I remember the first time I entered the world of Middle-earth. I was twelve or thirteen and noticed an interesting little yellow book on my mother’s shelf. I’m not entirely sure if she ever read it or not—as that kind of book was not what I remember her reading. But I asked if I could read it and eagerly dove in. At that age I don’t believe I was even aware there was a sequel to the book. But from the first few moments I was hooked.
Fantasy literature isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, and all books in the genre of fantasy are not created equal. Few rise to the level of art achieved by J.R.R. Tolkien. His books, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, are among the most widely read in the English language. And like countless readers of Tolkien before me, I found the world he crafted to be enchanting and alluring.
Tolkien’s world, the land of Middle-earth, is a place readers long to return to. Yet spending time in Middle-earth is not an exercise in futility or a way to check out of the here and now. In an ironic fashion, Tolkien’s world inspires noble efforts in the real world, and calls us all to live better and nobler lives.
Tolkien scholar Devon Brown, elaborates on this quality of Tolkien’s works:
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
“Tolkien’s classic quest is interpreted through the wider lens of his full Middle-Earth works.”