Tolkien's writing is subtle and so detailed. This book has become a serious focus for me and a group of others who discuss and work to re-enact the events within the first seven chapters, as a means of engaging others in our goal of growing literacy skills around the world, especially with youth (see SheriwodFoundation.org ). His writing is our challenge. It is a difficult book to read, however, because unlike most books, it is more like a series of short stories with a golden thread flowing throughout than a modern novel. A great book from an amazing author.