Skip to content

18 Facts about J.R.R. Tolkien

    John Ronald Reuel Tolkien (1892-1973) better know as J.R.R. Tolkein, author of the Lord of the Rings books circa 1940s and 1970s.

    18 facts about John Ronald Reuel Tolkien (1892-1973) better know as J.R.R. Tolkein, author of the Lord of the Rings books circa 1940s and 1970s.

    See below: J.R.R. Tolkien Gems of Wit & Wisdom

    18 Facts About J.R.R.Tolkien

    1. John Ronald Reuel Tolkien (1892-1973) served in both World War I and in World War II. In the former, he served at the Battle of the Somme, and in the latterserving in the cryptographic department of the Foreign Office as a codebreaker.
    2. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy took over a decade to complete.
    3. J.R.R. Tolkien coined the word, “eucatastrophe”, which means a sudden twist, or turn of events, in a stories ending which prevent and protect the antagonist from otherwise certain doom.
    4. Mount Gandalf and Mount Aragorn in Canada were named after the works of J.R.R. Tolkien.
    5. Tolkien Reading Day takes place in schools around the world every March 25th.
    6. J.R.R. Tolkien narrated “Poems And Songs Of Middle Earth”, a vinyl LP recorded in 1967 by Caedmon Records.
    7. In 1937, Tolkien’s first published book, The Hobbit, was released and originally unlinked to the LoTR trilogy. It was only later, in 1954-55, that references to The Hobbit’s second age of Middle-earth appeared in the latter books.
    8. Tolkien’s legendarium – 2 words to describe the author’s massive collection of notes, maps, languages, poems, and extensive backstory that serves the stories of Middle-earth.
    9. The Silmarillion is a work published 4 years after Tolkien’s death, in 1977, by his son Christopher and Canadian fantasy author Guy Gavriel Kay. The book served to realise Tolkien Sr.’s intention and description of the fictional universe: Eä, whose the Blessed Realm of Valinor, the region of Beleriand, the sunken island of Númenor, and the continent of Middle-earth made famous in the LoTR books. Christopher Tolkien went on to publish Unfinished Tales, The History of Middle-earth, The Book of Lost Tales, The Lays of Beleriand, The Shaping of Middle-earth, The Lost Road and Other Writings, Morgoth’s Ring, and The War of the Jewels.
    10. During WWII, in a letter written to his son, Christopher, Tolkien referred to the bomb-makers of The Manhattan Project after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima as “Babel builders” and “lunatics”.
    11. “Do not laugh! But once upon a time (my crest has long since fallen) I had a mind to make a body of more or less connected legend, ranging from the large and cosmogonic to the level of romantic fairy-story… The cycles should be linked to a majestic whole, and yet leave scope for other minds and hands, wielding paint and music and drama. Absurd.”— J. R. R. Tolkien **Indeed, Tolkien’s legacy upon modern culture is far and wide, his vast work influencing the works of others to produce high fantasy related, if not Tolkien induced works, including: art and illustration, film, literature, graphic novels, parody, radio plays, hard rock, heavy metal, folk, jazz, and classical music, board games, video games, toys, and all manner of Middle-earth fan related items such as staffs, robes, wands, goblets, etc.
    12. Legendary British rock band, Led Zeppelin, made explicit lyrical references to Tolkien’s books in their songs, “Ramble On”(Gollum and Mordor), “Misty Mountain Hop”(the Misty Mountains), and “The Battle of Evermore”(Ringwraiths).
    13. Tolkien’s aunt Jane Neave’s Worcestershire home in the village of Dormstom was named “Bag End”, also the name of the hobbit-burrow inhabited by LoTR’s protagonist Frodo Baggins.
    14. Tolkien’s artistic achievement’s include over 200 paintings, drawings, and sketches as well as cover art, maps, calligraphy, and full-page illustrations.
    15. Before World War I, Tolkien graduated from university having chosen Old Norse as his special subject. He went on to give courses in Old English, Gothic, Old Icelandic, and Medieval Welsh. His love, and mastery, of languages led him to construct languages (think Elvin) for use in his books and stories.
    16. Tolkien met Edith Mary Bratt in 1908. They fell in love but were denied by Tolkien’s guardian, Father Morgan, until the suitor turned 21 years of age. On the eve of his birthday he proposed and the young lovers finally tied the knot in March of 1916. They had four children. Edith died in 1971, Ronald, 21 months later.
    17. The Anglo-Saxon epic poem, “Beowulf” had great influence on the work of Tolkien, specifically The Hobbit and The Lord of The Rings. Tolkien translated the poem early on in his linguistic career and his 1936 lecture, “Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics“, marked his lasting influence on modern research of the heroic poem.
    18. In 1909, a teenage Tolkien composed a sixteen page notebook story called, “The Book of the Foxrook”, which included the earliest example of one of his invented alphabets.

    J.R.R. Tolkien Gems of Wit & Wisdom

    Still round the corner there may wait
    A new road or a secret gate
    And though I oft have passed them by
    A day will come at last when I
    Shall take the hidden paths that run
    West of the Moon, East of the Sun.— J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings

    Oft in lies truth is hidden.— Glorfindel, The Fellowship of the Ring

    Bagginses? What is a Bagginses, precious?— Gollum, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

    Do not meddle in the affairs of Wizards, for they are subtle and quick to anger.— Meriadoc Brandybuck (quoting Gildor), The Lord of the Rings: One Volume

    Fair speech may hide a foul heart.— Samwise Gamgee, The Lord of the Rings – The Two Towers

    It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him.— Gandalf the Grey, The Hobbit

    Time flies over us, but leaves its shadow behind.— Nathaniel Hawthorne

    Oft hope is born when all is forlorn.— Legolas, The Return of the King

    You have nice manners for a thief and a liar,” said the dragon.— Smaug, The Hobbit

    Short cuts make for long delays.— Peregrin “Pippin” Took, The Hobbit

    May the wind under your wings bear you where the sun sails and the moon walks.— Gandalf the Grey, The Hobbit

    Elves seldom give unguarded advice, for advice is a dangerous gift, even from the wise to the wise, and all courses may run ill.— Gildor Inglorion, The Fellowship of the Ring

    It is perilous to study too deeply the arts of the Enemy, for good or for ill.— Elrond, The Fellowship of the Ring

    All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.— Gandalf The Grey (Ian McKellen), The Fellowship of the Ring

    Our most intimate friend is not he to whom we show the worst, but the best of our nature.— Nathaniel Hawthorne

    Not all those who wander are lost.— J.R.R. Tolkien, All That is Gold Does Not Glitter (poem), The Fellowship of the Ring

    Oft it may chance that old wives keep in memory word of things that once were needful for the wise to know.— Celeborn, The Lord of the Rings