PL’s Experience–Tolkien Experience Project (9)

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 PL 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 PL’s responses:

How were you introduced to Tolkien’s work?

A friend of my parents (English professor) gave it to me for my 10th birthday.

What is your favorite part of Tolkien’s work?

I used to say it was the Lord of the Rings but as I have grown older I have come to appreciate The Silmarillion far more. It is epic in scope, rich in description and full of complex, nuanced characters. Each time I read it I seem to find something new to explore–a character I may have overlooked, a turn of phrase that did not catch my attention on an earlier reading, details about a favorite character that I had not fully appreciated.

What is your fondest experience of Tolkien’s work?

Sharing my love of Tolkien with my children and having them share this love of Middle-earth with me.

Has the way you approach Tolkien’s work changed over time?

Yes. I used to reread it purely for enjoyment of the story and reunion with beloved characters. But now I have delved further into the scholarship and Christopher Tolkien’s later publications: HoME, Unfinished Tales, Letters, Hammond and Scull’s work, the Tolkien Professor and more. On first encountering Tolkien I was a child–the story and characters of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings appealed to me. I had a hard time with The Silmarillion initially–I was so excited to buy it when it first came out. I was 11 and I found it a difficult read at that time.

Would you ever recommend Tolkien’s work? Why/Why not?

I recommend it constantly. To children, young adults, adult friends. These stories are epic in scope but the characters are timeless. Flawed, funny, brave, grim, faithless, loyal–all characteristics humans share. The friendships in these tales are so uplifting.


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