Essay by Emyn

  I knew very little about LOTR before I read it. I'd seen the Bakshi movie as a small
child on TV, and being extremely frightened, vowed to stay away from anything related to it for the rest of
my life. However, the sight of those creepy cartoon Hobbits stayed with me until I went to college and
made friends with a bunch of nice people who just happened to be "Ringers". Occasionally, they would
tell me that I absolutely had to read the books, refusing to tell me what they were about.
Unfortunately, that fear of cartoon orcs was still in the back of my mind. Even my boyfriend at the time
wanted me to read the books. So, I was wandering through the library one day when I finally decided to
look for LOTR. I was a bit confused about which book to start with, so I opened up "The Hobbit" to the
first page. I saw the word "Bilbo", quickly shut the book, and went off to my usual Stephen Crane short
stories full of bravery, sadness, and peril.

A little further on down the road, another boyfriend introduced me to the fantasy novel. For a year, I read
nothing but Terry Goodkind novels, and they reminded me so much of the Norse Mythology I had fell in love
with during High School that I began to read those old tales again. And then I read Beowulf and the Arthurian
Legends for the first time. Also, around that time, the trailer for FOTR was playing on TV...and I finally got a
glimpse of what the books were really about. So I read them all, and I finished ROTK for the first time just a week
before the first movie came out. I got past all of those "silly" hobbit names, past all of those odd assumptions I'd had
long ago, and finally...I knew that I could face those things that I'd been so afraid of as a child. And as I read about
Gandalf and Frodo for the first time, the memory of my Mother holding my hand and telling me not to be afraid
as we watched that ridiculous cartoon came to mind. And sometimes now, because I have read those books, I
find myself holding someone's hand...and telling them not to be afraid, and that I'm there for them.