In eighth grade, I braved eternal damnation and the rather larger danger of Sister Sylvia’s wrath and stole from my school’s library.

By eighth grade, I had read the book many times, I loved it and knew I would always love it.

Now, I’ll never have enough Tolkien knowledge to rank among the top tiers of his fans. (a la Duffet). Duffet, I think, would rate me a very poor fan indeed. I do not often demonstrate my fandom, and there are times when I forget specifics, and sometimes I go rather a long time without reading the book. This rather firmly places me low in the fan hierarchy in Duffet’s view. I would never, ever, be capable of this.

I don’t particularly buy in to Duffet’s idea, but I do see that it is very appealing, especially since hierarchies tend to be how Western thinking organizes. I’m happy enough reading the book once a year, and watching the Rankin-Bass adaptation on youtube when I feel unwell. (Part of a get-better routine since I was young, and one that I will be engaging in shortly).

I didn’t rush out to the theaters when the Lord of the Rings trilogy showed (I only just saw The Return of the King a few weeks ago), and an attempt at The Silmarillion seemed more like a chore.

Last year, the first in the trilogy of The Hobbit adaptations came out and I dragged my girlfriend with me to see it. It didn’t go well from the off. Due to crowds, my girlfriend ended up sitting in the row below mine. Things only got worse.

Why does Radagast have to be some sort of hippie, I complained. That’s not how they reached Rivendell. Why no songs? I don’t think the swords glowed once.

Normally very kind and patient, my girlfriend asked if I enjoyed the movie at all. Of course I did, I protested, I love The Hobbit.

Fast foward to today. The second in the trilogy, The Desolation of Smaug, is due out in a matter of weeks.

Gotta say, there’s a lot I see just from the trailer that bugs me. (What, how does the Wood Elf king know about the Company’s quest? Zomg!)

And my girlfriend asks, do I want to see it?

I don’t have an answer. I should have an answer. But there is just so much wrong in the trailer that I think I might hate it. What if I see it knowing I’ll hate it? What if–gasp–I”m a bigger anti-fan than I am a fan?

Can it be? I love The Hobbit, how can I be an anti-fan? Duffet describes an anti-fan as a fan who dislikes part of the fan object. (His own example: Dylan going electric and the division that it caused). I have complained, thought, and communicated more about The Hobbit movies more than I ever had talked about liking the book. But: Duffet also writes that anti-fans find pleasure in knocking the fan oject rather than in enjoying. Despite my worried feeling, despite my lack of faith, I will probably end up seeing The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug, and then The Hobbit: The Third Title Escapes Me.

What? You just spent all that space complaining. I know. But in the end, I really love The Hobbit. More than I hate it. I’d rather be a small fan than a high anti-fan.

Written with StackEdit.


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About tomwink

Graduate student at Rowan University currently researching public spaces and their impact


fan activity, fandom, long post, movies, participatory culture