1.) When and how were you first introduced to Tolkien? What did you read first?
I remember that when I was about seven or eight, my mum bought me a copy of the graphic novel version of The Hobbit. I’ve always been a big reader, particularly of fantasy novels, so I guess she knew it was perfect for me! Not long after that I read The Hobbit itself, and then when I was ten I read The Lord of the Rings for the first time – and shortly after that, the films were released, which meant I had so many more people to obsess over Tolkien’s work with, and so many Lord of the Rings related things to buy!
2.) What attracts you to Tolkien’s writing?
Some find his style a bit stuffy, but I absolutely love it. It’s his, it’s so unique and I think it’s just perfect for his books. I love fantasy stories that are written in an older tone, they feel more ‘genuine’ to me, which doesn’t even make sense as they’re about imaginary worlds! Tolkien was an absolute genius, and in creating Middle-earth and its history, languages and more he created an entire culture in which I can happily immerse myself. One of my favourite things is how much background information he created, even though he didn’t need to – he just wanted to.
3.) What would you say to those who haven’t read any of Tolkien’s books yet?
Give them a try! If you’re a big fantasy fan then they should seem familiar. If you’re not, then I’d advise starting off with The Hobbit as it’s shorter. I think you have to really be willing to give them a go though – there’s a lot of information to take in. Some people probably get a bit put off by the books as I think that sometimes Tolkien’s writing style is described as being a little archaic, but I say don’t make any decisions until you’ve at least tried it.
4.) What is your favorite Tolkien book? What makes it special?
Can I count The Lord of the Rings as one book, as that’s how Tolkien originally intended it? I’ve read it at least once a year since I was ten, apart from one year, so that’s at least twelve times now. There’s just something about it – it’s hard to explain, but it makes me feel like I’m at home. It brings back this warm rush of nostalgia from the days when I ran Lord of the Rings fansites, and had loads of online friends that were massively into Tolkien’s work. We even had a roleplay forum at one point! You can see my copy of The Fellowship of the Ring here: it’s well read, yellowing and falling apart. My copy of The Hobbit is in pretty much the same condition! I want new editions (well I want ALL the editions) but I also love how well read and loved my copy looks.
5.) Can you share one of your favorite Tolkien quotes with us?
“Out of doubt, out of dark to the day’s rising; I came singing in the sun, sword unsheathing. To hope’s end I rode and to heart’s breaking: Now for wrath, now for ruin and a red nightfall!”
— The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
(Chapter VI, The Battle of the Pelennor Fields), page 137.
Theoden is the one to say this to the Rohirrim in the film version of The Return of the King, and I still think it’s a beautiful line even then. But in the book, Eomer actually says it, as he plants the flag of Edoras, laughing the whole time. They’re still in the middle of the battle, they have no idea if they will win or even if they stand a chance. But he says it almost jokingly, and to me it signifies that Eomer is completely one hundred percent dedicated to this battle, he will fight whatever the cost. It shows that he is definitely deserving of his position as heir to Theoden (after the death of Theodred, Theoden’s son). Ultimately, it just sums up the whole book for me. The good people of Middle-earth will keep this fight going, and will keep fighting until the very end, no matter what it takes to rid Middle-earth of these evil forces.