Tolkies…

My husband and I are reading The Lord of the Rings trilogy for the first time. I blush to admit it; we’ve had the best of intentions over the past few years since we read–and adored–The Hobbit. We’ve been surrounded by friends who are ardent lovers of all things Middle-earth. We were even stung by our own consciences when we broke the ‘no movie till we’ve read the book’ rule to go and see The Fellowship of the Ring in the theatre.

Are we the only people in the habitable parts of the world who haven’t yet completed this masterpiece of intricate fantasy??

It’s not like we haven’t been reading other things. Wilkie Collins, Charles Dickens, Madeleine L’Engle, E.M. Forster have all been late companions.

But now that we’ve fallen under the enchantment of Tolkien and his world, I am glad, so very glad, that we’ve saved these books till now. Right now all the pomp and splendor and majesty and fear of Frodo’s quest is ours for the first time. Right now we are almost giddy over Tolkien’s ‘fine words’; we are in love with Rivendell and the elves and their unearthly music. Right now, at the end of a long day we are swept up out of the heat and humidity of August in the South, out of traffic and tiresome things, into what C.S. Lewis calls ‘beauties to break your heart’, and we feel the first, fresh, stabbing poignancy of a story that will be a part of us for the rest of our lives.

My mother was teasing me about it yesterday:

“It’s gonna get to the point that people will start saying, ‘We don’t want to go to Philip and Lanier’s house anymore–they just talk about elves all the time’!” 😉

(I can hardly wait till tonight, though, to sit in on the Council of Elrond!)

I love to listen to the lectures of the great Christian philosopher, Peter Kreeft, while I’m ironing. (Who says housewives can’t delight their senses with ‘intellectual pleasures’! ;)) He has some excellent ones online, and I’d especially like to recommend The Language of Beauty,celebrating the values and virtues of Tolkien’s works. You may also want to check out Christianity and The Lord of the Rings.

14 Comments

  1. That’s a great post!! I love Tolkien and I remember that wonderful world that was opened up to me the first time I read the books.

    Time for a re-read!

  2. Miriam Rebekah says:

    Well, I’m probably younger than a lot of ya’ll, but my parents normally don’t allow us to watch a movie until the book is read. So, when the Fellowship of the Ring movie came out, I had to read the book before they let me watch it.
    Once I got started though, I read all three before I saw the first movie!

  3. Lady Rael says:

    Lanier, your post gave me shivers. I love the series, (books and movies) and have felt like re-reading them again today, if I were not in the middle of Lewis’ Space Trilogy. I read them out loud to my two youngest brothers, (finishing each just before it’s movie came out), and your description of what those jewels of books work on one at the end of the day is refreshingly true. If there’s one thing better than a wonderfully beautiful book, it’s reading it together with loved ones.

    (For anyone looking for audio versions, by the way, I highly recommend those read by Rob Inglis. He has an amazing deep voice, and a bonus is his wonderful tunes to fit the numerous songs!)

    And Lanier, I like Peter Kreeft too! I had already listened to and was enchanted by that lecture of his, as did my mom (a fellow Tolkien fan). I listened to him often last semester while knitting and doing dishes. 😉

    In Christ,
    ~Rael~

  4. Lady Rael says:

    Lanier, I’m so excited for you and your husband! I love the series, (books and movies) and have felt like re-reading them again today, if I were not in the middle of Lewis’ Space Trilogy. I read them out loud to my two youngest brothers, (finishing each just before it’s movie came out), and your description of what those jewels of books work on one at the end of the day is refreshingly true. If there’s one thing better than a wonderfully beautiful book, it’s reading it together with loved ones.

    (For anyone looking for audio versions, by the way, I highly recommend those read by Rob Inglis. He has an amazing deep voice, and a bonus is his wonderful tunes to fit the numerous songs!)

    And Lanier, I like Peter Kreeft too! I had already listened to and was enchanted by that lecture of his, as did my mom (a fellow Tolkien fan). I listened to him often last semester while knitting and doing dishes. 😉

    In Christ,
    ~Rael~

  5. Anonymous says:

    I have read the trilogy and watched the movies multiple times and it gets better every time. Tolkien has a way of pulling you into Middle-earth and making you feel like one of the characters. That is definitely one of my favorite series.

  6. aussietigger1980 says:

    –Are we the only people in the habitable parts of the world who haven’t yet completed this masterpeice of intricate fantasy??–

    Um, no… 🙂 I haven’t read a snitch of Tolkien and have only seen the first of the movies. Um, yeah, so what does that make me?! 😀

  7. Anonymous says:

    Like Prarie Girl said, you’re not the only one in the habitable part of the world who hasn’t read that set of books. I’ve never read or watched it. Or read or watched C.S. Lewis’s Narnia series either. Someday, I hope to. Someday!

    ~Lois

  8. Anonymous says:

    Welcome to the enchanting world of Middle-earth! I consider myself very fortunate to have read the books before any of the movies came out (just barely!) and before there was such pressure from all sides in that direction. I fell in love with the world Tolkien created, filled with so many thought-provoking Christian truths, and felt so immersed in it, that once I had finished, it seemed as if there were no other work of fiction that could capture and excite me thereafter. But that’s the beauty of books, they can be visited again and again… Enjoy!

  9. Finally. 🙂

    (I came upon the books rather late, however, but I was able to devour each one JUST before their respective movies came out. I wish I had more space between book and movie, but alas, it was not meant to be.)

  10. Anonymous says:

    Lanier I loved the movies, but never read the books, i might put it on my list to read that! it sounds wonderful, i am really enjoying that book you suggested awhile back, the St. Elmo book, it’s long and wonderful. Such a great masterpiece. Thanks so much for suggesting that one!
    i am in love with that book, i got it at the library, i only have 3 more weeks to read but i think i can finish it :))

    Thanks again for that lengthy list you gave of those wonderful books awhile back.
    Have a wonderful day!

    May God bless you and keep you, Lanier! 🙂

    Jane.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Your post brought back very fond memories of listening to my mother read the story to my sister and me a few years back. It took us a long time to finish the book (maybe even the whole year before the first movie came out). The LOTR adventures I experienced were invaluable. It is such a well-written, exciting and deep story. Tolkien has so many different characters, yet he develops them very well- and they all have a vital part to play in the story. I’ve been wanting to read it again (to relive old memories) but it’s so long that I think I’ll just get the unabridged edition and listen to that. In my opinion (a girl who isn’t a writer and is very pressed for time), it doesn’t matter if I read a pleasure book on my own. Listening to the book can yield the same experience of living in Tolkien’s world for a time.
    I’m so happy for you that you’re reading such a wonderful book (the first time reading it is the best, of course)!:)

    Happy reading,
    Whitney

  12. Lauren Elizabeth Smith says:

    Lanier, reading this post makes me want to read [i]Lord of the Rings[/i]! I never read it, either, but now it is on my (long) list of books to read. 🙂

  13. Prarie Girl says:

    No, you’re not the only people in the habitable part of the world who hasn’t completed that masterpiece! I haven’t read the book or watched the movie, actually when it comes to that, I haven’t read ANY of the books, or seen ANY of the Lord of the Rings movies.

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