Quick read as my reading challenge is currently in dire straits. (20 books in three months is going to be a tough ask.)
This time around it was the Elves that got me, dammit. The bits where Galadriel is lamenting the fall of the elves, the end of magic, the greyness of the world? That almost brought me to tears.
Also I've been thinking about the bit where Gandalf says of Frodo that there's more to him than meets the eye. There's a subtext that Gandalf is talking about his mithril-coat, hidden under his clothes, and it recalls a bit in The Hobbit where Gandalf says much the thing about Bilbo; the subtext here is that Gandalf knows about the Ring, which Bilbo has lied about. It's interesting that in both cases the hidden thing is an object, not a personality trait ("he has hidden depths", we might say today). What does it mean that Tolkien's tales are largely founded on physical objects? That The Silmarillion is driven by various characters' lust for the Silmarils? That the story of The Hobbit is a quest for dragon treasure? That The Lord of the Rings is centred around the power of the Ring? We think The Lord of the Rings is about elven-magic, and things beyond human ken; we seem to forget how aware it is of capitalist reality, of the power of things.
Looking forward to Return of the King, which has lots of lovely bits. Not particularly looking forward to trekking through Rohan and the Dead Marshes to get there, though.