To be honest, my history with The Lord of the Rings is not a cheerful story; in fact it is a story of loneliness and not belonging anywhere and after reading it even the last of you will be convinced that I am a complete nerd: how else could I feel this way about a fantasy book? But I don't care because for me The Lord of the Rings is so much more than just a book: it is my childhood, it is accepting myself, it is the world I explored before I had the courage to even want to go anywhere apart from Middle-Earth. For me, it is home.
I was nine years old when I first came across the strange name "The Lord of the Rings". Like so many others I have to thank Peter Jackson's wonderful movies (which are definitely my favourite movies ever, here it's easier to choose than with books) for getting to know Mr Tolkien at all. My mama saw all the movies when they were released and loved them so much that she bought the books, although she never read them. A few years later the movies were shown on TV here in Austria and after having put me and my little brothers to bed she sat down to watch The Fellowship of the Ring with my oldest sister. Had I slept well that night my life would have taken a different direction, but fate in the shape of a nightmare drove me to the living room not long after the movie had started. Normally no mother would allow her nine-year old to watch such a movie, after all there are quite a few rather tough fighting scenes in it, but somehow people seemed to be constantly forgetting my age when I was a child.
Of course I was always very tall, but more than that I was always "mature"; I led serious discussions about things no normal nine-year old girl would think of, I used big words and had even bigger ideas.In fact my mama sometimes says half-jokingly that she thinks I never was a child at all. And that is the reason why I hated a grand part of my childhood so much.
When I started school I had already taught myself how to read and write and I was impatient to learn more. I asked questions all the time and when I didn't understand something or when my opinion differed from my teacher's I actually argued with her. Now, I went to a catholic convent school and my teacher was a very severe and rigorous nun...You can imagine how well she understood my character. She criticised me all the time, often made me stay with her during the breaks and after school to lecture me and brought me to tears several times a week. The only thing that was worse than dealing with her was dealing with the other children in my class. I could as well have been from another planet so little did I understand them and they me! The only things they cared for were Disney movies, sleepovers, boygroups and Barbies. Of course they only acted their age, but I didn't know that then. The only thing I knew was that I was an outcast, I longed for adventures, stories, great ideas and dreams and I wanted to do something meaningful, to be so much more than just a little lonely schoolgirl.
That was the point of my life where I met Frodo and Sam, Gandalf, Legolas, Aragorn and all the others. All the heroes. There they were: brave and strong enough to face all their enemies despite their fear, even the smallest of them standing up and fighting for what is right, for hope, for freedom. They showed me exactly who I wanted to be. They became my friends when I had no others. For years I would imagine Gandalf by my side whenever I was afraid, Gandalf in whose presence I could only be safe. When I needed to be strong I slipped into the role of Aragorn and when I was frustrated because I was treated like a little child I remembered Éowyn. My brothers and I would spend hours in the woods fighting with our bows and "swords", escaping from black riders and defeating Sauron. Honestly I think a lot of the self-confidence I have comes from that time: I knew everything about Middle-Earth and learned a great deal about our world through it. I still know almost all of the songs (I even composed melodies for them) and poems which appear in the book by heart and some of them are about three pages long. Finally I had something special only for me, something which the people who bullied me would never understand. But now that I think of it, being a little girl who was able to handle a sword certainly helped to boost my confidence a little too.
"All that is gold does not glitter, not all those who wander are lost"Seven years have passed since I first found a home in Middle-Earth. In this time I managed to find a place for me in the "real" world too, but without the dreams from my first home I would never have had the courage to look for it. And, believe it or not, if I try to be a little better a person today than others in similar circumstances, if I look for beauty in seemingly hopeless places, if I fight for what I believe is right and if I never give up I owe it to J.R.R..
You can call me a nerd now, of course, but you can also call me a patriot: a part of my heart will forever belong to Middle-Earth.