William J. Meyer’s Experience–Tolkien Experience Project (42)

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 William 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 William J. Meyer’s responses:


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

I was first introduced to Tolkien’s work when my older brother-in-law Brendon gave me a box set of paperbacks which included The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. These editions were the ones with the Darrell K. Sweet covers. The cardboard box was just as much a part of the reading experience as Tolkien’s words, and I would look at that art for hours. In particular, the giant eagle in its nest on the cover of The Hobbit held my rapt attention.

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

My favorite part would be the sense of one age ending and another one beginning. Especially in the final pages of Return of the King. But my favorite single moment would have to be Éowyn slaying the Witch-King.

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

I was re-reading The Lord of the Rings in college and happened to be visiting my parents. I stopped at Appendix B, where, we are told, Legolas and Gimli sail over the sea and leave Middle-earth together after the deaths of Aragorn, Merry, and Pippin. The final line is, “And when that ship passed an end was come in Middle-earth of the Fellowship of the Ring.” I felt this wave of emotion and burst into tears. Can’t really articulate why, though I reckon it felt like a dissolution of friendship, and the end of an heroic age, sure. Anyway, I was crying and my step-dad asked me to explain why. I tried to explain, but he didn’t like fantasy or sci-fi, and had no idea about Tolkien, so it was kind of a funny moment in retrospect because he was like, “What is happening?”

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

I’m sure it has, but I’m not self-aware enough to describe how.

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

Yes, I would recommend it, because I feel like a lot of classic literature, it transcends the pop culture image we have of it. And beyond all the resonant themes of mythology, it’s just plain fun!


To hear more from William J. Meyer, you can follow him on Twitter!

LotRFI Pt.44–The Horns of the Rohirrim

This pivotal moment in the battle for Minas Tirith was like a lightning bolt in my young reading experience. For a bright and shining moment, the forces of good asserted itself over all of the battle and shouted aloud that it would not be vanquished. I still get chills every time I read the end of “The Ride of the Rohirrim” (RK, V, v). The blaring of the horn, which signals the steadfast defiance of the Rohirrim in the sight of overwhelming odds was (and still is) enrapturing.

angus-mcbride
Image copyright Angus McBride

I do not know why or how an eleven-year-old who knows nothing of medieval warfare or modern warfare or even of true difficulty and hardship, should become so enthralled with the kind of bravery put forth by Théoden and the Rohirrim in this moment. Whatever the cause, I was ready to leap from my seat and charge into battle, whatever that might have meant to me at the time.

 

 

Perhaps a relatable metaphor here would be the hobbits’ incredulity on parting from Tom Bombadil:

‘They took a deep draught of the air, and felt that a skip and a few stout strides would bear them wherever they wished. It seemed fainthearted to go jogging aside over the crumpled skirts of the downs towards the road, when they should be leaping, as lusty as Tom, over the stepping stones of the hills straight towards the Mountains’ (FR, I, viii, 136).

The hobbits are so enraptured by their experience with Tom and Goldberry that they feel capable of performing feats on-par with Tom himself. In much the same way, the sounding of the horns of Rohan intoxicated me and made me feel as if I could perform feats of courage akin to those of the riders. An important note, though, is that neither the hobbits, nor I, are truly capable of emulating the actions we were so inspired by. In the case of the hobbits, they are naive and became foolhardy. In my case, however, reality checked my emotions, and I simply kept reading, although perhaps more voraciously than before.

Where Do We Go From Here?

Let’s take a closer look at Eomer and Eowyn!

What Do You Think?

What was your first reaction to the horns of the Rohirrim?
Has your reaction changed over time?
​Did I miss anything? Let me know!

Putri Prihatini’s Experience–Tolkien Experience Project (41)

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 Putri 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 Putri Prihatini’s responses:


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

In 2002. That year, the hype for LOTR movies was high, and I went to the book store after finding out that they had been adapted from books. The Indonesian editions of The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, The Return of the King, and The Hobbit had just hit the shelves. I purchased FOTR without thinking. Later, I remember laying still on my bed late at night, thinking “Wow, what did I just read?” I later went back to the store and purchased the others. The rest is history.

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

Lots of things, but mainly how layered and sophisticated his world-building aspects are. When I was still a beginner reader, I felt like his stories were not something that happened in a fantasy world, but could have happened at some points in the past. I also love how nuanced his characters and stories are. They are not as “black and white” as some people might accuse.

Finally, I love the way Tolkien obscured many references when his characters mention history, characters, and stories from the past. He was supposedly the “know it all” in his world, but he restrained himself from revealing too much to the readers. This makes me feel the sense of mystery and wonder for the past, which results in some serious digging if I want to know more. When reading LOTR, for example, I only know as much as what the characters know, which makes me feel connected to them.

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

Reading The Silmarillion for the first time in 2005. I felt like everything that was mentioned vaguely in LOTR finally came to life, with all the tragedies, conflicts, and larger-than-life characters. Also, it was the first Tolkien’s book that I read in English. My English reading skill was still below average at that time, and it took me one year to finish the book. It was so rewarding, and my reading skill improved greatly.

More recent example was when my paper was presented at Tolkien Society Seminar 2018, by none other than Nelson Goering. While I was unable to visit due to financial reasons, I was touched because people whom I never met went out of their way to help my paper to be presented. As a person who did not have literature, Classic, linguistic, or other Tolkien-related academic backgrounds, it felt like an acknowledgment from the community.

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

Yes. The first time I read Tolkien, I was intrigued by the stories and adventures, and how it was connected with the movies I had watched, nothing more. Later, I started to notice new layers and understanding when rereading the books. When my experiences and knowledge grew, I saw more nuanced insight and new understanding about many aspects of the stories. These things prompted me to start buying more books that could help me see more behind these new layers, even outside the recommended biographies, History of Middle-earth, and Tolkien’s letter collections. In short, I grew with his books, and his books “grew” with me.

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

Yes! I will always recommend it when someone asks me about good fantasy fiction books. Tolkien’s work provides good examples of detailed world-building, powerful characters, and nuanced stories that require you to look deeper, even into the words his characters use when speaking. I would also recommend Tolkien’s non Middle-earth books, especially for new readers who just found out about Tolkien from movies.


For more thoughts on Tolkien’s life and works from Putri Prihatini, visit The Lore Master: Blog Tolkien Indonesia!

LotRFI Pt.43–The Battle of The Pelennor Fields

That I can recall, the massive battles that take place at Helm’s Deep and on the fields in front of Gondor were the second and third large scale incursion I ever read in fiction. The first was from H, and was an incomplete telling at best. I believe my next exposure to battlefield narratives would have been Esther Forbes’s Johnny Tremain. My whole family listened to that story on audiobook in the car while on vacation one summer because it was a required text for school. I would not read Homer, C.S. Lewis, or any other such battle for several years after this experience. Of course, I had read the brief descriptions of amassing forces and battle strategies presented in the history books for school, but those very rarely gave an account of fighting, they were distant overviews.

alan-lee-battle-of-the-pelennor-fields
Image copyright Alan Lee

This is not to say that I was naive of brutality: once again, The Call of the Wild was one of my favorite books starting around the age of eight or nine. The scale of the violence was a significant change from my prior reading experience. This means that two elements were very different for me to adjust to. The first is how the story told of the battles, especially Pelennor Fields, from multiple perspectives. This is a trick that Tolkien uses to show more of the battle, and it was a new approach to me. Also, the ebb and flow of the battle was also unique. Of course, I was used to plots where the protagonist came up against an obstacle, or experienced a setback, only to overcome the difficulty in the end. This was one of my first experiences with this kind of story arc encapsulated in a single struggle that didn’t extend for the entire length of the narrative.

This type of battle broke the mold of my previous experience with courtly tales. These were mostly centered on popular culture and not literature (I would not read White’s Once and Future King until two or three years later), and so massive battles were not very bloody nor very lengthy, I was only watching things deemed appropriate for a child, after all. It brought a grim kind of realism into these stories, but it preserved the epic moments of climax and eucatastrophe that I will talk about in my following posts.

Where do We Go From Here?

I want to address the horns of the Rohirrim, then take a moment to think about Eomer and Eowyn in some more depth.

What Do You Think?

How did the Pelennor Fields fit into your previous reading experience?
Did it change your view of Minas Tirith?
​Did I miss anything? Let me know!

Onthetrail’s Experience –Tolkien Experience Project (40)

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 Onthetrail 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 Onthetrail’s responses:


How were you introduced to Tolkien’s work?

Tolkien books were on our shelves from as early as I can remember and when I was 7 my father and I read The Hobbit together over the Christmas holidays. I then read The Lord of the Rings shortly after. I quickly picked up The Silmarillion which was somewhat of a blur during the first read and like The Lord of the Rings took months to finish but I was already hooked.

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

As a child I would have said reading anything set in or around the Shire but now I am far more interested in Tolkien’s early forming of his imagined world, I am especially fond of The Book of Lost Tales. The Cottage of Lost Play is my favorite Tolkien work.

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

Probably reading The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillion, and volume one of The Book of Lost Tales during a hike around North Wales.

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

I have two modes of approaching Tolkien now, so I would say yes. I read for enjoyment and also for study (which of course I enjoy but I try to focus differently). I study at the desk and I curl up on the sofa when I just sit and read for the joy of it.

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

Absolutely. If I meet people who show an interest but don’t own a copy then they always go home with a copy. Mostly a copy I picked up second hand for that purpose.

LotRFI Pt.42–Merry

While I saw Pippin’s lightheartedness as a very relatable trait, I was also able to identify with Merry during certain points of the epic. Unlike my adulation of Pippin’s jovial nature and individual growth, my identification with Merry was from a negative perspective.

 

Merry’s time alone in Rohan was perhaps the most affective part of his story for me. His time with Théoden begins in happiness. He is honored and sits next to the king and regales him with stories (RK, V, iii, 796). When word comes that the Rohirrim must go aid Gondor, Théoden telld Merry that he cannot go with them.

‘You shall abide here, and if you will, you shall serve the Lady Éowyn, who will govern the folk in my stead’ (RK, V, iii, 803).

Merry becomes indignant because he does not wish to be left out:

‘But, but, lord,’ Merry stammered, ‘I offered you my sword. I do not want to be parted from you like this, Théoden King. And as all of my friends have gone to battle, I should be ashamed to stay behind…tie me to the back of [a horse], or let me hang on a stirrup, or something.’

250px-john-howe-merry
Image copyright John Howe

This kind of useless bargaining and pleading between someone lower in position and a figure in authority reminded me very much of interactions I had had with my parent not many years before reading LotR (and perhaps some interactions even at the time of reading, if I am honest with myself). In a sense, Merry’s subordinate role in Rohan as a figure of entertainment one moment and as a burden the next mirrors a lot of the childhood experience.

The next chapter set in Rohan (RK, V, v) opens with Merry reflecting on his isolation. To make matters worse, the first interaction Merry has is with Elfhelm the Marshal who trips over him and curses him as a tree root. Merry stands up for himself, saying:

‘I am not a tree-root Sir…nor a bag, but a bruised hobbit’ (RK, V, v, 831).

Although his daring is not rewarded very kindly, as Elfhelm still calls him ‘Master Bag’ at the close of their conversation (RK, V, v, 831). Then Merry is overlooked as he ‘crept’ close enough to the conversation between Théoden and Ghân-buri-Ghân to narrate the scene for the reader (RK, V, v, 832).

The Rohirrim constantly ignore and/or disregard Merry. Perhaps this is a kind of othering. While it can, of course, be interpreted in many ways, this othering always reminded me of those times when adults would tell me to settle down, be quiet, and stop getting in the way. This really resonated with me as a child. Though I had what I would consider a happy childhood, I certainly experienced this kind of reprimand on occasion. The kind of loneliness and isolation that can accompany such an encounter feels on-par with what Merry experiences in Rohan. I could easily relate to the feeling of dejection that Merry feels.

My reflection on Merry’s part at the Battle of the Pelennor Fields and the Scouring of the Shire will come later.

Where Do We Go From Here?

Onward, to battle!

What Do You Think?

How did you read Merry’s experience in these chapters?
Do you think this reading is feasible or insane?
​Did I miss anything? Let me know!

Xenia M’s–Tolkien Experience Project (40)

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 Xenia 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 Xenia M’s responses:


How were you introduced to Tolkien’s work?

I was a wannabe hippie at a very small high school in rural Ohio in the late 1960’s. There was a girl named Joyce who was further advanced in hippie-dom than I was so I looked to her for guidance. She was reading a book with a very psychedelic cover so naturally I had to get a copy. It was The Fellowship of the Ring. I don’t think Joyce ever finished the book; she mostly carried it around for effect. But I devoured it and saved my allowance money (some hippie!) for the next two volumes. I read them over and over.

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

I liked the travel sections the best when the Fellowship is traveling through woods, mountains, and Moria.

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

I used to hike a lot as a young person and imagine I was part of a Fellowship traveling through Middle-earth.

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

Yes, I have been affected by two things:

1. The Tolkien Professor’s podcasts, which led to participating live in the Tuesday and Wednesday night Mythgard classes, which led to enrolling in Signum University as a graduate student. The course work has caused me to take a more scholarly look at Tolkien’s writing. Happily, this has not been dry but actually has enhanced my enjoyment. I notice subtleties that I had previously overlooked.

2. The Peter Jackson movies, for better or for worse. Previously, I didn’t pay much attention to the battle scenes and JRRT didn’t elaborate on them too much either but the movies made the battles extremely, possibly overly, exciting. Also the monsters, such as the cave troll and the oliphants were very exciting in the movies. Also, when I read the books now I have an actor’s face for every character which I suppose is OK but not something I would have wished for.

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

Yes! Especially to people who are overly involved with politics, accounting, databases, etc. I suggest they start with The Lord of the Rings, then The Hobbit, and then The Silmarillion, in that order.

LotRFI Pt.41–Pippin

Pippin has always been my favorite hobbit. I was first interested in him because of how funny he is in the first book, especially in “Three is company” and “Shortcut to Mushrooms.” He remained my favorite because I appreciated his process of maturation as the story progresses.

welling
Image copyright Greg and Tim Hildebrandt

His cheerful spirit serves as a comedic relief during many of the less active passages in the text. From his snarky comment in Rivendell,

‘”Gandalf has been saying many cheerful things like that”’ (FR, II, i, 226)

to his curiosity in Moria, which lands the Fellowship in some trouble, Pippin remains fairly charming and lighthearted. It is not until Gandalf grows angry and berates Pippin

‘”Fool of a Took…This is a serious journey, not a hobbit walking party. Throw yourself in next time, and you will be no further nuisance. Now be quiet!”’ (FR, II, iv, 313)

that he starts to transform into a more serious and responsible character. This interaction in Moria, reminded me of a parent scolding a child. Pippin did something which was outside the normal expectations and it could have, and ultimately has, dire consequences. Gandalf chides him in the way that a concerned mother or father might express exasperation at a child who touches a stove or runs into the street. This confrontation seemed to me to be the starting point for Pippin’s transformation.

The two places where Pippin’s character shows real growth are in his actions to escape the Uruk-Hai in Rohan, and in his time spent in Gondor. When he is with the Uruk-Hai, Pippin is not a passive observer of events. Instead, he keeps his wits and not only manages to escape, but also leaves a clue for the Three Hunters to follow.

Pippin’s largest step toward becoming a responsible adult is his time spent in Gondor. Here he volunteers his service to the steward of Gondor to repay his debt to Boromir:

‘”Little service, no doubt, will so great a lord of Men think to find in a hobbit, a halfling from the northern Shire; yet such as it is, I will offer it, in payment of my debt.”’ (RK, V, I, 754/5).

He feels accountable for Boromir’s death and seeks to make amends. Not only does this act show Pippin becoming more mature, but it puts him in a role of responsibility. A role which he performs very well. His next show of responsibility is that he chaperones Bergil, Beregond’s son, around Minas Tirith. Pippin no longer interacts with Bergil as his equal, though he cannot resist an occasional joke, but he sets restrictions on Bergil and enforces them. Finally, Pippin’s decision to disobey Denethor’s wishes and save Faramir shows the kind of complex reasoning and questioning of authority that is typically associated with maturity. He is not simply rebelling against authority because it is authoritative, nor is he blindly following it. He weighs consequences and decides to act in the way he think is best. Though I could not have expressed ,many of these concepts in this way when I was a kid, I certainly respected Pippin’s growth as an individual, and understood that he had earned responsibility and was using his judgement wisely.

Pippin’s story is a bildungsroman. This greatly impacted me in my first several readings of LotR. I will talk about the Scouring of the Shire in a later post, but I think the arc of Pippin’s character is clear already. He stays jovial throughout the text, I love his interaction with the Three Hunters in “Flotsam and Jetsam,” but he matures over the course of his journey. This is why Pippin was, and still is, my favorite hobbit from LotR.

Where Do We Go From Here?

We will look at Merry next, then explore the Battle of Pelennor Fields.

What Do You Think?

What did you think of Pippin in the early parts of the text?

Did your impression of him change as he developed over the course of the story?

Did I miss anything? Let me know!

Patricia Minger’s Experience–Tolkien Experience Project (39)

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 Patricia 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 Patricia Minger’s responses:


How were you introduced to Tolkien’s work?

I found The Hobbit in the school library when I was about ten years old. I immediately loved it, although I don’t remember that first reading very clearly. I was one of those kids who stayed up late reading by the light of the 15-watt bulb in the hall outside my room. (Which may explain why I needed glasses by the time I was twelve.) I devoured the whole thing in about two nights running.

I did not start reading The Lord of the Rings until I was about thirteen. I dimly recall my mother saying the book was ‘too old’ for me. She never read it, so I don’t know why she thought that. Once I did start, I read it continuously about three times. The descriptions of the places enthralled me, and the adventure of it all. The maps fascinated me. I would have followed Aragorn into battle. I took Sam to my heart. I wept when Frodo left the Grey Havens.  I loved fantasy of any kind, but without knowing it, I grokked that this was the ‘deep magic’ version of the genre. To this day when I start to re-read it, I eagerly anticipate it like a new experience.

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

My favorite part of Tolkien’s work shifts with time and experience, but I have always had a great appreciation for the landscapes he paints, particularly certain breathless, stunning moments. Certainly, the environment functions as a character, one that occasionally comes to life and speaks. It was no surprise to learn that Tolkien saw with the eye of an artist. Some of his paintings express elemental visions, and are as striking as his prose.

I think the strengths of the PJ films were the visuals, and Howard Shore’s exquisite score. There are those who take exception to some of the adaptation, but those two features outweighed any possible flaws of the script. Surprisingly, my imagination limited the magnitude of scenes like the Ride of the Rohirrim, or the Mines of Moria, and the movies fully fleshed these out for me without dislodging my own impressions. And the music: the music of the Ainur! A worthy sub-creation.

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

My fondest experience of Tolkien’s work has to be the bond it has created between my sister and me. When we were growing up, it was our job to wash the dishes after dinner. For many years we took turns reading aloud, one of us working while the other read. We went through many books in those years, but my favorite was The Lord of the Rings. It has led us on many adventures together, from Mythgard and Signum University, to the A Long Expected Party (ALEP) community based in Kentucky, to midnight premieres of the movies, to Oxford and the recent Bodleian Library exhibit.

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

Naturally my approach to Tolkien has changed over the years. In my original readings, where all I had was the story in front of me, I took it at face value. In more recent times I have absorbed the scholarship of people like Verlyn Flieger, Michael Drout, Tom Shippey, Corey Olsen, and so many more, and I have experienced more depth to my readings, more questions, more attention to details. His essays, his shorter works, and Christopher Tolkien’s extensive exploration found in The History of Middle Earth of course inform my understanding and curiosity. Getting my BA in English also gave me a better idea of context.

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

Would I recommend Tolkien’s work? Yes. With the caveat that his work is certainly not everyone’s cup of tea. The Lord of the Rings is magnificent. It rises above genre in the way that all truly great works of fiction do. But I will also admit that if someone asks me ‘Would I like it?’ I do not give a quick answer. I sort of feel a protectiveness about it. I don’t want someone to read it who will not like it, or who might even hate it. I usually qualify a recommendation with the caveat that while I found it a revelation of what literature could be, I do not expect that will be everyone’s experience.


For more thoughts from Patricia Minger, see her Facebook page!

LotRFI Pt.40–Minas Tirith

Minas Tirith was an altogether novel experience in my first read of LotR. It holds an interesting place in my memory because it is so different from the rest of LotR, but is more like other fantasy stories that I read before LotR.

ted-nasmith-the-complete-guide-to-middle-earth-minas-tirith-at-dawn_orig
Image copyright Ted Nasmith

Here is what I mean: Most of LotR felt original and new to me in the settings and many of the interactions, but Minas Tirith was like an allusion to stories with which I was familiar. Minas Tirith was the first ‘castle’ in the book, which automatically brought up associations with knights, damsels, jousting and quests for adventure. Most notable among these tales, I was aware of Camelot and Arthurian legends (which ones particularly, I cannot recall). For better or worse, I started to think about knights errant and chivalric tales.

This made the setting seem more remote and ancient to me than the rest of the text. I do not mean that it felt like it had a long history, several parts of the text feel like that. I mean that it felt like part of an older story to me. While most of LotR was a novel experience, I thought Minas Tirith was going to revisit fantasy of the medieval court variety. This was probably because, unlike with most of the other characters, events, and settings in the story, my only reference frame for Minas Tirith was other fantasy books. I had not living thing to equate Minas Tirith to. These other fantasy text were always set in distant lands or in earlier times (or ‘long ago’ and ‘far away’ if that were not banished as a cliché at this point).

In a sense, Minas Tirith was more storied for me as a location, but also more remote. I have often wondered how Europeans and Brits might feel about this point, since they grew up in places where they could have visited castles as a kid. To me, a castle was an element of make-believe, I wonder if it was just an element of history to them.

Where Do We Go From Here?

I would like to take a breath and talk about Merry and Pippin before we move on to the larger picture.

What Do You Think?

Did you think of Minas Tirith as a castle?
How did this influence the way you perceive(d) the events in Minas Tirith?
​Did I miss anything? Let me know!