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 Chad Bornholdt’s responses:
1. How were you introduced to Tolkien’s work?
I did not realize it at the time, but in my cartoon-filled pre-teen days I saw the Rankin/Bass The Hobbit and The Return of the King along with Ralph Bakshi’s The Lord of the Rings. Back then I believed them to be just any other cartoon and it was not until a coworker told me that Peter Jackson was filming a movie that I would love that I investigated, devoured, and repeated the books for the past 20-plus years.
2. What is your favorite part of Tolkien’s work?
I love the immense magnitude of the Legendarium, the complexity of the work, and every aspect within that world. As I learn more, I add more to this answer (but never remove.)
3. What is your fondest experience of Tolkien’s work?
Every time I see someone grasp a part of the Legendarium with which they have been having trouble, I feel a sense of accomplishment. (This is still ongoing!) Also, getting to personally interact with everyone is very high on the list.
4. Has the way you approach Tolkien’s work changed over time?
Definitely so: I get a lot of satisfaction from teaching Tolkien. As my comprehension improves and new media comes along to help in my teaching, I am constantly improving my approach. Every time I think of a new way to teach a phase of the Legendarium, I make a tool so others can learn from it at their own pacing. In the very beginning of my own journey I was warned to keep notes. I went overboard then and nothing has changed since.
5. Would you ever recommend Tolkien’s work? Why/Why not?
I am so confident that others will enjoy some aspect of the Legendarium that I always recommend it. When someone is confident that they will not enjoy it, I evaluate whether the reasoning is sound and go from there. I have come to the conclusion before that someone really would not enjoy it (rarely.)
You can connect with Chad Bornholdt on the Texas Tolkien website!