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!