Listening to Phil Dragash's reading of “The Lord of the Rings”

Not Usually One for Audio-books

Theater at its best somehow allows us to become ecstatically stretched out into another time in another space, another way of experiencing things in the world.

I learned of Phil Dragash’s reading of The Lord of the Rings 📖. I went to the Internet Archive, and downloaded the MP3s of the recordings.

What an amazing labor of love. Phil Dragash, a voice actor, reads the unabridged story; overlaying the narrative with background noises and snippets from Howard Shore’s soundtrack.

I’m listening to Fog on the Barrow Downs, chapter 8 of The Fellowship of the Ring 📖.

I’m enthralled by the lyricism of J.R.R. Tolkien 📖’s writing and can better sense the cadence.

I am also picking up on different elements of the story. I suppose some of this attunement comes from having read Ursula K. Le Guin’s essay Rhythmic Pattern in “The Lord of the Rings” from her book The Wave in the Mind 📖.

In that essay, Le Guin wrote about the narrative rhythm, one of light then dark, as though footsteps walking.

Other parts come from listening instead of reading; while reading I might lazily skim a passage, but while listening with full attention, each word and passage walks before my minds eye.

I encourage you to take a listen to this wonderful work of art.