To me there’s only one fantasy world where I feel most at home. Middle-earth was, and will remain my primary destination for the tired mind and heart that long to seek solace and comfort from the real world.
I’ve delved a while amid the magical corridors of Hogwarts or the plains of Narnia and, albeit each have their own charm and dose of escapism, nothing is comparable to Middle-earth itself.
Recently, I had the enormous pleasure of reading The Powder Mage trilogy by Brian McClellan. Reading this series of flintlock fantasy novels with their own epic narratives, characters and worlds, was an interesting exercise and quite a different experience from the usual.
McClellan’s writing is compelling, engaging, fast-paced and, most importantly, believable. The characters come to life, the fantasy world he creates is astonishing and the overall story simply works.
However, without wanting to turn this post into some sort of review (perhaps I’ll leave that for another time), I just wanted to share with you the feelings and reactions I felt whilst reading these. Remember, The Powder Mage trilogy was the first set of epic fantasy novels that I delved into and managed to complete in its entirety after The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, etc.
The whole experience left me exhilarated and hungry for more such quality novels, but at the same time I wanted a “break” from the dense details and complex story lines that a narrative such as McClellan’s can leave you with.
Therefore, I picked up my battered paperback copy of The Hobbit for a nice leisurely read.
The sudden rush of emotions was truly magical.
Reading the first few pages felt like I was stepping back into the warm embrace of a well-known world. Meeting Bilbo again and going along in his journey was even more powerful than before. Having left Middle-earth for a while to delve the perilous paths of Adro in The Powder Mage trilogy, I now sensed with an even deeper emotion what was so beautiful and comforting about Tolkien’s own world, welcoming me back to its well-trodden paths.
It made me realise that no matter how far away I venture in my reading, or how much I enjoy a novel, I’ll always feel safest and more alive within Middle-earth.
It truly is a second home.