My relationship with Tolkien

I'd to take some time to answer a few of the posed questions regarding my experience with LotR....

Here's my Tolkien history. I watched the first movie at the cinema and this was my first experience of Tolkien. I loved it. I then read the books, and loved them too. I then, like you guys, had to wait patiently for the other movies to be made, and watched them both on release day (or at least weekend). I have since read the Hobbit - and, of course, am eagerly anticipating the film. I think Martin Freeman is the perfect cast for the young Bilbo. I would have loved del Toro to have directed; I was pretty amazed by the world he created in Pan's Labyrinth, so would have been interesting to see what he would have made of Middle Earth.

Finally, I have seen bits of the animated version of LotR as it keeps showing on one of the channels here in the UK. I haven't watched it all, mind you; I really struggle to take it seriously with some of the voices (Sam and Gollum have me in stitches, which I'm sure is not the intention!).

Zhie asked which I prefer - the books or the films? As with almost all books I've read that have been turned into movies, I'd have to say I prefer the books. You just get more detail, and the story is complete - no need for editing or exposition.

Another question was which is my favourite of the books - I can't say - I read them all in one go, so it felt to me like one volume, really. Of the films, which I watched one at a time - I'd probably go with Two Towers - after reading the books I remember this being something I was really looking forward to seeing visualised (mainly Treebeard and the Ents.....).

As to a favourite character? I'd probably plump with Sam. Why? Barazinbar asked which character are you most like and I'd say it would have to be one of the Hobbits. I grew up in rural England, and have since moved to various towns and cities - and I always identified with the way the Hobbits talked about 'The Shire' and 'home' - talking amongst themselves about the various pubs and bridges and fields and the characters they know from The Shire - much like I have done with my friends about the village I grew up in. In many ways Sam is the true hero of the stories.

As to my thoughts on fan fiction and fandom. After watching the films and reading the books, I did think about what would happen next - but to be honest, I never thought once about trying to conceive a story of my own - I have never written any fiction (I'm not sure where to start, and I guess there is a real fear of failure/embarrassment) or seeking out any fan-fiction, at lest not until recently. I think there was always a concern for me that it would disappoint. I really want to give NaNoWriMo a try this November to challenge myself and to get writing.

So, I guess in summary I'd say I'm a fan, but just not a super-fan like some of you might be. It's just something I've not really gotten into.

Indeed I should! There are some things I've wanted to discuss with LotR fans (which I'm sure you guys have, at length) - the biggest one being that I thought the biggest flaw with films, in my opinion, was how easy it seemed for the Army of the Dead to sweep through the armies of Mordor. Being so wise and all, Gandalf and Elrond should have thought of it earlier! I'm sure you guys know the answer to that and will shoot me to pieces....but hey, we're here to learn and enjoy discussing topics with one another.

So that's my frank and honest account of my relationship with Tolkien and the world of LotR. Perhaps you're disappointed that I'm not a complete LotR geek and that the site is now in the wrong hands. I could certainly see how it would be beneficial to have more knowledge.

Thankfully though, Adora and I will be working together as a team, and also absolutely wish to use all of your knowledge and experience too. As Adora mentioned in a previous discussion, the site was started by her only after having watched the movies - so evidence shows that complete cannon knowledge isn't a prerequisite for creating and building a great community.

I'm not a world expert on Winnie the Pooh, but have managed to build one of the most beautiful, content rich and relevant Winnie the Pooh content sites on the Internet - one that has been enjoyed thoroughly by its users, and has received accolade from Disney and others - all with the support and guidance of its fans (and yes, I'm fully aware the differences between that and LotRFF are great). I now know quite a lot about Winnie the Pooh and I'm sure my knowledge of LotR is only set to rapidly grow too.

--Keith Mander on 03/07/11 - 02:39 pm 10 Comments

My relationship with Tolkien I the only one whose brain immediately jumped to 'wonder if anyone would read Keith/Tolkien slash'? Probably.

Okay. Back to the srs bsns.

As to my thoughts on fan fiction and fandom. After watching the films and reading the books, I did think about what would happen next - but to be honest, I never thought once about trying to conceive a story of my own - I have never written any fiction (I'm not sure where to start, and I guess there is a real fear of failure/embarrassment) or seeking out any fan-fiction, at lest not until recently. I think there was always a concern for me that it would disappoint. I really want to give NaNoWriMo a try this November to challenge myself and to get writing.

And that right there is, I think, the biggest hurdle you have, and possibly the one you will be unable to overcome. If you are not a reader, and are not a writer, then you are not 'one of us'. That is not necessarily the concern on a larger multi-fandom archive, but think of this place as more of a mom-and-pop vs. a shopping mall. People came here because of what it was (is?), not hoping for it to become something else.

Some years ago, I was in the midst of a joint venture on something called DreamElf. Part of what we thought was going to really attract people in the fandom was the glamor and glitz of everything I could make a site do with my technical background. Fanfic, fanart, social networking -- all sorts of stuff.

The problem was... people in this fandom like simple. We hug trees, and talk to them. We wear capes and full costume sometimes when we go out in public and stop in a pub. We teach ourselves archaic crafts -- we hand-sew our own heraldic banners, fletch our own arrows, make our own jewelry, buy and use items that do not allow for modern convenience but use because we can pretend we're in the Shire or Rivendell or Gondolin.

We are Hobbits, we are Elves, we are Free-folk -- we enjoy a pint and a good smoke, and tales with friends, and we will sit in the Hall of Fire and listen to 'that damned balrog story' again and again because... if we knew how to get to Middle-earth, most of us would be there already.

Technology may have brought most of us together, but its hardly the force that drives us.

P.S. You still haven't decided on a favorite Elf-lord of Gondolin.

P.P.S. Re: NaNoWriMo - I challenge you to write a Middle-earth/Twilight/Winnie-the-Pooh crossover fanfic. At 50,000 words, I'm sure it will be epic.

Bonus points if you can use goats in it.

- Zhie on 06/07/11 - 11:32 pm
I never thought once about trying to conceive a story of my own - I have never written any fiction (I'm not sure where to start, and I guess there is a real fear of failure/embarrassment) ... I really want to give NaNoWriMo a try this November to challenge myself and to get writing.

Am I the only one to pick up on the duplicity of this statement? You've never written fiction, don't know where to start, never thought about it before, but out of the blue you're going to participate in NaNoWriMo?? Good luck with that.
- Soc Kemhard on 07/07/11 - 09:25 pm
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