I have recently began the quest of reading “The Lord of the Rings,” and I know I’m a bad member of the western world for not having finished it earlier. But honestly, I’m glad I didn’t. I wasn’t ready for it in High School. I am now far enough removed from High School to admit all of the things I did not understand and was not ready for.
Now that I am older and more mature Now that I am not in High School, what was once an arduous task is now a joy and treasure. I warned my friends when I restarted the books that I was very likely to become one of those Lord of the Rings fans. And it’s very quickly becoming true. I have used the word “mathom” in conversation more times than I can recall, and I can’t wait to start reading the appendices.
I love how much music is in the books. It is further contributing to my desire to see more spaces made for the communal making of music. The sharing of songs and the telling of tales. I think it’s so important to make music corporately, which is part of the reason I love writing hymns. This aspect has also pushed my interest in the stage version of the epic which has played to audiences outside the U.S.
But one thing that has been bothering while reading the books is the fact that they’re in copyright. I have heard it said over and over again that Tolkien wanted to created a mythology for the English speaking world. But what good is a mythology if it doesn’t belong to the people? A mythology is at it’s richest when many voices are contributing to it creating new variations and threads. This is something that frustrates me about many of our Western mythos. It’s very hard for the layman to contribute to them in an area much larger than fan fiction. I crave for the day when society’s great icons will truly belong to society.
Nathan Hathaway Adams