Tolkien, My Father’s Rules, and Me

A little about me and literature, so you can have a little insight into the chaos that is me.

I believe you can tell a lot about a person by their favorite book, or the book that has played the largest role in their life, and while I can’t chose but one favorite book, there is one that has played a large role in my family and consequently my life. Many stories have affected me on many levels, having the ability to make me laugh, cry, smile, and question. There is nothing, I believe, in the world as powerful as a story that is able to touch someone. It was a struggle for me to sift through the many stories I love and pick just a single one that has special meaning to me. Finally, I was able to and I know that there was no other choice for me. My choice happens to span not only books, but movies as well, and surprisingly both are more than fantastic. Nothing has touched me more than The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien. To me it represents not only good literature and film, but family.

19c2e9f72fac429be4df85386c19f9d0In my home the love of this series has been passed down from my father. My dad had one real expectation for my siblings and me, besides working our hardest and being our best, and that was that if we wanted to watch the Lord of the Rings movies we better read the books first. This rule was absolute. As a kid I rather resented this rule, I loved to read but this trilogy looked like more than I was ready to chew. My older sister tried and failed, and I was positive if she couldn’t handle it then, well, there was definitely no way I could! So they remained on our shelves gathering dust, only getting picked up every few years when our dad felt the urge to immerse  himself once again in the War of the Ring, in the fantastical land of Middle Earth. Then the most terrible, earth-shattering thing my thirteen-year-old self could think of happened, a dear friend of mine invited our entire class to his house for a Lord of the Rings marathon. My sister and I begged to go, our Father, not surprisingly, refused. Boy were we mad, our social lives had met a swift and decisive demise in our eyes. The night of the marathon my sister blew the dust off The Fellowship of the Ring and started reading, by the following day she had finished and started in on The Two Towers. We were pleasantly surprised to discover when we returned to school that our social lives remained intact. In a few days, my sister had finished the whole trilogy and passed it to me, informing me if we never wanted a repeat of the recent horror I’d better get to work. I rather needed the kick in the pants.

So I picked it up and starting reading, and I am disappointed to say I wasn’t very

Strider at the Prancing Pony

impressed, the beginning was long and boring and the characters all seemed old and stuffy, but I struggled valiantly, and before I knew it I was hooked. I found myself deeply in love with the rolling hills of the Shire, enthralled and intrigued by the mysterious Strider, in awe of the beautiful Rivendell, and my heart lost to Sam’s unwavering loyalty. I gobbled the stories up, unable to get enough of Tolkien’s imagination and dedication to his wonderfulworld.

After I finished each novel my whole family would gather and watch the brilliant movies. My sister and I would gush over Viggo Mortensten’s powerful portrayal of Aragorn. My Dad and I would belt out Theoden’s stirring battle cry before the battle of Gondor. My Mother and I would weep for Sam as he struggled his way down the steps back towards Cirith Ungol. My family as a whole would hum in tandem as Pippin sung “The Edge of Night” to the Steward of Gondor. We’d be equal parts repulsed and inspired by Andy Serkis’s portal of Gollum. We’d empathize for Faramir and his desperation for his Father’s love. As a family our hearts and our souls would be swept away to Middle Earth, we’d share in the fellowship’s pain and loss, in their victories and celebrations. When we watch Lord of the Rings we are pulled together as a family, we share in our mutual love for the characters and the story. When I read the series I can’t help but hear my families voices as we ranted and laughed and cried about the world of Middle Earth. It is something we will always share, and will always bring me closer to the people I love. I will always thank my Father for his dedication to the trilogy and his unwavering rule of committing to Tolkien fully.

Please say hi, in the comments, and sharing any experiences you have had with novels that had dictated or changed your life in someway.


A.J. Reeves


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