Hana Shafi One Fandom To Rule Them All*

With the theatrical release of part one of The Hobbit only a little over a week away, Lord of the Rings fans everywhere have been flailing wildly in front of their computers as more and more gifs of Martin Freeman looking amazing as Bilbo Baggins grace the internet. And yes, I’ve done a shit ton of fangirl flailing myself. 

 

For those truly obsessed with Lord of the Rings, such as myself, drawing parallels between Middle Earth and the fellowship to your own life becomes a daily activity, powering the deluded daydream that you are in fact, just a hobbit who happened to be a bit taller than usual. My preferred occupation for men I’d like to date, ranger from the north, duh! 

 

But seriously, what Tolkien gave to his readers was more than just a story, but an entire world. And although that can be said about a numerous amount of popular novels (i.e. Harry Potter, Narnia, etc.), I don’t think anyone did it better than Tolkien. So you’ve got The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Than you’ve got books documenting the entire history of Middle Earth, its folklore, religion, and politics (see The Silmarillion, Children of Hurin, Unfinished Tales). On top of that Tolkien actually CREATED languages. THAT’S RIGHT. Fantasy story-telling doesn’t get more badass than that. We’ve got Elvish of course (split up into different forms of Elvish, yes it’s that intricate), the secret language of the Dwarves, and others like Entish and Orc language (although, Elvish is arguably the only one that was extremely developed, in that you can actually learn it like you would learn any human language). 

 

Because of the sheer complexity and detail used to construct this entire world, Lord of the Rings is one of those stories that I can actually say has no loopholes. Hey, I’d love for you to prove me wrong, but usually the loopholes in question are the ones pointed out by people who’ve seen the movies, but haven’t read the books. I’m also not one of those pretentious fans who think that’s wrong or lazy. The Lord of the Rings are not easy books to read, I struggled to get through them myself. Tolkien was an extremely meticulous writer, so there are parts that are dry as hell, and stories like The Silmarillion almost read like the Bible. But for those hoping to venture into those territories, I encourage you wholeheartedly to do it. Even you’ve seen the movie over 100 times, you will still find the books captivating and enriching. While Peter Jackson did a fantastic job on the movies (maybe one of the best book to movie adaptations ever), there’s no way you could possibly fit all the details packed into the books.

 

The Lord of the Rings is not merely a story on paper, it’s a story that’s literally alive. These are characters and concepts that are so intricately moulded that you can’t help but feel that they had some place in history. Of course, even as a fan I can admit there are problematic aspects to the books. The course of events and geographical mapping of Middle Earth can be compared to the actual geopolitics of the time, which in turn shows that some groups were depicted from a racist point of view, an issue which should be acknowledged. The strong Christian undertones may be hard to swallow for some less religious or atheist/agnostic readers like myself. But my love for Lord of the Rings has been nurtured through its role as a purely fantastical tale that was always present in my childhood and continues to be relevant today.


All fans of The Hobbit, now is probably the time to start constructing your dwarf or hobbit costumes for the midnight premier. Men with big beards, please, for the sake of all the fans, braid that shit and be a kick ass dwarf. Now go on the internet and flail some more. 

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