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This is one in a series of posts where the content is provided by a guest who has graciously answered five questions about their experience as a Tolkien reader. I am very humbled that anyone volunteers to spend time in this busy world to answer questions for my blog, and so I give my sincerest thanks to Marie Louise and the other participants for this.
To see the idea behind this project, check out this page
I want to thank Donato Giancola for allowing me to use his stunning portrait of J.R.R Tolkien as the featured image for this project. If you would like to purchase a print of this painting, they are available on his website!
If you would like to contribute your own experience, you can do so by using the form on the contact page, or by emailing me directly.
Now, on to Marie Louise’s responses:
1. How were you introduced to Tolkien’s work?
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.
2. What is your favorite part of Tolkien’s work?
The themes of life and death, duty, stewardship, and forgiveness. I was raised in a very Catholic household and recognized these as very Catholic themes. I am no longer Christian, but Tolkien’s work is still a touchstone to those parts of Christianity that were very important to me.
3. What is your fondest experience of Tolkien’s work?
Reading Tolkien aloud! His writing is very lyrical and perfect for sharing. When I was 11, I remember my dad reading The Lord of the Rings aloud to us around the fire while on a camping trip. Years later after I moved 12 hours away from home, I kept in touch with my sister over Skype by having breakfast every Sunday morning and reading The Silmarillion aloud to her over the course of year or two.
4. Has the way you approach Tolkien’s work changed over time?
My relationship with Tolkien’s work has grown with me over my whole life. When I was little Gollum was the monster under my bed, when I was in high school it was my nerdy obsession, and as an adult it is my connection both to my family and to my former religion.
5. Would you ever recommend Tolkien’s work? Why/Why not?
I do all the time! I gave my niece a copy of The Hobbit to read together with her dad and all my friends know they can get me talking about Tolkien at the drop of a hat. I want to share the beautiful experiences I’ve had with other people who I hope will find them just as meaningful.
You can read more from Marie Louise on her blog!