Tolkien… for a new generation…

There’s just something about watching The Fellowship of the Ring, and having two 10 year-olds commenting on how this or that is “a lot like Harry Potter“. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love the Harry Potter books and movies, despite many years of avoiding them (when you work in a book store, you often avoid what’s popular). But to have The Lord of the Rings picked apart, as if it’s a knock-off of Harry Potter was a bit much.

I’m getting ahead of myself. This evening, I put my Extended Edition DVD of The Fellowship of the Ring into my laptop, and we started to watch. Partway into the first disc, the new cables arrived, which allowed us to plug my laptop into my family’s TV, since my DVDs are the wrong region for their player. And so, we continued.

But I’ve been trying to get the older kids interested in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Unfortunately, the book store didn’t have a copy of The Hobbit, so I bought the graphic novel, for Bea’s birthday. She has started to read her way through it, though I’m unsure of how far she’s gotten. Since then, I’ve requested a copy of it from the library, and still hope to read the story to them. She already has a copy of LOTR, but once upon a time, she tried to read it and didn’t find it interesting. When I asked her about it, she showed me where the bookmark was…. it was in the prologue.

How many people have tried to read LOTR and accidentally read the prologue? I’m pretty sure that’s what I did, when I was little, and in addition, I found the picture of Gollum to be creepy. So, I never read it until I was 21 (in 2001), and I had just watched the first trailer for the new movie. From that time on, I was hooked, and read the books, cover to cover, every year.

It’s strange to me that my girls here… their eldest is ten… and she was born in 2001, the year that The Fellowship of the Ring came into theaters. Crazy to think that it’s now a 10 year-old movie, and I’ve been reading the books and watching the films for that long. And instead, my girls grew up on Harry Potter movies and books. Sigh.

So, I’m doing my best to remedy this, though it’s probably in the wrong order, for some of you. I’d love it if the girls would let me read it to them, but they’re capable of reading on their own, so we’ll see how it goes. If I get them really interested in the story, either from the graphic novel or from the movies, then I can get them to read the books. Doesn’t matter whether I read them aloud or they read them themselves. As long as they get read.

Also, the girls have glimpsed my laptop’s wallpaper (Thorin & the dwarves, from the upcoming movie The Hobbit), or caught me watching the Peter Jackson production videos. So, they’re curious what it is that I’m interested in. And they’ve also discovered that it doesn’t take much to get me to talk about one of my favorite books. Or any books, for that matter.

And even if I find it weird to have the girls comment on the One Ring (“they disappear, like with the Invisibility Cloak!”), the Ring Wraiths (“they’re like Dementors!”), Gandalf the Grey (“is he played by the same guy that plays Dumbledore?”), and numerous other items, after the first half of the movie, they’d stopped the comparisons. I think they’re starting to get hooked into the story, and Bea has recognized references to The Hobbit, which she’s still reading. So, we’ll see if the references to HP go by the wayside, as they realize how far superior Tolkien is to all other fiction.

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