I’ve always loved that phrase. In my mind I don’t picture it as a metaphor at all. I envision a hardcore fan of a book series trying to talk to someone about the story, but that person has only ever seen the movie or TV series.
“Yea, Aragorn and Arwen’s love is definitely complicated”, I say in response to their comment, “her father’s kind of a…”
“Oh! I love when she saves Frodo from the black rid…”
Now, this isn’t going to be a post about whether or not people who don’t read suck. We already know the answer to that (see above picture). I’m more interested in thinking (out loud) about what they are missing out on.
I won the first set of books I would ever read in a spelling bee. While you soak in the righteous geek of that statement, you should also know it was The Lord of the Rings. I would have been in grade 3 or 4, soooo…I’m actually not sure how old that would make me in this particular brain fart. I do words, not math!
The bee was a wild melee of shrieking consonants. I recall every word being at least two syllables – and let’s be fair, that’s one more syllable than a kid should have to use to communicate. I didn’t know what the grand prize would be when I triumphantly declared the correct spelling of my winning word to the stunned (and awed, definitely awed) gymnasium. All I know is that as I was lifted upon the shoulders of my classmates, as they cried my name to the heavens and began crafting prose in my honour, I felt as if a mysterious force was calling to me from the prize table.
My principal, Mr Dumbledore, smiled beatifically at me and motioned me closer. I raised my hand, and immediately the gym went silent.
“Put me down”, I commanded. And they gently lowered me to the ground.
As I strode forward I locked eyes with Mr. Dumbledore. I could sense a change in the air, an electricity. He seemed to glow with an inner light, and I could hear his words in my head.
“Yes Ryan, you have been chosen”, they said, “it is time to take your place with us.”
I looked over at our janitor, Spider-Man, who gave me a firm nod, as if to say he understood everything. Nodding back to him solemnly, I straightened my back and approached the prize table…and my destiny.
Mr. Dumbledore opened his arms wide and spoke loudly to the gymnasium, “Ryan has completed the final test! In recognition of this great achievement, he will now be admitted to the Imagi Nation!”
The crowd gasped. The Nation of the Imagi had nearly been destroyed in the great TV wars, or so my mom had told me once (she herself was 1/4 Imagi). One could not be born to the Imagi Nation, you see, one had to be cultivated. What their methods were, and why, were unknown. They were known only as the greatest of adventurers, who wielded powerful magics of the mind.
Mr. Dumbledore grasped a sturdy package from the prize table, some great box or chest I remember thinking. As he carried the mysterious package to me, I could feel a thrumming power begin to course through the gymnasium, as if some great machine of industry hummed beneath the floor. As he handed me the package, a light blossomed from within.
“What is this Mr. Dumbledore?”, I asked with trepidation.
He smiled and winked at me, “Your future”, he replied.
I know now what I did not know then. That the Imagi Nation had been waiting for me since birth. It was thought that since my mother had Imagi blood, that some innate will or desire would lead me to their calling. Perhaps it did. My memories are short of those formative years – but I do recall I could stick-fight imaginary dragons in the bush like no other before, or after me.
The package I held trembled in my hands as I began to unwrap it, light spilling out of each new tear. The thrumming in the room grew louder and louder, until finally I threw down the remaining packaging in a spray of sparks and heat.
In my hands rested three mighty tomes, and the first of many legends were born into existence.
I journeyed with Aragorn and Frodo, and the rest of the Fellowship. I was in the Mines of Moria, and tried to save Gandalf when he fell from the Bridge of Khazad Dum. I marched with the Ents, and threw down Saruman myself. We didn’t end up needing the eagles in the end, as I simply sprouted wings and carried the two Ring-bearers to Ithilien myself. Sam was heavy.
Soooo…what are watchers missing that readers aren’t?
I have no clue. I just wanted to play with words.