While I am not sure that I would say that there is anything that I actually dislike as such, there are certainly elements that I like more than others, and it might be fair to try and identify the elements that I like the least.
The one thing that jumps immediately to mind is the narrator of, in particular the early parts of, The Hobbit. While I would probably not go quite as far as Tolkien himself (who approvingly spoke of children calling the direct addresses to children ‘blemishes’), I still think that The Hobbitis a weaker book than it might otherwise have been.
I do not agree with Tolkien in political or religious matters (though there is much greater agreement in terms of morality, I nonetheless arrive at different political and religious conclusions than did Tolkien) or about a number of other opinions that Tolkien had, but none of this has any bearing on my opinion of his artistic and intellectual work (I also doubt that you will find many among those who praise Shakespeare who would agree with Shakespeare's political views . . .).
As a person, Tolkien was himself an incurable niggler— in some ways it is amazing that he ever managed to finish The Lord of the Ringsfor publication— and in later writings this leads to a sometimes unfortunate tendency to‘overthink’ things — the sanctification of Galadriel in later writings that LotR writes about is a good example, and other examples can surely be found. While at times highly interesting, this tendency to reconsider and involve himself in long philosophical considerations about the appropriateness of certain elements (the‘flat-world’ vs.‘round-world’ versions of the cosmogonical myth is a good example) can also be frustrating and appear to end in Tolkien trying to second-guess himself trying to second-guess his reader . . .
A related element might be the few (certainly by any comparison with other authors) inconsistencies and other misfits that remain in the texts of the pre-humously published books: the imperfect naturalization of Tom Bombadil to Middle-earth is one example, the much greater misfit between the Middle-earth of The Hobbitand the Middle-earth of The Lord of the Ringsis another, as is the relics of earlier versions found spread out in particular in the early parts of The Lord of the Rings(e.g. Aragorn seemingly remembering things that belong exclusively to the back-history of the Hobbit ranger, Trotter). These can at times be mildly frustrating— a bit like that crack in your favourite cup that you keep running your finger over because your finger knows exactly where it is.
As for style, I love both the high and the low in Tolkien's usage— whether Ulmo speaking to Tuor at Nevrast or Gorbag and Shagrat discussing the fates of Ufthak and Frodo, I am enchanted by his command of the English language— and here‘enchanted’ must be understood in the sense that he introduces in his essay‘On Fairy-stories’. And I am particularly fond of Tolkien's alliterative poetry. Stricter in his use (abiding by more ancient meters) than his contemporaries (particularly C.S. Lewis and W.H. Auden), there is, to my highly subjective eyes, an added force to Tolkien's poetry that is almost never found outside the ancient lays.
So, while I would not say that there is anything that actually dislike, I would be lying if I claimed that I thought he couldn't have done better in any way at all— none of us are, after all, perfect, and no mere human can compete with the Elves in the craft of Enchantment, but above all I find that Tolkien himself addresses the main weakness of his Lord of the Ringsin the foreword to the second edition of that book: it is too short!
Edit: Geordie well put, and I agree
Edited by: Troelsfo
Troels Forchhammer, physicist, Denmark
The love of Faery is the love of love: a relationship toward all things, animate and inanimate, which includes love and respect ...