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 Elizabeth H.M. Wheeler’s responses:
1. How were you introduced to Tolkien’s work?
My father was a huge fan, and had already introduced all four of my older siblings to the books, so I knew the story and all the characters before I was ever old enough to read it. I was so excited to finally be able to read well enough to get through the books (albeit slowly) and I finished reading them alongside the movies coming out, so it was just peak Tolkien time.
2. What is your favorite part of Tolkien’s work?
I love that every character is important and given attention. And for individual part, the Houses of Healing in the Return of the King. “The hands of a king are the hands of a healer”, and the culmination of Éowyn, Faramir, and Merry’s character arcs, all during a very important break in the action before the end of the book.
3. What is your fondest experience of Tolkien’s work?
I know it’s controversial, but for me it was The Hobbit movies coming out. As I said, I grew up with the books and alongside the movies coming out but I was too young to see the movies in theaters. When The Hobbit movies came out, I got to experience seeing Tolkien characters come to life alongside other fans and celebrate that with them.
4. Has the way you approach Tolkien’s work changed over time?
I’ve learned to accept that everyone appreciates it differently. When I was younger I was all about everyone having to read the book first, because I wanted them to have all of the world before seeing the movies. But everyone takes in and appreciates fiction differently and however they learn to love the stories, they’re still such a great thing to experience.
5. Would you ever recommend Tolkien’s work? Why/Why not?
I always recommend Tolkien’s work when I have a chance, I’ve just learned to be understanding and recommend it in a way that people can appreciate on an individual level, rather than hardcore enforcing “You HAVE to experience Tolkien and you HAVE to experience it the same way I did.”
If you would like to hear more about how all six of my siblings and I continue to analyze Tolkien’s works, you can find our podcast, “Seven Stars, Seven Siblings, and One White Tree” on whatever podcast service you prefer, and find our Twitter page at @7stars7siblings.