Thursday, January 3, 2013
In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit
Dear Professor Tolkien,
Congratulations on your twelvity-first birthday. Though I am over one hundred years younger than you, I have admired your works and wisdom for several years. My first introduction to your work came with The Hobbit, now adapted into three feature films. When I reached high school, I moved on to The Lord of the Rings because my class was taking so long to read The Hobbit.
Since then, I've gone on to read The Silmarillion, Unfinished Tales, The Children of Hurin, most of The History of Middle-earth, and The Adventures of Tom Bombadil.
Of works not set in Arda, I have enjoyed stories ranging from "Roverandom" to "Leaf by Niggle," but one of my favorite stories is "Smith of Wooton Major." Something about that tale moves me in a strange way that other works, even good ones, fail to do. I also enjoy your nonfiction, such as "On Fairy-Stories" and the volumes of your letters.
I also appreciate your friendship with C.S. Lewis. Without you, we wouldn't have the Chronicles of Narnia or any of his apologetic works. God obviously set you both in each other's path not only for your own benefit, but for the literary enjoyment of millions. It is one of my great disappointments of my trip to Oxford that I was unable to visit your grave.
Your works will always have a special place in my heart as the first fantasy I deliberately sought out. The first book I remember reading was The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, as my mom was reading it too slowly, but I read The Lord of the Rings and Silmarillon because I wanted to explore more of this world while waiting for everyone else to catch up. No matter how much modern writers try to emulate your works, none will ever surpass the dedication and time put into your work.
a grateful fantasy fan.