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 Thomas 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 Thomas Denys’s responses:
1. How were you introduced to Tolkien’s work?
My first acquaintance with Tolkien’s work was through Peter Jackson’s film adaptations. I was 12 years old when The Return of the King came out in cinemas and was heavily impressed. Some months later my grandparents bought me The Two Towers and The Return of the King (in Dutch translation) as a gift, so I had to buy The Fellowship of the Ring with my own savings. I started reading (and later collecting) Tolkien and have never stopped.
2. What is your favorite part of Tolkien’s work?
It’s hard to pick a favourite gem from such an immense hoard, but I always feel rapt when reading Tolkien’s scholarly essays. Also, I think Tolkien’s poetry deserves a lot more attention than it generally receives: time and time again I am fascinated by its uniqueness and the immense, colourful variety in style, form and content.
3. What is your fondest experience of Tolkien’s work?
Reading The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion as a teenager, in bed, just before going to sleep, and being unable to stop reading.
4. Has the way you approach Tolkien’s work changed over time?
Evidently, when I started reading Tolkien as a teenager I only had eyes for the story as such. When I studied English Linguistics and Literature at university, my perspective widened: I started to do more ‘deep reading’ and started reading secondary literature on Tolkien and his works, as well as the Professor’s academic writings (which now made sense!). My approach toward reading Tolkien has somewhat evolved, but the awe and love for his work has remained constant from the beginning.
5. Would you ever recommend Tolkien’s work? Why/Why not?
Obviously! One can compare Tolkien’s work to an iceberg: some will mount the tip; some will slip whilst doing so and give up, some will remain upright and enjoy the view from on top; some will be intrigued by its nature, will start exploring and will discover there’s still an immense part below surface (of course, one should regularly come back to surface, in order not to drown); and of course some people will remain uninterested and think it just an oversized ice cube…
You can find Thomas as Éarendel’ on the Tolkien Collector’s Guide forum