I am re reading the Lord of the Rings. To put it mildly, I did not remember. It seems the films, which were great, had gotten in the way of the memory of how complete, intoxicating and self aware a world Tolkien created. There are moments of grandeur and mythological purity. Lorien is a dream of a green and gold paradise lost that has never been found. But even the characters know that. They ask themselves whether it was actually real as they paddle down the Anduin. Eventually Aragorn tells them to speak of it no more. (Only Legolas, the Elf, is excepted as his memory does not fade and he recalls it like a waking dream.) Yet all along the journey of the fellowship and after there is abject physical misery, greed and despair. Frodo hungers and shiver and doubts. Sam is loyal and fierce but he would rather be somewhere else. Boromir betrays his friends and dies trying to make amends. How human these inhuman characters are.
The physical geography of Middle Earth is daunting in its detail and clarity. The overarching mythology is rich and complex. What a mind Tolkien had, what a soul, what a glorious example of the power of the human imagination.
There are so many other authors I admire, but none inspire me to write, like Tolkien.