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What holds you to Middle Earth?

Aragorn the Elfstone
Tol Eressea

Sep 7 2013, 4:26am

Post #1 of 18 (544 views)
What holds you to Middle Earth? Can't Post

I decided to take a little trip down memory lane tonight, and took a look at my hardback editions of Tolkien's books, and viewed some promotional material from the days of The Lord of the Rings films' theatrical releases (trailers, tv spots, etc.). What struck me was how emotionally I still respond to these stories, 12-13 years down the road. Though I revisit the films and read the books less than I did back then ("obsessive" was definitely the correct word for me back then Wink), I still tear up when I revisit, or even just think of, Middle Earth and the magnificent characters than inhabit it. I don't think my emotional attachment has ever waned in the slightest, and I think we can all agree that kind of emotional engagement in stories, whether film or literature, is rare. I've loved many other movies and books, but never has anything roped me in as Prof. Tolkien's creation has.

I've never been quite sure what it is that makes me respond so strongly, on a continual basis, to the work. Perhaps it was the combination of the creative genius of the story and coming across it at the right time in my life, when I was primed for something to make a strong impression on me. I do know that reading was never the same for me after the final words of Sam, "Well, I'm back". Likewise, my love of film was never the same after that afternoon in December of 2001. I often wonder what would have happened if I had never read The Hobbit in my high school English class. I cannot begin to think on such a thing. That event has had such a great impact on my life.

What is it that brings you back, or keeps you there?

"All men dream; but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds awake to find that it was vanity; But the dreamers of day are dangerous men. That they may act their dreams with open eyes to make it possible."
- T.E. Lawrence

Finding Frodo
Tol Eressea

Sep 7 2013, 4:55am

Post #2 of 18 (375 views)
Roots [In reply to] Can't Post

I first read The Hobbit at age 9 and LotR at 12. I read them at least once a year for about 25 years. Even though I don't read annually any more (due to lack of time), I still feel like these books are so much a part of me that I'm slightly startled when I find out that someone else has read them.

Where's Frodo?

Finding Frodo
Tol Eressea

Sep 7 2013, 4:58am

Post #3 of 18 (383 views)
Hey, I made it to the Grey Havens! [In reply to] Can't Post

Valinor, here I come! It should only take a few more years at this rate.Cool

Where's Frodo?


Sep 7 2013, 4:37pm

Post #4 of 18 (337 views)
I feel the very same way! [In reply to] Can't Post

I watch the TV spots every once in a while and I still tear up! I don't really know what has led me to Middle-earth or what has kept me there. I have people ask me all the time, "What was it about THIS movie that so attracted you?" and I can't answer them and it's the same with the books. The only answer I know to give is it feels like Home. A place where I am safe and loved and needed. a place where I can be myself and relax and at the same time make me feel like I can take on the world. It makes me feel secure like a loved one's embrace but also like a trusted friend saying "It's Ok. You can do it! Just go out there and try."
I was trying to find a way to describe my feelings toward LotR the other day and "Love" is not right, "Obsession" has a negative aspect to it and "Fan or Fanatic" is not right either. I mean, I know ALL the words to the EE's so that shows some kind of love right there. Hope this makes a little sense to at least one person.


Sep 7 2013, 4:58pm

Post #5 of 18 (328 views)
Congrats! // [In reply to] Can't Post


Semper Fi

Sep 7 2013, 10:20pm

Post #6 of 18 (329 views)
I'm actually a bigger fan of Sil, UT and HoME [In reply to] Can't Post

because there are more gray characters than outright B&W. Which is why Bilbo's my fave hero out of Hobbit/LOTR books. He's totally un-PC.

"RadagaStoner deserves no mercy!" Tauriel the Radagast Slayer, the Chief of Inglorious Elfguards

Tauriel saved us from Itaril. Never forget.


Sep 7 2013, 10:32pm

Post #7 of 18 (318 views)
Virtue [In reply to] Can't Post

Virtues are real in Middle Earth. People are honorable. They keep their word. Friendship is important and lifelong. Oaths are real and can come back to bite you if you are not careful. Words mean things and are powerful. There is incredible beauty. I'd go there like a shot if I could.

Na Vedui

Sep 7 2013, 10:44pm

Post #8 of 18 (314 views)
I think... [In reply to] Can't Post

...it's a combination of the fact that Tolkien makes the place so solid and vivid, geographically and historically, plus the fact that it's been "part of the furniture" in my life in various ways for so long now. It just feels like a real place that I've visited a lot, with some parts quite familiar, others less so.


Sep 7 2013, 11:10pm

Post #9 of 18 (310 views)
Middle Earth is our world [In reply to] Can't Post

I think the reason why Middle Earth has stayed with me is because I see so much truth in it. To me, these are very human stories told through the context of myth.

"In the beginning the Universe was created.This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move. Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy


Sep 7 2013, 11:21pm

Post #10 of 18 (309 views)
What holds me to Middle Earth? [In reply to] Can't Post

The desire to actually be there!

KasDel the Last

"Do not meddle in the affairs of wizards, for they are subtle and quick to anger." Gildor


Sep 8 2013, 9:01pm

Post #11 of 18 (278 views)
Essentially this! [In reply to] Can't Post

These are the roots of why the stories are so warm and welcoming to me. They are fantastic and a huge part of me. Smile

I simply walked into Mordor.


Sep 9 2013, 12:26pm

Post #12 of 18 (266 views)
Applicability [In reply to] Can't Post

It's a beautiful world, lovingly detailed, with an exciting adventure and wonderful characters. But what keeps me anchored there is that every pain, tough decision, joy, betrayal and smidgen of hope in the grand story can be applicable to living my ordinary life with its smaller, but still so very real pain, decisions, joy and hope. It's an idealized world, much more black and white, than the one I live in, but characters still struggle with the same types of things I struggle with, and they make the same kind of right (or wrong) decisions, and suffer through sacrifices and the pain (or joy) of the consequences of choices. Honestly, it give me hope, even the very bittersweet parts. Hope is such a very difficult thing for me, that I cherish whatever sparks it.

"That is one thing that Men call 'hope.' Amdir we call it, 'looking up.' But there is another which is founded deeper. Estel we call it, that is 'trust.' It is not defeated by the ways of the world, for it does not come from experience, but from our nature and First Being. If we are indeed the Eruhin, the Children of the One, then He will not suffer Himself to be deprived of His own, not by any enemy, not even by ourselves. This is the last foundation of estel, which we keep even when we contemplate the End. Of all His designs the issue must be for His children's joy."
Finrod, Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth, HoME X Morgoth's Ring


Sep 9 2013, 12:40pm

Post #13 of 18 (271 views)
It will be only a short sojourn. [In reply to] Can't Post

The "Grey Havens" spot was created while you were on a hiatus, and you were transported there without doing so much as logging in; but in 44 more posts you will get to Tol Eressea anyway.
May it be soon! The more often you come, the better we will be pleased.

Tol Eressea

Sep 9 2013, 2:43pm

Post #14 of 18 (259 views)
I love the story. [In reply to] Can't Post

I love the way it's told.
I love the people.

They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; These see the works of the Lord, and His wonders in the deep.

The Shire

Sep 9 2013, 7:38pm

Post #15 of 18 (245 views)
It's really hard to explain [In reply to] Can't Post

Because it is such a part of my life and so real to me. Whenever I read the books or watch the movies, I am always welcomed into Middleearth and Bilbo's warm cosy hobbit hole and I just never really leave. It's another world that is so different and yet so similar to our own and it could have existed. Tolkien thought of himself as a historian rather than an author and it does often feel like it. Well it does to me anyway.

The grey rain curtain of this world rolls back and all turns to silver glass. Then you see it; white shores and beyond a far green country under a swift sunrise.

Aunt Dora Baggins

Sep 9 2013, 7:54pm

Post #16 of 18 (239 views)
Congratulations! // [In reply to] Can't Post


"For DORA BAGGINS in memory of a LONG correspondence, with love from Bilbo; on a large wastebasket. Dora was Drogo's sister, and the eldest surviving female relative of Bilbo and Frodo; she was ninety-nine, and had written reams of good advice for more than half a century."
"A Chance Meeting at Rivendell" and other stories

leleni at hotmail dot com

Tol Eressea

Sep 9 2013, 9:52pm

Post #17 of 18 (235 views)
A ton... [In reply to] Can't Post

brings me back. I grew up on these books....I played D&D in my teens in large part because of Tolkien's world. I played a ton of fantasy video games (Oblivion) because of my love for Tolkien's world. The characters, the stories...all of it....continues to bring me back....it has shaped my interests since I was about 8 years old...

What's the matter, James? No glib remark? No pithy comeback?"


Tol Eressea

Sep 11 2013, 5:36pm

Post #18 of 18 (281 views)
I discovered Tolkien.... [In reply to] Can't Post

... in 1977 when a Star Wars pal dropped a stack of books in my hands and intoned, "YOU......MUST.....READ.....THIS!"

I stared at the tower of verbiage and paled. Lo! in my copious free time, somewhere in the next millennium. The epic tome was J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings.

Star Wars, with its classic faerie tale elements had already resonated with me, I had no idea yet that LOTR would connect with me even more deeply.

Somewhat later, I borrowed a tent from a second cousin twice removed, so I could spend a week on a desert island called Assateague. He told me about this game they played: D&D. I showed up, rolled up a character, waved the paper at the DM and said, "What do I make of this?"

"Play an Elf."

"What? You mean like Hermie, in Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer?"

"Read Lord of the Rings."

I did, in 1978. Thirty years, many fantasy illustrations, several "fanfics", essays and re-readings later, I'm still a fan of the original fantasy epic that spawned the rest (LOTR was born the same year I was).

What keeps me coming back, what keeps me revisiting TORN, and rereading the books, and collecting Middle Earth stuff... what got me into costuming and role-playing and doing living history...

...is that it is a classic tale full of archetypes. There is something there that resonates with everyone.

For me, it was Elves, especially Legolas and the ones from Mirkwood, who live and breathe the Natural World so thoroughly, so closely, they can paddle the swift forest river, hear the stones speak, stare in wonder at trees, sing under the stars, ride horses without saddle or rein, and have their hearts break at the sound of gulls in the night on a far shore.

These things already felt like home, but they inspired me to go out and have a few real adventures: living history (in which I attempted to learn archery, and ended up a swordbroad), bridle-less horsemanship, kayaking (more open water than swift forest rivers), and lying on the deck of a tall ship staring up at stars swinging overhead in my very own backyard of the Chesapeake Bay.

And I have heard the cry of the gulls in the night, beckoning me back to my own favorite distant shore (an island off the coast of Virginia called Assateague).

That's what stories do, they connect to ancient universal memories, they take us down deep and shed light on places we have forgotten, they inspire us to move forward and up and out into the light.

There are other great tales in the world, this one means the most to me.

Go outside and play...


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