In short, I am a fraud.
I’ve long considered myself a low-key Tolkien fan. The man’s linguistic prowess and world building are aspirational. So is the legacy of his Oxford-based writing clique, the Inklings, whose membership also included the author of The Chronicles of Narnia, C.S. Lewis. You should have seen the look of wonder on my face as, on a trip to Oxford last year, I drifted around The Eagle and Child, the pub where those literary giants used to meet to discuss their latest work.
Aside from my fascination with the Inklings, I love The Hobbit, and Peter Jackson’s film adaptations of The Lord of the Rings are some of my favourite movies. So when my first-year flatmate tried to peer-pressure me into joining my uni’s Tolkien Society, I didn’t take too much convincing.
Despite feeling out of my depth amongst some hardcore fans who know all the people, places, and histories of Middle Earth by heart, I enjoyed the Society and its members. I’m glad I joined. So what’s the problem?
Well, it started at the end-of-year Committee Elections:
Somehow (*cough* nepotism and a very small turnout) I was elected as the new Vice President of the Tolkien Society. As I returned to my seat after the vote, I should have felt excited. Instead, one thought ran through my head: No one knows I haven’t read the books.
Now, I know coming into power with no relevant experience is all the rage in this day and age… Still, call me old-fashioned; I can’t shake the feeling that I ought to do my research.
As Bilbo Baggins says to Frodo in The Fellowship of the Ring, “It’s a dangerous business…going out of your door. You step into the Road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to.”
Well, here’s to being swept off into the Fellowship’s journey.
Are you a Tolkien fan, casual or otherwise? Any favourite moments or characters? Let me know in the comments below!