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 Nathan 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 Nathan Pope’s responses:
1. How were you introduced to Tolkien’s work?
I admit that I was a late comer to Tolkien’s work. I had not heard of any of his works till The Fellowship of the Ring came out in theaters. I was in 8th grade and had seen the trailers and the character busts at the local movie theater. I was interested but I have to admit that I thought the whole thing strange, I mean dwarves and elves and trolls? I had only children’ stories to guide my thinking. For Christmas break my parents took us to the movies and I figured I would give it a try. I ended up seeing the movie 7 times that break, needless to say, I was hooked. In addition to seeing the movie 7 times, I also read the whole Lord of the Rings in a week and a half. I then moved onto The Hobbit. I did not discover The Silmarillion until summer break and I do admit that although I made it all the way through I did not understand most of it. I read and read all three volumes so much that by the time The Two Towers came out I was waiting in line for the midnight showing and more excited than I can ever remember being.
2. What is your favorite part of Tolkien’s work?
My favorite parts of Tolkien’s work are the rich histories and back stories that permeate everywhere. Every time I read some of Tolkien’s work, which is constant because I am on a never ceasing rotation, I am also impressed by how rich the world is and how even the slightest character has been given thought and depth.
3. What is your fondest experience of Tolkien’s work?
The Fellowship of the Ring movie is still my favorite of all the movies and no matter what I am doing I will stop and watch if given the chance, extended edition of course.
4. Has the way you approach Tolkien’s work changed over time?
My approach has changed somewhat over time in regards to Tolkien’s works. In the beginning I was ever thirsty for more and always eager to discover more that I had not read. Now I still attack and absorb the material but in a deeper way, hoping to recover that first time experience and feeling with a deeper understanding and closer reading of the text.
5. Would you ever recommend Tolkien’s work? Why/Why not?
I would of course recommend and have done so. I am a middle school teacher and I am actually teaching The Hobbit this year to my students. We are doing it during our activity period and it has been wonderful. It is slow going because of the frequent stops to answer questions and the even more frequent digressions into the text but both the students and myself are having a great time.