Tolkien Week: A Personal Journey

Today marks a very important date for Tolkien fans.  On September 24, 2014, Tolkien wrote his first poem which would launch his Middle-earth saga.  He wrote it in the trenches of World War I and because of that it had an immense personal attachment for him.  As I mentioned in an earlier post from this week, Tolkien received a final letter from a comrade and friend serving in the trenches before his death and in the letter his friend begged that Tolkien complete his work so that he “may say the things I have tried to say long after I am not there to say them.”[1]  This is a highly personal moment for Tolkien which allows us to better appreciate the emotion and passion in his stories.

For today’s Tolkien Week Blog, I have chosen to enter into a more personal realm and stray, only briefly, from literary critique. The works of J.R.R. Tolkien have had a profound impact on me as an individual and on my writing, and sometimes I cannot explain why. I read The Hobbit as a child, perhaps eight or nine years old. My first exposure to The Lord of the Rings, however, was Peter Jackson’s films which came out when I was in high school. My English teacher once told me, “So you liked the movies, huh? You should try the books. Your imagination will love you for it.” I went to the library, took them home, and never looked back. From that reading experience would awaken a sleeping nerd within which I never knew existed. I exhausted every excuse to use the books in presentations in school; I began to write fan fiction in which I created a new character within the story which led to me joining an online roleplaying community. Before long, I was rereading The Hobbit and exploring The Silmarillion and The Unfinished Tales. Today I am a student at Signum University seeking a Master’s Language and Literature with a concentration in Tolkien Studies. I am writing a literary and cinematic analysis of Tolkien’s stories and have read his biography and Letters multiple times. How can one author bring on such a surge of inspiration and motivation?

If Tolkien and his writing played an important role in your life, please share it here. This week is about Tolkien’s legacy and to be honest, it is about being thankful to his son, Christopher as well for continuing that legacy. How has The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillion, or other Tolkienian works shaped your writing experience?

[1] Carpenter, pg. 100

2 thoughts on “Tolkien Week: A Personal Journey

  1. Very nicely done. Personally I prefer pre-tolkien fantasy such as Hrolf Kraki, Frithiof, and the Elder Edda, but a lot of Tolkien’s early work really was interesting.

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