1. What draws you to Tolkien's stories? (The characters, the quests, the themes, the worlds, etc.) ~ Since my father’s periodically read them aloud ever since I was little they’ve always been a part of me (hence, I don’t tend to think hard on it that often), but when reading them myself again last year I connected on a whole new level with Tolkien’s mastery of both character and language.
2. What was the first Middle Earth book you read and/or movie you saw? What did you think of it? ~ Honestly, I don’t remember. I know the first I read aloud myself was The Hobbit and I liked it quite well that first time (and still do), but never quite as much as the LOTR. :)
3. Name three of your favorite characters and tell us why you like them. ~ Noting that this is very kindly three of my favorites (thank you, Hamlette!), I’ll say Faramir, Merry, and Pippin. I highlighted quite a few of the reasons about Faramir in a post here. As for Merry and Pippin… in all the pain and uncertainties and wild adventures and joys of their quest, they grow to full maturity—becoming, really, ‘more of themselves’—their wit growing keen and their hearts readied for kings service. Such a breathtaking picture! (Not to mention that they’re excellent company. ;))
4. Are there any secondary characters you think deserve more attention? ~ Maybe Celeborn? At least in the LOTR, we’re given so few details and I always wonder about him.
5. What Middle Earth character do you relate to the most? ~ Oh, this is a hard one! This last time I was closely identifying with Pippin, I think, particularly near the end, and also Merry. And—actually—Aragorn, which was completely and entirely unexpected and thoroughly wonderful.
6. If you could ask Professor Tolkien one Middle Earth-related question, what would you like to ask him? ~ I’d like to know if (for him) things were ever not working out and lining up. Was he ever frustrated during the writing process? I know he must have been at some time or other… When and where did he get stuck? It would be so fascinating to hear firsthand how the characters developed in his own mind as he went along. :)
7. Are there any pieces of Middle Earth merchandise you would particularly like to own, but don't? ~ Mixing in with the gorgeous landscape pictures, I’ve also been illustrating this post with paintings from a talented artist I found via Pinterest (who sells his work on Etsy) and, seriously...
It’s the first one I found and it’s on my Christmas wish list (for any of you out there who might be interested in such information ;)).
And also a dark green, handcrafted mug with gold lettering twining up and round it with this quote (highlighted also below as #7): “…in the wizard’s face he saw at first only lines of care and sorrow; though as he looked more intently he perceived that under all there was a great joy: a fountain of mirth enough to set a kingdom laughing, were it to gush forth.”
Or this one:
8. What battle would you absolutely not want to be part of? ~ The battles in ROTK have such an epic feel—darkness and despair and the coming of light—that I would actually rather experience them if called upon to live through to the glory and joy on the other side. Perhaps because it’s described in such detail—or just because it’s the first I remember hearing about—I’ve always thought The Battle of Five Armies in The Hobbit particularly disagreeable.
9. Would you rather eat a meal at Rivendell or Bag End? ~ Since I’m feeling like eggs and bacon and Suchlike Substantial Fare at the moment… Bag End. Truthfully, though, I’ve always wished I could be in on the supper at Farmer Maggot’s. :) And also, it's not because elvish food would be insubstantial. Far from it. It would be a feast of flowing wines and graciously rich dishes. (Incidentally, somehow I can’t imagine feeling overfull after having eaten of elven food. Satisfied and thoughtful, perhaps, but no indigestion.)
10. List up to ten of your favorite lines/quotes from the books or movies. ~
#1: “All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.” – FOTR
#2: “Their farewells had been said in the great hall by the fire, and they were only waiting now for Gandalf, who had not yet come out of the house. A gleam of firelight came from the open doors, and soft lights were glowing in many windows. Bilbo huddled in a cloak stood silent on the doorstep beside Frodo. Aragorn sat with his head bowed to his knees; only Elrond knew fully what this hour meant to him. The others could only be seen as grey shapes in the darkness. Sam was standing by the pony, sucking his teeth, and staring moodily into the gloom where the river roared stonily below; his desire for adventure was at its lowest ebb.” – FOTR
#3: “Then came the voice of Faramir close behind. ‘Let them see!’ he said. The scarves were removed and their hoods thrown back, and they blinked and gasped.
“They stood on a wet floor of polished stone, the doorstep, as it were, of a rough-hewn gate of rock opening dark behind them. But in front a thin veil of water was hung, so near that Frodo could have put an outstretched arm into it. It faced westward. The level shafts of the setting sun behind beat upon it, and the red light was broken into many flickering beams of ever-changing colour. It was as if they stood at the window of some elven-tower, curtained with threaded jewels of silver and gold, and ruby, sapphire and amethyst, all kindled with an unconsuming fire.” – TTT
#4: “…As he went by the cave-mouth he saw that the Curtain was now become a dazzling veil of silk and pearls and silver thread: melting icicles of moonlight.” – TTT
#5: “It’s saying a lot too much,” said Frodo, and he laughed, a long clear laugh from his heart. Such a sound had not been heard in those places since Sauron came to Middle-earth. To Sam suddenly it seemed as if all the stones were listening and the tall rocks leaning over them. But Frodo did not heed them; he laughed again. “Why, Sam,” he said, “to hear you somehow makes me as merry as if the story was already written. But you’ve left out one of the chief characters: Samwise the stouthearted. ‘I want to hear more about Sam, dad. Why didn’t they put in more of his talk, dad? That what I like, it makes me laugh. And Frodo wouldn’t have got far without Sam, would he, dad?’”
“Now, Mr. Frodo,” said Sam, “you shouldn’t make fun. I was serious.”
“So was I,” said Frodo, “and so I am. We’re going on a bit too fast. You and I, Sam, are still stuck in the worst places of the story, and it is all too likely that some will say at this point: ‘Shut the book now, dad; we don’t want to read any more.’”
“Maybe,” said Sam, “but I wouldn’t be one to say that. Things done and over and made into part of the great tales are different. Why, even Gollum might be good in a tale, better than he is to have by you, anyway.” – TTT
#6: Even as Pippin gazed in wonder the walls passed from looming grey to white, blushing faintly in the dawn; and suddenly the sun climbed over the eastern shadow and sent forth a shaft that smote the face of the City. Then Pippin cried aloud, for the Tower of Ecthelion, standing high within the topmost wall, shone out against the sky, glimmering like a spike of pearl and silver, tall and fair and shapely, and its pinnacle glittered as if it were wrought of crystals; and white banners broke and fluttered from the battlements in the morning breeze, and high and far he heard a clear ringing as of silver trumpets.” - ROTK
#7: “You did indeed!” said Gandalf, laughing suddenly; and he came and stood beside Pippin, putting his arm about the hobbit’s shoulders, and gazing out the window. Pippin glanced in some wonder at the face now close beside his own, for the sound of that laugh had been gay and merry. Yet in the wizard’s face he saw at first only lines of care and sorrow; though as he looked more intently he perceived that under all there was a great joy: a fountain of mirth enough to set a kingdom laughing, were it to gush forth.” – ROTK
#8: “But Aragorn smiled. ‘It will serve,’ he said. ‘The worst is now over. Stay and be comforted!’ Then taking two leaves, he laid them on his hands and breathed on them, and then he crushed them, and straightway a living freshness filled the room, as if the air itself awoke and tingled, sparkling with joy. And then he cast the leaves into the bowls of steaming water that were brought to him, and at once all hearts were lightened. …But Aragorn stood up as one refreshed, and his eyes smiled as he held a bowl before Faramir’s dreaming face.
“…Suddenly Faramir stirred, and he opened his eyes, and he looked on Aragorn who bent over him; and a light of knowledge and love was kindled in his eyes, and he spoke softly. ‘My lord, you called me. I come. What does the king command?’
‘Walk no more in the shadows, but awake!’ said Aragorn. ‘You are weary. Rest a while, and take food, and be ready when I return.’” – ROTK
Thank you for the excellent questions, Hamlette! ;)
And everyone, be sure to join in the festivities. I'd love to see your tag answers!