The first Tolkien-books I ever read

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These are the first Tolkien-books I ever read. On the left is The Fellowship of the Ring, and on the right is The Hobbit. They’re in Swedish, and I borrowed them from my dad, or maybe he gave them to me at some point… I’m not even sure anymore (it was quite a long time ago by now). As you can tell from the photo, they are well-worn: at this point, I don’t even know how many times I re-read them. 

My dad read Fellowship, and (I think) The Two Towers to me and my sister when we were very young: probably too young to really appreciate the story. (Though I do remember it, so it did make an impression.) Later on, in my early teens (I think I was 13, or 14) I read The Lord of the Rings myself and it absolutely changed my world. It changed the way I thought about stories: what kinds of stories I wanted to read, and what kinds of stories I wanted to write.

me
The fan-girl.

I still remember laying awake very late at night in my room reading The Return of the King all the way to the end, and crying like a baby when it was over. I just couldn’t stand that the story was over: I wanted to stay in that world. I wanted to stay in Middle-earth. I wanted to stay with those characters. I still feel like that when I re-read the books, even if the feeling isn’t quite as overwhelming as it was back then.

The original translation of The Lord of the Rings into Swedish is rather clunky and unwieldy: I understood this when I eventually read the story in English. Tolkien’s language is beautiful and evocative, and the Swedish translator didn’t really capture that old-fashioned beauty. Still, it did the trick: it turned me into Tolkien fan-girl before I even knew the term “fan-girl”.

 I re-read The Lord of the Rings every year, the Silmarillion every once in a while, and The Hobbit occasionally. But March 25th is Tolkien Reading Day. It’s the date when Sauron was overthrown in The Lord of the Rings, so I guess that’s a good day to celebrate by picking up one of professor Tolkien’s books.

7 Comments

  1. Oh man, I can’t believe you didn’t want that story over. I mean, the world is mind-blowing, but Frodo’s and Sam’s story was so depressing 0.0 That’s not to say I didn’t like your review though; keep it up! 🙂

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    1. But their story is over before the very end, and after that the end is so much happier! 🙂 I think a big part of it for me was just wanting to read more about the people in the story, wanting to meet them, and wanting to see all those places in real life… And that is something I feel every time I read the books, even now.

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      1. Oh yeah! You’re talking about when Sauraman had taken over the Shire and stuff? I had completely forgotten that there was more! That was such an awesome way of showing how much they’d grown! I completely agree with you there! xD

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      2. Yes, the Shire-stuff, and Aragorn’s wedding, and Faramir and Eowyn falling in love, and Galadriel and Elrond travelling with Frodo and the others back home from Minas Tirith… And when they finally set sail from the Grey Havens. All of it! 🙂

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      3. I’m not sure I agree with it being a metaphor for death. It’s accurate because you can’t come back, but the way it’s described in the books, there is an “Elven Home” in the west, that only the Elves (or those who are allowed to go with them, like Bilbo and Frodo) can get to. It’s “outside” the regular world, but I don’t think it’s the same as death, exactly. It’s a kind of heavenlier existence, for sure though.

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      4. Yeah, I could see that. I guess, to me the elf scenes were always so happy and dream-like, sleep’s escape from a world made into a cataclysm by addiction. And so Bilbo’s final voyage to the elvish homeworld sort of seemed like that last, never-ending dream, you know?

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