Tolkien Fans: Did you first read LOTR as a youth or as an adult?

I was talking to a friend the other day who enjoys reading fantasy but says that he doesn’t get why LOTR is considered to be so good. He didn’t hate it, but didn’t enjoy it.

Turns out that he first read it as an adult. I first read it as a youth and of course it is in my all-time greatest list. With a sample set of two, we have far too little data to create a hypothosis, so I’m gathering data here.

As a kid I read Tolkien obsessively over and over again from about age 10 to 13. I still read LotR every few years. I read bits of the Silmarillion more often than that, and would rate it as one of the greatest novels/histories/whatever-the-fark-it-is.

I read the Hobbit when I was 12. I wasn’t that into it until the Battle of Five Armies. I had never been so drawn into a book before in my life. Really had a profound affect on me. After that, I inhaled the series and everything related to it. It got me into Sci Fi, comics etc.

I read it when I was about 11 or 12. Still think it is one of the best ever. I reread it a few times but not for many years. Never could get into the Silmarillion or any of the other stuff like the Lost Tales.

My father would read through The Hobbit and LOTR out loud to me and brothers every winter. It is my fondest childhood memory. Sitting in our little living room on the white shag carpet in front of the fireplace.

It turns out that he actually only did this for three years but I remember it as every winter.

I’ve re-read LOTR as an adult three times. Twice for fun and once for a college course. It gets richer each time I read it. I haven’t re-read The Hobbitt as an adult, but I’ve been planning a read through of Hobbit-LOTR-Silmarillion when I’m done with my current booklist.

Read it at age 13, I believe. Maybe 14.

I’ve read it over 50 times since then (1971).

I guess I probably first read The Hobbit at around 8-10 or so, and The Lord of the Rings a couple of years later. I also remember that I got very little sleep the night I started Lord of the Rings: I wasn’t able to put it down until the end of the first book. Fortunately, it was summer, so I didn’t have to get up for school.

Neither was introduced to me by anyone; my mom hadn’t read them until a couple of years ago. Fortunately, though, she’s enough of a book-hoarder that she had copies lying around. I found The Hobbit on the shelf in the spare bedroom, and had vaguely heard from somewhere or another that it was pretty good, and so read it. Then, of course, when I unearthed more books by the same author, I had to follow up.

Wheeee! I beat Jim here…

First time I think I was 16-17. Then again in college. Then probably every couple years or so since.

I first read them as a kid, maybe 11 or 12. I really loved them and I read them a few more times as a teenager.

Having recently read them all again, I have to say that–even though I still enjoyed them–I am not nearly so in love with them as I was back then.

Read The Hobbit in 4th grade, and tried LOTR in 7th grade, but got bogged down and quit. Didn’t read the whole thing until 20 or so, and loved it. I’ve only re-read it once since then, and have not read The Silmarillion, but I’ve read a bunch of his essays and things. So, I’m a Tolkien fan, but not a hard-core one.

My husband never read any Tolkien until he was nearly 30. He promptly ripped through all of it, including the appendices and the Silmarillion, and has re-read it all again since. He is pretty hard-core. He spent hours scanning in my mother’s old maps (much larger than you get now) and stuff like that.

I read it when I was around 15 or 16. I’ve reread The Hobbit and LOTR every few years since. I’ve reread The Silmarillion only a couple times but I have reread chapters of that more often.

I started with The Hobbit at 10 or 11, & around 13 started The Rings.

I read *The Hobbit * and *LOTR * both for the first time when I was 15. Then I read *LOTR * maybe ten more times in the next five years.

I read Fellowship of the Ring and some of The Two Towers the year I turned twelve. For some long-forgotten reason, I stopped. Then, when the movies were coming, I wanted to have read the books before seeing the movies, so I read them in a couple of months, finishing Return of the King in November of 2001, when I was 24.

When I was nine, I was going through the colored Fairy Book series from my school library. (The Blue Fairy book, The Silver Fairy book, etc…) These were collections of folktales from different countries. There were Japanese ghost stories, Irish wee-folk tales, all kinds of things.

Then my twenty-something cousin came to visit from back East, and said, “I have a better fairy tale for you to read. It’s not a collection…it’s one BIG story. And if you like that, there’s about 1000 pages more of it.”

And he gave me The Hobbit.

I seem to remember taking a month or more, but I read the entire LOTR. I tried to get my friends hooked on it…but nobody could get past Gandalf going blah blah blah in the beginning of FOTR. I tell people now to keep going until Frodo is at Rivendell. If you don’t like it by then, you probably never will. If you are hooked, great!

I got my older sister hooked on it as an adult. Most of my friends were obsessed with it as teens. But I had been a Tolkien fan since I was nine! (That’s around 1973, if anybody’s keeping track. I had the paperbacks from Walden’s with Tolkien’s own art on the fronts, that came in the golden box set.)

I brought all three paperbacks of LOTR with me on my honeymoon. I wanted to read something that I had read before, so I would be willing to put it down if my new spouse wished for my attention. I happened to start with Bilbo’s party on the plane out, and finished up with the last of the appendices on the approach to the landing strip back home. Perfect!


Read it all the way through for the first time at 30, after giving up halfway through the first book at 19. I think it’s a gripping story and an impressive achievement from a technical point of view, and there’s some interesting thematic stuff going on, but it’s definitely not on my list of all-time favorite books; I don’t find any of the characters particularly compelling.

I read the hobbit when I was about 8 and the LOTR trilogy around 11. I got it for my 11th Christmas :slight_smile:

As a freshman in college. I had never heard of it at my crappy high school…

Then again I ended up with what that high school considered a"college prep" diploma without ever having read a page of Shakespeare either. :rolleyes:

My father gave me his copy of The Hobbit which he received from his brother-in-law (my uncle) when I was in 5th grade. I read FOTR the next year, 2 Towers & ROTK the year after that. I finished the series in Junior High, by my 13th birthday. That was in the late 70’s and Star Wars slowed my reading down a little.

I re-read LOTR after the first film came out.

the Jackson film, not the Bashki cartoon.

I first read it at 17, just after the time there was that brouhaha about the unauthorized U.S. paperback edition (Ace?). The Hobbit first and Lord of the Rings shortly after.