The Lord of the Rings taught me to read.
Well, not really. I was in the second grade when my babysitter Bernadette started reading The Hobbit to me. I was fascinated by the adventures of Bilbo and the dwarves, so much that I couldn’t get enough of it. I was hooked. Not on phonics, but on fantasy. When too much time lapsed between babysitting sessions, I ended up picking it up and starting to puzzle it out on my own. My grandmother bought me the trilogy that summer and I worked my way through it during a long, hot Kansas summer. After that, I reread it every few years while looking for other books that scratched the fantasy itch: Lewis, Moorcock, Lovecraft, Thomas Burnett Swann. I reread it for a class called Fantastic Christianity in high school (yes, I did go to the local Catholic high school, which is a story for another time), which led me to reading more about Tolkein’s life and his contemporaries.
When Peter Jackson’s movie came out, I wasn’t optimistic. I’d seen too many other favorites destroyed by the translation to the screen. But Jackson’s trilogy, while not perfect, managed to capture the flavor that I loved so well.
This week the Blu-ray versions of the three Lord of the Rings movies are released and we’ve partnered with the Lord of the Rings site for a very special giveaway for you: a Lord of the Rings gift pack that includes all three movies on Blu-ray disc, two bookmarks, a New Zealand jade necklace, a deck of Lord of the Ring playing cards, a travel candle (for those late nights reading by candlelight) and a movie poster. On September 21st, we’ll pick one of the commenters on this post to send this package of goodies to, so get your comment in by midnight EST, September 20th.
Tell us something about your experience with the books – how did you find them, how did they shape your reading, what did they lead you to? What did you love (or hate) about the movie? What books and movies would other LotR fans enjoy?