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 Arne 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 Arne G’s responses:
How were you introduced to Tolkien’s work?
Back when I was six years old, my mother visited a friend of hers whose son was one year older than me and had just gotten a brand new DVD of the Fellowship of the Ring, which we watched together. Sauron, Durin’s Bane and the Uruk-hai disturbed my dreams for weeks, but also started my interest in fantasy literature. It was only six years later at a common friend’s party that I decided at last to continue my journey through Middle Earth. The next day, I spent all my pocket money for one copy each of both The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion.
What is your favorite part of Tolkien’s work?
There are so many awesome things, I don’t even really know where to begin. My favorite chapter in any of Tolkien’s books is ‘Of Aulë and Yavanna’. The compassion Aulë has for both his works and his wife always makes me emotional. But more than straight up reading a specific book, I love to just open a random page in the HoME and muse over the different versions of the text presented. Last, but not least, the last paragraph of the ‘Siege of Gondor’ chapter gives me massive goosebumps every time, what a fine piece of writing!
What is your fondest experience of Tolkien’s work?
Due to being exposed to Tolkien so early in my life, every piece and adaptation of his works, but especially The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy always give me a nostalgic feeling and makes me think back to my elementary school days.
Talking about specific events, there are two. Once, I offered my help and discussion for Tolkien fanfiction writers, one of those authors later became my longterm girlfriend. The second happened two years later. We went to an all-six-movies-back-to-back cinema event when the third hobbit movie was released. After 21 hours of unfiltered Middle-earth experience, the real world actually felt less real than Arda, a very bizarre yet incredible feeling.
Has the way you approach Tolkien’s work changed over time?
Several times, I think. From ‘whoa, what a scary, but awesome movie’, to ‘so that’s how things worked out’, to ‘wait, there is even more stuff, and it’s even better!’, to ‘Tolkien has become a big part of my life and so much more than just a fandom.’
Would you ever recommend Tolkien’s work? Why/Why not?
No matter if movie, book or music, I only ever recommend stuff to people when I think they have a general liking for that genre. And everybody who already is into fantasy knows of Tolkien. At most, I may give them a nudge, if they are hesitant in regards to reading The Silmarillion.