Alex Lowery speaks about autism

My Journey into Middle Earth

Written on 8th May 2018 by Alex Lowery

As you likely know: many autistic people have special interests were they particularly focus on one subject. I have and have had many special interests in my lifetime. Some are expected and others are very bizarre. An interest I’ve had for over half of my life is Middle Earth which is the world of the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit. I decided that every now and again: I’d like to blog about  particular special interests I have so today I decided to aim it on Middle Earth.

Gollum

When the Lord of the Rings films first came out; I was very young. I was around 7 years old and my Parents didn’t allow me to watch them at that point and I don’t blame them. I had no desire to watch them! They looked scary to me! However, the thing which scared me most about them may not be what you think. It wasn’t the battles or the Orks or Gollum. The thing that scared me most was the soundtrack! I know it sounds very odd but it’s true. I found the soundtrack horrifying! Well, not all of it… I was okay with the cheerful scores but what horrified me was when I heard a very spooky score with a choir singing to it! I remember my mum putting on a CD with the full soundtrack of the LOTR (thinking I’d be okay with just the music). However, the music scared me more than anything else! This was a point in my life where I got very scared of certain types of music and would tend to scream when I heard them (read more about this in my book.)

As I got to my pre-teens: I started to get much more into LOTR. When I was about 11 years old, I saw the first film and was simply blown away by it! The story, the sets, the effects, the adventure, the characters, the tone and everything else just blew me away! I became a fan before I had even seen the other two. However, I felt very reluctant to see the other two because they were both rated 12+ (while the first one was only rated PG) and I was just 11. My dad did give me permission to watch the second part one day but I felt like I was breaking the rules even though I did want to see it. Eventually; I decided to give it a watch and I got to properly meet my favourite character in the whole of fiction… That character is Gollum! I absolutely adore Gollum! He is such a great character! I liked him even before I saw the film. I had heard him on ‘The Hobbit’ Audio book and I also owned a ‘talking Gollum’ toy. I was looking forward to getting to see him in the film and he did not disappoint.

Gollum is very much a damaged character with a split personality (though both personalities are conscious of the other so it’s not like Harvey Two Face from Batman or anything). I always found that I felt sorry for him when he was on screen because part of him did clearly want to be good but he was so corrupted by the power of the Ring that this was much easier said than done. I also find myself being able to relate to Gollum as a character. I do find (due to my anxiety) that my thoughts are frequently in conflict with each other and there are two sides to me which probably also helps me to identify with him. Some people find it odd that Gollum is my favourite character. People are like, “Why??? He’s smelly and disgusting! Gimli is the best character!” Personally, (while everyone is entitled to their opinion obviously) I can’t get my head around how someone can prefer a character like Gimli over Gollum. Gimli is just an annoying and childish dwarf in my opinion. Gollum is far superior and far more interesting. This of course is just my opinion though.

The Lord of the Rings became my favourite film of all time. The Return of the King (Part 3) is my favourite in the trilogy.I really feel like all three of these films (and the books they’re based on) are masterpieces. It was partly seeing Peter Jackson’s work on the films that inspired me to want to become a filmmaker. It was more than just that, but it was one of the things that inspired me. My dad allowed me to listen to his BBC Audio tapes of the LOTR and I was even more blown away by them than the films! Eventually I got my own copy of them on CD. I remember becoming really excited in 2005 when the news of the Hobbit being adapted into a film came! I had listened to the Audio Book of the Hobbit. I loved it and I hoped one day it would be made into a film.

However, (due to some issues) the film wasn’t released till 2012 and it ended up being a trilogy (using content from the Hobbit book as well as Tolkien’s other written work). I remember being more excited to see the Hobbit than I probably have been for any other film in my life (other than maybe Star Wars: The Force Awakens). When the film was released: I was hearing very mixed reviews for it.  I was worried that maybe it would disappoint me. But it didn’t! When I finally saw it: it lived up to the hype and (for the most part) the other two films did too.

There can sometimes be debate as to wether or not special interests in autism are a good thing or not. I often see a special interest like a special place to go off to when the world is filled with stress and anxiety. Special interests definitely have their places and have even prevented people from committing suicide in the past.

Thank you for reading. Are there any other autistic people here who like Middle Earth? Do comment below to let me know.

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Organisations Alex has worked with

  • Autism Cymru
  • Chester University
  • Glyndwr University
  • National Autistic Society
  • St John's Ambulance
  • Welsh Government

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