Sean J’s Experience — Tolkien Experience Project (164)

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 fan.

To see the idea behind this project, or if you are interested in sharing your own, visit the project homepage. If you enjoy this series, please consider helping us fund the project using the support page.

I want to thank Donato Giancola for allowing me to use his artwork for this project. Prints are available on his website!

Now, on to Sean J’s responses:

1. How were you introduced to Tolkien’s work?

I was probably around the age of 8 when I discovered the shiny box set of Tolkien books belonging to my mother on a shelf in our living room. The gold box with the cool symbols on it finally lured me into checking out the books inside, and I loved the hand drawn appearance of the covers. I remember being struck by the picture of the author on the backs- “This OLD man wrote these? I bet they’re boring.” How very little did I know… I still credit my mom for introducing me as it was her set of books.

2. What is your favorite part of Tolkien’s work?

After starting it as a teen, being confounded by the language, and then abandoning it until years later, The Silmarillion stands today as my favorite of all his works. In particular, the Ainulindalë stands out for me. I became enamoured of Roman, Greek, and in particular Norse mythology from a very young age and so was drawn to the creation myth Tolkien describes there and enjoyed reading and discovering how this world I’d come to love so deeply came to be. To this day I find the depth and breadth of Middle-earth provides me with unending joy. I find something new upon nearly every reading.

3. What is your fondest experience of Tolkien’s work?

The way in which being immersed in his work led me towards other, similar interests. Falling in love with the Elves, the Numenorians, and dragons very much led me to discover Dungeons & Dragons, and roleplaying in general.

4. Has the way you approach Tolkien’s work changed over time?

Somewhat though not completely. I’m still primarily a fan of his Middle-earth writings, but I’ve read through the entirety of The History of Middle-earth (at least the 12 volumes I’m aware of) edited by Christopher Tolkien, and as I grew older and wiser, I’ve been able to glean more detail and information as to the creation of his world. I’ve always been fascinated by the languages he created but haven’t spent any time officially involved in academic study of Tolkien.

5. Would you ever recommend Tolkien’s work? Why/Why not?

The Hobbit is one of the books I will always recommend to any reader, of almost any age, and while I know Tolkien isn’t for everyone, I tend to leave that choice up to the reader. Tolkien’s work is one of the things I enjoy most in the world, so I’m always glad to share my love of it with anyone who asks.

You can find more from Sean J at his blog!

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