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The One Ring Forums: Off Topic: The Pollantir:
What was your first introduction to Tolkien?
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Poll: What was your first introduction to Tolkien?
I read LotR (book)
I read The Hobbit (book)
I read The Silmarillion (book)
Tolkien story read to me (any)
Radio Broadcast or Audiobook
Peter Jackson LotR movie
Ralph Bakshi LotR movie
Rankin-Bass (either The Hobbit or RotK)
Play or musical (any)
View Results (94 votes)


Mar 24 2009, 9:14pm

Post #1 of 48 (832 views)
What was your first introduction to Tolkien? Can't Post

And please, by all means, tell us about it.

For me it started when my sister read me The Hobbit. I was about seven, I think. By nine I had read The Hobbit and LotR.

Aunt Dora Baggins

Mar 24 2009, 9:20pm

Post #2 of 48 (417 views)
I read The Hobbit at age 12 on the recommendation of a pen pal. [In reply to] Can't Post

I've always thought it was a kind of delicious coincidence that the first discussions I had about Tolkien were through letters, back in 1969, and now here I am still corresponding with all of you through the written word :-)

Arwen's daughter

Mar 24 2009, 9:21pm

Post #3 of 48 (344 views)
I read The Hobbit [In reply to] Can't Post

I would have been about 15 years old. It was on a shelf of books in Freshman English class and we had to choose a certain number from that shelf to do book reports over. I probably enjoyed it but didn't think anything more about it until PJ's movies came out.


Mar 24 2009, 9:31pm

Post #4 of 48 (346 views)
Other: can't remember [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm going to guess I read The Hobbit first and followed it by all three LOTR books. I can remember reading the LOTR books in high school (late 60's). I'm pretty sure I knew who Bilbo was so I'm going to guess I read The Hobbit and that it came first. But I have no memory of reading The Hobbit.

N.E. Brigand

Mar 24 2009, 9:33pm

Post #5 of 48 (405 views)
Rankin-Bass, but in LP form, I think. [In reply to] Can't Post

I was five when the Rankin-Bass television film was first shown, but I'm not sure I saw it on its original airing. What I remember most clearly, and this must have been soon after the broadcast, is the gift of a tie-in record album, with accompanying graphic novel. This I listened to many times. The next year I saw the Ralph Bakshi LOTR film in theaters, but I remember little more than that the scenes of Frodo, Sam and Gollum seemed to drag on, and that my parents said the movie didn't do justice to the book. This was one of the earliest films I saw; though the very first I remember was Star Wars (to which we arrived a couple minutes late). I read The Hobbit at about the age of eight or nine, with LOTR following a couple years later, and The Silmarillion a couple years after that. Before reading the last work, I had seen Tolkien's illustrations for it in Pictures by J.R.R. Tolkien, and been very confused.

Tol Eressea

Mar 24 2009, 9:52pm

Post #6 of 48 (344 views)
Another one of those fantastic [In reply to] Can't Post

teacher stories. My grade four teacher read the Hobbit to our class. The class loved it and when he finished with a couple of weeks left in the school year, we begged him for more. He resisted for a day or two, knowing that if he started Fellowship, we'd never even get close to finishing it. But the split class of grade 4's and 5's were persistent! And he started. I was hooked. I borrowed my grandmother's copies of the Lord of the Rings and read them that summer. I feel soooo bad for those kids who don't have tons of stories about those 'great' teachers. Don't get me wrong, I have more than enough about the 'bad' teachers as well....but the really great ones live on in memory forever.

Tol Eressea

Mar 24 2009, 9:54pm

Post #7 of 48 (363 views)
My teacher read The Hobbit to us in class when I was about 9 [In reply to] Can't Post

She would read it to us for half an hour at the end of every day, I remember really looking forward to it each time! The story completely engrossed me, and she kept catching me looking for the book on her desk so I could read ahead a little. When I left to go to "big school", she gave me her copy of The Hobbit as a gift. I still have that copy. It is probably the most battered of all my books, but it is certainly the most loved!!

I read Lord of the Rings a couple of years later, and all the others in my mid-late teens.

I wonder if anyone started with The Sil?!


Mar 24 2009, 10:11pm

Post #8 of 48 (349 views)
I remember one person who started with The Sil. [In reply to] Can't Post

But I can't find their posts. She (I think it was a she) was raised by atheists who decided some form of mythology was important, and so they read The Silmarillion to their children. I believe she said she liked it better than LotR.

I also know of people who started with the movies, but when it came time to read started with The Sil because it comes first, chronologically.

Tol Eressea

Mar 24 2009, 11:04pm

Post #9 of 48 (366 views)
I think a teacher read it to the class, but [In reply to] Can't Post

my “introduction” to Tolkien may have been from something else, depending on what you mean by “introduction”.

First about the teacher: Funny, a couple of years ago, I posted in the Reading Room that it was the wonderful Mrs. M, my favorite teacher, who read us The Hobbit. Since then I realized that it had to be Mrs. S instead because I’m pretty sure I was in fourth grade when I first heard the story, and Mrs. S was my fourth grade teacher. You see, Mrs. M taught my kindergarten class; then later she went back to school and qualified to be a sixth grade teacher so I ended up having her as a teacher again when I reached sixth grade (about aged eleven). I think the reason I associated The Hobbit with Mrs. M was that she was my favorite teacher, and all good things must have come from her. :o)

On the other hand, my “introduction” to things Tolkien may have been when my friend A and I were bored one day and tried to play with her older brother and his friend. They were pretending to be Saruman and Gandalf. A’s older brother said sure, we could play with them, but we’d have to play orcs. So we spent the rest of the afternoon being ordered around under the pretend whips of A’s older brother and his friend who kept telling us we were hideous. Older brothers! Maybe I should be glad I never had one, myself! :o)


Mar 24 2009, 11:57pm

Post #10 of 48 (342 views)
The first exposure didn't really take. [In reply to] Can't Post

We had a book that had selections from classic children's literature, and it included the first chapter of The Hobbit. I read it as a young child, and remembered it later when I read the entire book in junior high school.

My real introduction to Tolkien, however, was from my best friend who is a huge Tolkien fan. We walked home from school every day, and she told me the story of LOTR, and then I went and read it for myself.

I think I was around 11 when I was really hooked by Tolkien.

Forum Admin / Moderator

Mar 25 2009, 12:56am

Post #11 of 48 (336 views)
My brother made me do it. [In reply to] Can't Post

Laugh! My older brothers were big teasers when I was little, but the younger of them did make sure I was introduced to the necessary things of life - mainly, folk music and The Hobbit.

I was 12 when he told me I needed to read that book, and from there, LotR was the next step. Ballantine paperbacks, of course - this was in the '60's! Smile

Forum Admin / Moderator

Mar 25 2009, 1:34am

Post #12 of 48 (382 views)
My freshman English teacher in high school [In reply to] Can't Post

assigned us The Hobbit. So I was 13 or 14. I read it in a couple evenings and within a week had finished LOTR. I remember turning the pages so slowly as I finished The Grey Havens, hating for the story to finish. A read every word of the Appendices because I wasn't ready to leave Middle-earth. The Sil had not yet been published (this was in 1973) so I had no other Tolkien to read. So I started again!


Mar 25 2009, 6:41am

Post #13 of 48 (378 views)
I voted for Bkshi, although that is not entirely correct [In reply to] Can't Post

When the Bakshi film came out, my mother thought I would really like it; so she fished out an old copy of The Hobbit and asked me if I would like to read it as a background.
I tried the first couple of pages, but as I wasn't quite used to reading books in English at the age of seven (or was it eight?) I got lost after a couple of pages. A common occurence; I read very fast, and often I just go over a lot of text without properly absorbing it, and then feel nothing remains. Some five years later, the experience repeated itself when I first read the Silmarillion.

But I liked the movie.
And reading later - I'me not sure wether I first read The Hobbit of LotR - but my first readings of both were in Hebrew.

There were two translations of The Hobbit made simultanously. One was a professional one; and the other was an amateur one, done by a group of Israeli pilots which were in captivity in Egypt after the was of 1973. They had about a couple of books to share between them, and after a time decided to make a group effort, and translate The Hobbit to Hebrew. It was bad! They were quite unqualified in grammar or poetry, and when they came to elves (to which there is absolutely nothing correponding in Jewish culture) they just left the word as is, without even bothering to sort out the singular and plural forms!
Nevertheless, one could understand the story and love it, even in their edition. So when they returned home, one of them showed the translation to a friend in the bookseling business - and despite the fact that the copyrights for translating were already sold, and a professional translator was already working on it, they were allowed to publish their translation soon after the other one came out. Because of the human story behind it, their translation naturally sold far better.
This was the translation I borrowed from a couple of family friends. And between that and the movie, I was able to tackle the English again - and within a year I was already precocciously cocksure bout myself enough to dismiss the professional translation as insufficient.

LotR I took from the library; and as when I decided I wanted to, by chance FotR was taken, I started with TTT - after all, I felt that having seen Bakshi I surely could skip that! Crazy And then I read RotK, because I was so absorbed I couldn't go back; so FotR was probably the last book of the four (including the Hobbit) I actually read - and I don't remember at all if I was surpised at Tom Bombadil's appearance, or whether I remembered Sam's mentioning him later.
And I only realised there were appendices when I ambled into a bookshop which had an extensive English books section, noticed that surprisingly, in English RotK was the longest - and picked it up to check why.

A quarter of a century (and three movies) later, I joined TORn.


Mar 25 2009, 10:24am

Post #14 of 48 (318 views)
What a great story!// [In reply to] Can't Post


Tol Eressea

Mar 25 2009, 10:54am

Post #15 of 48 (388 views)
Books [In reply to] Can't Post

A friend lent me The Hobbit and LOTR to read because he wanted someone to discuss them with and I was the only person he knew who he knew that liked fantasy. He brought the books and said he wanted me to read something and I had to read The Hobbit first to better understand LOTR. It would have been in the late 1970s.

I loved the books immediately and we set to discussing them, but then his wife got jealous of our excitement over the books and put a stop to any more discussions.

p.s.: I just read over the posts and I seem to be the only person who first read the books as an adult. I was in my early 30s. I just asked OhioHobbit and he also read them first as an adult. Someone he was working with told him about them.

(This post was edited by Alcarcalime on Mar 25 2009, 11:00am)

Alassëa Eruvande

Mar 25 2009, 3:09pm

Post #16 of 48 (317 views)
I vaguely remember the Bakshi movie. [In reply to] Can't Post

My two brothers and I used to "play" Gollum, and run around saying "my Precious", without really understanding the story at all. We also used to scream "It burns, it freezes!" It's all very nebulous in my mind. I don't actually remember sitting down to watch it, it's just there in the folds of my brain. I remember glowing Legolas and the Riders of Rohan and the Black Riders and orcs. I remember wondering why the Riders looked like real people, but the Hobbits were cartoons. I was probably in late elementary school or early junior high school at this time. Very nebulous. To this day, though, I still call my younger brother "Hobbit Foot", because his are very large and furry, like the ones from the Bakshi cartoon.

My next exposure to LOTR came from an older cousin who played D&D. I asked him about it and he tossed off some explanation about the Lord of the Rings. So I began to associate LOTR with all you wierdos who grew pasty-skinned playing D&D late at night, and wanted nothing more to do with it.

THEN, along came this set of three movies my husband dragged me to. Well, he dragged me to FOTR, and I raced him to TTT and ROTK. In between FOTR and TTT, I devoured all the books, including the Hobbit and the Sil, UT, Lost Tales and Fonstad's Atlas. I learned my name in elvish and joined some website for the similarly afflicted.

Alassëa Eruvande

Mar 25 2009, 3:11pm

Post #17 of 48 (333 views)
I also read the books for the first time as an adult. [In reply to] Can't Post

Between FOTR and TTT in the theaters, I devoured the books. I'm glad I didn't read them as a kid, because I don't think I would have appreciated them as much.


Mar 25 2009, 3:26pm

Post #18 of 48 (342 views)
Maybe you should try D&D. [In reply to] Can't Post

It's a surprisingly social game, where the journey is more important than the destination. It's a good game for long winters indoors. But it is hard to do it anonymously. Plus, I don't know, these days gamers may prefer computer games.

Alassëa Eruvande

Mar 25 2009, 3:34pm

Post #19 of 48 (357 views)
I did play once [In reply to] Can't Post

with my cousin and his friends. I think if I had more time and some friends who were interested, I might have gotten into it. But my little circle of friends wasn't into it at all.

Same goes for today. If I had more time, I might play it. I used to play RPG PC games (but not online) before the little Eruvandes came along, but the only "role" I have time for now is "mom". But my mom-powers are awesome. I don't even need a 20-sided die to mete out my justice! Tongue

Tol Eressea

Mar 25 2009, 5:00pm

Post #20 of 48 (322 views)
I used to play [In reply to] Can't Post

that game.....so much fun. I made my first character around the same time I first got introduced to the Hobbit. Still have the original character sheet....framed it and everything.....yes, I'm a geek.


Mar 25 2009, 5:09pm

Post #21 of 48 (313 views)
Yes, I don't play it anymore either. [In reply to] Can't Post

But I don't consider the hundreds of hours I played it wasted -- on the contrary, they were many of the most pleasant hours of my life.

Aunt Dora Baggins

Mar 25 2009, 6:02pm

Post #22 of 48 (308 views)
I read LotR out of order the first time too, for the same reason. [In reply to] Can't Post

Only in my case, TTT was checked out, so I read FotR, then RotK, then went back and read TTT. I hadn't seen any movies (there weren't any back then) so I was kind of floundering in RotK. I didn't know who Eowyn and Faramir were, but I loved them anyway. And I knew that Gandalf was somehow alive, though I didn't know how. Lots of spoilers when I finally read TTT.

Aunt Dora Baggins

Mar 25 2009, 6:07pm

Post #23 of 48 (339 views)
This guy did it that way: [In reply to] Can't Post

A Tolkien Virgin. The posts are listed in reverse order. He eventually posted his reactions to all of the SIl, the Hobbit, and LotR.


Mar 25 2009, 6:49pm

Post #24 of 48 (347 views)
My son the gamer... [In reply to] Can't Post

...plays games on the computer as much as I'll let him... anywhere from World of Warcraft type games to Lego Batman to Peggle to little flash games. When I asked him to refrain from gaming and wasting time on the net during the hours of 9-5... he apparently thought that meant 'computer' gaming and I found him playing tanagrams on his iPod.

He also plays a D&D style campaign (Tekumel) two days a month (he's been in this group which pre-existed him) for over a year... maybe two now.

And, every few months he gets together with people to play board or parlor type games.

We do have long winters here.

Aunt Dora Baggins

Mar 25 2009, 8:01pm

Post #25 of 48 (323 views)
I have that album! [In reply to] Can't Post

Our kids grew up on it. Heavens, I just realized you're closer in age to them than to me (!) My 27-year-old son still likes the Rankin-Bass versions of Tolkien better than any others. Back before we had VCRs, we had record albums of shows. (I had one of the Wizard of Oz as a child, and l had it about memorized before I first saw the whole movie at age 5.)

I had to wait until I was 20 to read the Sil, because it wasn't published before that. Talk about confused! That map of Beleriand was a complete mystery, after 8 years of reading LotR every year.

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