1. Have you read The Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit? If so, how many times?
Yes, I've read both LotR and The Hobbit twice. I also read The Silmarillion and The Unfinished Tales, which I both loved!
2. Have you seen any movies based on them?
Yes, I saw the LotR trilogy multiple times. I watched only Return of the King in the cinema and was immediately sorry I didn't watch the other ones on the big screen. If there are any movies that are really enhanced by being watched on the big screen, it's those! I also watched the first part of The Hobbit in cinema last year and am looking forward to The Desolation of Smaug in a few months.
I have had my eye on an independent movie called Born of Hope for a while, but haven't had time to watch it yet. It tells the story of Aragorn's parents and the life of the Rangers in the time before the War of the Ring. It is based on a few paragraphs in the LotR appendices.
3. Who first introduced you to Middle Earth?
Ehm, the buzz around the movies? I hadn't even heard about J.R.R. Tolkien and his works before that. After I watched the first movie I found the whole set of books for a nice price at a bookmarket and so my love for all things Tolkien begun!
4. Who are your three favorite characters? (Feel free to elaborate on whys.)
Arwen; but mainly in the movies, where her story is expanded compared to the book. I love her for her bravery in the choice she made to be with Aragorn.
Aragorn; because he is not your typical knight-in-shining-armour and that is such a part of the message of LotR. How a truly great king can come from an unforseen place. And because he is brave and funny and a good singer! (And because Viggo played him so amazingly!)
Eowyn; because she is Tolkien's best realized female character and because I love how she gets her happy ending after all!
A honorable mention should go to Imrahil, Prince of Dol Amroth. He is such an important character in the book Return of the King and a great friend and ally to Aragorn, Éomer and Faramir. But unfortunately, he didn't appear in the movie....
5. What's your favorite Middle Earth location?
Rivendell, because it's beautiful and peaceful, but maybe not as overpowering as Lothlorien. I think I would be afraid to speak or even move in Lorien, but would be able to really enjoy Rivendell.
Also, I would have loved to visit Númenor during the high days of it's existence!
6. If you could belong to one of the races of Free Folk (Men, Elves, Dwarves, Hobbits, Ents), which would you choose?
On the one hand I'd say Elves, because they are graceful and amazingly skilled and wize. But then they also seem somewhat detached and experience great sorrow through their long lives.
So on the other hand Men and in particular I would like to be one of the Rohirrim, because which horse loving person wouldn't want to belong to a people who have such amazing skill with horses?
7. Would you rather eat lembas or taters?
I would love to try lembas once!
8. If you lived in Middle Earth, what weapon would you prefer wielding?
A sword, though I don't know if I would be brave enough to use it. As a teenager I always wanted a sword. Not to really use it, but to hang it on my wall and marvel at it's beauty ;-P. I was a frequent visitor of sites like this one where I would click through all the beautiful LotR swords available!
9. What draws you to Tolkien's stories? (The characters, the quests, the themes, the worlds, etc.)
I love many things about them! But what I marvel most about is the amazing complexity of the world that Tolkien created: the history, all the different races with their different customs and even languages! If you read the Silmarillion, this becomes even more evident.
I also love the message of the story and the way many of the characters mirror characters from the Bible or our own journey as a Christian. I've experienced multiple times how reading LotR brought me to a new understanding of a Bible story.
10. List up to five of your favorite lines/quotes from the books or movies.
'If you want him, come and claim him!' Arwen (movie)
'It is not our part to master all the tides of the world, but to do what is in us for the succour of those years wherein we are set, uprooting the evil in the fields that we know, so that those who live after may have clean earth to till. What weather they shall have is not ours to rule.' Gandalf
'Then Merry heard of all sounds in that hour the strangest. It seemed that Dernhelm laughed, and the clear voice was like the ring of steel. "But no living man am I!” '
'Over the field rang his clear voice calling: ‘Death! Ride, ride to ruin and the world’s ending!' Éomer
'Sons of Gondor, of Rohan, my brothers! I see in your eyes the same fear that would take the heart of me. A day may come when the courage of men fails, when we forsake our friends and break all bonds of fellowship, but it is not this day. An hour of wolves and shattered shields, when the age of men comes crashing down! But it is not this day! This day we fight! By all that you hold dear on this good Earth, I bid you stand, Men of the West!' Aragorn