Ryan Hughes said:
As far as the TV show, it has good acting, but is otherwise terrible. I find the fans of the show to be meager mongoloids hanging onto the coattails of a decent set of novels.
That was harsh... but not entirely wrong. I get kind of irritated when I hear someone say they don't want to read the books so they don't spoil the show. I find that reading the books is a far better way to experience the story, because the show is too fast paced, and you never really get to know a character like you do in the books, they are just better realized characters in the books, and because its told from a point of view style, you learn about the characters, and you get to know their hopes, their dreams, and all that helps to understand, and become emotionally attached, and its an all around a better experience, because you're far more invested in the characters.
*Edit* Interestingly enough MacDonald's poem "My Two Geniuses" is about his struggle with his opium addiction, but this was not known to either JRR Tolkien or CS Lewis, who sited the work as one of their primary inspirations for their fantasy.
Not to derail, but I don't consider Tolkien to be that good of a writer. His world is spectacularly realized, and the mythos is fantastic, but his prose are wooden and his characters fairly one dimension (Except for Boromir and Faramir, who I found to be the most nuanced characters on the books). If he was writing a history book of Middle Earth, I would think it a fantastic piece of literature, but he was not very adept at telling a story in a narrative fashion.
I also don't much care for C.S. Lewis, but that's more because I find his books to be far too preachy.
Tolkien's Characters are largely allegorical. He feared not only the industrialization spreading from London and Liverpool, but also the archetypical hero figures that became prominent during WWI and WWII, becoming modern-day Beowulf or sorts. Thus, his answer was to make the Hobbits themselves the "heroes" of the great adventure, to show that goodness not necessarily takes the form of a warrior-hero. I can understand how you see them as one-dimensional, but I simply disagree in light of this.
Quoting "Fellowship", page 131:
"When they caught his words again they found that he had now wandered into strange regions beyond their memory and beyond their waking thought, into times when the world was wider, and the seas flowed straight tot he western Shore; and still on and back Tom went singing out into ancient starlight, when only the Elf-sires were awake. . . The hobbits sat still before him, enchanted; and it seemed as if, under the spell of his words, the wind had gone, and the clouds had dried up, and the day had been withdrawn, and darkness had come from east and west, and all the sky was filled with the light of white stars."
Tolkien's prose is there if you search for it. However, it inevitably dries up during the action and battle sequences. But, when it is present, it is far superior to other fantasy writers do to the fact that Tolkien can allow the mysterious to be mysterious, eschewing the need to merely explain while concentrating on the experience of the moment. This is what I was talking about when I said that MacDonald is necessary for good fantasy writing.