J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy is one of the most exceptional series I will never forget for as long as I live. My love affair with this book started during high school when I first saw the movie, The Fellowship of the Ring. The film just took my breath away, it’s unlike anything I’ve seen before, more so with its terrific special effects is enough eye candy to last me for three hours on end and upon learning, when the ending credits rolled, that this was based on a book I eagerly rushed in our (ever) reliable library early the next morning — making me miss my first period class (Haha! So much for book love!).
But I didn’t plunge on the first book just yet, because I stumbled upon this little book called The Hobbit which, according to the cover of the book I found then, is the prequel of The Lord of the Rings. Having no clue what that word meant, I asked the friendly Ms. B — up to this day I still recall what a sweet and gracious librarian Ms. B is, always there to help and give great book recommendations along the way. I tell you, if you could’ve only met her she’s totally the opposite of the scary, stern librarian cartoons sometimes depict them to be — who patiently explained that this is a book that precedes the earlier work, she even went on to say that I should read this first since this one “is just thin,” and that in just a day or two I can finish it. Took Ms B’s advice I did, because yeah, like every teen my age I balk at books that ran for 400 plus pages at that time appears to me like insurmountable mountains.
I think that was the best book recommendation EVER, because reading The Hobbit initially gave me the proper foundation as I embarked on the long journey to Middle Earth. It was a light, fun read and the maps within the book helped along not only in tracking the characters wherever they are, but also in giving my imagination a boost on how will a particular milieu will look like.
What really captivated me with Tolkien’s masterpiece is the breadth and depth of an imagined world with its sundry races with their exotic languages, populated by creatures benign and wicked and its wild magical system. For me it’s an escape to a lush and believable alternate world I can call mine alone.
So what triggered this trip down memory lane?
This nostalgia was set off when I was at a certain branch of Booksale yesterday and was lucky enough to have a friend (hullo Ruby!) in tow who managed to spot a Special Edition Boxed set of The Lord of the Rings published way back in 1970. For 435 php it’s actually a steal since you’ll be paying more of the said price in comparison to a brand new one. Now I’m heavily debating with myself come January 3, 2011 — Tolkien’s birthday — if I’ll do a LOTR book challenge (actually more of a reread) as a way to commemorate this literary hero of mine, as a way to remember the sheer fun of undertaking a trek to Middle Earth once again, of reliving past adventures and good ole’ times.
In ending here’s a poem, a walking song as Tolkien called it, that Bilbo recited as he sets on his way to Rivendell that deeply reflects my feelings at present:
The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.
Here’s to John Ronald Reuel Tolkien…