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 Zachary Schmoll’s responses:
1. How were you introduced to Tolkien’s work?
I was introduced to Tolkien’s work by my fourth grade teacher. She would read The Hobbit to her classes every year, and after I heard it read out loud, I fell in love with it. She then gave me The Lord of the Rings, and the rest is history.
2. What is your favorite part of Tolkien’s work?
My favorite part of Tolkien’s work is actually its conclusion. The hobbits have embarked on this quest, several primary objectives have been completed, but they come home to find trouble in their own neighborhood. They have to overcome one more obstacle on their own, and we get to see them come full circle. They were ill-equipped to go on an adventure at the beginning of the story, but they return as heroes capable of saving their home.
3. What is your fondest experience of Tolkien’s work?
My fondest experience of Tolkien’s work is probably having the opportunity to teach it. It is one thing to read Tolkien’s work by myself, but being able to lead students into stories that they may have never read before is particularly special.
4. Has the way you approach Tolkien’s work changed over time?
I don’t know that my approach to Tolkien’s work has necessarily changed, but my appreciation of its depth certainly has. Like many people, I thought it was a fun story when I first encountered it. It was full of adventure, bravery, and great deeds. I still appreciate that element of it, but as I have matured, I certainly have a greater appreciation for the deeper themes embedded within Tolkien’s sub-creation.
5. Would you ever recommend Tolkien’s work? Why/Why not?
I actually just recommended Tolkien’s work to a coworker the other day. I think the reason I recommend it so much is because of its depth. Different parts of his work will resonate more strongly with different people, but because he crafted such a magnificent world, we can identify with it on a very authentic, human level.
You can find out more about Zachary on his website!