John’s Experience — Tolkien Experience Project (188)

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 John’s responses:

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

My mother read The Hobbit to my bother and me as a bedtime story. I was about seven, he was five. I have been smitten ever since.

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

The beautiful language. There is nothing quite like it in the English language.

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

Those early memories of my mother reading late into the night.

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

Yes. As a child I was particularly interested, of course, in the adventure aspect of the story. First in The Hobbit, and then especially with The Lord of the Rings, which I read aged about 10. As an adult I’ve become much more enamored with the writing, as I mentioned before, which is beautiful and in my opinion peerless. I also am significantly less interested now in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings (though I still read them regularly), and have gravitated towards the great tales, particularly The Fall of Gondolin and Beren and Lúthien. Honestly, The Silmarillion has become perhaps my favorite of Tolkien’s published works.

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

Yes I would, but not to everyone. I don’t want it to seem as though I’m gatekeeping, but there are some people who can appreciate the films just fine but struggle with the books. I typically don’t recommend that they pick them up because, to someone that is a slow reader or has reading difficulties, they can seem impossible. However, I have found success in helping my younger brother get through them by reading aloud/using audiobooks.

You can read about John’s poetic exploits on Facebook!

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