Submitted Date 10/27/2020

Tell Me A Story...

Write about a beloved book, and relive your memories of time spent entranced by a wonderful story.

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Did you have a favorite book growing up? One that you read over and over? For me, it was J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit. Yes, there were some books a little less complicated that I enjoyed, but none of them inspired my imagination as much as the story of a little Hobbit who went on a grand adventure far from home.

My first exposure to Bilbo Baggins was the cartoon that I would watch over and over again. My mom would take me to the local library, and I would check out the filmstrip and projector. I would sit on the floor of my bedroom and project the movie onto my closet door and just sit in awe as I watched. I loved Gandalf back then, thought Bilbo was cool, and wished I had a dwarf king to hang out with.

When I was about seven, someone in my family – I don't remember if it was my parents or my sister – gave me a boxed set of books. It was The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I still own that box set, but I no longer read that copy of The Hobbit. I'm fairly sure if I were to pick it up today, the pages would fall out. It is a well-loved version that has a permanent spot on my bookshelf.

My daughter Caitlyn was two when Fellowship of the Rings came out in theaters. She was about four when Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl came out, old enough to get her first celebrity crush on Orlando Bloom. She wanted to watch everything he was in. So, like a good mother with a love of sci-fi and fantasy, I introduced her to Legolas Greenleaf. Another fan was born.

By the time she was eight, she was reading The Hobbit on her own. Her favorite character? Kili. Or Dain Ironfoot, depending on her mood and if she needs to take out her anger on a "faithless Woodland sprite."

As I have gotten older, I have realized that Gandalf is definitely not the tottering old wizard he seems. And not as innocent as he makes people think. Or as cool. He had his own agenda for convincing Thorin to retake Erebor. He knew what was coming, that Sauron was not completely vanquished from Middle Earth. He knew the role Bilbo Baggins would play in the recovery of the one ring. My own D&D role-playing has helped me see that wizards, in general, are a conniving breed of their own. Feel different? Fight me.

I loved the movies – both The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings (you can fight me on that too!) - and while Peter Jackson took some creative license, they, to me, did not diminish the joy I felt the first time I cracked open the book and read the words:

"In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit."


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