Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Bored of the Rings (Book)

Bored of the rings (1969)
by Henry Beard and Doug Kenney
Wikipedia Entry

I first discovered Lord of the Rings when I found a hardcover copy of The Fellowship of the Ring in the library.  I liked science fiction and fantasy and thought this was just my thing. I took it home, got seriously bored about the time they were traipsing around with Tom Bombazine, and took it back.  It was the first book I ever started reading without finishing.

A few years later, some friends of mine were discussing Bored of the Rings.  It sounded pretty damn funny, but they told me I'd miss most of the jokes if I hadn't read Tolkien.  A friend gave me The Fellowship again, and I bought the rest of the trilogy and started slogging through it*.  But, to reward myself, I also bought a copy of Bored of the Rings and kept it wrapped up in a stapled paper bag until I was finished.

It was worth it.

Bored of the Rings is one of the greatest book-length parodies ever written.  Authors Henry Beard and Doug Kenney wrote it at Harvard, where they were editors of The Harvard Lampoon.  The character names, for instance, are all tradmarks:  Goodgulf, Frito, Spam, Pepsi and Moxie, etc.** The book summarized the plot of the trilogy, of course, with some really off-the-wall humor.  Say, for instance the prophecy about Bromosel was the immortal poem:

Five nine is your height and 180's your weight.
You cash in your chips about page 88.***

The book was silly, quite suggestive, and funny from start to finish.  And,yes, it helped to have read the trilogy.

Authors Henry Beard and Doug Kenney went on to further triumphs, forming the original National Lampoon.  Later, Kinney helped write Animal House.

If you love the trilogy, and don't mind laughing about it, try to track down a copy.


*I liked it better this time.  I had already tried and liked The Hobbit, so I also held out that the trilogy would be as good as that.  It wasn't overall, but it's a book I respect, even if I don't love it.

**I didn't get the joke of the name Dildo Bugger at the time.  Life in the 60s was much more innocent.

***And they later had him looking nervously at the top of the page to check the number.

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