I'm finishing this post just a few hours away from another 'milestone' in the Tolkien global fandom: the world premiere of "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" in the Middle of Middle-earth (a.k.a. Wellington, NZ) on November 28, 2012.
So in anticipation of another exciting adventure into Middle-earth, below is my own personal timeline into Tolkien's wonderful imagination. First, though, the publication dates of Tolkien's most well-known books:
- 1937 — The Hobbit
- 1954-1955 — The Lord of The Rings (three volumes)
- 1977 — The Silmarillion (published posthumously)
Now to my own 'unexpected journey' into Middle-earth...
- 1985 — we moved from Jakarta to Los Angeles, California. I entered the American school system as an 8
thgrader in Junior High.
- 1986 — my first encounter with Tolkien's works was initiated by The Hobbit. An abridged version of it was given to my freshman (9th grade) English class as a reading assignment and we also listened to the audio 'play' (I think it was the BBC version). Smitten, and wanting to know more about Middle-earth and its inhabitants, I bought a boxed paperback set containing The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. Plus, to complete my immersion into the cosmology and the long history of Arda (the 'universe' in which Middle-earth is set), I also purchased The Silmarillion.
|My first Tolkien books. Yup, still have them after over 25 years and moving to the other side of the globe.|
- 1986-1999 — I read all my Tolkien collection and re-read them intermittently throughout these long years. I escaped to Middle-earth quite often. I even rented the only 'movie' versions of those books available at the time, both produced in the late '70s: the Rankin/Bass animation "The Hobbit" and Ralph Bakshi's rotoscoped (and half-finished!) "LOTR". Those were ... underwhelming. And weird. Other than my brother, I didn't know any other person or friend who was 'into' Tolkien. Not in high school, not in college, not in any social or professional circles. I refer to this lengthy period as my 'solitude' in my own Tolkien geekdom (I was perfectly content in my isolation, mind you). But then, something was developing in the real world that would break this solitude and changed all stripes of geekdoms forever: the INTERNET.
- 1999 — rumor grew that a director named Peter Jackson would make the "Lord of the Rings" live-action movies. Oooh! Finally, someone had taken up this task! A few websites that explored this popped up. I started checking one site regularly: TheOneRing.net. TORn, as it's known among its followers, seemed to have the best 'insider' info on this development, with 'spies' in a tiny country far, far away where the LOTR movies were being made: New Zealand. (By the way, TORn is still the best!) In addition to finding out as much as possible about this movie production, I also had a revelation: there were others like me! There were so many others who loved Middle-earth as much as I did, if not more! I was NOT alone! I had found my (virtual) Tolkien community! So glad to know that I wasn't the only one obsessing about this...
- December 2001 — "LOTR: The Fellowship of the Ring" debuted. To watch this long-anticipated film I had asked my boyfriend to accompany me. He had never heard of Tolkien, hobbits or Middle-earth prior to this. But, being a good boyfriend in a relationship that was just several months old at the time, he obliged (at least I didn't torture him with a 'chick flick'!). After the movie was over, I asked if he liked it (I knew LOTR:FOTR would be quite confusing for those who weren't familiar with the books. The story was incomplete, after all.). He said yes, he did (... maybe he said it just to please his Tolkien-obsessed girlfriend ... hmm....). So then and there, I asked him to be my 'date' again for the continuation "LOTR: The Two Towers", which was still one year away. He said yes again.
- December 2002 — "LOTR: The Two Towers" debuted. Yes, I watched it with the same boyfriend ... but this time he had become my fiancé (I knew he was a keeper when he accepted my obsessiveness with all things Middle-earth. Ehm.). We were just several weeks away from our wedding in January 2003.
- December 2003 — "LOTR: The Return of the King" debuted. We watched the completion of the LOTR movie trilogy as husband and wife. *awww...*
- January 2008 — My husband and I returned to Jakarta, Indonesia. By this time, our family had grown to include two young children. All my Tolkien-related collection had been shipped ahead in a container along with our other stuff from Los Angeles to Jakarta.
- December 2011 — a decade (!) after LOTR:FOTR premiered and Tolkien geekdom has exploded into a global phenomenon, Bern and I commemorated by introducing the Professor's tales to the next generation: our sons who were 7 and almost 5 at the time. As a family we watched my collection of the LOTR Trilogy Extended Version DVDs over a couple of weekends.
- December 2012 — we'll be watching "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" in the theater with our boys!