Even if you haven’t read the Lord of the Rings, you’ve likely seen the movie trilogy. And if you haven’t seen the movies, you’re still familiar with the basic premise of the whole thing because, let’s be honest, you most likely have a friend that loves The Lord of the Rings. If you know slightly more than the title of the books, you know Tolkien and C.S. Lewis (who were great friends) realized England didn’t have its own mythology. So they took it upon themselves to write one, which is how the epic Lord of the Rings and Chronicles of Narnia series were created.
While both series are brilliant, Tolkien went much further in creating an enchanting, mythological world that is immensely more detailed and rich than Lewis’s more didactic approach to the task in The Chronicles of Narnia. However, Tolkien did incorporate his views on the Industrial Revolution, the changing world of England, and the First World War. Through his love of languages, interest in Celtic and Norse histories, awareness of his changing world, and an exceptional imagination, Tolkien created a trilogy that changed the world of fantasy forever. If you are a Lord of the Rings fan, you already know all this (if you know a Lord of the Rings fan, you probably also know all this), but if you are a through and through, genuine, authentic LOTR nerd, you:
1.) Have the books memorized
You grew up with LOTR being read to you as your bedtime story. You still read them as your bedtime story. You plan on reading them to your children as a bedtime story. In fact, you’ve read the books so many times that whole phrases have become part of your everyday vernacular, and some even find their way into homework assignments and job applications. You may secretly feel that you could have written a better screenplay for the movies, but your loyalty to anything LOTR trumps the thought that it could be even better.
2.) Also have the movies memorized
You have an annual marathon of the LOTR extended edition movies (why do they even sell any other edition?), which you can quote all the way through. You love it anyway. You usually watch them dressed up as your favorite character. You may also reminisce about the night you went to each movie premiere, also dressed up.
3.) Don’t need the subtitled translations
Aside from the fact that you have almost every line memorized, you still wouldn’t need the subtitled translations because you are fluent in the elvish language. You may even have a preference language — Quenya or Sindarian. If you are made fun of for speaking Elvish, you are quick to defend yourself by reminding your critics that those are both academically studied languages. You may have even gotten caught in school for passing notes, but never went to the principal’s office because the teacher either couldn’t read it, or could read it and you both became instant friends.
4.) Profile LOTR Style
Depending on whom you identify with in the book, you may profile all the people around you in relation to your character. You may have accidentally called your best friend “Sam,” your nemesis “Legolas,” or your next door neighbor “Gollum” (it’s not your fault he treats his ’71 Mustang like his prrreeecccioussss…). You also tend to treat whomever you are in a relationship with as only a true LOTR nerd would. Sure, you can give away jewelry to signify a love that would surpass even the desire for immortality, but you would never consider a proposal with a ring.
5.) Have “the voice”
You know what it is and you can imitate it. Perfffeeecctttllyyyy.
6.) Live happily ever after
However, your happily ever after isn’t tinted by rose-colored glasses. You get that there are hard things in life, that there are some things you have to fight for, and there are some things you lose, but that, in the end, everything will work out. You don’t see life as a journey to an end; you see it as an ongoing journey that you have the choice to embrace. And perhaps most important of all, you realize “Even the smallest person can change the course of the future.”
By Katie Bullock