September 22 is marked by Tolkien fans as “Hobbit Day” and the start of “Tolkien Week”. It is an obscure little “holiday”, one that sadly does not involve free doughnuts for dressing up as a hobbit (it should), but marks the start movie marathons for some, and a season of cozy reading for others. It first was deemed a holiday in 1978 by The American Tolkien Society in honor of the beloved and iconic author, poet and scholar, John Ronald Raul Tolkien.
Whether or not you like the works of Tolkien, dear reader, the impact that his works have had on the literary world—especially the fantasy genre—is immense. Yet there are plenty of scholars, students and other various experts who have written in pretty prose far better facts and thoughts on the man.
This is a far more personal tale, the introduction to my first and still favorite of fandoms.
It was September 22, my family and I had spent the last nine months waiting excitedly for the new edition to our family. I was going to be a big sister for the first time to a new little brother and looked forward to the jobs of feeding, burping and most importantly, reading bedtime stories.
I grew up with parents who loved to collect books and read to me regularly. Our family outings were frequent trips to Barnes & Noble, and my world consisted of Dr. Seuss, “Little Critter,” “Frog & Toad” and, of course, watching “Reading Rainbow.” I could not wait to pass on this passion— had I had been allowed in the delivery room, I probably would have started reading “Green Eggs & Ham” as soon as the doctor cut the cord. I was 4 years old and very excitable.
However, as all adventure stories go—there is often an upset. In this case, my new young brother was born handicapped due to birth complications. The doctors were not sure if he was going to make it and we were devastated by the news. The next few weeks were spent frequently visiting the NICU and sitting in the waiting room for doctor visits. During this sobering time, I slept on the floor of my parents’ room for our mutual comfort. That was when a strange, short man haunted by a creepy monster caught my eye.
The book was from an anniversary box set which had been given by a old friend of my dad’s. They thought a bit of healthy escapism might help get his mind off the struggles at hand. Now, I had seen some various and strange book covers growing up; my dad was an ardent fan of science fiction anthologies. However, there was something that drew me to that book he was reading—perhaps it was the short man’s clothes, the strange writing on the bottom or the cover, or the odd title itself. Whatever the case, I started sneaking this book (and later, its fellows) off the shelf just to stare at the cover and attempt to read the back.
The first year of trials passed, my little brother miraculously began to recover and defy the odds, but was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy. Though he remains dependent on us to this day, he’s passionate about music and movies—and we love him for his joy, naiveté and enthusiasm he embodies in a far-from-perfect world.
As for the little girl, once her dad finished the series, she continued to sneak into his office at times to swipe and stare at those strange, but enthralling covers (often with a flashlight while he was napping in his easy chair). Yes, dear reader, they are considered horribly laughable, campy, and cringe-worthy by many a fan…but to this kid, they were magic. Those silly covers alone beckoned to me like a cantankerous and lovable wizard, waiting for someone to “share an adventure,” and the movies that would follow in the next few years would whisk me out along that road to lands far away...
“Little Fangirl”, by (Author)
“The Hobbit” by J.R.R Tolkien, CollectTolkien.com