I’d like to start this by saying I’m not a die hard Tolkien fan. When I was nine years old I read the Hobbit and promptly fell in love with the land of Middle-earth. After pounding at the back of my wardrobe for hours to give me access to Narnia, I would give up on that place of make believe and wander around my woods, searching for hobbits.
However, after attempting to stretch my grade school mind around the arguably maniacal onslaught of names and places presented to me in the Lord of the Rings, I hid the book away and promised myself to read it when I was `growed up’.
Four years later, my love affair with Middle-Earth had sizzled out, although I still kept the Hobbit in a place of honor on my bookshelf.
Then I heard they were making movies.
In a state of fevered excitement, I tore through the house, looking for my long untouched copy of the Fellowship of the Rings. I couldn’t find it. Bought another one.
I still couldn’t read it.
The processions of names, places, histories… it was like reading a text book. I got as far as Rivendell before, in melancholy defeat, placed the book down again.
Then I saw the movie.
Suddenly I had faces for the blurred names in my head, personalities, color, life! I went home and devoured the rest of the Fellowship, loving every minute of it.
But then, I wanted what happened next. And I wanted it now.
I borrowed and failed to return for a long, long time a copy of the Lord of the Rings from my best friend. I read the Two Towers, and the Return of the King, sobbing by the end, I might add.
Now, my adoration of Middle-earth has grown again, from a childish devotion to adolescent awe. I’ve started speaking Sindarian to my friends, and we laugh when no one knows what we’re saying. We can talk seamlessly of both books and movie, not really knowing where one begins and the other ends.
So, I guess what I’ve been trying to say, is that the movies aren’t such a bad thing. Sure, we never got to see Tom Bombadil and since when is Gimli just there for comical relief? But, hey, they’re still pretty cool movies, and they helped me reunite with a fantastical world I never really wanted to leave.