Jun 16 2013, 12:53am
When I was very young (it must have been late 70s), I watched one or both of the Rankin Bass cartoons on TV. I remember being thoroughly creeped out by Gollum, and I remember the Eowyn reveal on the battlefield, and that's about it. Oh, and the song "Frodo...of the niiiiine fingers and the Ring of Doooooom!"
When I was 14 and on an extended visit to a friend, I had some time to kill while she was somewhere else...doctor's appt or something, and I raided her bookshelf for reading material. I think I started with The Hobbit and then sped through LOTR in the space of about 4 days. I was desperate to get done before I had to go home; I didn't want to wait to read the end of the story! I later discovered that we actually had a set at home.
When I was in my early 20s, I suffered an extended illness which had me bedridden for about 6 weeks. Reading was about all I could do, and since I read quickly, I needed lots of books and long ones. I read several lengthy classics, but then I turned to Tolkien. I did a whole read-through and was blown away by the depth and scope I simply hadn't noticed before. It's often been said that these books grow as the reader grows and that is what happened to me. As soon as I was finished, I immediately turned back to the beginning and read them again. And again. I found new things each time. First time through (at 14) I was riveted by the plot; what was going to happen next? Next read-through I noticed the world of Middle-earth, its depth and breadth. The time after that I began to notice the little nuances of the characters and how they related to each other. And after that I noticed the vistas of history and all the small allusions to stories behind and beyond the main story.
And then, after discovering that though lots of people I knew had read the books, none of them seemed to see what I did, or were as fascinated by the world-building, it occurred to me that somewhere online there must be a mailing list or newsgroup where people were talking about this, so I did a search and found TORN...and was horrified to discover that Hollywood was about to ruin the book by mangling it into a movie. Noooooooo! But I kept coming back out of horrified fascination to find out just how bad it was going to be, and then some months later I finally ventured into the message boards and found my "tribe". I started lurking every day and little by little I kept hearing things that made me hopeful about the movies. And then, of course, one day I couldn't keep quiet any longer and chose a name and came out of lurkdom. Well, to fast forward to the end of the story, I ended up loving the movies and loving the fellowship of fellow fans every bit as much. It was conversations here that led me to read the Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales, and several other volumes of the HOME, as well as Roverandom and Father Christmas and Farmer Giles, and a Tolkien biography or two. So though I found and loved Tolkien on my own, it was TORN that made me a geek.
"Dark is the water of Kheled-zâram, and cold are the springs of Kibil-nâla, and fair were the many-pillared halls of Khazad-dûm in Elder Days before the fall of mighty kings beneath the stone."
(This post was edited by Silverlode on Jun 16 2013, 1:15am)