J. R. R. Tolkien

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien is a highly acclaimed fantasy writer. J.R.R. Tolkien was born in Orange Free State, Bloemfontein in South Africa in the year 1892. He is known as the father of high fantasy. He is the one who is credited for the revival of the fantasy genre in 20th century and making it very popular among the readers. The Times magazine has ranked the author among 50 greatest writers since 1945. Two of his most famous books are ‘The Lord of the Rings’ trilogy and ‘The Hobbit.’

J.R.R. Tolkien spent his early life in a Birmingham Village called, Sarehole in England where his mother had moved after the death of J.R.R. Tolkien’s father, Arthur Tolkien, who died of rheumatic fever. While in Sarehole, Tolkien was bitten by a baboon spider. One may link the mention of spiders in his books as an effect of this particular incident. Many of the scenes in his books seem to be inspired by the scenery of Sarehole where he frequented to places like Sarehole Mill, Moseley Bog, Malvern Hills and other places. In his early childhood, Tolkien’s mother took charge of his studies and taught botany to him. However, Tolkien was very keen with the languages. Keeping thin in mind, his mother taught him Latin. He could read at the age of 3 and write at the age of 4. He read many of the famous fantastical works in English literature such as ‘Alice in the Wonderland’ as a child. His keen interest in fantasy seems to inspire his books.

In 1904, mother of the author died after which he was brought up by her close friend, Fr. Francis Xavier Morgan. Morgan had task to raise him as a good catholic. Later in his life J.R.R. Tolkien went to Exeter college in Lancashire from where he did his graduation in the Germanic languages and classic literature. He joined the military as a lieutenant with Lancashire Fusiliers. He fought in the war of Somme but later he was released from his duties from military because of his illness. All this while, J.R.R. Tolkien continued with his writing as he has a deep interest in it. While serving in the military, he married, Edith Mary Bratt in 1916. Their meetings were opposed by Morgan because she was a protestant but their love for each other kept them together and later on Bratt got converted as a catholic.

J.R.R. Tolkien continued his studies in linguistics and later in his career, he joined as a faulty at the University of Leeds, After that, he joined Oxford University as a professor of Anglo Saxon at Pembroke college. At the Oxford University he started a literary group called ‘Inkling’. Inkling had some illustrious members which included CS Lewis and Owen Barfield. J.R.R. Tolkien kept on working in his profession till 1959. While he was at Oxford, he wrote one of his most popular books ‘the Hobbit’. After that he published an essay and poetry collection and wrote ‘Smith of Wootton’ which is a fantasy. His wife died in the year 1971 and he died in the year 1973 at the age of 81. A year before his death, the author was honored by queen Elizabeth as ‘the commander of the order of the British empire’ in 1972. The author is survived by four of his children. J.R.R. Tolkien’s son Christopher has published a series of books based on the notes and manuscripts left by the author.

Two of the most popular books written by the author are ‘The Hobbit’ and the ‘Lord of the Rings’ Trilogy. These books sold millions of copies worldwide. Tolkien’s one of the most famous books ‘The Hobbit’ was published in the year 1937. It was considered to be a children’s’ book though Tolkien did not describe it as a children’s book. One of the great features of this book is the 100 drawings in the book created by the author. The main character of the book is Bilbo Baggins. The book is all about the adventure of its lead character, Bilbo.

The masterpiece of J.R.R. Tolkien is ‘The Lord of the Rings’ trilogy which is considered as one of the best fiction work in the 20th century. This work strengthened the fantasy genre. Strong reflection of ‘Lord of the Rings’ can be found in other works of fantasy. It was a series of three books and one of the most popular ones in the modern times. The book is inspired by European myths. The there books of the trilogy are the ‘Fellowship of the Ring’, ‘The Two Towers’ and the last one ‘The Return of the King.’ These three books were published in the year 1954 and 1955. The author had spent almost 10 years just writing the narrative of the book. Originally, the author had intended it as a book for children but as he went on writing, it became more serious and dark. The trilogy is a rich fantasy and you will find characters such as talking trees, elves and Goblins.

The characterization has been superb in ‘The Lord of the Rings’ and many of the characters have become fictional legends. Two of the most famous characters in the book are that of Gandalf and Gimli. Gandalf is considered to be one of the strongest characters in the book. Gandalf, for many is the best and most powerful character ever in a fantasy novel. Other popular characters from the book are Legolas, who can shoot five arrows in one go. Many consider the character of the Aragorn as the best. His nobility and humbleness is loved by the readers and movie goers. The character of Gimli is lovable as well. He is short and stocky but very stubborn. He will do what he likes.

‘The Lord of the Rings’ has received rave reviews. In a BBC survey the book was declared as the ‘most loved’ book ever. Amazon.com customers termed the book as ‘best work of the millennium.’

‘The Lord of The Rings’ trilogy has been adapted as a movie by the director, Peter Jackson which had some of the most popular Hollywood stars in the film. The film has been one of the most successful films ever and has won several academy awards. Peter Jackson also adopted another popular book by Tolkien, ‘The Hobbit’ in a movie. This movie has three parts.

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien has helped revive the fantasy genre not only in books but in movies as well. ‘Lord of the rings’ is one of the most celebrated book and a movie ever.

Books in order of publication by series

Lord Of The Rings Books

The Hobbit(1937) 
The Fellowship of the Ring(1954) 
The Two Towers(1954) 
The Return of the King(1955) 

History Of Middle-Earth Collections

The Book of Lost Tales(1983) 
The Book of Lost Tales: Part Two(1984) 
The Lays of Beleriand(1985) 
The Shaping of Middle-Earth(1987) 
The Lost Road and Other Writings(1987) 

History Of The Lord Of The Rings Collections

The Return of the Shadow(1988) 
The Treason of Isengard(1989) 
The War of the Ring(1990) 
Sauron Defeated(1992) 

Later Silmarillion Collections

Morgoth’s Ring: The Legends of Aman(1993) 
The War of the Jewels: The Legends of Beleriand(1994) 

Standalone Novels

Farmer Giles of Ham(1949) 
The Children of Hurin(2007) 
The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun(2009) 
The Story of Kullervo(2015) 
Beren and Luthien(2017) 
The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun(2017) 
The Fall of Goldolin(2018) 

Short Stories

Smith of Wootton Major(1964)

Short Story Collections

The Silmarillion(1937) 
The Adventures of Tom Bombadil(1962) 
The Tolkien Reader(1964) 
Tree and Leaf(1964) 
The Father Christmas Letters(1976) 
Poems and Stories(1980) 
Unfinished Tales of Numenor and Middle-Earth(1980) 
Tales from the Perilous Realm(1993) 
The Peoples of Middle-Earth(1996) 
The Fall of Arthur(2013) 

Picture Books

Mr. Bliss(1937) 
Bilbo’s Last Song(1974) 

Non-Fiction Books

A Middle English Reader and Vocabulary(1922) 
The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien(1981) 
Finn and Hengest: The Fragment and the Episode(1983) 
The Monsters and the Critics: The Essays of J.R.R. Tolkien(1983) 
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