Thursday, March 23, 2017

25 Days of LOTR - Day 23

How the Lord of the Rings has Affected Me Over the Years

I've shared before how I came to be involved in Lord of the Rings, and anyone who reads this blog will be able to tell that I have a deep passion for studying it, a love of it's complexity and dimension, and that I adore spending my time thinking about it and analyzing the work.

This post is a very short summary of how The Lord of the Rings affects me today.  I'm sure there are many more ways, some of which I don't want to explain because they're a bit too complex, and others that I probably don't even notice.  But here are some clear ways that I can see a little bit of Middle-earth seeping into my life years after I first encountered it.

animal, cozy, cup

As you may know, I've been around the Lord of the Rings my whole life, but it wasn't until around a few years ago when I first started middle school that I seriously got into it.  That's when I first read the Silmarillion and was swept away by it.

I know there are a lot of people who are obsessive at the middle school age, and that definitely was a great definition of me.  The truth is that I still get very obsessed with things, usually for short spurts of excitement.  Recent examples of this may be The Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables, The Office, etc.

Woman in Sunglasses on Grey Scale Photo

While I still love all those things, I am not completely obsessed with them anymore.

But the thing is, it has been years and years since I first got into Lord of the Rings, and while my compulsive devotion to it has worn off, it took much much longer, and it left a much deeper impact on me than most things I get obsessed with normally do.

The Lord of the Rings is not only a series that I loved to read (and still do) and movies I loved to watch.

The Lord of the Rings brought me a little closer to my family, particularly my older siblings who don't live with me anymore.  I felt like I was involved in "big kid stuff" when I would talk to them about it when I was younger, and we still like to watch them together and discuss them.

My sister and I love to play our Lord of the Rings medley on piano and violin, and my brother and I discuss the books and their medieval influence all the time.  My sister-in-law and I both love to analyze texts and so we are constantly sending each other links written about the Lord of the Rings.  My other sister and I like to play the Lord of the Rings video games and my brother-in-law loves the movies too.

Group of People Sitting on Green Grass Field during Daytime

The Lord of the Rings community introduced me to a whole area of literature discussion I hadn't run into before.  When I first became really engrossed in the world of Middle-earth, I loved to read, but I wasn't a lit-fanatic.  I would look up Lord of the Rings podcasts or videos, and find all sorts of materials--The Tolkien Professor Podcast in particular--that completely blew my mind and brought it to a whole new level.  Suddenly, there were themes and ideas I could find in The Lord of the Rings and then find in other books and more classics and more and more....

beach hat, beautiful, book

The Lord of the Rings introduced me to a love of language.  When I looked deeper into the Lord of the Rings, I found all sorts of linguistic influences, since Professor Tolkien was a philologist.  As I looked more and more into language, I could find different patterns and rhythms, and it really intrigued me.  I love to learn languages and I love that you can get words in certain languages that you really cannot translate and can't understand unless you understand the language.  It makes preserving these words and their meanings important and something I would like to look into.

Bible Verse Text

The Lord of the Rings introduced me to medieval lit and other classics.  Without looking into Tolkien's inspirations, I probably never would have picked up Beowulf or Le Mort d'Arthur, or any of the other medieval works that Tolkien sort of brought back into the spot light, at least for me.  Today, medieval literature is one of my favorite categories of lit if not my absolute favorite.

Brown Stone Castle Under Blue Sky

So even if my complete obsession with memorizing Elvish and the topography of Middle-earth has worn off a little bit, I think that it left a lasting impression and a very deep sense of gratitude.  Without finding The Lord of the Rings, I never would have been introduced to this whole vast place with literature and writers, philologists, and classics.  Who knows where I would be now without all that influence!

I love The Lord of the Rings, and I always will.  I may not be reading it every day anymore, but it still influences my every day life in sometimes indirect ways.  Thank you to my siblings for introducing me to the stuff, and thank you to Professor Tolkien for writing such a masterpiece!  It's truly changed my life and affected who I have become since I read it.

How has The Lord of the Rings influenced your life?  Where do you think you'd be if you'd never encountered it?


  1. I was the same way, obsessive about LOTR in junior high but not so much now. I still absolutely love it, of course, and Tolkien has influenced me a ton. A few examples of how he's inspired me are my fantasy novels, the Tolkien magazine I run (writing articles for it gave me extra practice with essays which is awesome considering I'm starting college next fall), and my love for filmmaking (my friend made a fanfilm of FOTR which led me to make a fanfilm of The Hobbit which led to me getting interested in all that). I've even made new friends because we discovered a shared love for Middle-earth. There are probably other, subtler, influences too.

    I can't even imagine where I'd be if I'd never read LOTR, it's so much a part of me now. All I know is I'd probably still be writing historical novels. :D