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    Posted December 6, 2012 by
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    'The Hobbit' is here!

    Getting ready for a family reunion


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     LadyEowyn told me, ' remember that my sister and I, at around 7 or 8 years old, saw the Rankin-Bass animated version of the Hobbit, and then had the special deluxe Double LP Edition. We listened to this dozens, if not hundreds, of times, memorizing every piece of music, every word of dialogue, every special effect sound.'
    - hhanks, CNN iReport producer

    J.R.R. Tolkien's work has always been part of my life. Exposed to the Rankin-Bass version of the Hobbit (and memorizing every word) as a child, it was only a matter of time before I found Lord of the Rings. When I did so, it was a game-changer, a life-maker.


    I was drawn to Eowyn from the very first reading - her desperation, her strength, her courage, her need to be loved and give love in return. When I found out about DragonCon in Atlanta years later, I decided to go, and had someone make an Eowyn costume for me to wear.


    This lead me, like many other Tolkien fans at DragonCon, to Arms of Middle Earth, a fellowship of like-minded geeks who enjoyed hanging out with one another as much as loved the convetion scene - if not more. It was here that I met so many people that are still a part of my life. It was here, also, that I met Daniel, who has shown me incredible love and friendship through the years.


    Attending DragonCon and becoming involved in Tolkien fandom led me to attend the LOTR Museum Exhibit in Indianapolis in the fall of 2005, where Daniel and I were fortunate enough to meet J.P. Cummins and Tim White, dressed as Gandalf and Bilbo, respectively. Oh, what a treat!


    After attending another convention with those wonderful gentlemen, the foundation was laid for what become ALEP, A Long-Expected Party, held at the Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill, in Kentucky in 2008, then again in 2011. It only added to my ever-growing Tolkien family.


    This year, for the release of An Unexpected Journey, 50 or so of us are gathering in Kentucky again, to all go see the movie, and probably most of us in costume. It is something that most of us have been looking forward to for months. And the third Long-Expected Party - AL3P, as we are calling it - will take place in 2014. I cannot wait to be with my family again!


    Photo taken by Kelly Gable.

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