Andy Robertson writes: My kids aren’t old enough for the Lord of the Rings films yet, but once they have read through Harry Potter I have it in mind to start them on Tolkien’s books. The problem is that these are quite a tall order for any beginners in today’s media world, which all too often cossets the new or the casual reader, watcher or player.

I must admit, to my slight shame, that I didn’t manage to read through the full trilogy before the first Jackson film gave me the inspiration I needed. In fact, it is the fan-fiction nature of these films that is my favorite thing about them. They are much more a homage to the experience of reading the books than a replacement for them. Jackson himself, when asked in one of the expansive DVD extras, said (roughly) that “you will always have the books, but the films are simply the passionate response of one set of fans to the books.” More..