Peter Berg’s Experience–Tolkien Experience Project (76)

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 Peter 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 a 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 Peter Berg’s responses:


1. How were you introduced to Tolkien’s work?

A former teacher handed me The Hobbit and said “I think you might like this” I was 12 going on 13 and was having some issues. I was starting to go do down a dark road. I always loved to read and maybe that’s why he handed it to me. I really wasn’t and still really am not a fan of the Fantasy genre.

2. What is your favorite part of Tolkien’s work?

The depth, with all the history and backstory. The realism this could have happened and Tolkien writes it in that way as if he’s telling a story that actually happened. The depth of culture and descriptions of the landscapes.

3. What is your fondest experience of Tolkien’s work?

Probably the first time reading Books 1 and 2 otherwise known as The Fellowship of the Ring. I was introduced to a world that has been a place of solace and comfort ever since. It changed my life I would say it saved me in some ways.

4. Has the way you approach Tolkien’s work changed over time?

Perhaps I take my time while reading Tolkien’s works now. I read with no particular agenda not needing to get to the end but just enjoy what’s there in the moment.

5. Would you ever recommend Tolkien’s work? Why/Why not?

I have on many occasions. Just for the depth alone, showing what writing can be like, that all the background is what sets Tolkien apart from any other fantasy author. Then again I don’t read a whole lot of fantasy. Being an educator I couldn’t get away with not reading the Harry Potter series and some Game of Thrones, but I don’t know much else about fantasy authors. Taking these two examples Tolkien’s work is in a different universe. Rowling’s writing though enjoyable and creative is surface level and I believe tried to take a lot of concepts from Tolkien. When I saw Mugworts I thought hmmm where I have seen that name before. Martin’s work is the same to me it may have a little more depth than Rowling’s but much of it is gratuitous and an attempt at shock value. He’s been praised because his characters are “complex” which really means they lack moral conviction. Tolkien’s characters are complex even more complex than Martin’s. Tolkien just didn’t have the need to be so overt.


You can find more from Peter Berg on Instagram!

Deborah Sabo’s Experience–Tolkien Experience Project (75)

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 Deborah 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 a 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 Deborah Sabo’s responses:


1. How were you introduced to Tolkien’s work?

My dad, who was a great reader, enjoyed science fiction among other things. From a young age I got reading material by rooting around in cardboard boxes of his old paperbacks. I liked any kind of adventure story, especially if it was science fiction or historical. I had found a book at the library called The Gammage Cup by Carol Kendall about a kind of little people called Minnipins who lived in a secret Land Between the Mountains. In one village a group of nonconformist Minnipins get banished and have to live on their own in the wilderness, but they end up saving their village from deadly invaders. It’s a simple story written for children, with lovable characters and valuable messages about friendship, courage, the worth of every individual, and the importance of truth. I read this story over and over and still enjoy it today. I was about 15 when my dad brought home 3 paperback books that he thought, from the cover blurbs, were about the same little people as that book I kept checking out of the library. But they weren’t Minnipins, they were Hobbits. He’d bought The Hobbit and 2 volumes of The Lord of the Rings. I read The Hobbit, was instantly captivated, realized what The Lord of the Rings was and that we needed the other volume because they had to be read in order. I also noticed that we had a mixture of Ace and Ballantine paperbacks, which simply would not do. I used my babysitting money to replace the “unauthorized” Ace volume with a proper Ballantine. My dad and I both read them. Eventually all my close friends and my 3 siblings read them as well.

2. What is your favorite part of Tolkien’s work?

Definitely The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. The stories that are contained in The Silmarillion are majestic, but I do not re-read that book like I do the others. I re-read a couple of the essays frequently and I love Tolkien’s narrative poetry. The Lay of Leithian is one of my favorite Tolkien works. Some of Tolkien’s alliterative poetry is stunning.

3. What is your fondest experience of Tolkien’s work?

Introducing Tolkien to my two young kids by reading The Hobbit aloud to them. My daughter was about 6 at the time, and being a learning reader, she wanted to participate, so her job was to read all the poems when we came to them. She was so proud to play this role. They loved the story and hung on every word. Both remain serious Tolkien fans as adults.

4. Has the way you approach Tolkien’s work changed over time?

Yes, the biggest change was when I discovered that there was such a thing as Tolkien scholarship. This happened in the late 90s. I felt a mixture of elation and dismay. On the one hand a whole world of new reading and discovery opened up for me. I’m academic so I was determined to learn as much as I could, to attend conferences, and hopefully to contribute something, even just a small something, though I didn’t have background in any of the disciplines that I saw being brought to Tolkien studies. I took a number of courses online, which offered great opportunities to learn directly from some of the top people. I did manage to achieve some of what I’d hoped to do (I presented a few papers at the Medieval Congress in Kalamazoo and at Mythcon, and published an article in Mythlore), and the things I’ve learned have added so much richness and depth and layered meaning to my appreciation of the books. In addition I’ve met so many wonderful people, in person and online, fellow Tolkien lovers I count as friends who have really added a lot of enjoyment to my life. On the other hand, I felt and still feel a kind of regret, as if something had passed me by, because if I’d known earlier in my life that Tolkien scholarship was possible in this world, I think I would have done many things differently.

5. Would you ever recommend Tolkien’s work? Why/Why not?

I don’t really recommend Tolkien directly, but I “insert” him into conversations or activities involving literature (and I have lots of those). If it’s Poetry Month for example, I share something written by Tolkien. I use quotes from Tolkien’s stories, letters, and essays in discussions about other topics. I compare other books that my friends are reading to something or other in Tolkien. Most everyone has heard of him nowadays, so I hope that this more “subversive” kind of recommendation might remind people to give Tolkien another look—remind them that he’s a serious 20th century thinker and writer. But I don’t feel it’s my job to convince people to read him. My friends do know about my interest, and they sometimes ask me things.


You can hear more from Deborah Sabo by friending her on Facebook!

HT’s Experience–Tolkien Experience Project (74)

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 HT 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 a 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 HT’s responses:


1. How were you introduced to Tolkien’s work?

Saw it on bookstore shelves in the 80’s

2. What is your favorite part of Tolkien’s work?

Character development and exposition of culture variances

3. What is your fondest experience of Tolkien’s work?

Reading LOTR (all three books) in the week before the first movie opened

4. Has the way you approach Tolkien’s work changed over time?

A bit, since becoming more comfortable with fictional locations (versus London in England, Moscow in Russia, etc. – places I know of on maps)

5. Would you ever recommend Tolkien’s work? Why/Why not?

Completely, without hesitation. Fantasy, good/bad events, characters, strong role models in his characters, extreme example of proper education and its potential outputs

Bombadil Bingo, a Party Game or Teaching Tool

Today I had an IDEA!

Sometimes readers complain that the Bombadil chapters of The Lord of the Rings are too slow. While I do not share this opinion (especially because these were some tense scenes for me in my first read), I can certainly understand it! So while I was scrolling through a certain social network, I saw a bingo card that someone posted. I thought: “wait, is that Tolkien-inspired bingo? It is amazing what people invent!” Upon further investigation, it was just bingo for a different literary work.

At first I was disheartened because no one had invented Bombadil Bingo yet, then I realized with excitement: I had invented Bombadil Bingo! (Disclaimer: someone else may have already invented it and I am just unaware.)

Bombadil Bingo

This can be used as a party game or as a teaching tool. I will cover the party game first, then suggest how I would implement it in the classroom!

Party Game Directions

Before the party starts:

  • either tell guests to bring their own copy of The Fellowship of the Ring, or a one-volume edition of The Lord of the Rings, or make sure to have several copies for them to use
  • Use the PDF at the bottom of this post to print off the bingo cards, then cut them out
  • Make sure you have a playing space large enough for your players, their cards, and copies of the text

Once the guests arrive:

  • Tell them that you are going to play Bombadil Bingo!
  • Give each participant a game card and then give these instructions:

Each of you has a game card. Each square on these game cards has words from the songs in the Tom Bombadil scenes in The Fellowship of the Ring. Your task is to search through these songs and find page numbers for the words in a given square. Once you find the page number, write it in the appropriate square. The center square is a ‘free’ square, so i have already provided a page number to get you started! The first person to fill in page numbers for five squares in-line (vertically, horizontally, or diagonally) will get a special treat! Remember: Tom Bombadil is in chapters other than “In the House of Tom Bombadil, so don’t forget to look at those scenes too!

 

Alternate activity:

  • Follow the same instructions, but have pairs of attendees work together!

 

(Please note: there are only ten cards, so if you want a larger party, you may have to make your own, or have multiple prizes since there could potentially be more than one winner.)


Teaching Tool Idea

What you will need:

  • The bingo cards from the PDF at the bottom of this page, printed and cut out for students.
  • An instructions slip with the block of instructions for students that I wrote below.
  • Students to have access to the book

Instructions:

The class period before your students arrive at the “House of Tom Bombadil” chapter in The Fellowship of the Ring, distribute the student bingo cards cut out from the PDF at the bottom of this post. Also distribute instruction slips that read as follows:

Each of you has a bingo game card. Each square on these game cards has words from the songs in the Tom Bombadil scenes in The Fellowship of the Ring. Your assignment is to search through these songs and find page numbers for the words in a given square. Once you find the page number, write it in the correct square. The center square is a ‘free’ square, so i have already provided a page number to get you started! Each student who fills in page numbers for five squares in-line (vertically, horizontally, or diagonally) will get a special treat!

*Remember: Tom Bombadil is in chapters other than “In the House of Tom Bombadil, so don’t forget to look at those scenes too!

I would not use this as a ‘reading check’ assignment. In other words, it should not take the place of a reading quiz or other assessment to check if the student has completed the reading. Instead, I would use it as a motivational tool to encourage them to complete their homework and to actually read the songs from the chapters instead of skipping them.

I would not ask for students to return their completed cards until after the “Fog on the Barrow Downs” chapter, because some cards will require that chapter in order to find a Bingo.

The reward is up to the teacher, but since there are only ten cards, and students can take their time to complete them, be prepared for multiple claimants! The easiest thing to do is to give them a bag of candy and all it “Barrow Treasure”!


 

*Please note that the center space is intended to be a “free” space. That is why it already has a page number for the words (it is also the only square where the words are pulled from dialogue instead of song). You may wish to update the page number with your edition in order to give guests or students a hint of where to look. Otherwise, you can just tell them that it counts as already found.

Bombadil Bingo cards

 

Dimitrios Kolovos’s Experience–Tolkien Experience Project (73)

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 Dimitrios Kolovos 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 a 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 Dimitrios Kolovos’s responses:


1. How were you introduced to Tolkien’s work?

My first true introduction to Tolkien’s work came through an uncommon channel, the music of the Blind Guardian metal band. It was Christmas. I was 10 years old. Family and friends were gathered. I wanted to listen to music, and I asked my cousin for his Mp3 player. There I found a song called “Lord of the Rings”. The damage was done. A few days later I saw him reading The Fellowship of the Ring. A while later it fell into my hands. Thus, it began.

2. What is your favorite part of Tolkien’s work?

I’m not sure I can choose one aspect of Tolkien’s work. The first that comes to mind is his invented languages. The second one would be the creation of the Tolkienian universe, which is vast, full of variety but the same time open to interpretations of our fantasy. There are a lot of things for the readers to imagine and create, many small gaps to fill.

3. What is your fondest experience of Tolkien’s work?

My fondest experience of Tolkien’s work would be my participation in Tolkien2019. A 5-day event with academic presentations, workshops, art and a lot of fun with fellow Tolkien-lovers. I met a lot of great people, and it felt like a very friendly and inspired community. Secondly, I would mention my trip to the Forodrim celebration in 2017. Dressed in Tolkien-inspired clothing we had a great time singing, watching theatrical plays. Both events will never fade from memory.

4. Has the way you approach Tolkien’s work changed over time?

It has. It differs when you read the books at the age of 10, 15, 20 and 25. I loved the way I used to perceive them when I was 10. It was a true journey, an amazing adventure. Innocent mind. Slowly the experience changed. I started looking for things, focusing on his languages, his approach on matters such as immortality, death, war, peace. Ι began reading about Tolkien’s background and how he was influenced by it. Nowadays, I’m trying to study different aspects of his work. It’s very enjoyable to try to read between the lines but at the same time I take effort to read it through the eyes of the 10-year-old boy I remember.

5. Would you ever recommend Tolkien’s work? Why/Why not?

I would definitely recommend Tolkien’s work. It would be a great adventure for readers starting their journey into fantasy literature. It is a great way to experience a big adventurous journey. There is a lot in the background. There are two ways to address the matter. Try to understand Tolkien’s work as a whole. Read about his life, the experiences that shaped who he was, his languages or just sit back and enjoy reading his books.


If you would like to follow Dimitrios Kolovos for more thoughts on Tolkien, you can find him on Twitter or his blog!

Marita Arvaniti’s Experience–Tolkien Experience Project (72)

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 Marita 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 Marita’s responses:


1. How were you introduced to Tolkien’s work?

When I was nine, my older cousin was a huge Tolkien fan and recreated the maps, made himself a copy of the ring etc. One day I was visiting his house and his copy of The Silmarillion was left on the table so I read the parts of it that sounded interesting. I was hooked after that and found myself copies of The Lord of the Rings, Unfinished Tales, and, finally, The Hobbit.

2. What is your favorite part of Tolkien’s work?

I love the paratext. The maps, the art. I’ve also always loved the poetry and I genuinely appreciate the pacing of The Lord of the Rings.

3. What is your fondest experience of Tolkien’s work?

Movie marathons with friends, while we loudly complain about the differences in adaptations and point at orcs saying “this is you”

4. Has the way you approach Tolkien’s work changed over time?

I’ve gotten simultaneously more critical and more protective of him. I think there are clear elements in his work that need to be criticised (the racism, the women) but at the same time I think a lot of people write him off because his writing style is not to their taste or they don’t understand his pacing.

5. Would you ever recommend Tolkien’s work? Why/Why not?

Yes. I’m with Diana Wynne Jones and Ursula K. Le Guin in thinking that he’s one of the all time greats not only in terms of world building but also style, pacing, and pure craftsmanship.


If you would like to follow Will Sherwood for more thoughts on Tolkien, you can find her on Twitter!

Last-Minute Tips For Making Hobbit Day Memorable!

Hobbit Day comes but once a year, so why not make it a party of special magnificence by adding some book-related frivolity to the festivities?

For those of you who don’t know: Hobbit Day is on September 22 each year, and is the observation of Bilbo and Frodo’s birthday party! Tolkien fans around the world gather together in large parties or small groups to celebrate the joyous occasion! (It is also the day after the original publication date of The Hobbit!)

Now, on to the Tolkien-themed silliness!


You can try greeting each other using this simple formula from The Hobbit!

Greeter: _[Greeter’s name]_, at your service!

Respondent: __[Respondent’s name]__, at yours and your family’s.


As the host or hostess, you can always excuse the tardiness of a meal (or course) by reassuring your guest with a quick paraphrase of Gandalf from The Lord of the Rings (*a word of caution, this one might not go over as well if you are around book purists!*):

“[food that the group is waiting on] is never late, Frodo Baggins! Nor is it early, it arrives precisely when it means to”


Don’t forget to make some memorable toasts!

  • The easiest one is the simple “May the hair on [your/his/her/their] toes never fall out!” from The Hobbit.alcoholic-beverage-ale-beer-1464825
  • If anyone is feeling particularly verbose, they can give Bilbo’s birthday toast from the first chapter of The Lord of the Rings! This could be especially entertaining if someone has a party popper for just the right moment, or if it leads to murmuring about what is meant by the compliment “I don’t know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.”
  • On a more somber tone, you could use Thorin’s final words from The Hobbit: “If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.” Although, this might cause more introspection than you want at your Middle-earth themed party!

Whatever you do, don’t upset your host by performing your own rendition of “Chip the Glasses and Crack the Plates!”


I would recommend, even if you don’t want to do all of the silliness above, that at some point when everyone has a glass of their favorite beverage, just take a moment to raise a glass with the simple toast “The Professor!” It is a nice way to honor the memory of the creator whose work brings us all together!

If you want to make it a really memorable day, you could take it in turns to share the story of how you came to Middle-earth, and maybe something about what you have found there. I would be elated if anyone used my basic questions from the Tolkien Experience Project to get to know their fellow celebrants better! After all, that is the whole point of the project!

However you celebrate, and whoever you do it with, just know that there are many others celebrating with you on this day! May it be a joyous occasion indeed!

Will Sherwood’s Experience–Tolkien Experience Project (71)

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 Will 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 Will Sherwood’s responses:


1. How were you introduced to Tolkien’s work?

My parents bought me the BBC audio tapes of The Hobbit when I was five. It was the one where the narrator is joined by Bilbo’s first-hand interpolations. There was music, sound effects, a Gandalf that I did not find amiable (until Ian McKellen rode onto the big screen) and a setting of the Dwarves song that I remember more fondly than the one that didn’t live beyond ‘An Unexpected Journey’ (a major shame!) It must have been for Christmas because we had our open fire roaring. I remember being curled up on the sofa with the first tape playing, and as Bilbo was listening to the dwarves singing, he was staring into his fire, just as I was staring into my own, starting to drift off into sleep. The enchantment and awakening of Bilbo’s Tookish genes coincided with my own thirst for adventure. Twenty-two years later, I’m about to hand in an MbyRes thesis on Tolkien.

2. What is your favorite part of Tolkien’s work?

The vast wealth and interconnectedness of it all. Although you can read The Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit as a stand-alone text, I find that my reading is strengthened by voraciously consuming as much as I can. From The Silmarillion, to the Unfinished Tales, The Histories of Middle-earth, the various translations of texts (Beowulf, Gawain and the Green Knight), to smaller works like Father Christmas Letters etc etc etc. My appreciation and eternal love lies in the depth of Tolkien’s art.

3. What is your fondest experience of Tolkien’s work?

Standing on top of Mount Sunday where Peter Jackson and his team shot Edoras. It felt like the completion of a pilgrimage. But I suppose that’s more related to the adaptions of Tolkien. Perhaps my fondest experience of Tolkien’s words would be a more collective appreciation of his ecological descriptions. He has an uncanny ability to make you FEEL what he is describing. Whether it be a warming scent passing or the green and gold sunlight. I think Sam’s first sensory experience after waking in ‘The Fields of Cormallen’ most suitably exemplifies my point.

4. Has the way you approach Tolkien’s work changed over time?

Yes and no. I continue to delve deeper and deeper into his works, finding new and exciting bits of information in The Histories of Middle-earth. I think one’s approach changes with one’s maturity and outlook on the world. The more you learn and experience, the more you can apply to and extract from his work. But I never relinquish the enjoyment one gains from just reading the stories. My copy of The Hobbit is close to disintegrating because of how many times I’ve read it! I feel like I can switch from scholar to reader quite easily.

5. Would you ever recommend Tolkien’s work? Why/Why not?

I would and would not. My friends can easily be split into those who try to outmatch my love for Tolkien (and fail epically) and those who cannot stand the Oxford don. A lot of jokes have been made for the past twenty years to new people I have met: ‘be careful, he’s a Tolkien nut; don’t tell him you don’t like The Lord of the Rings or he’ll never speak to you!’ It’s a shame that such superficially hyperbolic and inherently wrong judgements are passed to people whose names I have only just learnt. If someone was interested in reading something new I would most certainly recommend Tolkien, if someone wished to start with Tolkien but didn’t know where, I’d eagerly help them. But I would never forsake friendship for an elitist perspective on what my friends should consider art or be reading in their spare time. I also think Tolkien would back this perspective as friendship is, after all, the foundation of The Lord of the Rings.


If you would like to follow Will Sherwood for more thoughts on Tolkien, you can find him on Facebook and Twitter!

Snippety Giblets’ Experience–Tolkien Experience Project (70)

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 Snippety Giblets 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 Snippety Giblets’ responses:


1. How were you introduced to Tolkien’s work?

My mum read The Hobbit and The Father Christmas Letters to me when I was small. I liked them well enough, but not as much as say the Anne of Green Gables books. Then she told me about The Lord of the Rings. I think it was my ninth birthday. I had money to spend at the bookshop, and was already an enthusiastic reader. My mum suggested getting the big paperback omnibus. She read it aloud to me and I was absolutely bowled over by it. I was obsessed with it for a good eighteen months to the exclusion of everything else. I read it ceaselessly. I was so desperate to be Gandalf or Aragorn. I lived and breathed it, and found out all about Norse mythology because I was told that was part of Tolkien’s inspiration. It was just magical.

2. What is your favorite part of Tolkien’s work?

The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion. I love the stories about the elves and the men of Númenor. Tolkien wrote so well about natural and spiritual beauty so any part of it that conveys those thoughts are my favourite.

3. What is your fondest experience of Tolkien’s work?

Probably as a young kid. I’ve always liked having kind of private pleasures. Before the films, and before I was on line I didn’t know anyone else who liked it. It felt like it was just for me, and I thought about it all the time. Although I’ve re-read it many times as an adult it’s never quite the same. Also introducing my husband to it, and then endlessly discussing it with him; inviting him into my private enjoyment.

4. Has the way you approach Tolkien’s work changed over time?

A little with an adult understanding of his religious life and his experience of war. It’s still very special.

5. Would you ever recommend Tolkien’s work? Why/Why not?

Only to people I really love. It’s like sharing a part of oneself. I tried to share it with my son, but he wasn’t that keen! He prefers the films which is maybe understandable. It’s up on the list with David Bowie and John Crowley – for kindred spirits only 🙂

Arne G’s Experience–Tolkien Experience Project (69)

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 Arne and the other participants for this.

To see the idea behind this project, check out this page

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 Arne G’s responses:


How were you introduced to Tolkien’s work?

Back when I was six years old, my mother visited a friend of hers whose son was one year older than me and had just gotten a brand new DVD of the Fellowship of the Ring, which we watched together. Sauron, Durin’s Bane and the Uruk-hai disturbed my dreams for weeks, but also started my interest in fantasy literature. It was only six years later at a common friend’s party that I decided at last to continue my journey through Middle Earth. The next day, I spent all my pocket money for one copy each of both The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion.

What is your favorite part of Tolkien’s work?

There are so many awesome things, I don’t even really know where to begin. My favorite chapter in any of Tolkien’s books is ‘Of Aulë and Yavanna’. The compassion Aulë has for both his works and his wife always makes me emotional. But more than straight up reading a specific book, I love to just open a random page in the HoME and muse over the different versions of the text presented. Last, but not least, the last paragraph of the ‘Siege of Gondor’ chapter gives me massive goosebumps every time, what a fine piece of writing!

What is your fondest experience of Tolkien’s work?

Due to being exposed to Tolkien so early in my life, every piece and adaptation of his works, but especially The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy always give me a nostalgic feeling and makes me think back to my elementary school days.
Talking about specific events, there are two. Once, I offered my help and discussion for Tolkien fanfiction writers, one of those authors later became my longterm girlfriend. The second happened two years later. We went to an all-six-movies-back-to-back cinema event when the third hobbit movie was released. After 21 hours of unfiltered Middle-earth experience, the real world actually felt less real than Arda, a very bizarre yet incredible feeling.

Has the way you approach Tolkien’s work changed over time?

Several times, I think. From ‘whoa, what a scary, but awesome movie’, to ‘so that’s how things worked out’, to ‘wait, there is even more stuff, and it’s even better!’, to ‘Tolkien has become a big part of my life and so much more than just a fandom.’

Would you ever recommend Tolkien’s work? Why/Why not?

No matter if movie, book or music, I only ever recommend stuff to people when I think they have a general liking for that genre. And everybody who already is into fantasy knows of Tolkien. At most, I may give them a nudge, if they are hesitant in regards to reading The Silmarillion.