Blogging A to Z Day 23: Tolkien

J. R. R. Tolkien was born in South Africa in 1892 and lived part of his childhood in India. He served as an infantry officer during World War I and went on to become one of the leading philologists of his time. He held professorships at Pembroke and Merton Colleges, Oxford. He died in 1973.tolkien2

Tolkien is far and away my favorite author, and I doubt I’ll ever let an April go by without writing at least one post about him. This year I did three – I also wrote about The Lord of the Rings for L and the One Ring for O. I read The Hobbit, LOTR, and The Silmarillion at least every three years. I blog about Tolkien’s work often at Part Time Monster, and my ongoing series for that blog is so long I have it collected on a page for easy reference.

If my mother hadn’t read me The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings when I was a child, I might still have become a writer. But I doubt I would have developed a passion for fantasy fiction nor become a world-builder. I enjoy Peter Jackson’s adaptations of Tolkien almost as much as I enjoy the books themselves, and I’m glad the adaptations weren’t made until the special effects were good enough to make Middle Earth live and breathe.

A few years ago I had the pleasure of talking to a professor who actually met Tolkien on a trip to England. He said Tolkien had the manuscripts and notes for The Lord of the Rings in his office, and it was several six-foot-high stacks of paper. How cool would it be to have actually seen those manuscripts and talked to the man himself?

I recommend giving Tolkien a try if you’ve never read him. He’s equally good at humor and tradgedy.  He is Victorian and Modern at the same time, somehow. His descriptions and characterizations are excellent, and he has much to say about the nature of evil as well as the nature of good.

If you’re on the hunt for great Tolkien-related internet content, you might want to check out Sweating to Mordor, A Tolkienist’s Perspective, The Leather Library, and Middle Earth News. I follow them all and check in with them as often as I can.

48 thoughts on “Blogging A to Z Day 23: Tolkien

  1. Tolkien is a master. I have his words to thank for getting me through quite a few rough patches! I’ve always been safe between the pages of his books. He is a true inspiration, someone who really influenced my young mind and made me truly appreciate the art of storytelling 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • He definitely influenced me that way. The only other writer I can come up with for pure influence on me as a person and as a writer is A.A. Milne.

      George Orwell and Ernest Hemingway would be third and fourth, but I am not sure what order to put them in. I am a bit of an eclectic reader.

      Liked by 1 person

        • Ever read “Homage to Catalonia?”
          That is my favorite Orwell work. Next, his essays. The dystopian novels are the least of what Orwell did, intellectually (though they probably did more to spread his message than all the rest combined). The man was a genius.

          Liked by 1 person

          • He certainly was. Yes, I read Homage to Catalonia in college. It reflects his passion, I think, and he did an amazing job at describing a chaotic time – the courage of those he fought beside. I might have to read it again!


            • Um, don’t jump back into it just yet. It’s been seven or eight years since I read it last. Maybe we can get a group together or something.

              And I have to ask now: Do you know Camus?

              This thread just keeps getting better and better.

              Liked by 1 person

            • I know of him because of his work on pestilence – so know his most famous work. That’s about the extent of my knowledge though. Is he another favourite of yours?


            • I like his philosophy. I’ve read The Plague, which is good, and scanned The Stranger, which was interesting but not interesting enough for me to really tackle.

              This however,may be the best long essay I ever read. “Neither Victim Nor Exectutioner” This link is the best I can do — you used to be able to find it all over the internet, but now, just getting to the full text is hard.

              It’s an important text. Published in Combat! which was the official magazine of the French Resistance, beginning in 1946.


              And how the hell did we get here? 🙂

              Liked by 1 person

  2. He’s a wonderful writer. I do remember a blunder I had though, because I was little when my dad was reading LOTR to us, and I thought (for almost a full chapter) that Merry and Pippin were girls, until they got in a bath with Frodo and Sam at Tom Bombadil’s. Haha. Many precious memories connected to these books. 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

      • Just so you know, this is one of the most perfect threads ever, because there is a much higher percentage of people talking to one another, rather than talking straight at the post author, going on here.

        The comment count only matters if you need to use the number of comments as a selling point. People who did not write the post talking to one another about the post. That is where it’s at. Is hard work to pull that off, even once. But worth it.

        Two new friends and commenters talking to one another on occasion, even if rarely. That is all I need to call the #geekpastiche A to Z a success.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Sadly, I didn’t get a comment notification for this comment, only your direct reply, so that may have something to do with it!

          Liked by 1 person

          • That comment only sent Hannah a response notification, because it is a reply to her. You should have got a notfication on the one I left immediately below, though, about the beautiful blunder with the names. Replies only send notifications to the post author and to the person who is being replied to (I think).

            Liked by 1 person

            • Oh, yes. That’s what I meant. I got the reply from you. But I just thought it would be a good idea for WP to notify the original thread author, too, since it’s all nested user my comment. 😛

              Liked by 2 people

  3. My 9th grade English teacher had us all read The Hobbit and that was the beginning for me. I devoured The Lord of the Rings after that and have read it dozens of time since. And bought me children each their own copies.

    Liked by 3 people

    • That is so cool that you bought them their own copies. When they are as old as me, if they love those books as much as I do, those books will be so worn out they use other copies for reference purposes and do not allow very many people to touch the ones they started with.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Great post as always Gene’O. I too like Jackson’s adaptation. The special effects do help to bring the magic alive. Tolkien is one of the people I would love to have met and chatted with. Thanks for the other Tolkien links. Not sure when I’ll get around to checking them out. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha! Well, I know those blogs well. Can share them with you later, and I link to them randomly at the end of my Tolkien posts at @parttimemonster. I also share them on the other social media from time to time. So no worries about not getting around to them. Those are not one-time links. Those are blogs I send two and three readers to as often as I can, month-in, month out.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you very much! I hope you find time to check it out later! (I am a bit harried right now, myself). When I first started, I collected lots of things on pages. These days, I am only actually updating a few. The Tolkien series is one of those.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for sharing that. I am totally a
      Fantasy geek because of the Tolkien. If everything had gone the same, but there had been no Tolken, Crime Fiction would probably be my preferred genre.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve been to the Eagle and Child in Oxford, where he and the other Inklings met 😀 That was a pretty excellent thing to do, I must say. Also, pints were involved. Oh, and we read a Shakespeare play out loud. Yep. Good times!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Super jelly. Maybe I can make an Eagle and Child trip part of that Lewis project I haven’t worked on for six months… Super jelly of your professor acquiantance, too, Gene’o. 😉

      Liked by 2 people

      • Mmmm . . . Did @dbcox say pints? (And that particular professor is one of the coolest people I have ever had the pleasure of conversing with. He is a bit of a legend. The sort of guy who can teach you Latin, or teach you about Music Theory with equal facility, and knows the answer to every question you could ever ask about Anglophone/Francophonie literary stuff in between.)

        Liked by 2 people

  6. Great post, Gene’O. Thanks for sharing. You would think someone of my age would be thoroughly familiar with Tolkien’s works, but I’m not. It’s definitely on my list. I know the basics, but have never read the books. I apologize for the delay in getting over here to visit and comment, but I started falling behind in the challenge and had to play catch-up (among other things).

    Have a great evening and when I can breathe again, I’m definitely coming back to read the rest. Hugs. Eva

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am way behind on visiting myself, and thank you so much for finding the time.

      I recommend the Tolkien.

      You have a great evening, too, and don’t work too hard keeping up with the Internet stuff! The Internet will still be here tomorrow.

      Liked by 1 person

      • True, but I don’t like being behind. I had to post R and S on the same day. That annoyed me to no end.

        I’m just now done with replying to comments almost a week and a half old. Sigh.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I don’t like being behind, either, but, if you are growing, working from behind is just part of the game. I am not answering week-and-a-half old comments. Whatever I missed that long ago, I just missed.

          I am behind on editorial stuff, and writing things, and loading more photos, and minding the Twitter, and knowing what is going on in some Facebook groups that I use to keep up with people.


    • That is respectable. I rate Tolkien above Wells, but I see why a person might put Tolkien third, for sure. And Asimov. Well, I do not quibble with people who rate him first, or second, or third, or fourth . . . I like me some Asimov, though I have read less of him than I should have.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. On my research for my own AtoZ I discovered that there is a book with new never before published Tolkien poetry to find on Amazon. Unfortunately not on soft copy. One of those poems was at a website. (I really wanted to publish, but since it was copy right protected… )
    Tolkien had a beautiful manner to write poetry as well. 🙂


    • yar. I recited his poetry as a child.

      “Through Rohan over fen and field where the long grass blows,

      The West Wind comes a’walking and about the walls it blows.

      What news from the west, O wandering wind, do you bring to me tonight?

      Have you seen Boromir the Fair by moon or by starlight?”

      “I saw him ride over seven streams, over waters wide and grey.

      I saw him ride through empty lands until he passed away into the shadows of the north.

      I saw him then no more.

      The North Wind may have heard the horn of the son of Denethor . . .”

      That is not perfect, but it is close, and I typed it right out of my head without consulting the books. There are three more stanzas.

      “The Departure of Boromir” made a huge impression on me when I was a kiddie looking for stuff to soak up like a sponge.

      Liked by 1 person

        • 😀 Glad you approve! The East Wind does not get a stanza, if I recall correctly. Because the East Wind comes from Mordor. I don’t remember the “North Wind” stanza at all, really. But I can at least get the beginning of the South Wind:

          “From the gates of the sea the South Wind Blows, over sandhills and the stones,

          The wailing of the gulls it bears, and at the gate it moans.

          What news from the south, oh wailing wind, do you bring to me at eve?

          Have you seen Boromir the Bold? He tarries and I grieve . . .”

          That’s as far as I go with it, but it’s worth studying carefully. It’s three different speakers. The structure of the language changes to suit their voices, but the rhyme and rhythm are fairly consistent.

          It is not good in the modern sence of “good poetry.” But it is a good, good poem. Especially in the context that it is offered.

          I am leaving the thread and moving to the dashboard now. Thank you so much for this conversation!

          Liked by 1 person

  8. What is a roundup of the top A to Z blog posts without one dedicated to one of the great inspirations of my life?
    Thanks for writing about this topic for T, O, and L and for sharing your knowledge.
    Here is a review I wrote for the last film. I would be interested in your thoughts. Let me know if I got anything incorrect:
    Hope you don’t mind if I include your post in my end of April’s A to Z Blogging Challenge summary? It would be so amazing to meet a man like Professor Tolkien. I think I would probably be very intimidated of course, but it would definitely have been a once-in-a-lifetime experience, for sure.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. When I read comments like this, it makes me wish I was a bigger fan. But, I’ve tried to read them and I just can’t get into them. Maybe when I’m retired.
    Great post.
    Heather M. Gardner
    Co-host: Blogging from A to Z April Challenge
    Blog: The Waiting is the Hardest Part []

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Pingback: Ten Bloggers. 26 Blogging A to Z Posts. All on One Blog. | Sourcerer

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