About Aragorn, the most memorable response would be from a friend of ours, who said he thought that, if only Aragorn would hold him, he'd be able to feel that everything would be okay. I find I agree more when I think of the movies, because I don't find book!Aragorn quite as huggable. Tolkien wasn't big on physical description. He says what matters, and leaves it at that. 'What matters' is not, sadly, much to fangirl over, at least at first.
During my first reads I didn't quite realize how much history there is just in the first book: stories about Gil-Galad, a truncated version of the tale of Beren and Luthien, the Last Alliance of course, mentions of the Silmarils, Tom Bombadil's recollection of the world 'before the seas were bent,' on and on. Elrond reminisces a lot. This would be why my earliest impression of Middle Earth was one of historical depth, and why I walked away with very little else except affection for the counting game Legolas and Gimli kept up. Now that I've read The Silmarillion these moments are all sticking out to me like bright neon signs and reminding me of questions I want answered. Like:
I've always wondered how Elrond squared loving two sons of Feanor (or one, at least) with the unfortunate knowledge that they also drove his mother off a cliff, and it looks like I'm not going to get a sense of his feelings on that by reading LOTR! I was hoping for some hint. All I got was Elrond telling the council his lineage and a passage about Bilbo's song, which was also about Elrond's father, Eärendil. I could interpret their tone rather freely and come up with some ambivalence, but that would be my own theories talking, and not the text. Seems to me he comes from a long line of shitty parents, and he might have some wise and not-so-wise thoughts on that, but sigh.
I know, I know, the book isn't about Elrond. It isn't about Gil-Galad either, but they keep bringing him up too, and I keep thinking, Gil-Galad~~~~ The loss of your hotness has been a sore blow to Middle Earth, so come baaaaack~~~~ About that time I'm derailed, and not really focusing on the nice environment descriptions. Or, you know, anything important.
On the shitty parents thing, I suppose I might give Idril a pass on a re-read of the chapter when she leaves. It depends heavily on the timing, you see. But on the other side of the family tree we start with Thingol, and while he may not have been a shitty parent overall, he made a fatal mistake that, on top of all his reactionary political policies, I'm not sure I can forgive him for! Sorry, Thingol.
Okay, I was talking about LOTR, not The Silmarillion.
So, I read the first four or five chapters - up to Frodo meeting up with Farmer Maggot - a few months ago, and then got derailed by some event and stopped reading. I don't have much to say about that part of it anyway. Since starting again on Monday, because I needed to read a book I knew was good, I've covered Frodo and Sam meeting up with Merry, all the way to the end of the Council of Elrond (hence all the focus on him, aha). I'm fascinated with the metaphysics of the Ring and of the Nazgul, and of elves that live simultaneously in the physical and spirit worlds, but don't know enough to say much about it. I just find it interesting and hope there'll be some form of elaboration in all the notes and letters I will soon be going through, or a finger pointing at that tidbit that the souls of the Eldar have a different relationship with their bodies, blah blah, I have to go read that again.
The big thing that stood out to me was how not-annoying the Tom Bombadil chapters were. I remember finding the entire Old Forest sequence incredibly boring during my very first read, but this time I was actually interested in what he had to say. And, shockingly, I was interested in how he met Goldberry. Not sure why, exactly; I think it's just that the meeting he described seemed to echo other stories in the canon (Beren and Luthien, Thingol and Melian), even though the specifics were different. And if he was the First, and is the oldest, I mean... how does that work, exactly? I figured Elves were still the oldest. Some of the elf-lords (and ladies) hanging around are pretty ancient.
(My God, Cirdan is so old. How does he even get up in the morning?)
Secondly, my love for Sam shot straight through the roof when he threw his apple at Bill Ferney when the party was leaving Bree. I don't know why. It's what I'd want to do, and the very thing I wouldn't do because that's just so rude, but I found it immensely satisfying.
At that moment there was a knock on the door, and Sam came in. He ran to Frodo and took his left hand, awkwardly and shyly. He stroked it gently and then he blushed and turned hastily away.
J.R.R. Tolkien (2009-04-17). The Lord of the Rings (p. 225). Harper Collins, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
Come on. I don't even--
Sam, just kiss him.
(Pulling the LOTRO part, but only because I'm going to make a post about that separately.)