Message Board | Rules

Thread: The first contact with Tolkien

Bottom of Page    Message Board > The Golden Perch > The first contact with Tolkien   
I am a huge "book-lover". Do I see a book that seems intresesting I just have to read it. My father learned my from early years that a book can be your best friend (off course I had real-life friends too Smile Smilie ) and that books can learn you lots of things.

My first contact with Tolkien was when I was nine years old. We have many books at home (from floor to ceiling) and one day I found this scabby book with practically no cover. Nothing fancy. I asked my father if he had read the book and he told me that he had read it long time ago and that it was the first one in a serie. Well, I gave the book a chance (even if the cover didnt appeal me) and ever since then I am hooked on Tolkien.

Thats my story about my first contact with Tolkien. Does somebody else have a story that you would like to share?
My English teacher in 9th grade (1970) introduced me to The Hobbit. He started reading the different characters with very different voices--a dramatic reading. After that I was convinced there was no modern writer who could touch Tolkien.

I read The Hobbit--that Ballantine edition with the picture that Tolkien couldn't stand--to my brothers (my first audience), finding a voice for each character, and they loved it! We pooled our money and sent away to Ballantine to buy LOTR. At the time, it cost all of 95 cents per volume! Then I read that--right through a period when I was laid up with strep and a temp of 104. My brothers were anxious to hear LOTR, and I have been reading it to various audiences ever since.

For the past 16 years, I have been reading excerpts to my English classes. Finally, this spring I will be reading it to a "real" audience in our campus auditorium. My aim is always to bring the story to life for my audience and to help them see the lessons Tolkien wants them to see.
I found The Hobbit in my elementary school library (probably 4th or 5th grade) and loved it. Two books of the trilogy were there as well, but since one was missing I decided to hold off on those until I could read all of them, and fairly soon afterwards bought the boxed set of the Ballantine editions. (Thank goodness I held off... can you imagine trying to read any two books of the trilogy without the third one?) That was my first experience with Tolkien.
(Thank goodness I held off... can you imagine trying to read any two books of the trilogy without the third one?) That was my first experience with Tolkien.

I can, and far worse. I started reading Katherine Kerr's Deverry series after she had written the third book, believing it to be a trilogy. While I was reading them, she brought out a fourth book in the series, and it didn't end there. It's been over ten years since I first started reading this series, and I am still waiting for her to release the twelth and final book. In that time she has undergone long legal wrangles with her publishers, which have occasionally meant some of the books have taken years to be released. I find myself having to re-read the entire series each time she releases a new one.

To get back on thread, however, my first encounter with Tolkien was back in my University days. Several of my friends were discussing the characters etc, after one of them had named a couple of her plants Boromir and Faramir. While they were chatting about things beyond my comprehension, I picked up a copy of Unfinished Tales from her coffee table and began reading it. The story of Tuor's journey to Gondolin was my first experience of Tolkien, therefore, and I was hooked. I went out and bought the Hobbit, LotR, the Silmarillion and UT the next day. Within just a few months I was considered to be some sort of Tolkien nut by most of the people who knew me.
My first experience with Tolkien occurred in the autumn of 1967 when I picked up The Hobbit and The Fellowship of the Ring to read on a business trip to southwestern Spain. I finished reading them in three days and had to go cold turkey for another two weeks without knowing if Merry and Pippin were rescued, whether Frodo and Sam encountered Golum or were captured by Saurons evil minions, or whether Galdalf would rise again like the phoenix.

The worst of it was, this was during Spain's Franco years and there weren't any other books for sale there worth reading. So I couldn't even find a murder mystery, or a spy or an adventure novel; and of course any other fantasy novels had yet to be published, even at home, for Tolkien was just then making his splash in the USA.

As I was waitng for the ferry ride back home from Seattle, after landing at the SeaTac Airport, I found a bookrack which had both The Two Towers and The Return orf the King and bought them forthwith and started reading right away. I later read them all to my wife.

I had to endure waiting another ten years for The Silmarillion to be published; though I was able to find Tolkien's short stories and poems and did have the enjoyment of many re-reads of The Lord of the Rings over the intervening years. I also found both the BBC's and The Mind's Eye's audio versions of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. I also found the two Lost Tales volumes; but hadn't even heard of the rest of the H.O.M.E. series or Unfinished Tales until I found Planet-Tolkien four years ago.

(Oh what a relief! After spending 45 minutes on the above, my computer locked up when I hit the save post button; I thought you the reader had probably been saved from being subjected to the above reminiscence.) Elf With a Big Grin Smilie
Mine.. can be said was by accident, even against my will... At school, when i was 15, literature teacher let us as homework to read The Hobbit. as usual, i didnt do the hwk, but my friends passed me the answears for the test.. and by reading the questions and the answears, it seemed to me that this book was not bad at all.. and all of the sudden, there was me, hobbit at hand, reading.. getting sooo in love with it, i read it at least 5 times that month.. then i started to find something more from him, it was an addiciton.. i found LoTR, and read it, loved it, found Silmarillion, read it, loved it and few years later, there was this announcement of the movies... and i think that is it....
When I was, I think, eleven, someone my older brother knew in college told me I should read The Hobbit. This was 1962 or 1963 and I'd never heard of it. I got it from the library and WOW, it wasn't like anything else I'd ever read. It was one of the three artistic passages of childhood.

(Another was getting glasses in the second grade, going from legally blind to 20/20. I remain astounded by the detail of being: trees have an unbelievable number of branches. The third was finding out you could make things look three dimensional with pencil shading. Thank you, Jon Gnagy.)

I really liked the illustrations to The Hobbit. They really realize that world. I retain a love for them that far outweighs their level of artistic skill.

Anyway, a year later the same person recommended "The Lord of the Rings." ("There's more?!") That was really fantastic. I had to get it through inter-library loan. The librarian urged me to just get one book at a time, so I just got "The Fellowship of the Ring." It wasn't like anything else, as you all know. I'm glad that I got the next two together rather than stumble about for a week or so waiting for the third volume after the end of "The Two Towers."

(The man who recommended the books to me recounts being woken up at 2 in the morning by someone he had loaned the books to, one at a time. He had just finished "The Two Towers.")

I ran across the trilogy in the infamous Ace version a few years after that and they became my precious. It was really amazing to me when "Lord of the Rings" became (almost overnight to me) so immensely popular. I think I was somewhat annoyed. ("Hey! That's mine.")

I've kept re-reading them and have eventually aloud to my children. By this time, I'd say "The Silmarillion" is my favorite book. I had it and "Unfinished Tales" set up with little penciled directions to flesh out the parts that are partially expanded on in UT. ("Go to UT, page xx; Go to Silmarillion, page YY) Now I mostly listen to them and a lot else on tape because I can draw at the same time.

Word for word, though, "Leaf by Niggle" is the most valuable thing he wrote, for me. It goes very deep. I don't know that that is objectively true. It's just that it's just my experience of being an artist. I don't think it's universal.
I was three years old, my older brother read me "The Hobbit." ("The Hobbit being said with revernce) I didn't understand much at all, but one of my favorite words for the next 12 years was "Frodo Baggins", although when I was three it sounded more like, "Fodo Badins".
After I saw The Fellowship Of The Ring ,I had to find out what would happen next so I started to Read LOTR . I am still reading Tolkiens books Smile Smilie
I got to confess I have not been interested in Tolkien for many years. Well, that's also because I live in a tiny village and round here only a very small number of people has ever read anything by Tolkien or even heard about him, I think. But last summer a friend of my sister, who is a LotR-freak, forced us to watch the movies together with her. So we met and watched FotR and I was immediately in love with the story. I could hardly wait to watch TT and RotK a few days later. I'm somehow glad I haven't watched them in the movies, I don't think I could have waited so long for the next part... After watching the films, I borrowed the book from my cousin and read it within a few days. I was so fascinated by Tolkien's way of writing and describing everything. But I'm sorry I've watched the movies before reading the books, it's no good for your imagination, because you imagine the characters and locations just as they are in the movie. Very Sad Smilie
Soon after reading LotR I got the Hobbit and the Silmarillion and by now I've read Roverandom, too. At the moment I'm impatiently waiting for some books I ordered at Amazon last week.
i was at the library, very small library so the hardy boys are right near tolkien and so there tolk is and there i am and im like ooo fantsy cover! (the one w/ orthanc on it) and so i get the fellowship and then i read them all in 6 months in 4 grade. so yes, re reading them was a good thing....
My first contact with Tolkien was when I was 6 and my father read me The Hobbit which I liked very much and listened not only once. After that I had a long period when nothing of Tolkien was in my mind and I've forgotten nearly everything I knew of thet except the title. LOTR was first officially published in Russia only in 1991 and we bought the book immediately, but soon it disappeared (I mean we put it somewhere where we could never find it. Must have intended to put it in a place it would be easier to find it in.It's always like that Ha Ha Ha Smilie )
So the real first contact was when I was a 3rd year student of the University.Somehow it happened that it took place during my exams-session.And although I've always been a good student,I couldn't do anything and didn't put the book down until I finished it.So you imagine my results Orc Grinning Smilie But it was the last thing I was thinking about.
From that moment I never parted with Professor's books.
My first contact with Tolkien was on a beautiful December day, just a few days before Christmas, when I saw "The Lord of the Rings " trilogy in a bookstore. That's when I realized it was the perfect book to read during the magic winter holidays, so... I bought it. I had seen "The Fellowship of the Ring" movie few weeks before that, but there were too many things I hadn't understood from it and which made me curious. Besides that, something kept telling me to start reading that book, enter Tolkien's world, and so I did. This was two years ago, when I was 16.

Now I'm reading LOTR for the third time, still discovering and enjoying the magic and depth of what it is the perfect book for me.

Also, reading "The Silmarillion" was an even more spectacular and spiritually educative experience.

My introduction came in 1967 in boarding school - Grade 9. Two friends were passing notes in Tengwar. When I asked them to teach me how to do it, they insisted that I read the books first. I agreed somewhat reluctantly, but was immediately hooked. I read books 2 and 3 up in a tree in the woods, which added greatly. After that, I read the trilogy annually for about ten years, and maybe 5 times since. Seeing them passing the notes was one of those moments that send you along a major path in life, though you may not realize it at the time.
I started reading The Hobbit and LotR in October of that same year Halbarad.
That was a real hey-day for LotR, as my memory has it. It spawned a lot of counter-culture connections (wonder what JRR thought of that), Bored of the Rings, etc. Unrivaled until the recent movies came out.
You say you began reading both LotR and The Hobbit that October. Concurrently (ha)? I think it was about another year before I turned to The Hobbit.