The World Wide Walrus

``Bored of the Rings''

A Parody of J. R. R. Tolkien's ``The Lord of the Rings'' by Henry N. Beard and Douglas C. Kenney of The Harvard Lampoon

   Bored of the Rings Cover
  ``Bored of the Rings'' Cover: Click the image to view a large(!) version in a new window
There are those who proclaim that this book is a complete waste of time. These are the same people who can look at an aardvark and see nothing funny.

But for those who enjoy life the more because they don't take it all so seriously, and especially for those who think aardvarks are silly-looking animals, this book is the classic ``Lord of the Rings'' parody. It towers over all the others, even if there aren't any.

First Printing

I picked up my copy at a local college book store in the late 1980s, unaware at the time that I had a pristine copy of the first printing (September 1969) in my hands. I've no idea how it got on that shelf but I made off with it in a hurry. I've also no idea if there were additional printings (with that cover, see picture on the right) but there has been at least a 1993 printing with a very different cover. That one is available at <cough> <cough>, and other virtual book stores. But as none of those stores have paid me a so much as a dime for mentioning their name, I am forced to leave the guess work up to you.

What The Hell Is This Thing?

``Bored of the Rings'' consists of 160 pages and is as irreverent of Tolkien's great work as possible, and yet the book succeeds admirably in telling a parallel story with surprising ingenuity and humor. Many references are of political and commercial nature. Understanding these can certainly help, but even if you don't catch them all the book is a riot.

I, for example, thought that ``Moxie'' is probably some kitchen floor polish; recently I learned that it was a soft drink (soda, pop). Needless to say Moxie is no longer around, the reason for which is probably to be sought in confused consumers like I trying to clean their kitchen floors with it and being completely unimpressed with the results. Correction: Brian Threlkeld informed me that ``Moxie'' is not gone after all, and enjoys a comparatively small but fanatical following, largely in the Northeast and eastern Midwest (of the U.S.) -- Learn more about Moxie. Thanks Brian!

But the story is not merely a silly parallel of the chronicled events surrounding the Ring, it also mocks Tolkien's presentation of the long and tragic stories of Middle Earth, the puzzle at the gates of Moria, and many other parts. It's a terribly funny piece of work, and has had me laughing out loud on innumerable occasions. It does require a prior reading of ``The Lord of the Rings'': too many of the jokes and twisted turns rely on knowing the real story.


The cover, featuring elements of Barbara Remington's ``Lord of the Rings'' Wilderness Poster was drawn by Michael K. Frith; even a hilarious parody map is included, drawn by William S. Donnell.

My copy is not for sale.

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