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 reader. I am very humbled that anyone volunteers to spend time in this busy world to answer questions for my blog, and so I give my sincerest thanks to Tim and the other participants for this.
To see the idea behind this project, check out this page
I want to thank Donato Giancola for allowing me to use his stunning portrait of J.R.R Tolkien as the featured image for this project. If you would like to purchase print of this painting, they are available on his website!
If you would like to contribute your own experience, you can do so by using the form on the contact page, or by emailing me directly.
Now, on to Timothy “Timdalf” Fisher’s responses:
How were you introduced to Tolkien’s work?
I was 19 or 20 and someone knew of my interests and recommended it, But I did not initially take it up. However at a summer job at a beach restaurant that year I guess I happened upon the pb books and began reading…
What is your favorite part of Tolkien’s work?
That is a hard one to answer. As the decades have passed and I have read more and more often, I find that each work enhances the others. Obviously, LotR is the best realized and most suggestive work. And it stands out. But within it there are those high intensity moments which I could never choose one over another, but the low intensity descriptions of nature are also essential to the sense of reality he build up.
What is your fondest experience of Tolkien’s work?
Simply rediscovering it with each re-reading. And the visuals and score of the films sent me back to the book. And recently coming upon a dramatic reading that combines all that is my latest happy discovery.
Has the way you approach Tolkien’s work changed over time?
Yes. My initial read, coming soon after discovering Wagner’s Ring Cycle, left me unimpressed. I found the style flat compared with the intensity of the music dramas. I could not have been more wrong. Each reading increases my appreciation and admiration for what Tolkien achieved in LotR in particular. But the interplay between the Wagner music dramas (not just his Ring) and Tolkien has become a major focus for me.
Would you ever recommend Tolkien’s work? Why/Why not?
Absolutely! The vividness of the LotR characterizations and the interplay between the characters and their situations is inspiring. I find “The Silmarillion” still quite problematic especially for being unfinished. Given Tolkien’s penchant for drastic revisions I find the various versions interesting, but also frustrating…