I resisted reading Lord of the Rings for a long time. Despite the fact that I was a fantasy lover from the beginning, for some reason I never was interested in reading it. Perhaps it was the crazy covers from the paperback copies we had, but I’m pretty sure it was because I had the misfortune to see the 1977 cartoon version of The Hobbit. Or at least part of it.
My sister had to read The Hobbit for high school. Normally I would read anything my sister read because I was (and am) always looking for the things to read. The Hobbit I had not read. One day she was downstairs watching our videotape copy of the cartoon, which I had frequently noticed sitting amongst our collection of tapes but had never any desire to watch, mainly because of its age. So I wandered downstairs bored while she watched the cartoon walk in on this:
I watched for a few minutes with my mouth hanging open and then walked back upstairs thinking “this? This is what everyone has been telling me I need to read? Absolutely not!” So fast forward a few years to 2001. I’m in high school. Watching TV, I start to see trailers and commercials for Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring. It looks gorgeous. It looks exciting. It looks like something I might enjoy.
So I wandered over to the bookcase and pulled out the battered Ballantine paperback boxset that we have from 1965. I started to read and I was hooked. By the time I made it to the theater a few weeks later to actually see the movie, I was already halfway through The Two Towers.
How thankful I am to Peter Jackson that he loved the books enough to make movies to do the story justice. And to the studio for allowing him to actually make a trilogy and not two movies as was originally planned. I suppose I should also be grateful for the introduction to New Zealand as well. It is now on my list of places I must visit.
I don’t know how many times I’ve read the books; but I’ve had to retire the old paperbacks and buy a new boxset- hardback, this time. The covers, which I love so much now, are ripped and torn. The Fellowship of the Ring is actually held on with duct tape. The Two Towers has clear packing tape along the binding to keep it together. Terrible for the books I’m sure, but necessary for my sentimentality. Even the DVDS I’ve bought are showing signs of wear. I don’t watch the theatrical versions anymore; why would anyone when you could watch the extended editions? As we say at the library where I work, their condition could best be described as “well-loved”.