My stories concentrate on the relationships among the hobbits, mostly before or after the Quest, for it is the friendship among Merry, Pippin, Frodo and Sam that most touches me about the books. Not so much the things they did, and brave deeds that they performed-and they most certainly were very brave!- but the love that motivated them to act as they did.
I was raised by an uncle and aunt, for reasons I will not expound upon here. I was given all their love, and in equal measure to the love they gave their natural sons, whom I consider my brothers. Their children consider me their aunt, not their cousin, as technically I am. But even though I knew I was loved and wanted, deep down inside there was still a feeling of rejection, a feeling of not “quite being up to the mark”.
I have come to terms with that now. But the LOTR characters touched me so very much when I first "met" them at age 10 because of their very devotion to each other, to their families, to their homes. Frodo faced his task with trepidation and fear, but because of his love for the Shire (and for the family that he did not know at the time was coming with him!) he was fully prepared to face the road ahead, and destroy the evil Ring that threatened his home. I am also certain it was no hasty decision on Merry and Pippin’s part to join their cousin on his quest. After all, they too had families that they loved, and friends that they had to leave behind. But because they loved Frodo, and their homes, they too followed him to parts unknown. And Sam..dear Sam, his devotion and loyalty to Frodo goes without any poor elaboration on my part.
Then, of course, the friendship that grew between Legolas and Gimli…Aragorn’s concern for Merry and Pippin that drove him to seek their rescue from the Uruk-Hai, even though it meant leaving Sam and Frodo to push on ahead without guidance…too many to recount here.
But it is just these relationships, these deep and abiding friendships, the love among cousins and best friends…these are what make these books so special to me. When I first read the books when I was young, when my life was more unsettled, I could not help but sigh and think, “What must it be like to have somebody love you that much?”
A few years ago, I could not write stories as I do now. I had yet to accept the fact that I was loved, and dearly loved, for myself, and therefore could not reach out in such a way to show how I could understand how it was possible. But now I can…and I am glad that in some small way I have succeeded in showing that I do. My family does not understand my love for LOTR- but they do love and understand me, and that is fine with me.
But I suppose also what makes the books dearer to me now, are the wonderful friends I’ve met here at the boards- my own Merry, Pippin, Frodo and Sam, many, many times over.Thank you for listening.