[Images: ©2001-3. Warner Brothers Pictures. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. All Rights Reserved.]

“I saw this gif of Legolas and an overwhelming sense of duty came over me for some reason. The look on his face knocked the wind out of me because I saw Thranduil in him. I felt I was looking at my son. Such a solemn epiphany for all I still have to do. I felt like I had sent my son off to save the world. I suppose I did in Chapter XXI but every time I read earlier chapters, it is like I’m looking at it for the first time yet there is a strong familiarity.”–October 14, 2016 (Tumblr).

For the first time, in all the hilarity and occasional silliness, that one post was read and taken to heart by more people than I realized. It was the first time I saw for myself how far I had come. I am about to complete Chapter 3 of Book 3. I have spent over 3000 years with Thranduil. He is the last reigning Elvenking in Middle Earth by the War of the Ring. I am in awe at how much Thranduil has grown because I have grown alongside him.

Most people probably think I am bragging when I say “I wrote 360 pages” in less than a year. No, it’s me trying to make myself believe it. It is like when my professor told me after my oral exam that I would be receiving my Master’s Degree at the end of the week at graduation. Every single day I went to my closet to stare at my Master’s hood–blue and white for History. It took me a year to grasp the concept. It is the same with The Kingdom of the Woodland Realm Trilogy. To have one complete book (Book II: The Saga of Thranduil) still blows my mind. I know how much hard work I put into it–from learning Tolkien’s elvish to studying maps of Middle Earth to memorizing the history (and that is just the part of the Second and most of the Third Ages right now), but completing it has yet to sink in. I don’t think it will ever sink in.

I didn’t watch television for a year. I read a lot and wrote a lot. I lived my story. I still do. I have to be there to make it real. That is always priority #1. With TKWR, it is even more important. The pressure is not in the telling of the story or where it takes place. It is in finding it in myself to see it as J.R.R. Tolkien might have seen it. I had to find myself in Tolkien before I could find Tolkien in The Kingdom of the Woodland Realm. I wanted something he would have loved to see and could believe it. I didn’t want another fan fiction based on outrageous things that would never happen in Middle Earth. I wanted it feel like Middle Earth. My audience was Tolkien.

I am in the process of doing the first full edit of my first book (the second in the Trilogy). When it is done, it has important readers that wish to see it–Tolkien experts. I was the reluctant adventurer asked to take an unexpected journey–just like that. I don’t know why I took this journey. Some journeys you cannot avoid no matter how hard you try to stay away.

“I often wonder what will life be like when I close this book for the last time,” I said that day.


[Image: ©2012. Warner Brothers Pictures. The Hobbit: The Unexpected Journey. All Rights Reserved.]

“No. And if you do, you will not be the same.”

“But I suppose some adventures you don’t take, they take you. It scares me to think what I might have missed had I not done any of this. I don’t think I want to be the same anymore.”–October 14, 2016 (Tumblr)

I will come back. I won’t be the same. I will be better.