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  Tolkien Experience Project

Luke Shelton started the Tolkien Experience Project because one of the first things that comes up when Tolkien fans get into a shared space is the desire to bond over our experiences of Tolkien’s work. This is a wonderful impulse that draws us together as a fan and scholarly community!

  № 174: Serena

7 September 2021 | Luke Shelton

… I was first introduced to Tolkien’s work when The Lord of the Rings films came out, but it wasn’t until The Hobbit films came out that I actually started paying attention to the books. I fell in love short after.…

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  № 173: Alastair

31 August 2021 | Luke Shelton

I was about 6. We were just about to move house and it was a very traumatic time for me. My dad bought a copy of The Lord of the Rings and started reading it to me. I got frustrated because he was taking too long (hardly surprising 1000+ pages takes a while to read!) This prompted me to start reading it myself. A few years later I became obsessed with the Bakshi film and the computer game of The Hobbit.…

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  № 172: Laurie

24 August 2021 | Luke Shelton

I was actually just out of college and checking out my local library before a trip on an audiobook. I just went through The Hobbit right before a road trip, and decided to check it out! I’ve heard they were good, so I decided to have a listen while on the road. There were a lot of times in my personal life when I related to Bilbo Baggins, the titular hobbit, even when I’m not exactly following his footsteps. Wanting to go on an adventure, while also desiring the comforts of home, and going back and forth between his desires were what stood out to me as relatable. And after finding out The Lord of the Rings was its sequel, for me it was like watching an awesome Netflix show! …

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  № 171: Aidan Wotherspoon

17 August 2021 | Luke Shelton

I was always aware that The Hobbit existed as a book as long as I could remember, but my first experience actually consuming the story was a local theatrical production of The Hobbit, then that Christmas I was given a one-volume set of the sequel trilogy. This was in the year 2000 and so I soon found out they were making a movie and Magneto was playing Gandalf.…

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  № 170: Krista

10 August 2021 | Luke Shelton

As a pre-teen in 1970 I swiped a paperback box set from my older brother’s room when he came home from military service for a visit. He had the coolest things and that was the greatest thing I could have ever taken from him. That set, plus a later purloined book from him, The Hobbit, gave me hours of joy as I tramped along the path with our trusty Hobbit and company.…

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  № 169: Ulliowl

3 August 2021 | Luke Shelton

The girl sitting next to me in homeroom was reading The Hobbit in 1963. Because I liked the cover, I bought it the next time I was at Borders. I was immediately sucked into Tolkein’s world and over the next few months, bought The Lord of the Rings trilogy one book at a time.…

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  № 168: Michael Connery

27 July 2021 | Luke Shelton

It’s been so long (25+ years, probably) that I don’t clearly recall. I was probably 11 – 12 years old and I was gifted the old Ballantine paperbacks, the ones from the 70s with Tolkien’s artwork on the covers. Like most people, I believe I read The Hobbit first and was very proud to remember all of the dwarves names. I also have a vague recollection of seeing Bakshi’s animated movies even younger than that, but wouldn’t say I was fully aware of what I was watching.…

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  № 167: Claude Drolet

20 July 2021 | Luke Shelton

It was in about 1980, when I was about 11 or 12, my aunt gave my older brother an Unwin 1966 edition boxed set. He devoured them. Sometime after that, summer 1981, I believe, my mother gave me a Dungeons and Dragons set and we tried to play. While the game did not stick, it did lead my brother re-read the series and brought it back to my attention, and I read The Hobbit.

Upon finishing The Hobbit I could not imagine reading anything else, as how could any protagonist replace Bilbo. It took me about another year to plunge into The Lord of the Rings. I was glad I did, as it opened up the world of high fantasy to me, a world I have enjoyed ever since.…

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  № 166: Jelena Filipovic

13 July 2021 | Luke Shelton

Peter Jackson’s movies introduced me to Tolkien in 2001 as the The Fellowship of the Ring came out. I was 9 years old. I remember very vaguely first seeing an ad for the movie (I’m guessing that was part of the trailer) on TV and there being something sublime and otherworldly’ about the feel of the movie, even in those few seconds which I had seen the ad. This had drawn my attention, making me curious and wanting to see the movie at the cinema.…

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  № 165: Chris Stevens

6 July 2021 | Luke Shelton

It’s strange, I can remember almost exactly when a friend of mine recommended it. It’s a fairly vivid memory considering how long ago it was (1973). It was in Spanish class when I was a junior in high school (16 yrs old). I don’t think I’d read anything like it before. I typically read science fiction, mysteries, spy novels, although I did like stories of knights. I think I had read Ivanhoe not long before this. I started The Lord of the Rings but when I was partway through the prologue, I discovered there was an earlier book. As I like reading things in order, I went back to the bookstore to buy The Hobbit. I probably read the whole series 3 – 4 times per year through college. Although I don’t read them as frequently now, they are like old friends when I sit down to read them. Needless to say, they have made an impression on me.…

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  № 164: Sean J

29 June 2021 | Luke Shelton

I was probably around the age of 8 when I discovered the shiny box set of Tolkien books belonging to my mother on a shelf in our living room. The gold box with the cool symbols on it finally lured me into checking out the books inside, and I loved the hand drawn appearance of the covers. I remember being struck by the picture of the author on the backs — This old man wrote these? I bet they’re boring.” How very little did I know… I still credit my mom for introducing me as it was her set of books.…

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  № 163: Courtney Petrucci

22 June 2021 | Luke Shelton

When The Fellowship of the Ring hit movie theaters, I was in fifth grade. My dad suggested we go see it, and based on the title alone I figured it would be boring (as only a ten year old would assume). I had no idea who Tolkien was and I had never heard of The Lord of the Rings, but I went to see the movie anyway.…

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  № 162: Lisa

15 June 2021 | Luke Shelton

My father introduced me to Tolkien. He worked multiple jobs to support our large family and when he was home there was always a book near the loo. (I guess that was the only time he could relax and read in peace for 5 minutes haha.) I asked him about his book one day and that was when I learnt about LotR.…

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  № 161: Michael Fabrizio

8 June 2021 | Luke Shelton

I was but a young child so I can not speak with clarity as to my discovery but I have been reading Tolkien’s works since I was in 1st grade. This love grows yearly since then and each re-read brings discoveries and more understanding than I first had! …

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  № 160: Rebecca Davis

1 June 2021 | Luke Shelton

I got the The Hobbit as assigned reading from my homeschool curriculum when I was 8 and didn’t make it through the first chapter before setting it aside — I found the names silly and confusing. I was reintroduced to Tolkien when I did a study abroad in Oxford my junior year of college and that was when I really became a fan.…

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permalink 🔗︁ https://tolkienists.org/001w/
source URL 🌐Tolkien Experience Project – Luke Shelton PhD
date recorded 📅2021-06-28
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