Hello Tereonia. You don't need any prior knowledge to hang out in Middle Earth. :)
If it's winter in your part of the real world, it's an ideal season to start a long adventurous book like The Lord of the Rings, or, if you prefer, to watch the films. A third option for getting into the stories are audiobooks.
I love audiobooks in general and the LOTR movies, but if you have the inclination I would recommend reading the books. And if you haven't read it yet, start with The Hobbit. I don't recommend the movies for the Hobbit, but I have to admit I only saw about 20 minutes of the first Hobbit movie before I turned it off in disgust. Maybe the rest of the film and the remaining films get better.
Greetings! Even if you left the region in the mean time, this message still stands.
Watching the LOTR or the Hobbit movie saga is a worthwhile goal, although it really depends on your cinematic tastes. For example, LOTR was a real treat when it came out, close to 20 years ago, but by today's CGI standards it might be a real bore. The Hobbit less so, since it is more recent (maybe 10 years ago?) and so it involved more CGI.
Still, if you want a quick 6-7 hours of play to get up to speed to most of all that has happened in the span of the three LOTR books, the movie offers that. Then for another 6-7 hours of play to get up to speed to most of what happened in the one Hobbit book.
Personally, I watched the LOTR movies when they came out and I found them interesting. Then I said to check out the books and I read them. A while after that I found out that there are more in-theme books, and I read the Hobbit (like a prequel but not really to the LOTR books) and then the Silmarillion and two or three more (like the Unfinished Tales and others).
I appreciated the LOTR and the Hobbit books, but I absolutely loved the Silmarillion. That was the book that made me feel in awe of all that Tolkien created; in just one book he created intricated stories that spanned ages, on multiple territories, with multiple unique races and with multiple conflicts in each of the races. And all of them felt so connected! It felt like reading part a real genuine history book and part an epic saga. The other books that I read after the Silmarillion were those books that continued the stories or added to the stories that did not really make it or not make it in full in the Silmarillion, and it made me appreciate it even more.
That on the side, the whole fandom regarding Tolkien and what he created spans way outside of whatever books and movies are attributed to his name. Now elves, dwarves, orcs etc. are in so many games (or other fantasy topics) and it set a culture already on its own, meaning that there's no escaping any more; these races are here to stay, and much of that is thanks to these books and / or to Tolkien.
As for the region of Middle Earth, for me it is like so:
- A significant portion of the natives have read the books, have seen the movies and are quite the hardcore fans, meaning that if you ask anything in-lore around here there's a high chance that you will get a fast and correct reply.
- An other significant portion of the natives here have read most of the books (or at least LOTR), have seen at least one of the movies, have enjoyed the books, but are not hardcore fans; they just appreciated a good book.
- A large portion of the natives here know of Middle Earth from the movies, have not read the books, and also know about elves, orcs, dwarves etc. from any other numerous places outside of NationStates. They enjoy being part of the community and engage in the conversation on the RMB from time to time.
- A fair few of the natives here have not watched the movies and have not read the books, have no intention in doing so, but they like our region because they like games like Warhammer, that one Total War game and any other mobile, pc or console game or MMORPGs (like the future LOTR mmorpg). They don't get involved that much on the RMB but do contribute when there's general matters to attend to.
- The rest are just personal nations of players that are otherwise involved in other part of NationStates but for historic reasons want to also keep some ties to this place. Or any other mix of reasons why people keep their own puppet-nations here.
But Middle Earth is more than just the sum of its members, and it is more than just a source for Tolkien-stuff in NationStates; we share other goals and interests as well. And not to mention that the region is well known for its ent-like population, he he.
Any questions - any at all - valid for anyone: feel free to ask it!
I was the same, the Silmarillion for me.. I loved the whole song creation and the discord. However I'd start, at least, with The Hobbit - it's a relatively quick and easy read, or you can listen to an audiobook. I would also read the books before watching the movies.
Loved the Silmarillion too. Absolutely wonderful - not as accessible as his other works, but I hear they are making a movie based on this now, too.
Sometimes I make things and throw the on the internet. I made something ya'll might apriciate (if you watched any CNN this year) so I am just tossing it in. Maybe it gets a giggle.
So Merry Christmas and Pippin Holidays here is my little gift:
Happy holiday times to everyone, with happy people!
Its really not that hard to imagine how all the valid ballots of The Shire are from those voters cast away in Isegard, Mordor and, of course, the invisible voter. One or two votes can sway the elections quite heavily! But if we are to assume The Shire as part of the US politics, then I assume there's also a few electors that have to vote in good faith with the result of the region (but I am not well versed in US politics); but easy to be convinced with some of Rosie's pies!
Westu Middle Earth hál! Happy holidays.
22nd December 1920
I heard you ask daddy what I was like and where I lived. I have drawn me and my house for you. Take care of the picture. I am just off now for Oxford with my bundle of toys - some for you. Hope I shall arrive in time: the snow is very thick at the North Pole tonight. Your loving Father Christmas
nearly same here, This was my status when I joined this region, I joined because I watched VintageBeef's Minecraft LOTR mod adventures and I fell in love with the landscapes of Lindon and Rivendell, now I'm half-way trough Hobbit and Return of the king, RIP Theoden BTW
Does anyone wish too that if we find a way to time travel, we bring back Tolkien in his last moments, heal him with our modern technology and then fake his death back in the past?
ANYWAYS, GTG back to bed, cuz I'm sick
I wonder what Tolkien would have said to such a plan?
we'd have to take his wife too probably
Minas Tirith or Minas Ithil(Morgul)
Feel better soon!
With today's writers agendas, he'd probably write his fantasy novels at a rate of one per 10 years or whatever's the standard imposed by George R.R. Martin
But still, I would KILL for ONE MORE BOOK.
and his son, and his son's wife and their children