An old Frodo drawing of mine.
What comes to mind when you read this title? “What on earth is a Hobbit?” Or maybe a bounty of memories. Images of magic rings, dragons, little creatures with curly heads and furry feet, wizards, elves, dwarves, wandering kings, and adventure spring into your head. Adventure aplenty. If you were the second person, you’ll understand my blog post. If not, read some Tolkien! Then come back later.
Anyone close to me knows I’ve been a little more than obsessed with the land of Middle-earth, and the world Tolkien created, for over 5 years now. My love for it has evolved, so to speak, in ways I couldn’t have anticipated when I was my nervous eight year old self watching the Lord of the Rings movies for the first time. From my parents and my older brother I knew they were scary movies with a scary creature that hisses “My preciousss,” and that the beginning had a pretty cool fireworks scene (which was the only scene I was allowed to watch for years). Looking back now, knowing how scared I was to watch those movies showing the story that has now become a part of me, I find it pretty funny. Yes, I was introduced to the movies before the books. *Gasp* I know, right? How unorthodox!
Well, anyway, I started to really like the movies. I mean really like. They became my most anticipated movie-night movies ever. I knew all the characters’ names, place names, and creature names. I listened to the soundtrack and drew scenes from the movies. “Could she possibly get any nerdier?” Yes, she could. I’m mean, yes, I did. Because, the year the first Hobbit movie came out, my parents bought us a brand spankin’ new Lord of the Rings and Hobbit book set for Christmas. My big brothers’ edition had already been falling apart from use, and I guess my dad thought it was high time we read the books. I admit, it took me a while. But I finally got around to reading all four books. I think I read it and subconsciously compared it to the movies the whole time. Which is kinda sad. I really liked the books, but I read them hurriedly and didn’t pay much attention. That was the first time around. Less than two years later (when I was two years wiser) I picked it up again. I started the Hobbit in September, and by mid-June of the next year I was done with ROTK. I loved them so much. I was heartbroken as I read the last sentences, and I realized my adventures in the beautiful land of Middle-earth were finally at an end. I cried as I played over scenes in my head. The story was so deep and amazing, the characters more so. They felt like close friends, people I knew and loved. But sadly out of reach. That’s the “great tragedy” of reading fiction, I guess. Such a bittersweet feeling!
After falling in love with the books, I was faced with this question: do I like the books or movies better? Maybe some think that, as true “Tolkienite,” I should be completely loyal the books and disregard and boycott any movie that dares call itself after it. But I think that, as a true Tolkienite, I should enjoy both. Yes, Peter Jackson changed some things around for the movies (Tom Bombadil is very much missed!). But he was not making a “historically accurate” documentary of the books. He was using his own talents and his own story telling method to bring some of the most beloved books in modern times to the big screen. And I think he did a fantastic job! That being said, I think that I will always prefer the books. But that does not mean I have to like the movies less! They are almost incomparable though, since one is cinematic and the the other is literary. The Lord of the Rings movies continue to be my favorite movies (by which I critique all other movies), and The Lord of the Rings books continue to be my favorite books (by which I critique all other books). Does that make any sense?
Now I have yet to read the Silmarillion. That’ll be my next big novel feat. I’m hoping to start a curriculum type thing that will have me writing and studying and such to explore Christianity in Tolkiens life and writings. I can’t wait to begin!
Till next time, mellon‘s! Elen síla lúmenn’ omentielvo, a star shines on the hour of our meeting.
Here’s some of my Middle-earth art:
I’m too cheap to buy the full version of Pic Collage to get rid of the water marks. Oh well.
What’s your Middle-earth story? What do you think about the movies -vs- the books “argument”? Leave a comment!