"No way," I said to my older brother who recommended TheLord of the Ringstrilogy as a great read. "I'm not into that weirdo counterculture stuff like you and the other hippies are."
"No way," I said to my school friend who recommended TheLord of the Rings trilogy as a great read. "I'm not into silly fantasy stuff about elves and dwarves. Fairy tales are for kids. I prefer to read about Real Life."
But in the mid-1970s in university, I finally succumbed. I guess I had nothing better to read, so I thought "Okay, why not? I'll give it a try."
You know what happened, of course. I was hooked instantly and forever on this marvelous epic tale of Good and Evil and everything in between. I devoured all three huge novels in a frenzy of reading. And when I finished, I was left with that bereft feeling you get when a unique and profound book has come to an end. What was I to do now?
So of course, I immediately turned around and read the trilogy again. I read it for a third time about ten years later, when I was out in the workforce battling my own Saurons, Orcs and Gollums.
Those were the days when we had to rely on our own imaginations to picture the beloved Lord of the Rings (LOTR) characters. Merchandising was pretty scarce and no internet existed to connect the fandom. I had this classic 1976 poster by Jimmy Cauty on my wall and bought the occasional Brothers Hildebrandt illustrated calendar, if I could find one.
I went to Ralph Bakshi's terrible 1978 animated movie of the first two novels in the trilogy. It left no lasting impression on me. But Peter Jackson's early 21st century LOTR film trilogy established for me (and everyone else, I suspect) the definitive appearances of all our favourites. I enjoyed his Hobbit trilogy of films as well although, in my opinion, the story was unnecessarily padded out and enhanced with new characters and storylines -- i.e. milked for every last possible penny. One long movie or two shorter ones would have more than sufficed to bring that novel to the screen.