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 Yoeri’s responses:
1. How were you introduced to Tolkien’s work?
My first introduction to Middle-earth was The Fellowship of the Ring movie in 2001. I still remember leaving the movie theater with my brothers and parents and it was snowing. In my memory that moment is still full with a sense of wonder.
Later I read the Dutch translation of Lord of the Rings and in between the coming out of the movies I read The Silmarillion.
2. What is your favorite part of Tolkien’s work?
The depth and history of the world. Because of the amount of history that is spread trough The Lord of the Rings, reading it feels like stepping into a real world. It all feels real and I would call reading it fairie magic.
That is enhanced when I read The Silmarillion. I image that behind every page of The Silmarillion is a story the size of The Lord of the Rings. As is seen when The Lord of the Rings is summarized in two pages in ‘Of the rings of power and the third age’.
3. What is your fondest experience of Tolkien’s work?
The fondest experience is always the latest reading. Last week I read The Fall of Gondolin. I still remember that when I first read it I loved that chapter. When I first read the 50 page expansion of the one and a half pages in The Silmarillion, besides seeing what we could have been reading about the coming of Ulmo out of the water and the spiritual experience that Tuor has when Ulmo blows on the Ulumúri, I enjoyed seeing and feeling that all the water in creation is connected. Reading it makes me see the world with new wonder.
Also after reading it, I can’t get the image of Earendil watching Tuor and Idril sailing away out of my head and how it parallels Sam seeing Frodo sail away. I guess that Sam and Earendil both “stood far into the night hearing only the sigh and murmur of the waves on the shores of Middle-earth, and the sound of them sank deep into the hearts.”
4. Has the way you approach Tolkien’s work changed over time?
At first, I read The Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit/The Silmarillion form time to time.
The last few years, I taken to reading the whole Legendarium once a year when the itch arises, usually during the turning of the seasons, around autumn. I start at The Silmarillion and when I arrive at the great tales I pick up fuller versions of that tale. (Lay of Leithian, Children of Hurin, Lall of Gondolin), reading it as the tale of the jewels and the Ring trough the three ages.
5. Would you ever recommend Tolkien’s work? Why/Why not?
I don’t think I would say that people should read it, but I would say what the stories mean to me and why I think Tolkien is the most influential writer of the 20th century.