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 Richard Rowland 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 Richard Rowland’s responses:
How were you introduced to Tolkien’s work?
An English teacher (Mr Coot) I had for one term in 1965 read to my class for one period a week from The Fellowship of The Ring, by the end of that term he had finished reading the book to us. Sadly we got a new teacher the next term so this was not continued, however two of us got hooked.
What is your favorite part of Tolkien’s work?
This is a difficult one to answer. My favourite story from the First Age is “Of Tuor and his coming to Gondolin” – its a great pity this was never finished. Re: his non legendarium books my favourite is “The Fall of Arthur” and of course a favourite is Lord of the Rings.
What is your fondest experience of Tolkien’s work?
I guess this must be the first time I read Lord of the Rings in 1965.
Has the way you approach Tolkien’s work changed over time?
Yes definitely my approach has changed. As I have got older I have wanted to read more of Tolkien’s work – I only have Sir Garwain still to read, however my main interest is the Legendarium and not so much his other books.
Would you ever recommend Tolkien’s work? Why/Why not?
I always recommend Professor Tolkien’s work and have compiled a suggested order for reading his books. In my opinion no one else has ever compiled a fictional world that has so much depth – this is hinted at in the Lord of the Rings – however this only scratches the surface and any serious study of the legendarium must include the Silmarillion (although admittedly I still battle with the creation section). Also I strongly recommend people should see his paintings and sketches as Professor Tolkien was a very fine artist as well as being a good author. I recently showed my copy of J R R Tolkien Artist and Illustrator to a friend who only has a passing interest in Tolkien’s work and he commented that he was impressed with the variety of styles Professor Tolkien used depending on the context of the painting or sketch – something that I had not thought about before.
For more Middle-earth fun with Richard Rowland, check out the Middle-earth themed Facebook group that he moderates!