Tuesday, January 29, 2013

What Brought You To This?

How did you personally come to read any of Tolkien's works for the first time? Which work did you read first? Did you see the Peter Jackson films before you read The Lord of the Rings? If you have read any of the works multiple times, why do you keep reading those works? What do they give you you that other works lack?


Austin M. said...

The Hobbit is my mom's absolute favorite book of all time and I owe my introduction to the world of Tolkien entirely to her. I have always loved knights, dragons, swords, armor and all things of that nature. So it is likely then, that I would have eventually stumbled upon Tolkien even if she had not been there to set my journey in motion.

I read The Hobbit for the first time as a third grader and also watched the animated film version around that time. As a fifth grader, I read through the entire trilogy and watched the animated Lord of the Rings film as well as the Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers Jackson films. The following year was ripe with anticipation as I awaited the release of Jackson's adaptation of The Return of the King and I was not disappointed.

One of my fondest memories is the fall of my eighth grade year when my youth group studied the trilogy with the guidance of Fleming Rutledge's The Battle for Middle-earth: Tolkien's Divine Design in LOTR. This was my first true introduction to analysis within Tolkien's work and an experience I will never forget.

I continue to re-read both The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings about every two years and actually just completed the cycle once again over winter break. It is meaningful to me as a tradition, but the tales seem to have become a small yet vital part of my being. They are both spiritually and intellectually uplifting and I continually experience different and new elements with each reading. While I love to read and have a long list of beloved authors, J.R.R. Tolkien will forever hold a special place in my heart.

Ashley Cauley said...

I'm probably one of the few people in the class that saw Jackson's films before reading the books. I seem to remember reading The Hobbit in middle school, but for some reason it didn't make a huge impression on me. Then my mom made me go see Fellowship in theaters, and I'm sorry to say I didn't really like that either. I don't remember why, but it took me two or three viewings of the movie for me to really get into the story. Then of course I eagerly awaited the second and third films. (I absolutely LOVE all three movies now).

After seeing the movies I read the books. My mom had a really old boxed set with yellow edges. This may be kinda weird, but I love the way old books smell. When I read those old editions I fell in love with Tolkien's writing. I love books in general, but I think these stories in particular resonate with me because I feel like I can connect with them. Seeing the movies pulled me into Tolkien's world, and reading the books made me a lifelong lover.

Anna Adams said...

I've always been a big reader. I read the Hobbit in elementary school and I read The Lord of the Rings in middle school. I actually read the Two Towers first because a teacher required it. She was one of those people that believed it was an allegory of World War II. I started reading the Fellowship right after that. I have reread The Lord of the Rings because I love the world. I don't know any other books that have such a detailed, believable world. I also appreciate The Lord of the Rings because I know it inspired many of my other favorite books.

Richard Wentworth said...

I first read a library copy of The Hobbit some time in elementary school. Then in the fifth grade I ordered a boxed set of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings from one of the Scholastic catalogs. The first movie came out later that year.

I've tried several times, but I haven't reread any of the books all the way through. I think it's the slow and overly familiar start, and for some reason I'm less patient now then I was when I was little.

Reading The Silmarillion has been a lot of fun, because it's got the same sort of flavor as The Lord of the Rings, but it's something new.

Julie Lautenschleger said...

My father kept an old copy of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings in his bookcase, I suppose from his college days. When I was in middle school, I suppose about seventh grade or so, I read the Lord of the Rings. It took me ages, however. Tolkien's writing is so wordy! Once I finished, I felt a great sense of accomplishment. I didn't read The Hobbit until high school, and I think I was better equipped to understand the language and appreciate the writing then. I still need to find the time to re-read the Lord of the Rings, because I know there is quite a bit I just didn't understand or "soak in" the first time around. I saw the movies later (except The Hobbit) and thoroughly enjoyed them. Of course, this was at a point in my life when I was enamored with Orlando Bloom, so I'm sure that also had something to do with it.

S. M. said...

I actually started reading Tolkien’s works when a friend of mine gave me the first two volumes of The Lord of the Rings as a birthday present. I was really young back then, so I didn’t manage to read all the way through them. Only when I reached high school did I finish reading The Lord of the Rings (I watched the movies afterwards). After that, a friend told me about The Hobbit and The Children of Hurin, so I read those also.

What I really like about Tolkien’s books is that he combines a beautiful writing style with beautiful themes. Every time I crack open The Lord of the Rings, I know that I’m going to experience true art. Some stories that I’ve read have made me feel as though I was merely looking at a sketch of a world or message, but whenever I read one of Tolkien’s novels, I feel like I’m gazing at a painting of remarkable depth –all of the characters, languages, and scenes are masterfully wrought.