During my wife’s fifteen-year college reunion a few months ago, I learned that the son of one of her fellow alumni was a big Tolkien fan. The last time we saw them, Leo was just a toddler, but now 10 or 12, he had been drawn into Middle-earth as fully as readers three times his age (like me). Of course, I don’t doubt the movies did their part too!
So, to help him along, I sent him a copy of the Ace “pirate edition” of The Two Towers (1965), like the one you see here. I happened to have two copies of it, actually, but I didn’t have an Ace Fellowship of the Ring or Return of the King. These are relatively valuable as collectible copies in their own right, but they’re also a comparatively economical way to get a copy of the first-edition text (although unauthorized and likely riddled with small errors). I’m just sorry I didn’t have a complete set to send him.
Now check out the very nice Thank You/Christmas card I got in the mail recently (above; click to enlarge), complete with a hand-drawn illustration. That’s obviously Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli in the foreground; a Ringwraith mounted on his Fell Beast in the background; and an Eagle swooping in from above. I love the stubble on Aragorn. Clearly Leo’s conception of the scene was strongly influenced by Peter Jackson — which doesn’t bother me a bit. There are worse interpretations out there.
I do have to say it feels a little strange to be called Mr. Fisher. Am I really getting that old? To a ten-year-old, I suppose I probably look as old as Gandalf. ;)