By the year 2001, there were various works of fantasy. Four books for the students who wished to become wizards at Hogwarts, seven for the Christian community who compared stories of Narnia to their faith, and a few dozen by various writers who wanted to keep Oz in the minds of children. And of course, there were other works that some would say were stolen by Disney rather than given to them. However, there was a notable author who created perhaps the most complex mythology of them all...

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, a former soldier who fought in World War I, wrote a beloved classic called The Hobbit, and it was released in 1937. Seventeen years passed not so sleepily in the world before the first volume of the follow-up, The Lord of the Rings, saw the light of day. The entire work, commonly referred to as a trilogy, was comprised of The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King.

Tolkien's stories of Middle-earth were adapted into the radio format a few times, and they influenced music. Among the people who attempted to adapt The Lord of the Rings into a story were The Beatles. They wanted to have Paul McCartney as Frodo Baggins, Ringo Starr as Samwise Gamgee, George Harrison as Gandalf, and John Lennon as Gollum. They did not succeed.

After Tolkien's death, Middle-earth eventually appeared in animated form. The Rankin-Bass special The Hobbit was broadcasted on television in 1977. One year later, Ralph Bakshi released an amazing rotoscoped adaptation of The Lord of the Rings. It was intended to have been part one of a duology, but the studio decided otherwise. In 1980, Rankin-Bass aired an animated special based on The Return of the King.

For many years, fans waited for future adaptations of the franchise. It was during this period that a ten-year-old boy named Steven Goldman received The Hobbit from his pediatrician, Dr. Michael Cordell.

"Here's your birthday present," Cordell said.

Steven became obsessed with the world of Middle-earth and read The Lord of the Rings not much later.

"My precious," Steven said.

In the 1990s, Peter Jackson fought to create a live-action adaptation of The Lord of the Rings, and he succeeded. The first film in the trilogy was scheduled to be released in December 2001. But Steven was suffering...