This is one in a series of posts where the content is provided by a guest who has graciously answered five questions about their experience as a Tolkien reader. I am very humbled that anyone volunteers to spend time in this busy world to answer questions for my blog, and so I give my sincerest thanks to Olga and the other participants for this.
To see the idea behind this project, check out this page
I want to thank Donato Giancola for allowing me to use his stunning portrait of J.R.R Tolkien as the featured image for this project. If you would like to purchase print of this painting, they are available on his website!
If you would like to contribute your own experience, you can do so by using the form on the contact page, or by emailing me directly.
Now, on to Olga Polomoshnova’s responses:
How were you introduced to Tolkien’s work?
Looking back, it now seems that Tolkien’s books found me, rather than I was introduced to them by someone. In my second year at university, studying English philology, I bought three volumes of The Lord of the Rings at a book sale in the main hall. I cannot explain now what made me pick up these books: I was aware of Tolkien’s work, of course, but did not consider reading it at that time. But when I saw these volumes in the box I just took them and that was it.
I did not read the books at that time, though. It was only many years later, long after my graduation from university, when I finally took them from the shelf and was able to enjoy the beautiful language and the story created by the author. However, I do not consider those years as lost (I could have read so much Tolkien so much earlier!) because I am sure his mythology entered my life exactly when it was meant to.
2. What is your favorite part of Tolkien’s work?
I love how many-layered and dimensional Tolkien’s stories are. You can re-read his books every year and still find a lot of things you did not notice before. There is great depth in his works that shows in shorter stories and poems, too. Tolkien’s world feels and appears real due to how greatly detailed, worked out and thought out everything about it is.
3. What is your fondest experience of Tolkien’s work?
Reading The Silmarillion for the first time. It was at the very beginning of January 2013, right after the New Year’s celebration. I had ten days off work and spent them all reading The Silmarillion non-stop while the world outside was quiet and covered with snow. I still remember the feeling of awe, enchantment and excitement on gradually discovering the tales while curling up on the sofa.
4. Has the way you approach Tolkien’s work changed over time?
I think it has, in a way. Now I like looking closely into the tales, legends and verse that Tolkien loved alongside reading and re-reading his own books. Learning more about Anglo-Saxon, Old Norse or Finnish ancient literature helps me understand Tolkien’s work better, adds a new dimension to my appreciation of his stories.
5. Would you ever recommend Tolkien’s work? Why/Why not?
I would recommend it gladly. In my opinion, his work is the finest example of fantasy literature written with great depth, in exquisite language, with love and care that few books can rival.
You can see regular blog posts about Tolkien from Olga on her fantastic blog: http://www.middleearthreflections.com/