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TheGreatElvenWarrior 06-11-2008 12:01 PM

How were you introduced to Tolkien?
I looked through the threads and didn't see one like this, but if there is then please forgive me...

Anyway, I was thinking about it and was wondering how BDers were introduced to the works of J.R.R. Tolkien...

I was introduced while my friend was over at my house and we were watching the movies (EE). I really liked them! When it got to the end of RotK my friend started complaining about the absence of the Scouring of the Shire and I was wondering why she was so upset, because I thought that they were pretty good movies. She was then talking about how the movies were so incorrect, so I decided to check the books out for myself.

About a month later I'd asked my mom over and over again if we could go buy them. And so when we were out with my cousin one day going out to eat we swung by the bookstore and bought them. I had them in the car all the ride to the restaurant, we then ate and played in the river. I got bored and got TH out of our car. I started reading and have been hooked ever since!

MatthewM 06-11-2008 01:00 PM

The Bakshi cartoon was my first taste of Tolkien back when I was around 8 years old...I've loved it ever since.

Mithalwen 06-11-2008 01:01 PM

There have been a few similar but ... why not...

My parents were readers but they never read Tolkien - just not their thing so I might have missed out but for the fact when I was quite young, The Hobbit was the book of the week on "Jackanory", - . In effect it was a televised version of a bed time story but with the voices done REALLY well. It was read by Bernard Cribbins (who played the station master in The Railway Children) and who was an absolute genius at such things.

I was hooked and listened each afternoon until Friday. On Friday I had Brownies and so I missed the ending. On Saturday I spent my pocket money on the book to find out what happened. So that was the start. I got LOTR from Father Christmas that year but I was a bit too young and ground to a halt at the end of the Two Towers.

A year or so later I was off school with one of those childhood diseases that mean don't feel THAT ill most of the time My mother had the strict rule that a child that was well enough to watch television was well enough to go to school so keeping quiet and reading was a good plan... and so I got addicted to LOTR at the second attempt.

Maedhros_the_Tall 06-11-2008 01:09 PM

I was also introduced by the films. I believe it was after watching the first film that I decided to have a shot at the books, but I read them in order, starting from the Silmarillion, through to the Unfinished Tales. Best thing I ever did, in literary terms anyway!!

Lalaith 06-11-2008 01:12 PM

My mother bought and read the Hobbit while she was in hospital having my little brother. I was about two months off my seventh birthday when he was born. I read it when she'd finished it. I loved it so they gave me Lord of the Rings some time after.

Morthoron 06-11-2008 01:45 PM

Oddly enough, I learned about Tolkien through his obituary. The Detroit Free Press ran the obit (actually a half page article, which I still have), and there was a photo of this jolly, old professorial type with pipe, and down the page were pictures of a hobbit, a wizard and a dragon (which of course I learned were Bilbo, Gandalf and Smaug).

Intrigued, I borrowed a copy of the Hobbit from the grade school library, and now, three plus decades later, I still keep the Tolkien Estate subsidized through annual purchases of their product (which has grown quite voluminous).

Eönwë 06-11-2008 02:44 PM

When I was around 7/8 I read The Hobbit, but it was only after the last film came out (maybe half a year) that I read LOTR. Soon after I read Tales from the Perilous Realm (but didn't get it), just because I liked Tom Bombadil so much. Then I read the Silm a few years later, which lead to me reading some of the others.

Yes, I'm a first generation Tolkien-fan in my family.

radagastly 06-11-2008 02:47 PM

When I was about ten or eleven years old, I went into my older brother's room looking for a book to read (I did a lot more reading then than I do now and my brother had a huge collection of paperbacks for a teenager.) I came across three books by the same author with fascinating cover art derived from this Barbara Remington poster. I wondered what kind of story could possibly lie behind such imagry. I read The Lord of the Rings straight through, and immediately read it all again. I think it was some time later that I finally read The Hobbit . That was almost forty years ago, and Tolkien is still my favorite author.

Groin Redbeard 06-11-2008 05:28 PM

I was twelve years old when I saw a poster for The Fellowship of the Ring movie at Burger King. At first I thought it was another stupid Hollywood flick, but then my mom told me all about the great works of Tolkien. I immediatly wanted to see the movie, but there is a rule in my house where you have to read the book before you watch the movie. I finished the entire Lord of the Rings Trilogy in two weeks, and then from there I read the hobbit. I only just noticed that he wrote the Silmarilion around a year ago.:o

Aganzir 06-11-2008 05:51 PM

Once upon a time there was a little girl whose name was Aganzir, and she had a dear friend called Thinlómien. Thinlómien was an avid Tolkien fan, and always looked at poor little Aganzir sceptically when she tried to recommend her a book she had found good.

One winter Thinlómien was reading the Lotr for the fourth time and didn't want to keep company to Aganzir and their other friends during the breaks. Aganzir came to say hi to her and read a few passages over her shoulder. It was about the Battle of Helm's Deep. She asked Thinlómien what those two towers are (it was written on the margin of the page), and what are orcs?

Aganzir had probably talked to her mother about the lovely Thinlómien who reads this Tolkien book, for the very same Christmas Aganzir's aunt gave her the Lord of the Rings. She read it in two weeks and started over almost immediately after finishing it. Then she read the Hobbit, the Silmarillion (which she didn't find difficult at all despite being only 12) and the Unfinished Tales, and even the Tolkien biography.
Only after reading Lotr and the Hobbit did she watch the movies.

Thinlómien was very proud of Aganzir. Now they could talk about Tolkien all the time, and eventually their other friends read the Lotr, too.

Ibrîniðilpathânezel 06-11-2008 06:14 PM

43 years ago (almost 44, actually), when I was all of 11 and one of my brothers about 13, he started to spend all his time during Sunday Mass with his nose buried in what appeared to be a prayer book. One week, I found out that he was putting a fancy embossed plastic cover on other books, and closer inspection showed that he was reading LotR. Being the curious kind of kid I was, I wondered what he found so fascinating about it, since I had never heard of it, so I sat down and read it myself. I tried reading The Hobbit next, but I just couldn't get into it. I didn't manage to get through TH until I was 24 (when that same brother gave me one of the leather-bound editions for Christmas), but I've read LotR at least once a year ever since that first time. It's one of the few things that brother and I have in common, a love of Tolkien's works.

Thinlómien 06-11-2008 06:31 PM

What a cute story, Agan. Shall I tell another one? ;)

Once upon a time there was a man called Nogrod. He had two daughters, Thinlómien and A Little Green. The older was foul and ugly, the younger was gentle and beautiful... Oops, wrong story. :p Ahem, yes, he had two daughters, called Thinlómien and A Little Green, but we shall call them Lommy and Greenie. The girls were young but both wise beyond their years and they had always loved great stories. One year, when they were five and three, or possibly six and four, Nogrod showed them a movie, Bakshi's Lord of the Rings. It left a lasting impression on the girls.

Not much later, Nogrod and his daughters started a great project. Nogrod took four books from the shelf and every night he sat with his daughters and read them stories; The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillion and The Unfinished Tales. The girls listened avidly, spellbound.

From that on, Tolkien's magical world could be seen everywhere - in their drawings, in their plays, in their talk. Especially the older one, Lommy, was totally enchanted by this mysterious but real world. She told about it to her friends and made them play Elves or Orcs with her. When she was seven or eight, she read The Lord of the Rings herself and the other books soon after. Then, if not before, she had entered Arda so deeply that there was no return.

Groin Redbeard 06-15-2008 04:07 PM

Great day in the morning, I didn't know Nogrod was your dad, Thinlomien! :eek: All I can say is that he's certainly done a wonderful job with two certain Tolkien scholars, I couldn't imagine reading the Lord of the Rings at age seven. You're what I call a Tolkien missionary, Thinlomien.;) My hat is off to both of you!:)

Eomer of the Rohirrim 06-19-2008 02:51 PM

Samwise Gamgee, friend of Warg, introduced me to Tolkien in 2001. I was curious about these tales, hearing the excited discussions of Samwise and little-known Barrow-Downer Gaunt in study class. With the films coming out later that year, I knew I had to read the books before.

Lush 06-19-2008 05:48 PM


How were you introduced to Tolkien?
The first Peter Jackson film - in 2001. I got out of school early and drove down to the cinema and bought tickets for all of my friends, everyone was really excited, and although I hadn't read Tolkien at that point, I'd heard that the story was amazing, and the movies looked really cool.

I was hooked immediately - I had to find out more about Middle Earth.

Funnily, looking back on it, those were probably the happiest days of my life. I'm glad they coincided with my discovery of Tolkien. :)

MatthewM 06-19-2008 08:16 PM


Originally Posted by Thinlómien (Post 559332)
Once upon a time there was a man called Nogrod. He had two daughters, Thinlómien and A Little Green..

That explains how you both look alike! :)

Olórin the White 06-20-2008 05:00 PM

hooboy, so this is somewhat of an ironic tale. My dad has always appreciated Tolkien, and we had a copy of TH in the house for as long as I remember, but I had no idea what it was about nor did I really care to find out. Oddly enough, I loved reading as a kid, especially some of the great classics of our times (my mom always complained when I insisted on walking through the mall with my nose in my eye on the page and one eye on passing traffic to ensure that I didn't hit anything. I also had a tendency to read past my bedtime by the light of my nightlight, probably to the detriment of my vision today ;)). Not only that, but I live in a part of the world that looks JUST like Middle Earth, and is as beautiful as any of the scenery that is witnessed in the Jackson films, and as a result I had a curious love affair with the outdoors (trees, forests, mountains, and streams in particular). My eventually love affair with Tolkien's world seems inevitable, yet it nearly wasn't so.
When FOTR came out, my dad took me and a friend to see it. I'll never forget that was New Years Eve and the rather old and dingy theater was nearly empty. I will also never forget the ache in my back after sitting the full three hours in the same position, arms linked with my friend out of fear. For us, the orcs and other terrible creatures were terrifying, especially when we had not been exposed to that world before. It quite overwhelmed me! I had always loved the fantastical, but have never really been exposed to 'fantasy' like that of Tolkien's world.
What a travesty. For a year I thought little of Lord of the Rings, and then the Two Towers came out. One of my cousins, who is also a close friend, had been talking about it for a while and I thought, why not? So I gave it another chance. This time my eyes were opened. I loved it and needed to know more! Shortly thereafter my family went to hawaii for a week and I brought along TTT. I read it on the beach and was done in a couple days...and was in complete shock at the ending! I had to know what happened to Frodo and Sam! My mom on the other hand refused to buy me ROTK while we were on vacation because it would be cheaper at home. It was awful. I promptly read FOTR when we got home and then finally got my hands on a library copy of ROTK. Then I read the Sil, Unfinished Tales, countless biographies and essays on Tolkien, and I never looked back.
I had always been an elf at heart but had just never known it. I shudder to think what would have happened if I hadn't given LOTR another chance when TTT came out.

The Might 06-22-2008 05:00 AM

Ah, a nice thread indeed!

So guess I could give you my story...
I read The Hobbit first as a Romanian translation when I was about 8 and found the story quite interesting. However it was only until about the movies that I discovered LotR, The Sil and the UT.

Diane C 09-25-2008 05:56 AM

From the "LOTR" CD of the BBC radio play back in the 90s when I was about 12 and living in my home town of Bloemfontein, South Africa.

Listening to the play made it easier for me to pick up the LOTR books and begin my journey into all things Tolkien.

Faramir Jones 10-02-2008 08:08 AM

It also started with 'Jackanory'
Like Mithalwen, I became interested in Tolkien when, as a child, I saw the televised Jackanory adaptation of The Hobbit. I agree that the voices were done really well, particularly that of Bilbo done by Bernard Cribbins.

Interestingly enough, though I liked the story, it was not until later, when I was 12, that I actually read The Hobbit. My family was moving house, and when we were packing up things, a copy my parents had turned up, which they let me read. The same was true of a copy of The Lord of the Rings, though it took me far longer to read that! :)

skip spence 10-03-2008 11:12 AM

I dunno, to be honest I can't remember exactly how it happened. When I was young, around 10 I suppose, I was briefly into RPGs like Dungeons And Dragons and also read LotR for the first time. I can't remember if I was into RPGs because I read LotR or if it was the other way around but I did like the books, especially FotR. There was much I didn't understand at the time though and it wasn't until I watched the Bakshi cartoon a few years later I realised Saruman and Sauron were different people for example. I'm not entirely sure if I made in through the whole thing although I believe I did. I also owned the LotR RPG and for a good many years I even thought that Balrogs had wings - god forbid! - due to a picture in that game. ;)

Then came puberty and my attention shifted to other fields of study.

It was to be many years before Tolkien came into my life again. In my early 20's - a year or two before the movies came out - I lived in Spain for a while. During a lazy and stoned Sunday afternoon I decided to pick up that copy of the Fellowship of the Ring I had noticed on my mate's bookshelf and was immediately hooked. I finished it within a week then went cold turkey as I wasn't able to get hold of the other two books in English or Swedish - my Spanish wasn't good enough. I had to tell my parents at home to go and buy them for me and then send them by mail. After a what seemed an eternity they finally arrived and I haven't looked back since. The Silmarillion was a revelation when I first read it and Unfinished Tales was a wonderful fix as well. Now I'm digging into the HoME while wishing there were more works by the Tolkien out there. I'm not really a fantasy fan though and can't really bring myself to pick up non-Tolkien works (the few times I did in my teens was a disappointment). Should I?

Lindale 10-03-2008 11:29 PM

Once upon a time in a strict all girls Catholic school where even Harry Potter was infamous, a little girl called Lindale who would have her tenth birthday in two weeks saw in the Sunday paper a comparison of JRRT and the forbidden Rowling. She hounded her father, who never really was able to resist her when she was pouting, and three days before her birthday she had a copy of TH, bought at an insane price in the expensive bookstore because the local bookstore currently had none in stock.

The following Christmas, Lindale asked for her usual Harry Potter (number four, I think) and for the complete Lord of the Rings. She got so excited about her Christmas presents, she didn't really think that shoving FotR in her school bag might catch the nuns' attention. When a teacher of home economics saw the poor little girl reading a book that advocated wizards, she confiscated the book. Lindale already had a record of reading HP. She was in bad trouble.

During lunchbreak Lindale was very scared; her Christmas present was gone! She tried not to remember Gollum back in TH screaming about his birthday present. Struggling with whatever wits she had, she headed to the telephone booths and called her mother.

...and thus began the bothersome affair of this little girl's book, which included her father threatening the teacher and some of the nuns. And then Lindale thought, whatever trouble that book has caused! It must be good. When she got her book back, weeks later and with a formal apology, Lindale read it very carefully.

And that is how Lindale learned of JRRT, read TH and LotR, and learned about the Inquisition too.

Two years later Lindale hounded her aging father for a copy of Sil and UT. And a little over three months ago she had a tantrum again, claiming she was the last girl without a CoH. Predictably, that spoiled brat has all Tolkien books her father and she could find.

Andsigil 10-06-2008 04:23 AM

I first got interested in Tolkien when this came out in 1977.

I was 9 years old and ran around the house with a homemade Sting, made of cardboard and aluminum foil, slaying imaginary spiders.

mark12_30 10-06-2008 11:27 AM

My fourth grade teacher read a lot of books to us; LionWitchAndWardrobe, JamesAndTheGiantPeach, Charlie&Factory, Charlotte's Web.. and a couple of others. Oh, and The Hobbit.

Two years later, I saw a friend wandering about with a copy of TH in her hand. "Bilbo?"

That was, roughly, 1970 AD.

FeRaL sHaDoW 10-07-2008 01:12 AM

It was my first year of school on one of our many visits to the school library I came across a comic version of the Hobbit, of course I couldn’t read it but I liked the pictures. A few years later I read the Hobbit and was pulled into the Tolkien universe.

Selador 11-28-2008 11:03 AM

I had begun to get into in Dungeons and Dragons (RPG) back in the late 70's. I was about 12 or 13 at the time. The cartoon versions of the stories, both TH and LOTR, were being aired on TV, and these really sparked my imagination. Besides, all my friends who had read the books would lord their superior geekiness over me, so I had to learn more. I read The Hobbit first and then Lord of the Rings, and truly loved them. I don't think I had ever read anything quite like them, and felt as if it was exactly the story I had always been wanting to lose myself in.

But even so, with all the changes and distractions that accompany growing up, my passion for the books faded through my high school and college years. By the time the movies began to come out, I have to admit that I barely remembered the stories at all - a fact made clear to me while listening to my students rave on about them. As they brought back to my attention all the minor characters and intricate details that I had forgotten, I felt compelled to read the books again. When I did, I discovered that my older self was in a position to appreciate the work much more deeply than I had before, and loved it every bit as much as my younger self. I am actually very glad now to have forgotten so much of the books over the years, for it has been like getting the chance to discover the magic of them twice. But I doubt that I shall ever forget them again, or fail to keep reading them over and over.

Lalwendë 11-29-2008 08:40 AM

Oooh, I missed a chance to tell one of my fave Tolkien anecdotes yet again! :D

I got into Tolkien because one of my brothers had the books and he was reading them and wouldn't come out of his room they were so good. Of course, my brother being into mostly cool things made me want to see what the fuss was about. But he also didn't like me touching his stuff so he wouldn't lend them to me. So I stole The Hobbit out of his room when he was out and started reading it. Then my mum made him lend me all the rest of the books too.

I remember getting creases on the spines and being scared he'd get mad at me. :D This was especially worrying as I was constantly campaigning to be allowed to join in with his D&D games with his mates which I was expressly barred from - I mean, what 18 year old lad wants his 12 year old sister joining his D&D games, eh? It was bad enough me raiding his fantasy books and Led Zep and Motorhead LPs and nicking his guitar to try and play Smoke On The Water... :eek:*

Mum ended up buying me my own set for Christmas, but by then I'd read my way right through The Hobbit, LotR, the Sil, Unfinished Tales, Tolkien's bio and Journeys of the newly released Books of Lost Tales and Lays of Beleriand via the local library.

I've got those old books of my brother's now anyway. My most treasured possessions!

*Author's note - he used to nick my LPs as well...

Galadriel 11-03-2010 05:03 AM

I was introduced to LOTR when I was around eight, when I watched the Bakshi films and was morbidly fascinated with all the blood and the twisted woods and the odd men with no pants (!). But that was all it remained for me for the next few years: a strange story that somehow both appealed to my inner child and revealed a starkly cruel world. Then, of course, the books happened. My mother had an old, battered copy of The Lord of the Rings, complete with yellowed pages and pencil marks and all else. I had just failed at reading War and Peace, and, out of stubbornness, wanted to finish a really fat book.

I got obsessed so quickly, I may have lost some friends. :/ I regret nothing! Nothing, I tell you!

xMellrynxMaidenx 11-03-2010 08:39 AM

I loved reading as a kid, so around my fourth grade year is when I picked up the Fellowship of the Ring. My mother and I ventured off to the public library, browsing around, and I happened to stumble upon the book. Being the kid I was, I asked my mom if she thought it would be interesting to read (I was a bit odd, :p what my mom thought was cool so did I) and she said it looked interesting enough.

Mind you back then I didn't quite grasp the concept of the plot being so young and all. I was no kid genius ;) that was for certain. As I got older though, I picked up the rest of the books and read through them, finally being able to understand them a bit better.

Galadriel55 11-03-2010 05:48 PM

My mother first read LOTR to me when I was about 5 or 6. I re read it again (by myself) when I was 9, and that's when I begun understanding and really liking the book. I got hooked up on it at around 11 - took me long enough.

Durelin 11-05-2010 02:49 PM

I have to make a confession. When I was in grade school, something like 2nd grade, I picked out the Hobbit from the library cause it looked so cool and I think I was kinda aware of it being a classic of sorts. I started it, and didn't like it. :eek: I think my problem at that point in life was that I was really more interested in animals than people. I adored the Wind in the Willows. But I also couldn't get through The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. As soon as it got toward the end and the beavers and fox and etc. didn't really matter anymore, I gave up. Or maybe I just got too upset about Aslan. I don't remember.

Anyway, however many years went by...when the very first teaser came out for the LotR films, my dad saw it and said, "oh cool!" I think he'd rather forgotten Tolkien for the most part, but he owned copies of LotR. I think his brother might have been more into Tolkien than he ever was.

So he found the Bakshi movie (which he had seen in theatres, haha) and watched it with my brother and I, and then the Jackson flms came out, and it was ME-mania for a while...

I'm surprised and glad to see some others who were introduced by the Bakshi movie. Say what you want about it, but I think it was interesting!

Snowdog 10-19-2013 10:03 PM

Lets see if I can remember back that far....

It was 1975 and summer was in full swing in Seattle. I was walking about with my neighbor one warm night, and as we shared some pipeweed all rolled up in a ZigZag, he told me about this book he just read and enjoyed very much called The Hobbit. I asked what a Hobbit was, and he told me they were short care-free folk who like eating, drinking, & smoking! Said I'd be interested in reading it since I had finished one of Asimov's Foundation books and wanted something different to read. So he loaned me the paperback and said he was starting on the Lord of the Rings Fellowship of the Ring. Read through The Hobbit and liked it, but thought it to be a bit juvenile. He said Fellowship Of The Ring was better and loaned me that paperback as he had just finished it. I read it through and indeed I enjoyed it much more than The Hobbit, so I read Two Towers as he had finished it. By this time I was eating the tale up, and I finished Two Towers while he had stalled a third of the way into Return of the King. After a couple weeks of bugging him about whether he finished it yet and he getting annoyed at me, I finally checked out an old 1957 copyright hardback of Return of the King out of the library and read on through. Loved the big fold-out map that was in the back of that hardback edition, so when I returned it I checked out Fellowship and Two Towers hardbacks and started reading the Trilogy all over again! When I checked out Return of the King the second time and finished it, I delved into the appendices and all they had to offer. Started learning the elven scripts and, lo & behold, I met a Tolkien geek babe in my senior year in high school. We would practice our Tengwar scripting and pass notes to each other, and sit by the flag pole at lunch telling tales to each other. When they started doing some renovation work on the bus-loading zone near the flag pole, we saw they had just poured fresh curbing, so we decided to cut the class after lunch and imprint 'Friends' in Tengwar. We made a couple mistakes, but it remained in that curb until 2005 when they totally re-worked the school and dug up the curbs and flagpole.

So yeah, I was a Tolkien geek since the summer of 1975. When word got out that the Silmarillion was going to be published, we geeks were overjoyed! Went to a book release line party and got my copy! Tried to read it, and couldn't get into it at all. I finally skipped the biblicy creation beginning and got into the meat of the book. Aside from a few takes of the Noldor and of Turin, it never really did that much for me. I enjoyed more Unfinished Tales when it came out, and I really enjoyed Children of Hurin when it came out a few years ago. Thought it was a proper treatment of the tale. I will always come back to read the Trilogy every now and again. I think I'm up to 11 readings in 38 years. Sadly, I have only read it through once since those PJ movies came out. I'm way passed due to read it through again.

Snowdog 10-19-2013 10:07 PM


Originally Posted by Galadriel (Post 642888)
Sure it was...when I was obsessed with gore in cartoons O.O I watched it later and went O.O what the heck? Aragorn looked like a Red Indian, Boromir was a Viking, and the Balrog was a bear with bunny slippers. Gollum was good though.

Still, it has some atmosphere in it, and I suppose that's what I like about it.

I saw the Bakshi movie in a theatre when it came out, being hungry for anything Tolkien in those days. Yes, it was a rather interesting movie considering they did it all old school clip-art. Thought the real imaging of the orc bands from Isengard was pretty cool. Galadriel was quite the Disney Princess in it though.

Belegorn 10-19-2013 10:10 PM

For an English class in H.S. we had to read the Hobbit. That's when I got into LotR. I think it was in Freshman year so that was in 1997-98. The school library had the LotR books which I borrowed and read. I've been reading them ever since. I'm glad I got into them before the movies came out. I did see this animated film from like the 70s. My friend had a copy of it. It went through most of the 1st two books. I loved it when the Ringwraiths were like to Frodo, "The Ring, the Ring. Come back... to Mordor we will take you!" Then Frodo's like, "Go back to the land of Mordor and follow me no more!"

jallanite 10-28-2013 09:39 PM

I first encountered Tolkien as a child with The Hobbit in an edition from the local public library. I generally visited the library with my parents and brothers on Saturday, once a week, and used to take out about four books, each of which I usually read twice, before returning them.

I liked The Hobbit. I remember borrowing it at least a second time. I enjoyed it, but less than many other books: Walter R. Brooks’ Freddy the Pig series, C. S. Lewis’ Narnia books, Hugh Lofting’s Doctor Dolittle books, Robert A. Heinlein’s juvenile sf, Andre  Norton’s juvenile sf, E. Nesbit’s children’s fantasy, and Catherine Anthony Clark’s wonderful children’s fantasy (which is almost unknown outside of Canada) as well as other books whose names I do not now recall, including much non-fantasy fiction and books on myths and legends.

I next encountered the name Tolkien in the adult library in a note at the beginning of C. S. Lewis’ That Hideous Strength which referred to Numinor [sic]. I wanted to know more, though I did not remember Tolkien then in connection with The Hobbit. But when I looked up Tolkien in the library card catalogue, the only books mentioned under that name were located in the stacks, not on the open shelves. Possibly the maps were the reason for their being so protected. But since I did not know if the books there listed had anything to do with the manuscript mentioned by Lewis, I did not bother to request them and soon forget about them.

Then, in my last year of high school, in a drug store where I often bought my sf, I saw a new book published by Ace which was then the most prominent publisher of paperback sf, with Ballantine following them. The book was entitled The Fellowship of the Ring, had a red background on the cover, and was about three times the thickness of a normal Ace book, and three times the price: 75¢ as against the usual Ace cost of 25¢.

I again did not remember the name Tolkien either in connection with The Hobbit or in connection with C. S. Lewis. But the book looked interesting. I wondered it it might be an Arthurian novel, since the wizard on the cover, dressed in yellow, wore a pointed hat usually associated with Merlin. Also the Ring in the title might refer to Arthur’s round table. I was already aware that in many sources this table was ring shaped, with an empty centre. But browsing through the book showed no mention of Arthurian names but much mention of Frodo and Gandalf, and other non-Arthurian names. I was somewhat disappointed.

Then, by chance, I flipped to the page which had the ring inscription and read under it the words: “‘I cannot read the fiery letters,’ said Frodo in a quavering voice.” There was also the blurb on the front cover which read: “‘Superb—one of the major achievements of epic imagination in our lifetimes, and your life is the poorer if you have failed to read it.’—ANTHONY BOUCHER”. There were other blurbs and recommendations on the covers and opening pages. I knew then that whatever this book was about, I had to have it.

Once at home with my new book, I began to read it, and discovered it was a sequel to The Hobbit which I had read as a child. This delighted me! Why shouldn’t a children’s book have an adult sequel? But I was going to read this book RIGHT! Before continuing I walked the half mile to the local library and again borrowed The Hobbit from the children’s section of the library to refresh my memory before I continued.

But perhaps this account is overlong. For further details on my first reading you my see my account published in Amon Hen 241. Here I will only mention that my greatest joy was reaching the end of Fellowship and being puzzled that the story was not yet complete. Searching for an explanation for this in the editorial matter at the front of the book, I found the explanation:
Now Mr. Tolkien has written The Lord of the Rings, an heroic romance published in three parts, the first of which is The Fellowship of the Ring.
I was ecstatic that I had yet two more volumes to read, presumably just as good as the first volume.

Elyna of Rivendell 10-28-2013 11:17 PM

My Dad read The Hobbit aloud to me each night for about two months when i was about 8, and i remember thinking it was awesome, but i didn't really get hooked on it until i was about 11 and my Dad and my older cousin were arguing about somethign to do with how Sauron should be pronounced, and i got a bit curious, so i got the book off my dad's bookshelf and started to read. It was the start of a very long, (still going) obsession. :D

Zigûr 10-29-2013 02:00 AM

For some reason when I was, I think, ten years old, my mother decided to read "An Unexpected Party" to me. I don't know why she did, I was certainly very much grown out of having books read to me by that age, but I think she just wanted to get me interested in a new book and thought this was a good way to do it.

The thing that captured my attention the most, for whatever reason, were the Dwarves. Much like Bilbo is temporarily enraptured by their song, I found the Dwarves very interesting. In any event I promptly read the rest of The Hobbit on my own, followed by The Lord of the Rings (I was at first resistant, confusing its title with Lord of the Flies of which I had been told before, and not interested at that time in reading about boys trapped on an island!). I even attempted The Silmarillion all before age eleven but it wasn't until a few years later that I was really able to get to grips with that and start working on bringing the whole legendarium into focus.

Belegorn 10-29-2013 08:06 AM


Originally Posted by Elyna of Rivendell (Post 687208)
my Dad and my older cousin were arguing about somethign to do with how Sauron should be pronounced

hahaha, funny. Saw-Ron, Sou [like Sour] -Ron, etc? haha

Elyna of Rivendell 10-31-2013 10:02 PM


Originally Posted by Zigûr (Post 687209)
I even attempted The Silmarillion all before age eleven but it wasn't until a few years later that I was really able to get to grips with that and start working on bringing the whole legendarium into focus.

I know what you mean, I read it when i was 12, but i had to read it twice in a row to figure it all out!

Alcidas 11-11-2013 06:44 AM

Picked it up in my school library when I was 12. Wanted to go on to read the Lord of the Rings, but they did not have a copy, and I only got to read it when I went to secondary school.

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