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 Peter 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 a 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 Peter Berg’s responses:
1. How were you introduced to Tolkien’s work?
A former teacher handed me The Hobbit and said “I think you might like this” I was 12 going on 13 and was having some issues. I was starting to go do down a dark road. I always loved to read and maybe that’s why he handed it to me. I really wasn’t and still really am not a fan of the Fantasy genre.
2. What is your favorite part of Tolkien’s work?
The depth, with all the history and backstory. The realism this could have happened and Tolkien writes it in that way as if he’s telling a story that actually happened. The depth of culture and descriptions of the landscapes.
3. What is your fondest experience of Tolkien’s work?
Probably the first time reading Books 1 and 2 otherwise known as The Fellowship of the Ring. I was introduced to a world that has been a place of solace and comfort ever since. It changed my life I would say it saved me in some ways.
4. Has the way you approach Tolkien’s work changed over time?
Perhaps I take my time while reading Tolkien’s works now. I read with no particular agenda not needing to get to the end but just enjoy what’s there in the moment.
5. Would you ever recommend Tolkien’s work? Why/Why not?
I have on many occasions. Just for the depth alone, showing what writing can be like, that all the background is what sets Tolkien apart from any other fantasy author. Then again I don’t read a whole lot of fantasy. Being an educator I couldn’t get away with not reading the Harry Potter series and some Game of Thrones, but I don’t know much else about fantasy authors. Taking these two examples Tolkien’s work is in a different universe. Rowling’s writing though enjoyable and creative is surface level and I believe tried to take a lot of concepts from Tolkien. When I saw Mugworts I thought hmmm where I have seen that name before. Martin’s work is the same to me it may have a little more depth than Rowling’s but much of it is gratuitous and an attempt at shock value. He’s been praised because his characters are “complex” which really means they lack moral conviction. Tolkien’s characters are complex even more complex than Martin’s. Tolkien just didn’t have the need to be so overt.
You can find more from Peter Berg on Instagram!