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 Madeline Bauer’s responses:
1. How were you introduced to Tolkien’s work?
My mom read The Hobbit and all The Lord of the Rings to my brother and I when we were kids; we also watched the movies very young including The Return of the King in theaters. I just totally fell in love with the world and the wonderful characters.
2. What is your favorite part of Tolkien’s work?
I love the sensitivity with which he writes. Characters in Tolkien’s works have deep emotion – they laugh, they cry, they have strong bonds with each other. Relationships between characters feel real and when reading I care about them more than I’ve ever experienced with another fictional world. I also love how much artwork there is of Middle-earth – not just Tolkien’s own, but so many accomplished artists have shared their interpretations of his world.
3. What is your fondest experience of Tolkien’s work?
It’s so hard to choose! At this time, what comes to mind is the exhibit at the Morgan Library in NYC of Tolkien’s sketches, watercolors and some notes. It’s amazing how much of his creative process is still available to fans now, and he had such a great eye for landscapes.
4. Has the way you approach Tolkien’s work changed over time?
Considerably. As a kid even though I’d read the books I still very much was primarily a movie fan. And I still love the movies, they’re wonderful! But recently I’ve read The Silmarillion again and it is just full of great stories. Knowing those stories better has really deepened my appreciation for Tolkien’s other works and I’ll be excited to read The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit again with The Silmarillion fresh in my memory.
5. Would you ever recommend Tolkien’s work? Why/Why not?
I would and regularly do, to anybody who will listen! I’ve also made some more friends recently who share my love for Tolkien so it’s also been fun to talk to people more regularly who already get it.