The long”-ish” tale of how I began to admire and enjoy Tolkien
My first experience of reading ‘The Lord of the Rings’ (or anything related to Tolkien), was actually a weird one.
Since I was young, I wasn’t into reading – at all. Paragraphs longer than a few lines would send my mind drifting off to something completely different. I just couldn’t manage to concentrate on the descriptions and the wordings for longer than a few minutes.
It was such a twist for me, then, when I decided to read ‘The Silmarillion’. Naively enough, after having seen ‘The Lord of the Rings’ trilogy, I thought I knew most (if not everything) that had to do with those stories of the Third Age. So I thought that a book exclusively on events in the First Age would be fascinating to go through – again, very naive.
(On my reading experiences of ‘The Silmarillion’, you can read my earlier post here: Where to start? )
So after having gone through the first reading “hurdle” I decided to revert to the more familiar and popular stories. I managed to get a copy of ‘The Two Towers’ and decided to start reading that. I have no idea why I didn’t start with ‘The Fellowship of the Ring’, but probably (as I’ve stated many times), I was looking forward mostly to read the chapter on the battle of Helm’s Deep.
However, the book went much deeper – weaving together the level of detail of that world together with the actions and complex motives of the characters. It felt like I was reading (and mentally imagining) a much extended (and truer) version of the film.
My interests became more intricate than the previous “battle-oriented” ones. Here was a story (at least, a third of it) with rich characters and a believable world with a sense of historical authenticity to it (one already experienced with ‘The Silmarillion’).
Naturally, I drifted back to ‘The Fellowship of the Ring’, re-read ‘The Two Towers’ and finished off with ‘The Return of the King’.
By the end of it all, I felt overwhelmed (positively) at the scope of the entire book and left me wanting for more …
The rest is history (to me, of course), but I eventually got around reading ‘The Silmarillion’ a second and third time, along with ‘The Hobbit’ and various other books by and on Tolkien himself – including biographies, companion books, etc, etc …
Tolkien purists may or may not agree with the films, however, apart from appreciating what they are and what they tried (and managed) to achieve, they are the reason why I find myself talking about Tolkien in the first place.
And that’s as philosophical as I get!
(Book cover illustration to ‘The Two Towers’ by John Howe)