1. What draws you to Tolkien's stories? (The characters, the quests, the themes, the worlds, etc.) Definitely the characters! I mean, I love a lot of things about Tolkien, but the characters blow me away every time. And not just the unique development of each one, but also the thorough intricacy of each race and their history in Middle Earth.
2. What was the first Middle Earth book you read and/or movie you saw? What did you think of it? The first Middle Earth book I read was The Hobbit. My impression was that it was pleasant but long. It wasn't really that long; it just seemed to drag on for a while, and I couldn't figure out why everything happened in waves instead of one big climax. Of course, I was reading this shortly after high school, so my perspectives on reading material were a little different. I saw the three live-action Lord of the Rings movies when they first came out and thought they were fantastic. Action, character development, graphics...they had it all! It's kind of funny, but I still haven't seen the Hobbit movies.
3. Name three of your favorite characters and tell us why you like them. This is hard for me since I haven't read all of the books and I feel like the movies probably don't do the characters justice. But anyway, I've always liked Gandalf. There's just something about wizards, am I right? Plus, in The Hobbit, he often plays a teacher-like leadership role, which I like. He always fights for good, and he notices "minor" characters and actions that others might miss. I also like Gollum, or Smeagol. Just to clarify, I don't like him in the sense that I think he's a great person or anything! But I do think he is one of Tolkien's most well-developed characters. There are so many layers to him, and he's constantly doing something unexpected. Very intriguing all around. In the movies (because I haven't met with him yet in the books), I'm a big fan of Aragorn. And this may be a "he's dreamy" thing, but he's just awesome. Pretty much a knight in shining armor type...or maybe dull armor to attract less attention? I like that he cares much more for others and doing what's right for Middle Earth than for his own glory.
4. Are there any secondary characters you think deserve more attention? Hands-down, Beorn (the skin-changer) and the Ents (the tree people). I've always been drawn to them, and I just want to know everything about their lives and history and what they're doing while everyone else is traveling around on quests and preparing for war. Not sure why--maybe it's their closeness with nature?
5. What Middle Earth character do you relate to the most? I honestly have no idea. I'll get back with you on this one when I've finished all of the books and seen all of the movies.
6. If you could ask Professor Tolkien one Middle Earth-related question, what would you like to ask him? I don't know that I could compile it to one cohesive question. Probably either something about how Middle Earth relates (or doesn't) to the real world or something about the history and life of the land itself (the scenery and animals that are sort of background to the story and characters--there's a little of this history in The Silmarillion).
7. Are there any pieces of Middle Earth merchandise you would particularly like to own, but don't? Sadly, I don't have any Middle Earth merchandise at the moment. But I've seen several mugs and bookmarks lately that I'd love to have...
8. What battle would you absolutely not want to be part of? Really, any battle. In Middle Earth or real life. Unless I'm protecting my child, I am absolutely the worst person you could have on your side. I guess if you need a cook or someone to hide the children, I might be useful.
9. Would you rather eat a meal at the Rivendell or Bag End? Rivendell. Elves, feasts...it's a thing. A thing of which I want to be part.
10. List up to ten of your favorite lines/quotes from the books or movies. I don't have specific favorites, but I'll list some that I like!
“It's the job that's never started as takes longest to finish.” --Samwise
"No, the journey doesn't end here. Death is just another path, one that we all must take." --Gandalf
“It is no bad thing celebrating a simple life.” --Bilbo
“Not all those who wander are lost.”--Bilbo
“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” --Gandalf
“I will not say, do not weep, for not all tears are an evil.” --Gandalf