Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Book 18 of 2014: Bored of the Rings by The Harvard Lampoon

Bored of the Rings is the last book in my Tolkien parodies collection (which has its own little slot on my bookshelves). It’s actually a book that I got probably over ten years ago but have never really gotten round to reading until this year.

As is to be expected, it’s a parody of The Lord of the Rings, originally published at the height of the Tolkien mania in 1969. It follows the adventures of Dildo Bugger (I dread to think what this is going to do for the search terms bring people to my blog, considering how many people were coming to the blog via my Jersey Girl review!) as he goes on an adventure to dispose of a small piece of jewellery. It’s a lot like The Lord of the Rings except… it really, really isn’t.

I did find this quite funny; more at the beginning than as the story went on. I’ve found that some of the parody stories that I’ve read are a little bit hit and miss. This one was better than The Soddit but maybe not quite as good as Star Warped or The Sellamillion.

One of my favourite things in parody texts is what the authors do with the characters’ names. Some of the names in this book were really good, like Eorache and, yes, Dildo Bugger. Others took me a little while to get and some I just didn’t get what was supposed to make them funny at all. I suspect that some of that is due to the age of the book. This was written forty-five years ago and I wonder if they’re perhaps references to events or people that I’m just not knowledgeable about now. I noticed that was the case in The Sellamillion where several names referenced politicians who were current at the time when the book was written.

The book had both a Foreword and a Prologue, like the original book, so it felt like they were missing a trick by not having Appendices. I was quite looking forward to seeing what they could come up with there, especially something like a timeline which could have all sorts of amusing little quirks listed, or perhaps family trees, so it was disappointing to find they weren’t there.

This book follows The Fellowship of the Ring quite quickly but then sort of merges The Two Towers and The Return of the King together. I realise that it’s a very short book, 228 pages instead of the 1000+ of The Lord of the Rings) but I was still expecting it to be more clearly divided up. The merging sort of meant that bit I was expecting to be parodied got kind of overlooked or brushed over.

I did enjoy this book and I know that it’s been around for a long time, but there are an awful lot of parodies of The Lord of the Rings online and some of them do bits of the story better. I don’t think that any parody is really going to appeal to everyone. I’ll probably reread it again in the future at some point, perhaps soon after reading The Lord of the Rings again so I can appreciate all the little jokes.

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