I was looking around on Amazon for Tolkien related books and came across one that looked pretty interesting. I saw that it had one review, and the reviewer gave it a one star rating. Curious, I scrolled down to see this person’s reasoning and it made me, well, sad. In it the reviewer says “My heart sank when I read in the introduction that the author’s first exposure to Tolkien was through Peter Jackson’s movies.” My heart sank when read this comment. My first exposure to Tolkien was through Peter Jackson’s adaptations and it was the first exposure for many many fans all around the world. It made me sad to remember that there are people who would look down on me for not reading the books first.
Well you know what? I shouldn’t feel bad. I should be able to proudly say that a modern adaptation was the beginning of my love for Tolkien. The movies opened up a new world for me, something the books wouldn’t have been able to do at that time. I was eight when I saw FOTR in theaters and I’m pretty sure if I attempted to read the book before seeing it I wouldn’t get very far. In fact, after watching FOTR I tried to read LOTR. I read all the way up to ROTK and only made it halfway through that book. And I understood very little of the story. All I remember is going up to my dad, very confused, and asking him who Tom Bombadil was.
Once a year after that I tried to tackle LOTR but failed every time. I didn’t even get passed FOTR. The only Tolkien book I could understand was The Hobbit. It wasn’t until I started college that I had a successful read through. What I learned is that you shouldn’t force yourself enjoy something. Even though I couldn’t read the book I knew that one day I would be able to. I liked collecting the books and looking at them knowing they were waiting for me.
It shouldn’t matter how someone becomes interested in something. What’s more important is that someone did get there and that person appreciates it. Being a fan is unnecessarily difficult lately and I don’t like it.
This is my say on the matter, feel free to disagree.