Tolkienist = an individual who studies, and is a fan of the works of J.R.R Tolkien
Ringer = an ardent reader of The Lord of the Rings – but more specifically, a fan of the films
A few days ago, I came across a post on an online forum with reference to this blog. The user kindly linked A Tolkienist’s Perspective to the post, under the heading “… very interesting Tolkien blogs”.
However, the user also went on to say about the blog:
But is it really such a stretch?
I have nothing against this individual whatsoever – and am thankful he or she posted the link to this blog. I also think there’s nothing wrong with what was written.
However, what confuses me is: why does someone have to be either a “tolkienist” or a “fan of the films”? Why can’t they be both?
I admit that it is thanks to Peter Jackson’s adaptation of The Lord of the Rings that I am here, right now, writing this post.
Without seeing The Fellowship of the Ring back in 2001, I would never have picked up a book (let alone a set of Tolkien books filled with thousands of pages of material, strange names and unimaginably-complex storylines).
It is perfectly possible to be able to separate the books from their adaptations. I’m both a film fan in general and an ardent reader.
As a Tolkienist, I appreciate the works of the author as they stand – and the way they were supposed to be read.
As a Ringer (or a fan of the Middle-earth films), I am able to enjoy someone else’s vision of these stories and differentiate the two when necessary.
This is not to say that the two are perfect.
Especially when it comes to The Hobbit Trilogy, I do find certain directorial, scripting, and filmmaking choices in general, not quite suitable with what Tolkien had intended.
At the same time, when reading Tolkien I can understand why Peter Jackson and his team made certain changes – changes which bettered the concepts or ideas the author didn’t fully manage to convey in his books.
And yet, I can’t see myself without the two. I can’t read Tolkien without imagining settings, character faces, costumes, etc, without thinking of the sounds and visuals from the films.
Likewise, I can’t see the films without picturing the intricate histories and expansive narratives found in the books – extensively enhancing the scope and depth of the films.
I’m not a purist, and I don’t think anyone truly is.
Therefore, I am not ashamed to say that I am a proud Tolkienist and a fan of the films.