Archive: The Fellowship of the Ring

August 1, 2009 at 6:45 am (Lord of the Rings, Writing) ()

It’s difficult to be blasé about The Lord of the Rings. One of the book’s most appealing features is its ability to inspire. Every person I’ve met (to date) that has read Lord of the Rings – in its entirety – has been enthusiastic about it.

There are so many great stories of Lord of the Rings being passed down through the family. The first copy that I read was my father’s old paperback – a squat and hefty tome containing all three parts, it was rather the worse for wear after I’d carted it about (to maximise reading opportunities, naturally).

There are so many great stories of Lord of the Rings providing solace through familiarity in new towns, and new schools. The Lord of the Rings binds us (in a non-Sauronesque way), both to the book and to other readers. We’ve all been on this epic, thousand-plus page journey together. In a rather beautiful parallel, Lord of the Rings literally builds a fellowship amongst its readers.

Its always such a buzz for me when I stumble across a fellow Tolkien enthusiast, or fall into a Lord of the Rings conversation. I’m currently very fortunate to have a few Lord of the Rings compatriots amongst my close acquaintances, but it hasn’t always been this way.

When I first immersed myself in the world of Tolkien, not one person from my circle of high-school friends had read Lord of the Rings. I believe they thought me whimsical when I started scrawling excerpts of songs and poetry from the book on scraps of paper and spare polystyrene cups. I’m sure they thought me odd when my school diary shed its pictures of Freddie Prinze Jr. in favour of pictures of small, rotund men with hairy feet.

Fortunately for me this was the age of the internet, and I found many like-minded companions on various Tolkien oriented boards and forums. The people in these places were similarly impassioned with Lord of the Rings fever, and were unfailingly kind and generous in nature. I have listened to their stories, and they have listened to mine, with a sympathetic ear, and a knowing nod of the head. Of these numerous online encounters, I have met several in the flesh, and let me tell you – if we are descended from the Kings and Queens of Númenor, they would be proud.

Of course, not everyone finds such appeal and attraction in Lord of the Rings. Many a time I’ve had people confide in me that they couldn’t finish it – the pace was too slow, the poetry too abundant, Bombadil too absurd. Yet for those of us who enjoy another night unwinding in Middle Earth, another tale of yester-years woven into rhyme, who may even secretly delight in the occasional “ring a dong dillo”, there is a whole world of camaraderie and geeky conversations out there. So… won’t you tell me your Lord of the Rings story?

Anke Katrin Eissmann: Tom Bombadil

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