Tuesday, October 15, 2013

LOTR 30 Day Challenge - Question #30: How you got into LOTR?

When I was a teenager The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings books were very popular with many of my fellow students. But I don't remember ever talking about Tolkien in English Lit class here in the US, or even being assigned either book in school. But Tolkien's ideas certainly resonated with the tone of the times. 

Also at the time there were several restaurants and coffee shops in my area that were named after characters in Tolkien's books. I remember they mostly served vegetarian meals or sandwiches with lots of alfalfa sprouts. Though I often frequented places like this with friends, and knew generally what the name "Bilbo Baggins" on the front of the menu referred to, I was still not inspired to read any of Tolkien's work.  I was more of a Bronte Sisters - Jane Austen type of reader. Fantasy was really not my genre. 

Fast forward quite a few years and this comes across my radar one day:

By this time I had been a fan of Sean Bean's for several years. Though I liked other actors, Bean's career was the only one I really followed in great detail. I was thrilled that Sean was cast in this film, especially since he seemed so happy to get the part of Boromir.  I knew about Tolkien from my teenage years, and now I really had an incentive to find out more. So I followed the progress of The Fellowship of the Ring, and Sean's work as Boromir, and what was happening in New Zealand as much as I could in the time before Twitter and Facebook. For me this was mainly through The Compleat Sean Bean website.

It was a thrilling time reading all of the LOTR press and all the interviews with Sean talking about working with Peter Jackson, and Viggo Mortensen, and the rest of the cast.  I well remember an excellent interview on Charlie Rose (a US Public Television program), maybe a two night interview I think, with many of the  LOTR cast.  Sadly Sean was not there, but Peter Jackson and Viggo Mortensen I remember very well.  

From The Charlie Rose Show

I started out being interested in the films because of my love for Sean Bean, but after watching the first film and all the interviews with the rest of the cast, and with Peter Jackson, I fell in love with the LOTR films and the entire cast. 

I remember going to see the first LOTR film, The Fellowship of the Ring, with a friend. To this day she has no idea who Sean Bean is, but I talked her into watching this new action/adventure fantasy film with me. 

We're in the darkened theater watching the movie and suddenly there on screen is Boromir.  He walks towards the Shards of Narsil, picks up part of the broken sword, pricks his finger and says 

"Still Sharp(e)" 

I must have made some strange, loud, strangling, noise at that moment, a gasp maybe, a shout, because my friend leans over to me and in a very worried tone says "Are you OK?" 

Even so, I was still not interested enough in the genre to read The Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit.  

Premiere time for the Lord of the Rings cast

So what finally lead me to read one of Tolkien's books - The Hobbit?

This man:

Richard Armitage

It seems all my men are destined for 

So this concludes the LOTR 30 Day Challenge

Thank you to Sir Doctor of Tardis for the terrific challenge - it has been a fun 30 days

A special "Gracias" to my friend Cassia on FB for keeping the faith, following every day, and sharing my posts on her FB Timeline.

A small musical "Thank you" treat  for Cassia from The Tolkien Ensemble:  Song of Durin

For all who visited and read and commented along the way- Thank you for sharing this journey with me. 

Thanks to The Compleat Sean Bean, The Mighty Bean,  RichardArmitageNet.com, YouTube


  1. Thank you! The dedication is a lovely surprise!
    I didn't know the Tolkien Ensemble's music before I started reading your posts on LOTR.
    My turn to thank you for all the information you also gave me in the past days!

    1. Hi Cassia, I'm so glad you discovered the Tolkien Ensemble through my blog. Believe me, that makes it all worthwhile :)

  2. Interesting -- so despite your LOTR love, you didn't read the books!

    Similar story for me in that Hobbit / LOTR were not considered readings for school, mostly (we did read some of the Hobbit in elementary). I had copies of the books that followed me around during grad school -- what got me to read them was a student who asked me to go to the first LOTR film with her. The next time I got flu, I thought, huh, that's nice and long, I could try that again ...

    1. Hope the books were a good cure for the flu :)

      Probably more honest to say I'm more of a fan of Peter Jackson's interpretation of Tolkien through his films than of Tolkien. I have now read The Hobbit twice, first after it was announced RA was cast, and second after watching AUJ several times. I confess I'm glad PJ fleshed out the characters and the story.

      Because of RA's enthusiasm for Tolkien I'm now interested in reading Unfinished Tales, and maybe he'll finally convince me to read LOTR :)

  3. I'm the same way. I'm not a huge fan, but I'd rewatch the LOTR films any time. The only way I can make myself reread LOTR is if I am literally so sick that I can't get out of bed except to crawl to the bathroom. If you're basically motionless, they are good reads, lol :)

    But every time I say in my RL FB feed that I really love Jackson's interpretation of this world, that he opened it up to so many people, my purist former students jump down my throat :)

    1. Definitely there are fans of Tolkien's books that will never accept lovers of PJ's films, and they don't really care that the films opened up the world and works of Tolkien to a wider audience. They will never accept the argument that film is a different medium and PJ and company had to expand and adapt the books, the stories, to make it work. I accept that we will never understand each other, film lovers and purists.

  4. Those boys/men who warm/ set fire to our hearts sure do give us a good education along the way ;)


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