Conlangers, Wizards, and Boyfriends: What ‘The Hobbit’ Taught Me About Love

I could kiss Peter Jackson on the mouth.  If you haven’t seen The Hobbit yet, stop reading this right now and go to a movie theater.  You think I’m kidding.  GO.

For those of you who have seen it, you understand.  The Hobbit is such a well-crafted piece of art.  The way it flows seamlessly from scene to scene without missing anything, all the while blending perfectly into the world created for us in the LOTR trilogy.  Given my job at a local cinema, I will most likely be going to watch it again pretty soon.  This time I will be sure to bring a notebook.  Amidst all of the amazing battle scenes and comedic interludes, there were countless one-liners that either personally moved me or completely explained the entire world Tolkien created.

I recently read an article in The New Yorker by Joshua Foer entitled “Utopian for Beginners.”  The subject of the article is a civil servant in California who has worked for 34 years perfecting a language he invented.  This man noted the ambiguity and uncertainty that is inherent in all natural languages, and developed an artificial language that forces the speaker to truly consider what it is he means to say.  This man is not alone in his endeavors.  Many people around the world declare themselves “conlangers” and have created or are in the process of creating their own languages.

J.R.R. Tolkien was a self-proclaimed conlanger.  Foer mentions how Tolkien “maintained that he created the Lord of the Rings trilogy for the primary purpose of giving his invented languages…a universe in which they could be spoken.” Can you imagine that?  This man created an entire world, unbelievable creatures, astounding individuals, and a beautifully woven story in order to give his languages a place to exist.  That is pure art born out of a love for one’s work; something I can truly admire.

All of this leads me back to a quote from The Hobbit I was reminded of while watching the movie.  Gandalf tells Bilbo Baggins,

“I am looking for someone to share in an adventure that I am arranging, and it’s very difficult to find anyone.”

Gandalf, of course, is arranging an adventure to save a kingdom, but I felt this line was written specifically for me.

I am a 19-year-old girl.  19-year-old girls want one thing: the attention of 19-year-old boys.  I must admit I have spent a lot of this past year wrapped up in such a quest for attention.  Sometimes these quests prove fruitful; other times, like this one, they completely collapse and burn mockingly in your face.  Lots of fun.  You should try it.

But I realized something: I want my life to be an adventure.  I want it to be something of value and interest.  I want to go somewhere and do something important.  And that’s my problem.  Gandalf knew what adventure he was preparing to undertake, and he was begging a hobbit to help him.  I don’t know exactly where I want to be or what I want to be doing.  How can I expect to find the right person to accompany me on my adventure when I don’t even know what that adventure holds?

So my only concern is arranging my adventure.  I can find my fellow adventurer later.  One that is truly prepared to go with me.

Do you think Legolas will be free in a few years?



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