Tolkien Experience Project

— a blog by Luke Shelton

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!

№ 204: Andrei Guchin

5 April 2022 | Andrei Guchin

When I was 11, The Fellowship of the Ring by Peter Jackson was released. I couldn’t go to the cinema to watch it, but I remember doing it at a friend’s house a couple of months after the première. I loved it! The story, the special effects, the orcs, the elves, everything. After that, I asked my parents to buy me the books. From then on, there was no coming back. Nowadays I have a bookshelf with more than 60 Tolkien related books – including a collection of The Hobbit in different languages — maps, posters, paintings, figures, T‑shirts, and more.…

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№ 203: Caitlin

29 March 2022 | Caitlin

… Well, Lord of the Rings is my favorite, though I certainly enjoy The Hobbit and The Silmarillion. What I really appreciate is how decent and nonviolent, even though they are good at it when absolutely necessary, the charaters are and also the enduring friendships. Lord of the Rings is basically a master class in non-toxic masculinity. I think I picked up on that even when I was small and that’s why it is a story that sticks.…

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№ 202: Kyria Van Gasse

22 March 2022 | Kyria Van Gasse

I was introduced [to Tolkien’s work] through my grandfather, who is obsessed with Tolkien’s works. He collects all the Dutch translations of his books, extended editions of the movies, various art and even makes drawings and paintings of Tolkien’s world himself. It was only natural that he introduced me to the magical world at a fairly young age (I think I saw the movies the moment they were available on DVD, and I am turning 22 this year, so you can count back :P). We also have various pets in the family who are named after Tolkien characters, so you could say the professor’s world really lives within us.…

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№ 201: Laurie “Laurie in WA” Magan

15 March 2022 | Laurie “Laurie in WA” Magan

My mom showed me the Rankin/​Bass Hobbit cartoon in 1977 (I was 9 years old). She also had a Hobbit/​LOTR set on our bookshelf (which now, battered and much loved these many years later, has pride of place in my collection), and so I read The Hobbit either immediately before or immediately after. I honestly can’t remember which. I do remember that I moved immediately into LOTR after reading The Hobbit. So my first experience of Tolkien was NOT through the books but was through visual media. I see this as a great way to take part in discussion with people who first came to Tolkien through the Jackson films, as we have something in common – our first impressions of Tolkien were not text-based, but we still find things in the text to absolutely love.…

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№ 200: Tony Meade

8 March 2022 | Tony Meade

As a kid and teenager, I was aware of Tolkien, but I never read it because the way people talked about it, it seemed like it was something that was daunting to get into, and that it was kind of a closed club, so I never got started with it. It wasn’t until I saw the film of The Fellowship of the Ring on opening night in 2001, and after the seven-minute prologue, I was in, and I knew that I wanted to learn everything there was to know about that world. In the year between the first two films, I read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings novel, and between the second and third films, I read The Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales. I really haven’t stopped since.…

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№ 199: Jasper

1 March 2022 | Jasper

I was perhaps 5 or 6 when my dad first started The Hobbit with me as a bed time story. We had an old set of all of the (then) published Middle-earth books bound in green leather and marbled card, and he would read for me every night. Once we finished The Hobbit, he began reading The Fellowship of the Ring, which might have been a little old for a 6 year old, but I loved it nonetheless. We moved on to The Two Towers when I was about 7, and I have the distinct memory of forgetting our copy when we went on holiday and my dad scolding me for forgetting it, but buying a cheap paperback version anyway so that we didn’t have to miss a week of Frodo’s journey.…

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№ 198: Madeline Bauer

22 February 2022 | Madeline Bauer

My mom read The Hobbit and all The Lord of the Rings to my brother and I when we were kids; we also watched the movies very young including The Return of the King in theaters. I just totally fell in love with the world and the wonderful characters.… I love the sensitivity with which he writes. Characters in Tolkien’s works have deep emotion – they laugh, they cry, they have strong bonds with each other. Relationships between characters feel real and when reading I care about them more than I’ve ever experienced with another fictional world. I also love how much artwork there is of Middle-earth – not just Tolkien’s own, but so many accomplished artists have shared their interpretations of his world.…

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№ 197: Lucy

15 February 2022 | Lucy

… After we moved, my father stayed in NYC six days a week for work. I actually barely spoke to him in person until he retired when I was in my late teens, but until then, he wrote me two letters at least once a week. The first was from him, about everyday life. Mostly just goofy stuff when I was younger, but as I got older he told me about his childhood, complained about his boss, etc.

The second letter would be signed by and in the voice” of one of several Tolkien characters, determined by whether: I liked them, he found them interesting, and he could think of a reasonably in-character reason for them to be writing to a random child in 21st century USA. I remember Bilbo (researching a book on Big People), Maedhros (as an exercise in writing left-handed), and Faramir (interested in foreign life) featuring most prominently, but there were quite a few others as well. Even after I was too old to suspend my disbelief, it was oddly reassuring to have pen-pals who I knew were written by my father and therefore cared about me, but would provide advice or insight that I could pretend wasn’t from a parent.…

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№ 196: Chad Bornholdt

8 February 2022 | Chad Bornholdt

I did not realize it at the time, but in my cartoon-filled pre-teen days I saw the Rankin/​Bass The Hobbit and The Return of the King along with Ralph Bakshi’s The Lord of the Rings. Back then I believed them to be just any other cartoon and it was not until a coworker told me that Peter Jackson was filming a movie that I would love that I investigated, devoured, and repeated the books for the past 20-plus years.…

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№ 195: G. Connor Salter

1 February 2022 | G. Connor Salter

I was just over 5 years old when Fellowship of the Ring came out, so my early childhood was full of Burger King toys and Lord of the Rings movie tie-in games. Since my father was a diehard fan of the books and enjoyed many of these games, I grew up knowing the characters for as long as I could remember. By age 11 I had read The Hobbit multiple times, and by age 15 I had read The Lord of the Rings trilogy in full. Shortly after reading The Lord of the Rings trilogy, I saw the movies.…

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№ 194: Carl W. Brown, Jr.

25 January 2022 | Carl W. Brown, Jr.

I came upon [Tolkien’s work] on my own, the summer between 5th and 6th grade, age 10 in 1972. I also saw 2001: A Space Odyssey that summer, and generally say that I was never the same after those two things. Unlike perhaps most fans I read LotR first and then The Hobbit, which has given me an odd relationship to the first book because while I loved the story I wasn’t keen on the old-fashioned telling-the-story-to-children style. (I was greatly relieved when reading in Tolkien’s letters that he came to regret that tone himself lol). I was a senior in high school when Silmarillion came out, which was easily the greatest book-publishing event of my life… my local bookstore saved the first copy they took out of the box for me.

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№ 193: Victoria Willey

18 January 2022 | Victoria Willey

My older brothers saw the Fellowship in theaters and that got them into the books. They would tell me about parts of it, sometimes showing me scenes or large portions of the films. Little did they know then, our mom was already somewhat familiar with Tolkien through her favorite author, C.S. Lewis, and later read The Hobbit aloud to my younger brother and me. One of my brothers gifted me the 50th anniversary single-volume edition for my birthday, then later, a copy of The Silmarillion.

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№ 192: Quincy Wheeler

11 January 2022 | Quincy Wheeler

When I was 10 years old, I was given a copy of The Hobbit by our dad. (Our dad had received a copy from his oldest brother when he was around that same age). I was immediately hooked and spent days just reading through all of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings and talking to my dad about every new event in the books. I then immediately shared it with my siblings, eventually encouraging my 5 younger sisters and 1 younger brother to love them in turn.…

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№ 191: Nadia Wheeler

4 January 2022 | Nadia Wheeler

My Dad and older brother read the books and talked about them to me as their favorite books. We also watched the animated Hobbit movie and Return of the King. When I was 10 I was allowed to read the books myself, which I did, and they became my favorite fiction books.

I love the epic and hopeful tone of the work as well as the hilarious and true to life characters. I appreciate the challenges it offers to me to live better and seek for more truth and justice.…

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№ 190: Elizabeth H.M. Wheeler

28 December 2021 | Elizabeth H.M. Wheeler

My father was a huge fan, and had already introduced all four of my older siblings to the books, so I knew the story and all the characters before I was ever old enough to read it. I was so excited to finally be able to read well enough to get through the books (albeit slowly) and I finished reading them alongside the movies coming out, so it was just peak Tolkien time.…

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№ 189: Zachary Schmoll

21 December 2021 | Zachary D. Schmoll

I was introduced to Tolkien’s work by my fourth grade teacher. She would read The Hobbit to her classes every year, and after I heard it read out loud, I fell in love with it. She then gave me The Lord of the Rings, and the rest is history.

My favorite part of Tolkien’s work is actually its conclusion. The hobbits have embarked on this quest, several primary objectives have been completed, but they come home to find trouble in their own neighborhood. They have to overcome one more obstacle on their own, and we get to see them come full circle. They were ill-equipped to go on an adventure at the beginning of the story, but they return as heroes capable of saving their home.…

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№ 188: John

14 December 2021 | John

My mother read The Hobbit to my bother and me as a bedtime story. I was about seven, he was five. I have been smitten ever since.… There is nothing quite like it in the English language.…

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№ 187: Dustin Savage

7 December 2021 | Dustin Savage

My introduction to Tolkien was actually a two-pronged approach. The first introduction was through the Rankin-Bass animated Hobbit. I recall coming home (I was probably 7 or 8 years old) and my older sisters were watching it (I came in right when Bilbo was separated from the dwarves in the goblin tunnels). Though I didn’t immediately read The Hobbit, there was a copy of it on our bookshelf and my older sister and I would memorize all the riddles.

The second introduction came within a year after that – I discovered the old 1991 Interplay computer game The Lord of the Rings. At first I didn’t realize that it was based in the same universe as The Hobbit, though the names sounded familiar. My dad filled me in that there was a sequel to The Hobbit, and we went to the local library and found copies of the 3 parts.…

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№ 186: Anna

30 November 2021 | Anna

My dad introduced me to Peter Jackson’s movies when I was 5 years old. We had them on DVD as they were coming out, and he was trying to get my older sisters into them. Instead of them being interested, I became fascinated with the imaginative people and places of Middle-earth. However, he would always fast forward through the scary parts” when I was little, so for a long time my understanding was that The Lord of the Rings was just about happy little people with big feet! Eventually I wanted to read the books for myself, and I remember my first copy of The Fellowship of the Ring. It was an edition printed as a promotion for the films, and it had a photo of Elijah Wood as Frodo looking at the Ring on the cover. I still have that book, and it’s my most prized possession.…

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№ 185: Linda Jones

23 November 2021 | Linda Jones

My aunt gave me a copy of The Hobbit when I was 10, but I didn’t get past first chapter. Then the teacher started reading it, and I was hooked.… When I was 16, and absolutely obsessed, I found the Tolkien Society, and suddenly I wasn’t the only one (this was before the internet!). I went on some moots and to Oxford, and, by sticking up posters to form a local smail ’ met one of my best friends. We are still close 35 years later! …

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№ 184: David Emerson

16 November 2021 | David L. Emerson

Unlike most people younger than me, I first encountered Tolkien when he was virtually unknown in the U.S. This was long before the publications of the paperback editions (the controversial Ace editions, then the authorized Ballantine editions), which thrust them into the public eye, especially on college campuses and among the hippie element (of which I certainly counted myself).

My mother was in the habit of reading bedtime stories to my brothers and me, when each of us was too young to read them ourselves. By the time she got to my youngest brother Ed, we had been through all the children’s books in the house and all the Oz books in the public library, so she casually mentioned to her friend Lydia that she was running out of things to read her son, and asked if she had any suggestions. Lydia’s husband had close family in England, so they had made many trips over there, and had brought back books. Lydia said to my mother, Hmm, try this,” and plucked a hardback of The Hobbit off her shelf.

As Mom started reading this book to Ed, I would overhear it as I passed by the bedroom door, and it seemed interesting enough that I would stand at the door and listen, even though I was about 14 at the time. After a few nights of this,…

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№ 183: Catherine Madsen

9 November 2021 | Catherine Madsen

I can’t improve on my mother’s account, though it’s a bit long:

As for The Hobbit, I’ll have to take the credit or the blame for introducing you to that book. It happened like this. I was in a graduate library science seminar with my favorite L[ibrary] S[cience] professor one summer [probably 1961]. She divided the class up and gave us the task of coming up with a project that would enrich or strengthen our work and the profession. There was a children’s literature expert at Wayne [State] who was internationally known, named Dr. Eloise Ramsey. My partner and I decided we wanted to interview her and see what her recommendations were for the top, not to be missed, books for children. We would get her permission to duplicate the list and share it with the hundred or so school librarians in the seminar. There was only one problem. She had the reputation of being unpredictable, irascible and generally unapproachable. Certainly her image did not encourage queries. She had never read How to Dress for Success, but went around in cotton house dresses and socks. Our professor approved the project, saying that if we managed to get the interview it would indeed be a contribution.…

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№ 182: Deniz Bevan

2 November 2021 | Deniz Bevan

My parents had a paperback copy of The Lord of the Rings. Now that I think about it, I seem to remember reading The Hobbit first, but I can’t remember if they had a copy or if I found it in the school library. I was 11, and have been rereading The Lord of the Rings at least once a year since then (over 30 years)! …

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№ 181: Tim “Ranatuor” Bolton

26 October 2021 | Tim Bolton

I can squarely lay the blame of my love for Tolkien solely on my older brother, Paul. It would have been his copy of The Hobbit I read. My memory is hazy but I was likely about eight years old. I loved The Hobbit, the story awakened something in me, but I will admit I found The Lord of the Rings harder to tackle and I was in my early teens when I finally read that – I blame the Shire, after the Hobbit I wanted more adventure, so wasn’t quite ready to spend too long with pastoral Hobbits. That has changed, now I am older. I was born a few months after we sadly lost J.R.R. Tolkien, so I was the generation growing up just as gaming in Tolkien hit new heights. My connection with Tolkien, as a young boy, was strengthened by gaming. I have fond memories of the Commodore 64 version of The Hobbit (1982), Gandalf goes West” and Thorin sits down and sings about gold” are phrases I still jokingly use.…

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№ 180: Graeme Cheadle

19 October 2021 | Graeme Cheadle

I was first introduced to Tolkien’s work as a child. Both my parents had read and enjoyed The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings in the late 60s or early 70s, and my mother in particular was given a copy of The Fellowship of the Ring, I think (or perhaps it was the entire trilogy) by a friend when she had a serious illness and was recuperating in hospital. Years later, when my siblings and I had been born but were still quite young, she’d tell us about hobbits and Black Riders when we were on camping trips, and the small hints I got from those stories fascinated me.…

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№ 179: Kathrin Heierli

12 October 2021 | Kathrin Heierli

When I was about 12, I was on a holiday and my supply of books had run out very quickly already. So my dad gave me The Lord of the Rings books. They were in English, and not being a native speaker with only a couple years of English yet, they proved a challenge, but since I had nothing else, I tried my best. I remember liking it, but as I got to Tom Bombadil, it got confusing on top of the language barrier, so I stopped.…

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№ 178: Elvish Black

5 October 2021 | Elvish Black

It was around — my dad loved the books. I was an avid reader from a young age, but I think we tried The Hobbit too young. I enjoyed paging through to find the poems and songs, but didn’t really read the book. I didn’t see the appeal of a protagonist who had no interest in adventures. I remember riding my bike down the big hill from the pool shouting the lyrics of the elves in Rivendell — Oh, what are you doing!

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№ 177: Mary Reid

28 September 2021 | Mary Reid

My parents were fans of Tolkien, as was my oldest brother. The earliest experience of Tolkien that I remember was a dramatized audiobook adaptation of The Lord of the Rings, complete with sound effects and music. I remember it as very dramatic and exciting, and listening to the audio dramatization led me to pick up the book. Even before that, though I don’t remember it because I was very young, my eldest brother read the books to the whole family, complete with sound effects, voices, and even a tune for the songs.…

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№ 176: Robert Steed

21 September 2021 | Robert Steed

As far as I remember, I was first introduced to Tolkien in the third grade when the teacher started reading a chapter from The Hobbit during reading time each day. While I remember enjoying that, it did not move me to engage with Tolkien then. It was not until middle school when I read The Lord of the Rings that I started to really enjoy and engage with Tolkien’s work on a more sustained basis.…

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№ 175: Matt (Nerd of the Rings)

14 September 2021 | Matt (of The Nerd of the Rings)

I was a freshman in college in 2002. That very month, Fellowship of the Ring was released on DVD. My best friend and roommate, on our initial trip to the local Walmart suggested we buy a couple movies, including FotR. My response? I don’t know. That looks kinda dumb.” He convinced me to give it a shot, and the rest is history. I was hooked. By the time we see the Argonath, I was in complete awe of Middle-earth. I HAD to know more! As the credits rolled I turned to my friend with indignation, Is that how it ends?! Is there another movie?!” Needless to say, I was now a LotR fan.…

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№ 174: Serena

7 September 2021 | Serena

… 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 | Alastair

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 | Laurie

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 | Aidan Wotherspoon

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 | Krista

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 | Ulliowl

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 [sic]. 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 | Michael Connery

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 | Claude Drolet

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 | Jelena Filipovic

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 | Chris Stevens

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 | Sean J

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 | Courtney Petrucci

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 | Lisa

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 | Hazel Fabrizio

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 | Rebecca Davis

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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№ 159: Elena Davison

25 May 2021 | Elena Davison

The very first time I heard of Tolkien and his work was in a summer camp in around 1998. A couple of people were saying how great The Hobbit is. I thought it was an odd name and didn’t come back to it until the 2001 – 2003 films were due to come out. After seeing the trailer for FotR, I sought the book out. I got as far as The King of the Golden Hall” and I gave up. I found it hard to keep up and the language was difficult for the 13-year-old me. Two or three years later I watched all three films, caught the bug and devoured the book.…

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№ 158: Tobias Wilcke

18 May 2021 | Tobias Wilcke

I was first introduced to Tolkien’s work through the films. I don’t remember the first time I watched it, but it was my dad that introduced me to them. I was a fantasy fan since I was little, fascinated in mythology and everything that was set between the times of ancient Greece to the ages of knights. So, it was natural that I would like these films too. Though my dad was made aware of them via a friend who just loves films and he recommended The Lord of the Rings to him because of Peter Jackson. I still remember loving The Two Towers the best, as The Fellowship was very slow for my young age and I hated the Shelob scene! But nothing beats the Charge of the Rohirrim! …

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№ 157: André Santiago

11 May 2021 | André Santiago

My father is a big fan of Middle-earth so I’ve known the books since I was a child. He gave me The Hobbit when I was 9, though I didn’t manage to read through the first time. For LotR, I knew the basic plot line and wanted to discover who destroyed the ring without reading the book (hated reading at that time), so one day I took the book, went to the last pages and spoiled myself (still hate me for that). One time at school, the teacher wanted us to bring a book to read before each class and I grabbed The Fellowship of the Ring as I was late, and was quickly drawn in (I was 13). For 2 – 3 years I only read and reread LotR, The Hobbit and The Silmarillion.…

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№ 156: James Roberts

4 May 2021 | James Roberts

I was introduced to Lord of the Rings, the movies, as a child. The moment they were out of theaters, my parents brought home the DVDs, and little 4 or 5 year old me was hooked. My favorite part of Tolkien’s work definitely has to be the books for Lord of the Rings and Hobbit. There has always been a copy of them in my home, even when I moved out on my own.…

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№ 155: Arthur H

27 April 2021 | Arthur H.

When I was 8 or 9 in the mid 60’s I came across a paperback book that one of my brothers had left lying around. The cover was neat, with an exploding volcano and a bunch of dudes flying around on what looked like dragons (in retrospect the original Ballantine paperback edition of Return of the King). So I opened it up and leafed through it and thought Hmmm…this sounds neat…”Mount Doom.” So that was my introduction to Tolkien (which many would say explains a lot). I have vague memories of reading The Riders of Rohan” and Eomer saying we’re not like the Black riders; we’re good guys.” …

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№ 154: Nate Gordon

20 April 2021 | Nate Gordon

I think it was 2nd or 3rd grade (late 70’s) when my parents turned the channel to the Rankin-Bass Hobbit movie’s TV airing. A few days later, I was in the school library, and a friend said he would check out the book version of it. My reaction was, There’s a book?” it all followed from that.…

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№ 153: Hannah

13 April 2021 | Hannah

… I taught literature, for a season, in Northern Iraq. I was teaching a group of 9th graders LotR around the same time that ISIS was growing in power and heading toward the area I was teaching in. Almost all of my students were Muslim and struggling with how they should react to other Muslims doing things that were so horrible in the name of their shared beliefs. We were reading through the section where Gandalf is talking with Saruman about what they should do in response to Sauron’s rise to power.…

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№ 152: Doug Hagler

6 April 2021 | Douglas Underhill

There was a passage from The Hobbit in my reading textbook in Middle School (the book also introduced me to A Wizard of Earthsea). I went to the library looking for the book, and found The Two Towers by the same author. I took that home and read it loved it, but was confused because so many characters were introduced without any explanation. Then I realized it was the second book in a trilogy written after The Hobbit. But by then I was already hooked.…

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№ 151: Simone

30 March 2021 | Simone

My parents really liked the movies. But I was a rebellious child even before my teens and decided that if my parents liked it, I did not. However when being forced” to watch it during family time, I fell in love. The next day I started reading The Hobbit! …

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№ 150: Fredrik

23 March 2021 | Frederik

A friend introduced me to the Swedish tabletop roleplaying game Drakar och Demoner” and since I enjoyed it he suggested that I should read The Hobbit and LOTR. I was about 9 – 10 at the time and really liked the books.…

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№ 149: J.C.D.

16 March 2021 | J.C.D.

I was initially introduced to Tolkien through the Lord of the Rings movies in the early 2000s. When I got older, late college years, I read The Lord of the Rings for the first time. It brought me to a different world; a world a bit simpler yet not one of a utopian quality. I was sucked in from there.…

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№ 148: Carissa Jones

9 March 2021 | Carissa Jones

My first introduction to Tolkien was seeing previews for the LotR movies when I was in high school. I had never heard of LotR previously, and the movies looked rather unappealing to me. Fast forward a few months, and a friend invited me over to watch movies. We had a standard agreement for our movie nights that we each got to pick one movie (back when renting them from the store was still a thing). She picked The Fellowship of the Ring, and I was a bit annoyed. Now, however, I am SO GLAD she did. I ended up loving the movie and bought myself the trilogy before I even watched the next two.…

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№ 147: Nick Polk

2 March 2021 | Nick Polk

I was introduced to Tolkien’s work through the Rankin/​Bass animated adaptation of The Hobbit. I don’t have a lot of memory associated with watching it, but according to my parents, I watched The Hobbit frequently as a child under ten years old. In sixth grade, I was assigned The Hobbit for reading. From there I became aware of Peter Jackson’s adaptation of The Lord of The Rings. I quickly rented The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers from Blockbuster and watched them on repeat. Not long after, my family went to see The Return of the King at our local movie theater. From there, I only watched the movies on repeat. I actually didn’t seriously approach The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, or The Silmarillion until college. When I first read through those books, I became obsessed.…

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№ 146: Manuel

23 February 2021 | Manuel

My first contact with Tolkien’s work was through the movies at age 7. I was visiting my uncle (who later found out was a huge Tolkien fan) and he was watching The Fellowship of the Ring on TV. Sadly, I can’t exactly remember what it was that hooked me, but by next year I was watching The Two Towers in the cinema with my parents (they both fell asleep), and The Return of the King the year after that, this time with some of my closest friends.

After re-watching the movies several times, I decided, on my uncle’s advice, to buy the books and start this never ending, but equally amazing journey, of discovering Middle-earth and Tolkien’s work.…

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№ 145: Leith Skilling

16 February 2021 | Leith Skilling

My father read The Lord of the Rings aloud to me when I was probably about six, but I was much too young to truly grasp the story – that being said, I was entranced by the map of Middle-earth in the edition my family owned, and I would draw characters and scenes from the story on the book’s few blank pages. It’s safe to say Tolkien inspired my passion for art as well as for writing.…

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№ 144: Jon B.

9 February 2021 | Jon B.

My parents had a copy of The Hobbit sitting on a bookshelf, and a thought I’d give it a try. Over 40 years later, I’m still obsessed. I love Tolkien’s world-building. You really get a sense of each story taking place in a world that’s much larger than the individual story. I’ll also take the opportunity to plug my favorite somewhat obscure Tolkien story – Athrabeth Finrod Ah Andreth,” from Morgoth’s Ring.

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№ 143: Marie Louise

2 February 2021 | Marie Louise

My dad read The Hobbit aloud to my sister and I when we were very little – I think I was about 4 years old. It is one of my favorite memories, sitting on either side of him on the couch. We also watched the animated Rankin-Bass films when we were young and they were a major part of my childhood.…

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№ 142: Alkisti

26 January 2021 | Alkisti

I was going through a bad break-up when I was around 16 and my father bought me the Lord of the Rings books to have something to occupy my mind with. I’m so glad I have editions with pre-movie covers! …

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№ 141: Alistair S.

19 January 2021 | Alistair Strang

I first became aware at Primary school at the age of 9 or 10 when we were set to write an essay on a book we were reading. Someone in class wrote about The Two Towers. I had never heard of it so he described it and recommended The Hobbit. I found a second hand copy at a jumble sale and that was me hooked. Later another friend lent me The Lord of the Rings. I still remember the edition, hardback with the dust jacket with Pauline Baynes’s illustrations. Those were good times to discover Tolkien as soon after came the Ralph Bakshi film and the BBC Radio 4 adaptation.…

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№ 140: Steve

12 January 2021 | Steve Lambson

I’d heard on and off about The Hobbit and Bilbo Baggins so that the names were vaguely familiar to me as a child and teenager, but my first real introduction was the trailer to the 2001 adaptation of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” I watched the trailer over and over because it looked so good! I ended up seeing the first movie in theaters seven times. From there, I read the LotR trilogy for the first time and started obsessing over Middle-earth.…

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№ 139: Robert Falzon

5 January 2021 | Robert Falzon

When the movies came out, I was about 17 years old, and a school friend of mine told me about Tolkien and The Lord of the Rings. I first bought the CD with Howard Shore’s music for the The Fellowship of the Ring, then I watched the movies, and finally I read the books. The experience remained with me but for a long time I did not delve deeper. Until a couple of years ago when I started to read more and more of Tolkien’s works as well as about Tolkien’s works. I am now building my own little collection of Tolkien books.…

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source URL 🌐Tolkien Experience Project – Luke Shelton PhD
date recorded 📅2021-06-28
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