Bored of the Rings

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Bored of the Rings is the title of a paperback parody of J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. This short novel was written by Henry N. Beard and Douglas C. Kenney, who later founded National Lampoon. It was published in 1969 by Signet for the Harvard Lampoon.

The parody generally follows the outline of The Lord of the Rings, including the preface, the prologue, poetry, and songs, while making light of what Tolkien made serious (e.g., "He would have finished him off then and there, but pity stayed his hand. It's a pity I've run out of bullets, he thought, as he went back up the tunnel... "). Names and words in the various languages are parodied with brand names which mimic their sounds (example: Moxie and Pepsi for Merry and Pippin). There are many topical references, some of which, like some of the brand names, are now dated. Regardless, it has the unusual distinction for a parody of having been continuously in print for the decades since it was first published (as of 2007).

Aside from the text itself, the book includes five elements that parody common features of mass-market books:

  • A laudatory back cover review, which on inspection was written at Harvard, possibly by the authors themselves.
  • Inside cover reviews which are entirely contrived, concluding with a quote by someone affiliated with the publication Our Loosely Enforced Libel Laws.
  • A list of other books in the "series", none of which exist.
  • A double page map which has almost nothing to do with the events in the text.
  • The first text a browsing reader is liable to see purports to be a salacious sample from the book, but the episode never happens in the main text, nor does anything else of that tone: the book has no explicit sexual content.

The Signet first edition cover, a parody of the 1965 Ballantine paperback cover by Barbara Remington,[1] was drawn by muppet designer Michael K. Frith. Current publications have different artwork, since the paperback cover art[1] for Lord of the Rings prevalent in the 60s, then famous, is now obscure.[2] William S. Donnell drew the "parody map"[3] of Lower Middle Earth.

Contents

Characters

Goulash, Narc of the Ohma-hah

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