“If we hadn’t read Tolkien and if Peter Jackson hadn’t come up with this crazy idea… if we hadn’t found TORC, we never would have met,” says Amarie of her relationship with Thereal,Maeglin. Over the course of five years Tolkien Online has been bringing people together. Originally intended as a great source for movie news and book discussion, in the five years we’ve been on the web, Tolkien Online-The One Ring has become much more than that. TORC (as it’s been affectionately nicknamed) has appeal for not just news hungry Lord of the Rings Movie fans; we’ve developed terrific message boards and a very successful fan fiction collection in our Reading Room. Top that off with the fact that we have two of the brightest stars in the Tolkien World Wide Web–Ancalagon the Black and The Tolkien Virgin–and you have a website with something for every Lord of the Rings lover. It seems that this community has fostered a more down to earth love too; the kind between two people.
Anyone beyond the casual observer will have noticed that TORC is home to real life as well as online couples. Marriage and birth announcements, engagements and accounts of visits are intermixed with the more traditional topics one would expect from a Tolkien-based message board. Balrog wings not far from baby names; movie reviews with memories of tender moments together. A few months ago we asked for volunteers to write us with their stories. We were fortunate enough to have six couples share their experiences; filling us in on the details of how TORC brought something besides literature and movies into their lives. We unfortunately don’t have room in this piece to include everyone’s account word for word but we will provide a link at the end of the article for the reader to see what they had to say in full.
There is no one event– single or recurring–that brought each couple together. There’s no one forum where they all found each other or even strengthened their bonds. It differs for each couple as much as favorite forums, topics and past times do for the average Tolkien Online member. `Sauron’s Nagging Wife (Legrace) and Finrod the Faithful became friendly writing on Tolkien Online’s The Gathering Storm role play’ she tells us while Iavas_Saar and Eruname `met in the Music forum where (he) posted a LOTR-themed song (he’d) written.’
Some may have been only distant acquaintances if it had not been those increasingly popular gatherings of Tolkien Online members; the minimoots. Vanaladiel and Guruthostirn met at a Washington based minimoot and began dating soon after, while Amarie and Thereal,Maeglin met on TORC but honed their friendship and discovered their feelings while also participating in an online game. NienorNiniel and Ornedil found a creative way to combat the cold Norwegian weather as they waited for ROTK’s release: `I visited him for two days in the line. We got really close to each other. Cold as it was, we found warmth in each other.’ The recent large scale Gathering in Toronto also gave more than one couple a chance to meet for the first time, as Gimli and Rodia could tell us.
We’re fortunate to have members all over the world but with this diversity come the problem of distance for people forming relationships. Moots and Gatherings are a great way for people who don’t necessarily live near one another to meet in real time but home distances can still be an obstacle. In one case, the physical distance between two people almost kept them from admitting their feelings.
Gimli tells us of his and Rodia’s experience at the Gathering:
“We talked a few times … and decided that yes there was more, but we didn’t know what to do about it. There was just too much distance between us. It became pretty obvious… but we didn’t let anything come of it and instead said our goodbyes and left Toronto for opposite sides of the world agreeing that we wouldn’t pursue it.”
They aren’t alone. Finrod and Legrace, Amarie and Maeglin and Iavas and Eruname have all faced the problem of a great distance separating them. They each have their ways of dealing with those separations but visits are the key and moots can play a big part. Gimli and Rodia hope to see one another again at Oxford this year. In the meantime he tells us they are `having a wonderful time talking on the phone and sending each other text messages each day.’ Many couples post in the same threads, email back and forth and make use of Instant Messenger programs to keep in touch.
No matter how they met or where, how they keep in touch or whether they’ve taken the next step and are now married, each couple has TORC as at least a part of their experience. As Amarie so eloquently put it, “It’s good to see that there are other TORC couples like us. I like to think the professor brought us together. However corny that sounds.” Or maybe NienorNiniel said it best: Thank Eru for TORC!
To read more about each couple please see the link below.