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Old 09-12-2011, 08:22 PM   #1
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Tolkien Fans - Past, Present and Future

Okay, so I decided to start this thread just to see what some other people in the Middle Earth community think about the books/movies/middle earth world now that they are older and have the ability to influence other people, including their children. How did Tolkien's books influence them? What lessons did they learn? Does it matter to them as much now as it did then? In short, how

I was a Tolkien fan before the movies came out. My dad read me both The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings, and even, if I recall correctly parts of the Silmarillion. So when the movies came out, it was a big deal to me. Sure, at the time I engaged in some of the petty rivalry between book purists and movie fans. Now though, I just enjoy it all. The books are obviously the most "pure" because Tolkien actually wrote them, however, the movies are a very beautiful vision of the books even if there inconsistent plot devices.

Pretty much throughout my childhood, I was a Tolkien fan. Sure I enjoyed other things too, but Middle Earth was it for me. But what did I learn? What was the impact on my young mind from these stories and characters I spent so much time delving into?

I think I learned an appreciation of home. That it should be something cozy and comfortable. Open to friends and strangers. That it’s always good to have a few spare things in the cupboards to offer guests. Certainly an appreciation for nature, for all things green and living, especially trees. That there are interesting places beyond our doorstep, and adventure. An interest in wisdom, as well as knowledge.

On the negative side I did use it as a bit of an escape from the “real world”. But a lot of that was due to things going on at home, and what I felt was a lack of appreciation for beauty and value in our world (a complex philosophical issue of its own, difficult to look at objectively). But as I got older, and found more direction and purpose in my life (not all those who wander are lost) I found that there were things of incredible value in our own world too, not everything was modern, materialistic and mundane.

Now, I’m done with my undergraduate studies. I’m working a job soon to be full time, and I’m in Graduate School . Did Middle Earth give me any answers for my life? No, not really. But it started me out searching. It was a major factor in motivating me to look for people and things beyond the circumstances and environment I was born into.

Characters like Aragorn, Boromir, and Theoden showed me heroes how could shine despite with their own faults or disadvantages. Characters like Gandalf, Elrond, and Faramir showed me that wisdom often tempers actions better than knowledge alone. Characters like each of the hobbits showed me the values of friendship and perseverance. At least, that’s what I got out of it.
But what did other people get out of their experiences? As a guy with a psychology background I know that concepts (even in stories) we invest a lot of time in have an impact on us. Would any or all of you read LOTR or The Hobbit to your kids should you have any? Did Tolkien impact your philosophy, or outlook on life? If so, I’d like to hear about it.

--- A Long-time Tolkien Fan
Not all those who wander are lost
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Old 10-11-2011, 02:11 PM   #2
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Thank you for this question...

My story is as follows:

I come from a non-English speaking country and have a very diverse cultural background than the background that is supporting Tolkien and his works.

I was sixteen when I first read the translation of the LoTR. I was at the high school at the time and had diffuculties of adaptation. I had many social challenges, I never managed to fit into the society. Their rules and behaviours were so alien to me, eventhough I was fully raised in it.

Middle Earth was the place for me. The things missing in my life, like friendship and love, were just found in this book. I remember keeping a dry rose between the pages of the chapter "Steward and the King", where Faramir proposes marriage to Eowyn

And, as you mention, love of nature was another huge thing I got from Tolkien. One could talk to the trees. Walk like an elf under them. Or bear a strong desire to sail over the Sea one day.

So did I. When I found a way, moved to another counrty, Sweden, for a few months. Anyone here can almost imagine my wonder and excitement when I saw and touched the runestones there Then I began learning Swedish, too. I think I will try to read an Icelandic saga in Swedish.

When I meet someone who holds the same heart for Middle Earth, he/she immediately becomes my friend. I have friends from all around the world who love Tolkien. There is a feeling that binds me to them. It feels like we belong to a big big global fellowship. I think, this is the most important gift to me.

Whenever I fall into despair, I remember that there is always hope, sometimes only a fool's hope.
She dreamed that she
heard Beren's voice o'er hill and fell
'Tinúviel' call, 'Tinúviel.'
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