Posted by: Judy | September 22, 2020

Hobbit Day

Happy Birthday Bilbo and Frodo Baggins!

I read “The Lord of the Rings” in middle school, twice. I bought calendars of art by Hildebrandt. Our little city had a restaurant downtown that had sandwiches like Frodo and Gandalf. Sadly, it’s been gone a long time now.

None of my friends read the book. My siblings read it but never spoke of it. As far as I knew, I was alone in my adoration.

A few movies were made, cartoon varieties. I was disappointed. They took my beloved story, jacked up the title and slid in a pale replica of the story.

Decades past, LOTR continued to hold a corner of my heart. In 2001, I saw ads for a new movie by Peter Jackson. Past experience told me it wouldn’t be the story I loved. Worse, it would stain and tarnish and even ruin the story. I didn’t want to see the movie.

My sister suggested we attend. I demurred. She offered to pay for my ticket. Free movie and popcorn. I agreed but without enthusiasm. I dreaded the mess I anticipated.

The movie opened with a monologue, using Tolkien’s own words. Cool. However, I still anticipated the worst. The story opened on the Shire, and I caught my breath. It was exactly as I’d imagined. It was a pleasant surprise, but my trust isn’t so easily won.

Gandalf’s fireworks startled me. It was the first time in my life that it occurred to me that being “afraid” could be fun. Even the Dark Riders elicited a touch of fear but a little excitement, too. They were so close to what I imagined.

The Prancing Pony and Aragorn were all right, to start. I missed Tom Bombadil but understood that he wouldn’t translate well to the screen. Bill the Pony and Sam beaning Fearney with the apple made up for the loss of Tom. Little details.

I wasn’t happy with Frodo’s encounter with the Witch King on Weathertop.

My distrust continued as I struggled to remember details of the book I hadn’t read in a long time. I knew a scene was coming at the ford before reaching Rivendell. I vividly remembered the water flooding the ford and looking like horses and riders. I decided that if Jackson did okay with it, I’d trust the rest. I almost cried as the water surged in the shape of horses. I forgave the loss of Glorfindel and the addition of Arwen in the wrong place.

I settled in to enjoy the rest of the movie. I loved the movies and watched them over and over and reread the books. I discovered a whole bunch of people who love LOTR, some of whom I’ve been friends with now for almost 20 years. It opened a whole new door to adventure.

9/11 changed me inside, and LOTR helped me discover ways to make changes to match what happened inside. I’m still learning.


  1. That’s the power of literature 👍👍

    • True.

  2. I read The Hobbit in third grade. And then followed with the rest of the trilogy. My sister was really into it and so I thought I’d give it a try. Well I wasn’t a fanatic about it, I can completely understand why people are. He created a world you could really inhabit in your mind :-).

    • 🙂

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