Thursday, October 3, 2013

An Ode to Middle-Earth

You’ve read the books. Seen the movies. And maybe, if you’re a dork like me, you’ve even watched the Rankin-Bass animated films with the cheesy songs--"Where there's a whip, there's a way!" As a kid, I remember seeing the words Frodo Lives spray-painted on walls before I even knew who Frodo was. We weren't formally introduced until the summer of 1983, when I spent a week immersed in The Fellowship of the Ring, the first book of The Lord of the Rings (also known as The Greatest Fantasy Series Ever Written). By summer’s end, I’d devoured the entire trilogy and spent most of my spare time daydreaming about the goodness that was Middle-Earth. Of course, this led me to try my hand at creating my very own fantasy world. Using whatever paper I managed to swipe from school, I drew gigantic maps of make-believe countries and continents which I carefully pieced together and plastered all over my bedroom walls. I also began penning badly written stories and poems that were nothing more than thinly veiled knock-offs of Tolkien’s works. These I kept hidden away in an envelope beneath my pillow. They’ve since been lost, and thank goodness for that. But the madness didn’t end there. Yeah, you can probably guess where this is going: The Silmarillion. Boy, the why-in-the-world-do-you-want-to-read-this? look the librarian gave me when I checked that one out was priceless. Undeterred, I waded through The Silmarillion (which inspired me to create my own mythology), then proceeded to read Unfinished Tales of Numenor and Middle Earth. Yes,  J. R. R. Tolkien was my best friend that summer, and we certainly had some times. 

Admittedly, I have yet to go back and re-read these books, probably because there are so many other stories, written and unwritten, that require my attention. But someday I will. I imagine it’ll be just like visiting an old friend.

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