Plenty of folks are getting all excited about the new versions of J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings coming to the big screen. The first of the three-movie series will be out in a few months, and even now the excitement is just below a boil. When the director released an online trailer last summer the web page attracted something like 17 million hits just in the first week, more than any other trailer ever.
I'm one of those who has seen the trailer, and I agree that the movies look exciting, but there are better ways to anticipate the coming releases than to watch them over and over again. Of course, reading the Lord of the Rings trilogy is one idea. After you're done with those three books, what else is there to do?
Why not try understanding the man behind The Rings? I suggest The Tolkien Reader, a collection of little known writings by J.R.R. The works included are shorter but every bit as good as his more famous material.
The poems in The Tolkien Reader include a couple about Tom Bombadil, a mysterious character from the Rings trilogy. There's also Farmer Giles of Ham, which perceptive readers will compare to The Hobbit. My favorite, however, is an essay by Professor Tolkien entitled On Fairy Stories, in which he explains his philosophy of storytelling and fairy. Fans of medieval literature will also be thrilled to find a translation by Tolkien of a richly entertaining fragment of an Old English epic.
Tolkien was more than just the creator of Gollum. He was an intelligent and broadly educated man who created a wealth of materials for readers to enjoy. Prepare yourself by reading the lesser known material found in The Tolkien Reader and you'll find yourself enjoying the upcomingLord of the Ringss movies even more.