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 Laurie’s responses:
1. How were you introduced to Tolkien’s work?
I was actually just out of college and checking out my local library before a trip on an audiobook. I just went through The Hobbit right before a road trip, and decided to check it out! I’ve heard they were good, so I decided to have a listen while on the road. There were a lot of times in my personal life when I related to Bilbo Baggins, the titular hobbit, even when I’m not exactly following his footsteps. Wanting to go on an adventure, while also desiring the comforts of home, and going back and forth between his desires were what stood out to me as relatable. And after finding out The Lord of the Rings was its sequel, for me it was like watching an awesome Netflix show! One book came another. And then another. Especially in audiobook form.
2. What is your favorite part of Tolkien’s work?
I like how descriptive his writing style is. I know a lot of people have issue with how he spends 5 pages talking about a tree, for example, but for me it captures the essence of the book. It’s not that I don’t have to pay attention to the words I’m reading, but it makes it easier to relate to the setting and characters in the story. He also tends to bridge the gap between fantasy and reality, by having a sort of “magic” element in his stories while still having them be relatable to the reader in some way.
3. What is your fondest experience of Tolkien’s work?
Meeting other readers, listening to podcasts, and reading his letters and exploring his short stories from Tales from the Perilous Realm. They are very interesting as it’s always fun to discuss his works and how literature in general influences our lives.
4. Has the way you approach Tolkien’s work changed over time?
Since it’s only been a few years, I wouldn’t say it has changed too much. But lately I’ve been focusing more on details of his life, as well as mythological and philological details. When I started it was all about the story, the hobbits, and how I related to them. Now it has been more about the meanings, works, faith and what could have influenced his writing.
5. Would you ever recommend Tolkien’s work? Why/Why not?
Absolutely! I tend to give a lot of his books as gifts. His works have taught us a lot of things, like exploring the concept of a home and fighting through adversities. I also like the powerful connections his works show with the Catholic faith and his experiences with it. It’s pretty cool how stories can help tell your experiences.
You can read more from Laurie on her blog!