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 Jelena Filipovic’s responses:
1. How were you introduced to Tolkien’s work?
Peter Jackson’s movies introduced me to Tolkien in 2001 as the The Fellowship of the Ring came out. I was 9 years old. I remember very vaguely first seeing an ad for the movie (I’m guessing that was part of the trailer) on TV and there being something sublime and ‘otherworldly’ about the feel of the movie, even in those few seconds which I had seen the ad. This had drawn my attention, making me curious and wanting to see the movie at the cinema.
2. What is your favorite part of Tolkien’s work?
My favourite part of Tolkien’s work has changed, and no doubt will continue to change, throughout the years. Something which I didn’t fully perceive when I watched the movies as a child, but which has grown on me in the last 8 years, ever since I read The Silmarillion, is the Christian spirit in and of Tolkien’s work – and in the man himself. For this reason my love for him and his works has grown and continues to grow. Tolkien’s work has expanded my perception of Christianity. If the Old Testament is a difficult and maybe even somewhat tedious read, The Silmarillion is like a reading guide or introduction to it; The Lord of the Rings is like the New Testament (and I stress the word ‘like’). Tolkien is one particular author who has made me a better Christian.
3. What is your fondest experience of Tolkien’s work?
I cherished the moments I had watched the LOTR movies at the cinema throughout the years 2001-2004. I love the times I had read the LOTR books over the summer holidays (one book each summer) while also listening to Howard Shore’s musical score from the movies as I read. Sometimes I would also listen to other songs while reading any of Tolkien’s Middle-earth related texts and later these songs would always remind me of the atmosphere or scenes from that particular book. One memorable experience is when I was in Zakynthos (Greece) in summer 2016 and was reading The Lost Road and Other Writings. Whenever I was at the beach, looking out at the sea, walking along the shore, I thought of the story of Númenor and all its people and all that happened to it. On one particular day while I was still in Zakynthos it happened to be cloudy (just a little bit windy too) and I wrote in my journal, as I sat on the porch of the apartment where we were staying, how the moment I was experiencing then and there felt like it was the calm before a storm that the people of Númenor must have felt before its ultimate downfall.
4. Has the way you approach Tolkien’s work changed over time?
Very much so. It certainly has deepened and, I dare say, “matured” (whatever mature means), but the love with which I approach it is the same.
5. Would you ever recommend Tolkien’s work? Why/Why not?
I would definitely recommend the movies to everyone and anyone who hasn’t seen them, primarily LOTR and The Hobbit more or less. As for Tolkien’s written work, I would not recommend them to just anyone, especially if I know a person well, who is not into this genre, this style of writing, etc., or not into reading in general. The texts aren’t perhaps readerly for everybody.
You can find more from Jelena Filipovic on Twitter and Instagram!