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 Kristaand 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 Krista’s responses:
1. How were you introduced to Tolkien’s work?
As a pre-teen in 1970 I swiped a paperback box set from my older brother’s room when he came home from military service for a visit. He had the coolest things and that was the greatest thing I could have ever taken from him. That set, plus a later purloined book from him, The Hobbit, gave me hours of joy as I tramped along the path with our trusty Hobbit and company.
2. What is your favorite part of Tolkien’s work?
Oh, the Elves! It was enthralling that such a world existed. I’d dream of spending time in a flet with them, meeting Gandalf and Galadriel.
3. What is your fondest experience of Tolkien’s work?
My mother bought me The Silmarillion for Christmas, I think in 1972. I may have hounded her for a copy, it sounds like something I would do. But when I opened that package – oh my god, it had a map even! I remember my delight. That is, until I found how HARD it actually was to read at that age! Memories: Saving my brothers old used calendars by the Brothers Hildebrant; stumbling onto a used VCR tape of Bakshi’s version of The Lord of the Ring; a friend giving me The Tolkien Companion. And finally, seeing the movies brought to such vibrant life.
4. Has the way you approach Tolkien’s work changed over time?
Yes, after having first read the books 50 years ago I think I’ve become more analytical as opposed to reading for the sheer joy of it, although that is there as well. I find myself pausing in a chapter to consult maps or genealogies (thank you onering.net) to clarify my readings.
5. Would you ever recommend Tolkien’s work? Why/Why not?
I do recommend to everyone to read it once because, well it’s not only a beautiful story, there are timeless themes there on love and loss, and important life lessons “…even the smallest hands can do important works”, etc. scattered throughout.