1.) When and how were you first introduced to Tolkien? What did you read first?
I remember first hearing about Tolkien when I was 11/12 (around the time I first started to read fantasy novels) but I did not get around to his books until I was 15. The first LOTR movie was about to be released in December 2001 and I figured it was time to read his books. So The Lord of the Rings was the first book by him that I read.
2.) What attracts you to Tolkien’s writing?
Firstly, it was honestly a bit difficult getting into Tolkien’s writing the first time around. It was very different from any other book I had ever read up to that point in terms of speech, style, etc. It still is one of the most unique/different books I’ve ever read. I find it’s very reminiscent to the old Anglo-Saxon/Scandinavian epics that he studied and loved, which is perfect for his books set in Middle Earth because it adds a certain epic quality to the stories: a little older and particular in the way things are expressed and referenced, a little grander but also familiar.
Otherwise what really attracts me to Tolkien’s writing is just the storytelling, really. I mention a little later on about LOTR and how all-encompassing it can be—epic in scope but also focusing on the smallest of peoples, quiet feats of bravery—but at the end of the day, it really comes down to the story itself and from there how he’s able to express and form this whole world and history around these characters and the things that are affecting them. But yeah, definitely the storytelling and how relatable the fundamental emotions and experiences that the characters go through can be for us, the reader.
3.) What would you say to those who haven’t read any of Tolkien’s books yet?
You’re missing out!
lol, in all seriousness, I would say that it may look daunting and the writing at first may seem odd but once you get pass that and you get into the story, it’s just this rich tapestry of character, experience, history/culture, language, humour, just everything. It really feels like Middle Earth exists, or existed, somewhere out there. It’s just such an experience. Even his non-Middle Earth works are just as wonderful, as a reader you get a sense that he truly loved the early Anglo-Saxon/Scandinavian/Northern epics of old. So the books may seem intimidating but it’s totally worth it
4.) What is your favorite Tolkien book? What makes it special?
The Lord of the Rings remains my favourite Tolkien book. I’ve read a number of his books over the years and there’s just something about LOTR: the storytelling, the scope of and the stakes involved, the histories and cultures that populate Middle Earth, the themes presented, the characters, etc. I also love how, despite of the epic scope of the story, of these massive armies facing each other and the return of the king to Gondor, the story comes down to characters fighting for love, for doing the right thing, to protect the simple quiet life that they want. That it’s especially highlighted by the hobbits—doing great deeds, performing small acts of bravery despite of their size or where they’re from—is wonderful and something that, as readers, we can relate to. It’s just amazing how all these elements and themes are in this one book.
Plus, it was the first Tolkien book I ever read, so that in itself makes it special to me too. 🙂
5.) Can you share one of your favourite Tolkien quotes with us?
Just one? =P Okay, from The Fellowship of the Ring: “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” It’s such a simple statement from Gandalf and yet it’s so poignant, something to remember and live by.