The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings
When I was in grade school, our teacher read The Hobbit to us. But I didn’t become familiar with The Lord of the Rings until I was an adult and Peter Jackson brought it to life on the big screen. After that exposure, I was interested enough to read the books for the first time. Now, I’ve read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings more times than any other book, except the Bible.
Middle Earth is a land populated with hobbits, elves, orcs, wizards, and dragons. And yet somehow, I feel like I belong there. The lines between good and evil are clear. The good will suffer, but will eventually prevail over evil. These and other virtuous messages resonate for me.
The influence of Tolkien on my writing can be seen in my Dragon Hollow Trilogy. In fact, I modeled my first book, The Legend of Dragon Hollow, after The Hobbit. I was participating in National Novel Writing Month with a goal of writing 50,000 words in a month and I was new to writing novels so I felt this format would allow me to keep adding new adventures on the journey until I reached a sufficient word count. It’s a formula I recommend to any young or aspiring writer because it’s easy to write one continuous journey without multiple plot lines.
Gandalf is such a kind old wizard. Who wouldn’t want to have someone like him around? That’s why I modeled my Dragon Hollow character, Lucas the Magician, after Gandalf. I must also confess that Tolkien was the inspiration for my in-progress novel, Return of the Elves. Basically, all of my fiction has been inspired primarily by the works of Tolkien.
In my fascination with the kindly old wizard, I acquired a hiking stick that is as tall as a wizard’s staff and has a wizard-like old man’s face carved into the top of it. It mostly stands in a corner because I don’t want to get it dirty, but I imagine it as my very own wizard’s staff.
Tolkien is part of my life, even beyond my writing. I regularly make mention of “eating like a hobbit” because I prefer breakfast, second breakfast, elevensies, luncheon, afternoon tea, dinner, and supper. And if I remember, I celebrate Hobbit Day every September 22, the birthdays of Bilbo and Frodo Baggins in the books. How do I celebrate? I eat like a hobbit, of course!
Eventually I made a huge discovery. There is more to Tolkien than Middle Earth.
Other Works by J.R.R. Tolkien
When I found out Tolkien had other books, I was surprised. Who knew? But once I began to delve into the pages of short stories and novellas, I discovered a different type of Tolkien. Here there was whimsy and fairies.
Roverandom is the delightful story of a lost toy puppy that encountered a grumpy wizard and began an adventure that took him under the sea and to the moon before it took him home.
There are several different collections available, but not a complete collection. One of my favorites is Tales from the Perilous Realm. It includes, among others, “The Adventures of Tom Bombadil,” one of the colorful characters encountered in Middle Earth.
I’ve been reading through the works of Tolkien, but I still have a short list of works yet unread. In fact, some of Tolkien’s works are still being published. Tolkien was a college professor teaching medieval literature, so he had an unpublished translation of Beowulf that he used for teaching. It was published by family members in 2014, giving readers yet another glimpse into Tolkien and the influences that shaped his writing.
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