The Tolkien Lover Book Tag

The most honorable KRISTEN KIEFFER has constructed an awesome Book Tag all about J.R.R. Tolkien. And, as you all know, I’m more than a fan of that guy. TOLKIEN IS LIFE. So here’s the thing… I couldn’t resist participating in such an awesome tag! Tolkien is one of the reasons I’m a writer. He’s helped define so much of me. Time to gush!

Here’s the deal, this is interactive. Tags work like this:

  1. Questions are posted about a thing.
  2. The writer/blogger answers said questions.
  3. Others are tagged by the writer/blogger at the end of it all.
  4. The chain of awesome keeps going… and going… and going…

Let’s start with a Tolkien quote, shall we?

Quote by J.R.R. Tolkien author of Lord of the Rings (Not all those who wander are lost)

Okay! Let’s go wandering!

1. The Lord of the Rings is Tolkien’s most famous work. But did you read the books or see the movies first? What are your opinions on each?

As much as I hate that it happened the way it did, I saw The Fellowship of the Ring first. After seeing that film, I died. I feel like that’s not even a hyperbole. I was gone. I knew I had witnessed something special. It was sparkles and starlight and FEELINGS. Like angels were singing of my destiny.

I mention this in my post Authors Who Turned Me into a Reader. I am ashamed I had to be convinced about “some old fantasy book” by a film. But! I almost went straight from the theatre to the bookstore. When I bought the entire Lord of the Rings series I devoured them. I read nothing but Tolkien for months and months.

I went to the midnight premier of The Two Towers. Mind you, I was still in high school when the movies came out, so I missed the entire day of school to wait in line for the movie. Like… 12 hours in line, just so I could have a good seat. When I commit… I COMMIT.

Here’s where it gets interesting. I was okay with the second movie. Having read the books I found a thousand inaccuracies, and since I had been turned into a Tolkien purist, I was only okay with it. Didn’t LOVE it the way I loved the first film. But, how could I? I knew what I was in for. That first time, I was not expecting my life to literally change. By the third movie though… I had a problem.

–Unpopular opinion time. Yay!– I really didn’t like the film adaption of The Return of the King. I felt like Peter Jackson thought he knew better than Tolkien on what to do with the story. The changes he made were not something I could just shake my head at. I was a bit… enraged. It wasn’t his story to take so much liberty with. For me, Jackson committed an injustice to my literary idol. Bad form!

In fact, I STILL haven’t seen any of The Hobbit films. And I don’t plan to. As soon as I heard Jackson was attached to the project, I dismissed it. This was before it was even announced that it’d be split into three films. (Why, in all of Middle Earth, was the shortest book turned into three movies, instead of making six movies out of the Lord of the Rings series? Why?!)

Okay. I’m going to stop here, before I forget the rest of the questions and turn this into a rant. (It’s too late for that, isn’t it?)

 

2. Who is your favorite member of The Fellowship? Does this person differ from your favorite Lord of the Rings character in general?

Legolas.

Boom. There it is. He’s my most favorite in all of Tolkien’s writing. And I’ll tell you why…

  1. He’s mad talented. Those archery skills. Damn.
  2. His temperament. He doesn’t dink around. The elf gets sh*t done.
  3. The dude can freaking fight.
  4. His relationship with Gimli. He seems like a flawless guy. But he still learns and grows. He befriends this dwarf who he’s been conditioned to loathe. They’re friendship is beautiful.
  5. He’s an elf. That alone qualifies him as a favorite. Really.

Gandalf is a close second. Because of his wisdom and adventurous spirit.

 

 

3. Now for some fun! If you could be any character from The Hobbit, which would you be and why?

Um, Smaug.

I like to be left alone.

I’m cranky.

And don’t touch my stuff.

Like, it sounds ridiculous. But when I thought about this question, Smaug was all I could come up with. I just… get him.

Also, there’s a lizard in Africa named Smaug giganteus, or Giant Dragon Lizard, after our dragon friend. Something about it being “similarly armoured”. Fun fact!

 

 

4. Tolkien’s work goes beyond The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. Have you ever read any of his other books? How about books about Tolkien?

Oh man. Here we go.

I have read The Silmarillion. I have a couple of Book of Lost Tales.

I also have some reference books. A “Complete Guide”/encyclopedia. And some Elvish language books.

I am also the proud owner and reader of The Origins of Tolkien’s Middle Earth for Dummies.

You guys. I don’t mess around.

 

 

5. Let’s talk romance! Pooling from all of Tolkien’s work, which two characters do you ship together most?

Obviously Aragorn and Arwen. I’m so happy about those two kids! I think their story is beautiful. The right kind of “forbidden love” if you ask me. I wish more people would reference them when describing relationships rather than Romeo and Juliet. It’s so much more of a love story. And, you know, less suicide.

Also, Rosie and Sam. I want to pinch their cheeks. So stinking adorable.

Truthfully, I’m not what one would call a “shipper”. I let what’s cannon be cannon.

 

6. Alright, alright. We all have at least one thing from Tolkien’s work that makes us waaaay too giddy and excited. Something that we could talk about for days. What’s yours?

The Elvish language.

I was OBSESSED with it for a long while. And, I still love it. I used to yell it at people I was mad at. When I had my horse, I often gave her commands in Elvish. I even helped design a tattoo for someone in Elvish.

I have more than one book on it. In high school all my computer passwords were in Elvish. (They’re not anymore, so don’t try anything sinister. Not that I have anything worth stealing…)

I think it’s just so cool. Tolkien was a master linguist. That’s one of the reasons I revere him. He really put his soul into his works, and it shows. The man created a gorgeous language. How can you not love that?!

I would have majored in Elvish in college, had they offered it.

 

Tag! You’re it!

Can I tag Stephen Colbert? I feel like, back in the day, I could almost compare to him in Tolkien lore knowledge. I haven’t been as emerged in it as I once was. So, I wouldn’t dare challenge the biggest, baddest, Tolkien nerd of all. But I’d love to see his answers!

Pipe dreams aside, I honestly challenge ANYONE who wants to gush about the wonderful J.R.R. Tolkien. Drop your links in the comments, or tag me on Twitter (@authorkdreed) so I can read your answers. Because, seriously, I could read about Tolkien all day. Every day. Forever. And ever.

Also, pop over to Kristen’s blog and read her post. Actually, read all her stuff. She’s super duper.

 

Authors Who Turned Me into a Reader-Part 1 of Why I Write

Most, if not all, writers start at the same place. As readers. Our love of reading leads us to fulfill our destiny of saying what others cannot. To produce the stories people need. And how did we learn such a career existed? By reading! We started as the readers we now cherish. Certain authors set us on the path. Everyone has their favorites. And these are the beautiful souls that lead me to my journey. The authors who turned me into a reader, and ultimately a writer.

Books writers and readers, Tolkien, Andrews, R.L. Stine, Ann M Martin

We’re going to do this as chronologically as possible. Becoming a reader starts in childhood. The books we’re read at home. The books our teachers and parents read to us. So journey with me, if you will, to the days of my youth…

P.D. Eastman

Go Dog Go a children's book by P.D. Eastman

Truthfully, this is my mom’s favorite children’s book. She read it to us often. And, while I have no idea why she loves it (I found the dog who didn’t like the other dog’s hat mean, but what did I know? I was just a kid) this book was a staple of my childhood. I knew all the words, all the puppies inside, and all the silly pictures. Entertaining and memorable. This probably started my whole crazy writer life. So… Thanks Mom!

Eastman created a lovely dog world in Go, Dog. Go! Simple. Fun. Relatable. My four year old niece loves it. Her grandma, my mom, reads it to her. Just as she did with me. Hopefully it will instill in her a love of silly stories the way it did for this writer. Who knows? Maybe my niece will grow to be an author herself!

R.L. Stine

Goosebumps Welcome to Dead House by R.L. Stine. A popular scary story for kids.

What kid doesn’t love Goosebumps? I think every child in America gets a solid start with R.L. Stine. Spooky. Creepy. So. Much. Stinking. Fun! I loved every single one. And then he did the Choose Your Own Adventure books! The ones where you pick where you go in the story. Jumping around the entire book. What fun! Ah! I can’t get over what Stine did for me as a kid. I picked up my first Goosebumps in like… 5th grade? (ish.) And let me tell you… I wasn’t thrilled. I thought, “This book looks stupid. No princesses. Why do I care about monsters? These books are for boys!”

What an idiot. I loved the first one, and every single one after. So great! R.L. Stine speaks to kids beautifully. He entertains. Reaching the entire audience of children. Every kid loves his stories. He speaks to them, and their interests. Such a talented writer.

Ann M. Martin

The first Baby-sitters Club Book a book series for kids by Ann M. Martin

Oh, man. My friends and I LIVED off these books for all of 6th grade. At least. Actually it started in 4th grade. Maybe even sooner. We read these books furiously. Every single one. All the spin-offs. We watched the TV show and the movie. A great time was had and this book series was responsible for so much of it.

Martin creates fun stories, that deal with what kids deal with. Friendship dynamics, step-parents, diabetes… Her stories aren’t traumatic, but they don’t graze over real-life stuff. Growing up, I was totally a Kristy (kind of bossy, resourceful, ambitious) and my best friend was a complete Claudia (artistic, free-spirited, innovative). Parts of our personalities had the potential to put our friendship at risk. But! I fully believe this book series showed us that different personalities can thrive together. Everyone is important. We embraced who were were, just like the girls in Baby-sitters Club did. Ann M. Martin just gives me all the good feelings.

Yoshiko Uchida

Journey to Topaz, the story of Japanese Interment Camps, a children's book by Yoshiko Uchida

I read Journey to Topaz three times between 6th grade and 7th grade. I LOVE this book. The subject matter is deep and painful, but Uchida tells it with hope and beauty. A terrible mark on America’s history, this story made me think. Feel. I think that’s why I kept going back to it. It made me feel. It showed me something ugly, but taught me that people are strong.

I think this was the first book I read that invoked true emotion through writing. Oh! The Feelings!! Conflict. Sadness. Confusion. Injustice. But also hope. Strength. Tenacity. Ah! Yoshiko Uchida did such a beautiful job with this story. I think I’ll go read it again…

V.C. Andrews

Runaways, part of the Orphans series, by V.C Andrews.

I read this book in 9th grade. CHANGED MY LIFE. V.C. Andrews was a turning point for me. I went from girl who kind of likes to read sometimes to always having a book with me. In my backpack, in my locker, in my purse. I became a reader. A bookworm. And so, SO, happy.

This book may have been a tad mature for me at 14. But! It was so engaging. The story was captivating, driven, suspenseful. Andrews has a way of sucking you in, without mercy. Some of her plots are even predictable, but her storytelling forces you to keep going anyway. This author taught me the power of a book. Of a story.

J.R.R.Tolkien

The Lord of the Rings, fantasy books by J.R.R. Tolkien

No list of authors (if composed by myself) can exclude Tolkien. He is my literary idol. Tolkien took me from reader of whatever, to literature enthusiast. Okay… Story time!

First of all, I honestly thought I was too stupid to read “real” literature. Classics, if you will. I thought I wouldn’t understand them. That they’d be over my head. Vocabulary would be too difficult. Themes wouldn’t be exciting. Blah blah blah. People discouraged me from reading things like this. They said, “it’s probably too hard for you and boring.”

THEY WERE 100% WRONG.

I love classics. You don’t have to be a genius to get them. Or love them. They’re all beautiful and wonderful and if anybody tells you differently you send them to me. I’ll take care of it. >insert chosen angry threat here<

Second, and this is a little shameful, I saw the first movie BEFORE I read any of the books. I hate myself for it, but… that’s just how my life played out. Any who, after seeing the movie Fellowship of the Ring I dashed out and bought ALL the books. I now own Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, The Simarillion, The Book of Lost Tales… Even some theory and language books on Tolkien’s world. Read ’em all. Love ’em all.

Tolkien opened up a doorway for me. Not just for classic literature, but for fantasy as well. A deep love of high fantasy grew quickly. Which led me to science fiction. Which led me to write. My first book is science fiction. Had I not ventured into Middle Earth, I never would continued on to create my own worlds. It really is that simple.

He is a true genius and beautiful soul. I owe him my life.

Literally.

There was a time when I felt all I had was Middle Earth. Those adventures gave me purpose when dealing with a particularly difficult phase of life. I clung to them for strength. I keep them near now… Just in case I need them. Tolkien’s characters were my friends. My family. They still are.

And now I’m a reader who writes. Or a writer who reads. You can pick.

These are the writers who turned me into a reader. They’re the reason I write. Had I not found them, the fire of story telling would never have ignited. I’d be wandering around searching for a destiny. Now, I wander searching for a story.

But, you know what Tolkien says…

Quote by J.R.R. Tolkien author of Lord of the Rings (Not all those who wander are lost)
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Be sure to check back for Part 2 of Why I Write: Authors Who Turned Me into a Writer. More authors to gush about. More books to swoon over… All that jazz. Also, I’d love to hear about the authors who took YOU from “regular person” to reader. What book changed your life and turned you into a fantasy world creature?