J.R.R Tolkien

by Jodi from DuBois

Faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens.

137669J.R.R. TolkienRogelio A. Galaviz C. - Flickr [Public domain]Imagine a world beyond the reach of the cities. Imagine vast, rolling farmland with quaint little people with quaint little ways. Imagine forests full of what one might refer to as magic. Imagine the realms of men, before their were cars or buses, or even mechanical devices. Imagine Middle Earth. This was the much beloved world created by J.R.R Tolkien in the form of The Lord of the Rings. In memory of this authorial genius, I have done research about him in “Biography Today”.

Though J.R.R Tolkien lived in England in his later life, his beginnings were in South Africa. John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was born on January 3rd, 1892 in Bloemfontein, South Africa. He resided with his parents, Arthur Reuel Tolkien and Mabel Tolkien, who were originally from Birmingham, England. Tolkien had a younger brother named Hilary. For the first three years of his life Tolkien lived in South Africa. Being a child who was frequently ill, his mother concluded that the hot, humid climate of South Africa would do him no good. In 1895 they decided that Mabel would move back to England with John and Hilary. Arthur planned to move to England at a later date. Unfortunately, six months after they had left South Africa, Arthur fell ill with rheumatic fever. Three months afterwards, he died due to a brain hemorrhage. Mable Tolkien’s heath was also failing. She had been diagnosed with diabetes. At the time this was untreatable. She died at the age of 34 in 1904. J.R.R Tolkien was only twelve years old.

Education is a fundamental element in the creation of a hero. Tolkien did not have an easy time with schooling. His education was interrupted numerous times on account of war, family tragedies, and many other challenges in his personal and professional life. In all, Tolkien attended three different schools before he graduated in 1911 from King Edward’s. He was then granted a scholarship to Exeter College in Oxford. Meanwhile, he and his brother had moved out of their Aunt’s house where they had resided since their mother’s death and into a boarding house at the age of 16. After he graduated, he moved to Oxford to attend Exeter College.

Though he was a hero, Tolkien could not escape the spell of love. While at the boarding house, he met another lodger. Her name was Edith Bratt, who was 19 at the time. The two fell in love almost instantly. Father Francis, the Catholic man who watched over the two brothers, did not approve. He wanted Tolkien to finish schooling, go to college, and get a good education. He wished that Tolkien would wait until he was older to get married. Father Francis forbade him to see or marry Edith until he was 21 years of age. He reluctantly agreed, and Edith moved out of his life for several years. In 1913, as he approached his 21st birthday, Tolkien wrote a letter to Edith. She had become engaged to another man. She loved Tolkien so much, however, that she broke off the engagement. The two of them then became engaged. As World War I broke out, Tolkien joined the many men moved by the war effort. Before he left for France in 1916, he and Edith were married. Their first child, John, was born in November of 1917. In 1924 they welcomed a third child, named Christopher. The pair were happily married until death did them part in 1971 when Edith passed away.

Some careers are not the focal point of a hero’s life. Tolkien is most well known for what he did in his career. It all began with the simple words, “In a hole there lived a Hobbit.” This began Tolkien’s first well known book, The Hobbit. It is a story set in Middle-Earth, a land of Tolkien’s creation. It follows the tale of Bilbo Baggins, a Hobbit who finds himself swept out his front door by a mysterious wizard named Gandalf and a band of Dwarves who must recruit him to find their treasure. He encounters trolls, a dragon, and a creature named Gollum from whom he steals a ring of power that has origins in an evil city called Mordor. It was well received, and readers urged Tolkien to create more books containing the cheery Hobbits. Thus was born The Fellowship of the Ring, followed by The Two Towers, and finally The Return of the King. These three books made up the Lord of the Rings trilogy. These books elaborated on Bilbo’s ring, which he had passed to his cousin Frodo. It happens to be “The One Ring” owned by a dark lord which threatens the very existence of Middle-Earth. Frodo, with the help of Samwise Gamgee, Meriadoc Brandybuck, Peregrin Took, along with the fellowship selected by a council in Rivendell, must make the grueling journey to destroy the One Ring. Over the years, Tolkien expanded on the lore of Middle-Earth for the rest of his life. He never finished The Silmarillion, though his son Christopher edited and completed it after his father’s death. This was the last book published under Tolkien’s name after he died in 1973 at the age of eighty-one.

Though he seemed a rather ordinary man, J.R.R Tolkien left a rather unordinary impression on the world. He was and still remains a prominent figure in the world of literature today. His original and lovable characters, timeless tales of adventure, and way with words truly made a mark on the hearts of many. Though he performed no great selfless show of deeds in his lifetime, J.R.R Tolkien transported all who dared to read his books into a world they would never forget.

Page created on 7/15/2011 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 7/15/2011 12:00:00 AM

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