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 Steve 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 Steve’s responses:
1. How were you introduced to Tolkien’s work?
I’d heard on and off about The Hobbit and Bilbo Baggins so that the names were vaguely familiar to me as a child and teenager, but my first real introduction was the trailer to the 2001 adaptation of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” I watched the trailer over and over because it looked so good! I ended up seeing the first movie in theaters seven times. From there, I read the LotR trilogy for the first time and started obsessing over Middle-earth
2. What is your favorite part of Tolkien’s work?
The movies (Peter Jackson’s adaptations) are my favorite way to partake. They’re my favorite movie experience ever in my life. I adored The Hobbit trilogy, so that’d probably be number two, though I’ve got two sourcebooks (Foster’s Tolkien’s World from A to Z: The Complete Guide to Middle-earth and Tyler’s The Complete Tolkien Companion that I can pour over endlessly. I got REALLY into the LotR tradeable card game Decipher published in the early 00’s. And I love Martin Shaw’s audiobook reading of The Silmarillion.
3. What is your fondest experience of Tolkien’s work?
Watching each of the Peter Jackson chapters for the first time. It was unlike anything I’d ever seen before and filled me with a deep longing to learn more and experience more of Tolkien’s work.
4. Has the way you approach Tolkien’s work changed over time?
I’ve only appreciated it more and more as I’ve expanded into his non-Middle-earth works (like Roverandom) and dived deeper into his Middle-earth works (I’m low-key obsessed with The Silmarillion). I’ve come to appreciate it on a religious level, finding poignant lessons and comparisons with what Tolkien writes about and my own faith and beliefs.
5. Would you ever recommend Tolkien’s work? Why/Why not?
Absolutely. I will tell anyone to watch the movies. Beyond that, there’s a depth to his writings that makes it so each time one reads, one can find new things or new insights or new little discoveries. He can be heavy at times – it’s not always light or easily digestible writing – but there’s a richness to his stories and words that takes it beyond just fantasy. There’s almost a divine quality to his work that take it beyond world-building and really make it feel like world-creating.
You can find Steve on Twitter!