January 3 - John Ronald Reuel Tolkien

Bio: Born on January 3, 1892, J. R. R. Tolkien was an English writer, poet, philologist, and professor. More than almost anyone else, his cycle of works—including The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion—have left an indelible influence on high fantasy to this day. Tolkien fought in WWI, and taught at the University of Leeds and the University of Oxford. In addition to his fantasy work, he translated numerous works of Anglo-Saxon and Middle English. In 1972, he was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire. He passed away on 29 November 1971, at the age of 82.

Anecdotes:

  • The tombstone of Tolkien and his wife bears the names Beren and Lúthien, two characters from his legendarium.
  • Tolkien constructed the grammar and vocabulary of at least fifteen Elvish languages and dialects.
  • At times, he began classes by appearing in chain mail, bellowing the opening lines of Beowulf. “According to one of his students, ‘He could turn a lecture room into a mead hall.’”
  • Tolkien was also very involved in reconstructing ‘extinct’ languages, such as Medieval Welsh and Lombardic. The poem “BagmÄ“ Blomā” (“Flower of the Trees”) might be the first original work written in the Gothic language in over a millennium.
  • He has been published almost as prolifically after his death as he was when he was alive.
  • Tolkien began work on The Hobbit early in the 1930s while marking School Certificate papers. He found a blank page and, with sudden inspiration, wrote the words, “In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.”

Final Sentences:

The sun went down, and Morwen sighed and clasped his hand and was still; and Húrin knew that she had died.

From The Children of Húrin

[…“You are a very fine person, Mr. Baggins, and I am very fond of you; but you are only quite a little fellow in a wide world after all!”] “Thanks goodness!” said Bilbo laughing, and handed him the tobacco-jar.

From The Hobbit

Then shouldering their burdens, they set off, seeking a path that would bring them over the grey hills of the Emyn Muil, and into the Land of Shadow.

From The Fellowship of the Ring

Frodo was alive but taken by the Enemy.

From The Two Towers

"Well, I’m back," he said.

From The Return of the King

[Here ends the SILMARILLION.] If it has passed from the high and the beautiful to darkness and ruin, that was of old the fate of Arda Marred; and if any change shall come and the Marring be amended, Manwë and Varda may know; but they have not revealed it, and it is not declared in the dooms of Mandos.

From The Silmarillion

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4


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  1. eltonj0hn reblogged this from the-final-sentence
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    this makes me very happy.
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    A titan.
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    I weep. It’s the strangest mix of a child’s glee and sweet melancholy.
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