Lord of the Rings is 62 years old today!
It is perhaps not as auspicious or prestigious as eleventy-one, but it is definitely a respectable age.
All good books are alike in that they are truer than if they had really happened and after you are finished reading one you will feel that all that happened to you and afterwards it all belongs to you; the good and the bad, the ecstasy, the remorse and sorrow, the people and the places and how the weather was.
– Ernest Hemingway
Especially since this picture doesn’t even include all of it – I know I own the movies in at least one other format, and I couldn’t find the audio versions of The Hobbit, Fellowship, or Two Towers… but rest assured, I do own them (I think I also have them on cassette tape somewhere, as well)!
For me, I’m not even sure how old I was when my Daddy first read The Hobbit out loud to me and my brothers. I’m sure I was less than ten years old. I remember the excitement of reading a new segment of the story each night, of waiting expectantly to find out what would happen to Bilbo and the Dwarves next. I remember laughing as my dad read the chapter with the trolls — and did all the voices… which is why, while I will forgive a lot of things in the movie adaptations (which I love dearly, don’t get me wrong), I cannot refrain from flinching when the trolls get the “what’s a burra-hobbit?” line wrong… as well as completely skipping over the “lots and none at all” bit… which always had us laughing uproariously when we got to it.
When I was a bit older, I remember going to Borders with my dad and he found a boxed set of books sitting on a table near the checkout desk. I think they were on sale. I have this vivid memory of him picking them up and saying, “I remember reading these in college,” and then buying them. We got started reading them that night…. They quickly became a new favorite as Middle-Earth opened up and expanded before us and the new characters within soon grew as beloved as Bilbo and Gandalf and Thorin ever were.
In college, when the Fellowship of the Ring came to theaters… my family and I went to see it seven times. Yes, you read that right. Seven times. In theaters. Because it was our favorite story, and we finally got to see it come to life… full-sized… and with Sean Bean to boot!
I go back and re-read these books once every couple of years, and every time I am transported by the writing into a story that grasps my imagination and tugs me off on a new adventure. This deep love of Tolkien’s beautiful story has lasted with me. It is a comfortable friend to return to when I need encouragement, or inspiration, or simply to be transported into a world of adventure.
27 Signs You Might Be an Irreversible Tolkien Nerd
1. You have read all the books (including the Silmarillion and all the Lost Tales)
2. You re-read the books before seeing the movies – just so you would be sure to spot every discrepancy
3. You read the books for the first time upon seeing the movies – and got quite put out by all the discrepancies
4. Despite the discrepancies, you love the movies dearly, if only because you can now share your love of Middle Earth with people who were never going to travel there via book
5. You know how to read/write/speak Elven
6. You can read Dwarvish runes
7. You own at least one LOTR movie-prop replica (weapon, outfit, piece of jewelry, etc)
8. You’ve watched all the special features on every extended edition film (LOTR and The Hobbit)
9. You’re outraged and devastated by how Faramir was portrayed in the movies
10. You went to see the movies multiple times in the theaters
11. When waking up on a rainy Saturday morning one of your first groggy thoughts is, “Yay! LOTR Movie Marathon Weather!”
12. You’ve started with An Unexpected Journey and watched all six films back-to-back-to-back-to… you get the idea in a single… yikes, how long would that even take??!?! You don’t care, even if you haven’t done it, the idea sounds like fun!
13. Why would anyone ever watch the theatrical versions again once the extended editions are released?
14. Your only serious complaint about the LOTR/Hobbit movies is that “They aren’t quite long enough.”
15. Tom Bombadil is dear to your heart, and it pains you that the movie-only people will never understand why
16. You and your friends have staged recreations of the Battle at Helm’s Deep
17. Whenever you’re about to do something awesome, exciting, or difficult you shout, “Now for wrath! Now for ruin and the red dawn!” Or at the very least, you think it
18. At times, upon seeing something you’d really like to have, you have been known to say, “We wants it” or call it “My Precioussssss” in a very hissing sort of voice
19. You own multiple copies of the books/movies/etc
20. Instead of teaching your kids knock-knock jokes, you teach them all the riddles between Gollum and Bilbo
21. You have memorized at least one poem from the books
22. You can’t resist an internet quiz that will tell you which Middle Earth race you belong amongst
23. You’ve dreamed about having your front door be round and green
24. You understand why Beren and Luthien… and not Romeo and Juliet… is the greatest love story ever written
25. You named your children after Lord of the Rings characters
26. You’ve traveled to New Zealand… simply to visit Hobbiton
27. You spend inordinate amounts of time perusing the Encyclopedia of Arda, tracing genealogies, reading about obscure bits of lore, and just basking in all the searchable wonder of Middle-Earth
Pretty sure I am an incurable Tolkien Nerd. How about you? Anything you want to add to the list?
Don’t forget to join the link-up from yesterday’s post so we can come see how you’re celebrating the birthday of the story that gave rise to the modern fantasy genre!