An Adventure in Tolkien

Somewhere around age 13, my dad handed me a book, and said, “Here, I want to go see this movie, study up.” We were pretty regular moviegoers by then, and I trusted him. He’d read me Harry Potter growing up, and he’d gotten me hooked on DragonLance. This book looked the same–it was a mass market paperback with horrible 70s artwork on the front, and it promised elves. “Okay,” I said, and went about my merry way.

Months later, sitting in a dark theater while Gandalf fell to his “death” with the balrog, I bawled my eyes out. At the end, my dad asked, “Have you read the second one yet?” I was beside myself. “I know he comes back!” I cried, “But it’s still sad!”

Years later, as I was settling firmly into who I was in college, I mustered up a group of friends–nine, to be exact–and asked them if they’d be interested in an all-day marathon. “I mean all day,” I warned them, “It takes 12 hours minimum.” They were game, so I emailed the activities department. I wanted to know if I could borrow the lounge in the student building for a day. “There are nine of us in total, and we need it for thirteen hours.” We’d decided to tack on an hour for meal times, so we’d go from 10AM-11PM. The activities department laughed, thinking I was off my rocker, but said yes. We weren’t kidding. We were there until about 11:15PM.

Fast forward to now, 14 years after the first time I met Frodo and company, and I’m embarking on a new journey. I want to read all of it. My dad once (literally) threw The Silmarillion in the trash. He never bothered with the Unfinished Tales. But Lord of the Rings is something that has settled in my bones and never let go, and so I want it all.

Thus, An Adventure in Tolkien was born. There are four main works published that we all know and love, but there’s so much more outside of that, too. Christopher Tolkien has blessed us with the careful construction of lore from his father’s archives, pulling all the threads together until we have a nearly complete view of what JRR was up to. And so, I’m embarking on all of it. Below are each of the titles, I’ll be reading, which will be updated as reviews are posted. A warning is necessary, I think, about these reviews as they are very long, rambling, full of artwork and memes, and meant to make you laugh a little. But I hope you’ll dive into at least a little of this adventure with me and discover the world of Middle Earth.

Happy birthday Bilbo! 🐉 . I went to a flea market this morning, and scored on a first American edition of Unfinished Tales and a second edition, 11th printing of Lord of the Rings, so I’m feeling pretty festive on this holy day! . #maryreads...
  • LOTR movies
    • includes: Tolkien the movie
  • The Silmarillion
  • Great Tales of the Elder Days
    • includes:
      • The Children of Húrin
      • Beren and Lúthien
      • The Fall of Gondolin
  • The Unfinished Tales
  • The Hobbit
    • includes: all three movies
  • The Fellowship of the Ring
    • includes: second review of movie
  • The Two Towers
    • includes: second review of movie
  • The Return of the King
    • includes: second review of movie
  • The History of Middle Earth
    • includes:
      • The Book of Lost Tales, Part One & Two
      • The Lays of Beleriand
      • The Shaping of Middle Earth
      • The Lost Road and Other Writings
      • The History of the Lord of the Rings, Part One-Four
      • Morgoth’s Ring
      • The War of the Jewels