Jeffrey Hawboldt’s Experience–Tolkien Experience Project (15)

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 Jeffrey 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 Jeffrey Hawboldt’s responses:


How were you introduced to Tolkien’s work?

Via the film trilogy by Peter Jackson that went from 2001 – 2003.

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

The extremely detailed world-building and mythos.

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

Reading the books for the first time during the winter months.

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

Not really. Always been a fan, so my views of Tolkien’s works hasn’t changed over time, but rather, my view of the world and myself.

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

Absolutely. They are not for everyone though.


To read more of Jeffrey Hawboldt’s thoughts on Tolkien, see his blog: insurrbution.blogspot.com

Wayne A’s Experience–Tolkien Experience Project (14)

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 Wayne 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 Wayne A’s responses:


How were you introduced to Tolkien’s work?

I was first introduced to Tolkien in grade 10 by an English teacher who was using the Return of the King as a novel study. I was hooked immediately!

What is your favorite part of Tolkien’s work?

Not sure if you mean a particular piece or a central theme to his works, but I think the idea of good vs. evil against all odds has fascinated me, as it manifests in so many of his literary works.

What is your fondest experience of Tolkien’s work?

Ironically, my fondest experience is that it was the last major work that my now much older children let me read to them as a bedtime story. As early teenagers they sat with me every night while I read to them the adventures of Bilbo Baggins.

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

I find myself reading one or more of his works each winter…. Something about this author’s writing whilst the snow flies appeals to my innermost Tolkien admiration.

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

I would highly recommend any of Tolkien’s work….. And have many times over my 22 years as a high school teacher. I continue to use The Hobbit and The Fellowship of the Ring as mainstays for novel studies…. And students still enjoy them!

J.S. Klingman’s Experience–Tolkien Experience Project (13)

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 J.S. 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 J.S. Klingman’s responses:


How were you introduced to Tolkien’s work?

My older brothers were gigantic Tolkien fans; they infected me with Tolkienism at a young age, although I became more of a fanatic in 2018.

What is your favorite part of Tolkien’s work?

Well, I really love the motion pictures’ depiction of the books. But, that’s more Peter Jackson’s work… I really enjoyed The Silmarillion and The Hobbit – the former was an amazing epic account of the times preceding The Lord of the Rings, while the latter was the lighthearted story of a hobbit’s quest. Both struck me as intriguing tales despite the fact that they are written somewhat differently. I found them boring at first, but now I love them. I just need to get used to some things, I suppose…

What is your fondest experience of Tolkien’s work?

Probably reading The Hobbit all the way through for the first time?

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

Yes. I love it now more than ever, and someday want to make a huge personal library of Tolkien’s work. Before, I thought that it was great and all, just not something to get fanaticized over.

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

Definitely, one hundred percent!! Tolkien’s work has been the most inspiring fiction I have ever read/watched!! Middle-Earth is so complex, the characters were all likeable (except for those evil ones), and the motion pictures were AMAZING!! Plus, Tolkien’s and Peter Jackson’s works have a wonderful, hopeful, and truthful worldview that makes them compelling and interesting to read/watch.


To see more of J.S. Klingman’s thoughts on Tolkien, head over to his blog: https://mylittleholeintheground.site123.me/

Jeremiah B’s Experience–Tolkien Experience Project (12)

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 Jeremiah 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 Jeremiah B’s responses:


How were you introduced to Tolkien’s work?

My dad introduced me to Tolkien by sitting me down at about the age of 4 to watch the Rankin-Bass animated version of The Hobbit, and I’ve gone ever-deeper into the legendarium from there. But I often return to that animated classic, and I’ll always defend it as being brilliantly executed from those who like to call it silly or weird. While it is never flawless, it manages to capture in 1hr18m what the big-budget Hollywood adaptation managed to miss almost entirely in the course of nine hours.

What is your favorite part of Tolkien’s work?

This depends on what you mean by ‘part’. My favourite book remains The Lord of the Rings. But my favourite “quality” or “thing” about Tolkien and his work is how rich, deep, and real it feels. When I read it, it “feels” like it could all really have happened. Tolkien achieves this quality through many mechanisms which aren’t appropriate for this short-reply format. But I’ve not felt that quality with my (admittedly limited) experiences with other fantasy novels.

What is your fondest experience of Tolkien’s work?

I often wish I could ‘forget’ Tolkien and ‘re-discover’ him for the first time. The closest I can get is reading to my daughter (who is 10 as of writing this) and watching her reactions. It is wonderful. I’m letting her dictate the speed of her introduction because I hope it will make her more naturally take to the material. I don’t want it forced. But so far we’ve managed to go through The Hobbit (twice), Smith of Wootton Major, Farmer Giles of Ham, and Roverandom, and we’ve recently begun The Fellowship of the Ring.

However, equally important to me is my wife, who I met through an online book forum discussing Tolkien. This was back in 2004 when meeting people from the Internet was much more taboo than it even is now. It’s safe to say that without Tolkien, my life would be completely different: I wouldn’t be married to this woman, I wouldn’t have my daughter, and I wouldn’t have moved 3500 miles from my hometown across the Atlantic.

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

Yes! Like many, I used to skip the poetry. And I didn’t really start to go in for “Tolkien studies” until I was in my 20s. Instead, I merely read cover-to-cover (skipping the appendices), and moved on. Now I read more carefully and I often read for different reasons (studying a particular concept, and of course, for pleasure). I’ve broadened my Tolkien bookshelf and “to be read” pile significantly, which now includes essays, papers, and books by many other authors who have, in turn, offered a unique perspective on Tolkien.

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

I would (and have several times) recommend Tolkien to anyone who likes mythology/ high fantasy/ romance novels and isn’t afraid of large sections of the narrative being devoted to the description of a landscape or local flora. But I accept that Tolkien is not for everyone!


To see more of Jeremiah B’s thoughts on Tolkien, head over to his fantastic blog: https://mathomhouse.wordpress.com/

Julie Valdez’s Experience–Tolkien Experience Project (11)

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 Julie 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 Julie Valdez’s responses:


How were you introduced to Tolkien’s work?

I first heard of J.R.R. Tolkien when I was about ten. A classroom that I was in for the after school program was reading The Hobbit, and I used to stare at the cover wondering how the author’s last name was pronounced. I read a Tolkien work for the first time the following year because my teacher had a copy of The Two Towers lying around. Unfortunately, I only read three pages before I gave up, as I had no idea who the characters were or what in the world an orc was. Fortunately, three years later, I read the entire series for the first time.

What is your favorite part of Tolkien’s work?

To me, the best part of Tolkien’s work is how very inspiring his writing is. The small have the strongest will. Men are frail, but resilient. The love of friends can help you conquer. Hope is a light in the darkness. Tolkien gave me hope in a time where I had none, and so the inspiration his writing blessed me with has been the best part for me.

What is your fondest experience of Tolkien’s work?

My fondest experience of Tolkien’s work was reading The Hobbit with my little sister. I was thirteen and she was eight at the time, and so in a way, I felt like I was passing something on to her, this love for Middle-earth and admiration for this author. We had so much fun reading that together, and when her class read The Hobbit the following year, she knew even more about the book than the teacher did! In a way, this love that we share for Middle-earth is a special connection, because we don’t know many Tolkien fans our age, so Middle-earth became our special little niche. We had each other to share it with, and it all began with the day she asked me to read her The Hobbit.

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

My approach has changed only a bit. I’ve become so familiar with several of Tolkien’s works that my time rereading has become more of re-analyzation and searching for things that I missed since the last time I read.

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

I recommend Tolkien to everyone. First of all, I am an avid advocate for the classics, and I think that everyone should read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings before they go to college. Second, Tolkien has a very unique approach to fantasy where he borrows from several different mythologies that is very enriching to readers. Third, Tolkien writes unlike any author that I have ever read before. He dedicated his life to fantasy, and his works have a profound resonance that you rarely see anymore as a result. Fourth, whether or not you are a huge fan of the fantasy genre, you can always find something from Tolkien that will suit your fancy. For the fantasy reader, there’s his Middle-earth saga. For those who prefer non-fiction, he has written several engaging essays. For the poetic soul, there are enough songs and poems of several themes to make an anthology. For the little ones, there’s The Hobbit and other light-hearted works like Letters from Father Christmas and Farmer Giles of Ham. Sixth, Tolkien wrote from the human soul, and as a result, his works are felt in the soul. His characters are so complex and human-like that you will most certainly find a plight or characteristic that strikes a chord with you. I just feel that J.R.R. Tolkien was a gift to the world, and that the gifts he left behind ought to be shared, especially in a time where the fantasy genre and writing in general is taking a somewhat unsavory turn.


 

Andrew Higgins’s Experience–Tolkien Experience Project (10)

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 Andrew 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 Andrew Higgins’s responses:


How were you introduced to Tolkien’s work?

My father Robert Higgins was a lover of Tolkien and member of the New York Tolkien Society.  He read my brother Tom and I The Hobbit when I was about 7 and The Lord of the Rings when I was 8.  This was usually after dinner and I can still hear my father doing all the voices – he was a great Gandalf! 

What is your favorite part of Tolkien’s work?

No surprise it is Tolkien’s invention of languages and how they are intertwined with his myth-making.  From the earliest time I can remember I was fascinated with the Appendix on languages and the writing systems.  

What is your fondest experience of Tolkien’s work?

My dad reading the final “Grey Heavens” chapter [from The Lord of the Rings] and meeting him years later at the Medieval gate of The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York when he presented my brother and I with our own copies of the newly published The Silmarillion (which I went home and tried to read in one night).

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

Yes, I have become much more interested in the art of both myth-making and language invention that make up the world-building of Tolkien’s legendarium.  I have also become more interested in how Tolkien’s love and passion for primary world myth and language – through philology – informed his creative building of his legendarium.  

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

OF COURSE!!!!  Tolkien’s creativity has given us a world with a depth of reality we can enter into (from various points) and explore – through which Tolkien tells some really brilliant stories which reflect in the secondary world the hopes, fears, and dreams of our own world.   


You can find more from Andrew at his Facebook page!

PL’s Experience–Tolkien Experience Project (9)

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 PL 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 PL’s responses:


How were you introduced to Tolkien’s work?

A friend of my parents (English professor) gave it to me for my 10th birthday.

What is your favorite part of Tolkien’s work?

I used to say it was the Lord of the Rings but as I have grown older I have come to appreciate The Silmarillion far more. It is epic in scope, rich in description and full of complex, nuanced characters. Each time I read it I seem to find something new to explore–a character I may have overlooked, a turn of phrase that did not catch my attention on an earlier reading, details about a favorite character that I had not fully appreciated.

What is your fondest experience of Tolkien’s work?

Sharing my love of Tolkien with my children and having them share this love of Middle-earth with me.

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

Yes. I used to reread it purely for enjoyment of the story and reunion with beloved characters. But now I have delved further into the scholarship and Christopher Tolkien’s later publications: HoME, Unfinished Tales, Letters, Hammond and Scull’s work, the Tolkien Professor and more. On first encountering Tolkien I was a child–the story and characters of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings appealed to me. I had a hard time with The Silmarillion initially–I was so excited to buy it when it first came out. I was 11 and I found it a difficult read at that time.

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

I recommend it constantly. To children, young adults, adult friends. These stories are epic in scope but the characters are timeless. Flawed, funny, brave, grim, faithless, loyal–all characteristics humans share. The friendships in these tales are so uplifting.


 

Richard Rowland’s Experience–Tolkien Experience Project (8)

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 Richard Rowland 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 Richard Rowland’s responses:


How were you introduced to Tolkien’s work?

An English teacher (Mr Coot) I had for one term in 1965 read to my class for one period a week from The Fellowship of The Ring, by the end of that term he had finished reading the book to us. Sadly we got a new teacher the next term so this was not continued, however two of us got hooked.

What is your favorite part of Tolkien’s work?

This is a difficult one to answer. My favourite story from the First Age is “Of Tuor and his coming to Gondolin” – its a great pity this was never finished. Re: his non legendarium books my favourite is “The Fall of Arthur” and of course a favourite is Lord of the Rings.

What is your fondest experience of Tolkien’s work?

I guess this must be the first time I read Lord of the Rings in 1965.

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

Yes definitely my approach has changed. As I have got older I have wanted to read more of Tolkien’s work – I only have Sir Garwain still to read, however my main interest is the Legendarium and not so much his other books.

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

I always recommend Professor Tolkien’s work and have compiled a suggested order for reading his books. In my opinion no one else has ever compiled a fictional world that has so much depth – this is hinted at in the Lord of the Rings – however this only scratches the surface and any serious study of the legendarium must include the Silmarillion (although admittedly I still battle with the creation section). Also I strongly recommend people should see his paintings and sketches as Professor Tolkien was a very fine artist as well as being a good author. I recently showed my copy of J R R Tolkien Artist and Illustrator to a friend who only has a passing interest in Tolkien’s work and he commented that he was impressed with the variety of styles Professor Tolkien used depending on the context of the painting or sketch – something that I had not thought about before.


For more Middle-earth fun with Richard Rowland, check out the Middle-earth themed Facebook group that he moderates!

BlueberryMuffins76’s Experience–Tolkien Experience Project (7)

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 BlueberryMuffins76 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 BlueberryMuffins76’s responses:


How were you introduced to Tolkien’s work?

My mother has owned the [LotR] trilogy, The Hobbit, and The Silmarillion ever since her teenage years and has always been fond of the latter four. In fact, I had to check out The Fellowship of the Ring from the library before I finally obtained my own copy because her copy (a paperback) had been loved and read so much it was missing the first fifty pages! So I became interested in them when I was in my early to mid teen years and have enjoyed most things Tolkien ever since!

What is your favorite part of Tolkien’s work?

Choose just one favorite part?!? As far as an entire book goes, I must say The Two Towers is my absolute favorite. However, my top two favorite stories are The Adventures of Tom Bombadil (one of my favorite characters) and Beren and Luthien as found in The Silmarillion, not The Lost Tales. I really enjoyed finally buying the book Beren and Luthien; having the various versions in one place is awesome!

What is your fondest experience of Tolkien’s work?

Again, that is a tough question! My favorite memories are writing fanfictions with my best friend, particularly about Dirhael and Ivorwen.(Their story is the third installment of our Legends of Love short series).

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

I think my approach changed a little when I started writing fanfictions in college. I began researching more, finding I needed to learn more in order to make my stories accurate (although I will say I take a lot of license with some of them!). As I learned more about Tolkien’s life, it helped me to understand his writing a little more, especially why he seems to kill off so many people. He was certainly a gifted author and a very brilliant man!

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

Yes! I quite frequently suggest people read the books since the films are so popular. While I do enjoy the movies, the books are ever so much better and contain a depth that the films do not and cannot accurately portray. The films even changed some of the characters’ personalities, so seeing the deviations from Tolkien’s written works are interesting. As I said before, Tolkien was quite a gifted author and certainly deserves his place in the classics!


For more great insights from BlueberryMuffins76, you can find her on The Council of Elrond and on FanFiction.net

Joe Hoffman’s Experience–Tolkien Experience Project (6)

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 Joe 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 Joe Hoffman’s responses:


How were you introduced to Tolkien’s work?

A classmate showed up with the Tolkien Calendar (Tim Kirk, 1975). I was curious, so he lent me the books on a Tuesday. I read The Hobbit in a couple of evenings, and inhaled the entire Lord of the Rings over the weekend.

What is your favorite part of Tolkien’s work?

It changes every time my life enters a new stage. At the moment, I enjoy imagining how Bilbo lived in the Shire in the years between The Hobbit and The Unexpected Party. I too am a sort of old man, happy with his books and his gardens. When I find likely youngsters, I make sure they‘re made aware of a wider world than the one about which their schools tell them. I too get occasional sidelong looks from my more respectable neighbors.

What is your fondest experience of Tolkien’s work?

In college, I loved to talk about books. But I’m a scientist, so my views about them were idiosyncratic and ignorant. I met an English major who thought my ideas were amusing, and who showed me there were other, much better ways to read books. Tolkien was the only author we both enjoyed. She married me.

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

Of course! You can’t step into the same river twice, and you can’t read The Lord of the Rings the same way twice.

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

I would recommend his books to anyone. Different ones first, depending on the person. Some people don’t like them; they are not of our Fellowship; no harm done. It would be a tragedy, though, if someone were a lover of Tolkien who never read him.


You can see regular blog posts about Tolkien and many other subject from Joe on his website: www.idiosophy.com