Embracing My Dork Side

A few weeks ago, Charlie brought home a copy of "The Fellowship of the Ring" from his school library. I was excited about his pick until he said, "I thought we could read it together." Gulp. A very wordy undertaking. And very small typeface. About 45 minutes later, we'd read 10 pages. I quickly calculated that it would take us six weeks to get through "The Fellowship." I figured, being naturally optimistic, that we'd be able to get through "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy by the end of summer.

Now, six weeks later, we're just over halfway through "The Fellowship." So much for my timetable. It's been so many years since I've read it, I'd forgotten so much. I've seen the movies (which were amazing), and didn't remember how different they were from the books. For instance, Tom Bombadil. I'd forgotten completely about him. Just what is he, we wondered? A quick Internet search of "Tom Bombadil" gave me over half a million entries.

Besides obviously being an immortal, apparently he is a nature spirit, whatever that means. According to one of the fan sites, Tom Bombadil was a doll that was owned by one of Tolkien's children, and he threw in the character just because he could. Conventional LOTR fan wisdom says that the character is extraneous and doesn't really belong; doesn't enhance the story or move it forward. Me? I'm okay with Tom.

If the Internet is any indication, with its endless variety of websites devoted to the most miniscule LOTR minutia, this series has had an enormous impact on pop culture, spawning at least a couple of generations of cybergeeks (similar to the Star Wars folks out there. Oh, and don't let me forget Star Trek.) Looking back, I'd definitely have to place myself into the LOTR geek camp. I remember back in the 4th grade, my older sister, and fellow LOTR fan, had painted a huge map of Middle Earth. I can still see the confused expressions on the kids' faces as I took them on a guided tour of Middle Earth, explaining the differences between dwarves, elven folk and
the like.

Without shame, I embrace my dork side. And why not? Isn't it true that the geek shall inherit the earth? (Just ask Bill Gates.)