, considering that I can barely write a couple of coherent sentences in this language (or my language, for that matter). After reading those notes, I understood more.
There are several aspects of the Arthurian legends that are not in the poem. Here we have Arthur, Gawain, his nephew and other knights that went to fight the Saxons but had to come back thanks to good old pal Mordred. Aww, family. Sweet Guinevere made an appearance also, like a beautiful woman "world walking for the woe of men" without shedding any tear. Something that interested Mordred, quite a bit.
His bed was barren; there black phantoms of desire unsated and savage fury in his brain had brooded till bleak morning.
The Fifty Shades of Grey of those days, apparently.
All in all, the poem is beautiful, powerful and evocative.
It's like we're privileged witnesses of those detailed descriptions, those vivid images that Tolkien is narrating. I imagined every verse. I loved it; it's a shame he couldn't finish it. And, well... I kind of forgot about the rest of the book."Cold blew the wind, keen and wintry, in rising wrath from the rolling forest among roaring leaves. Rain came darkly, and the sun was swallowed in sudden tempest."
I just can't help the feeling of being tricked.