Tag Archives: Lord of the Rings

J.R.R. Tolkien 1.3.13 Thought of the Day

“All that is gold does not glitter; not all those that wander are lost.”
–J.R.R. Tolkien

[Image courtesy Biography online

[Image courtesy Biography online

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was born on this day in Bournemouth, Orange Free State, South Africa) in 1892. Today is the 120th anniversary of his birth.

Tolkien is the older of two boys born to Arthur Reuel Tolkien and Mabel Suffield Tolkien. The family lived in South Africa where Arthur was head of the Bloemfontein office of a British bank. While he was in England on an extended holiday with his mother and brother Hilary his father passed away from rheumatic fever. Mabel Tolkien then moved in with her parents and a succession of relatives in the West Midlands. Mabel and her sister May caused quite a stir when they (and the boys) converted to Catholicism in 1900. Sadly, Mabel died in 1904, leaving her son’s well-being in the hands of a series of relatives and acquaintances until they were eventually taken in by a catholic educator, Father Francis. It was he who encouraged and refined Tolkien’s already blooming gift with words.

When he was sixteen, Tolkien met and developed a close friendship Edith Bratt. As friendship progressed to love, Father Francis forbade him from communicating with Edith until Ronald was 21 in order to keep his focus on his education. By the time they were reunited, Edith had converted to Catholicism, and Tolkien had completed his Oxford degree. They were together at the outbreak of World War I. [Tolkien Society]


J.R.R.Tolkien (Photo credit: proyectolkien)

Tolkien enlisted as a second lieutenant in the Lancashire Fusiliers, but married Edith while still in England on March 22, 1916. The match resulted in four children, three boys and a girl: John Francis Reuel Tolkien (November 17th, 1917 – January 22nd, 2003), Michael Hilary Reuel Tolkien (October 22nd, 1920 – February 27th, 1984), Christopher John Reuel Tolkien (born November 21st, 1924) and Priscilla Mary Anne Reuel Tolkien (born June 18th, 1929).  He was sent into active duty at the start of the Somme offensive, and after four months succumbed to “trench fever”[Ibid] He was sent back to a hospital in Birmingham, England, and was joined by Edith in Staffordshire. It is there that his work on the “Book of Lost Tales” (posthumously published) began. He was promoted to lieutenant and served out the rest of the war on home duty. [Ibid]

He floated through several postwar academic positions finally settling in the Rawlinson and Bosworth Professorship of Anglo-Saxon back at Oxford [Ibid]. He moved through several other posts, but always remained at Oxford until his retirement in 1959. It was there that he founded a group for those of similar interests called “The Inklings”. In 1936, Susan Dagnall, of the publishing firm of George Allen and Unwin, received and incomplete draft of Tolkien’s “The Hobbit” and implored the author to finish it.

J.R.R. Tolkien - illustration for The Hobbit

J.R.R. Tolkien – illustration for The Hobbit (Photo credit: deflam)

“The Hobbit” was published in 1937 and has remained a staple of school reading lists since then. Stanley Unwin was so pleased by the work that he asked if Tolkien had any similar works [Ibid]. Tolkien initially submitted his current draft of “the Silmarillion” ( posthumously published in 1977), but it was rejected by Unwin, who requested something like “the New Hobbit”(2). Understandably disappointed, Tolkien then began work on what would become The Lord of the Rings“.

English: A 3D model of the One Ring Italiano: ...

English: A 3D model of the One Ring Italiano: L’Unico Anello di Sauron da Il Signore degli Anelli di J.R.R. Tolkien. Immagine 3D realizzata da Hill. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

He continued to write through the outbreak of World War II, the duration of which he served as an Air-Raid Warden, a job, it is said, he participated in with great zeal and enjoyment [“J.R.R. Tolkien: Master of Fantasy” by David R. Collins – Lerner Publications Company – 1992].

“The Lord of the Rings” was published as six books in three parts from 1954 through 1955. The work’s success was as unexpected as Bilbo’s journey in the Hobbit, Tolkien soon received an occult following, as well as a deal to make a highly condensed BBC radio adaption [Tolkien Society].

Tolkien died on September 2, 1973, two years after Edith. Both are buried beneath the same headstone in the Catholic section of Wolvercote cemetery, just north of Oxford.

[Image courtesy: Geeks of Doom]

[Image courtesy: Geeks of Doom]

Author’s Note: The majority of today’s blog was written by Maggie (Rita’s kid), so if there are mistakes, they are her fault. However, if you really, really like it, Maggie is partial to tea and dark chocolate, so you ought to convince Rita to gives her exorbitant amounts of both.


Rita’s Note: Done! Thanks Maggie!

Thought of the Day 9/22/12 Bilbo and Frodo Baggins

“I don’t know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you, half as well as you deserve.”

— Bilbo Baggins

“I will take the Ring…though I do not know the way.”

–Frodo Baggins

Bilbo and Frodo (from the Peter Jackson LotR movie) [Image courtesy: Mechtild’s]

Bilbo and Frodo Baggins were both born on this day  in The Shire, Middle Earth. Bilbo was born in 2890 T.A., Frodo was born in 2968 T.A..

[Bilbo and Frodo Baggins are fictional characters in JRR Tolkien’s Middle Earth fantasies The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. The T.A. after the date stands for Third Age]

As a child Bilbo…

“loved to listen to Gandalf‘s stories about dragons, goblins and princesses and was impressed by the Wizard’s fireworks. After the death of his parents… he inherited Bag End. In the eyes of his neighbors, he originally seemed just like his father – a solid, sensible, unadventurous and respectable hobbit. But when becoming older he started to become “strange”… [Tolkien Gateway]

Cover art for The Hobbit, revised edition [Image courtesy: Amazon.com]

But, when we meet him, at the beginning of The Hobbit, he is middle-aged and living a comfortable life, in his comfortable Hobbit hole (Bag End). Then in walks Gandalf and a bunch of dwarfs and all sorts of adventure, danger and even a little fun ensue. By the end of the book he has  out smarted  trolls, escaped dragons and found a magic ring that will change the destiny of Middle Earth.

Original cover design for The Hobbit. [ Image courtesy: TheOneRing.net]

His nephew Frodo was born to respectable parents, Drogo and Primula Baggins. Sadly they died in a boating accident and Frodo was sent to live with Primula’s relatives the Brandybucks. Frodo earned a reputation as a mischief-maker and eventually was taken in by his uncle Bilbo.

Bilbo taught Frodo to read both Hobbit (English?) and Elvish and filled his head with tales of adventure.

At the beginning of the Fellowship of the Ring Bilbo and Frodo celebrate their birthdays with a lavish party. For Bilbo it is his eleventy-first (111th). Frodo is 33. The year is 3001 T.A.. Bilbo surprises Frodo and the guest by disappearing at the end of the party. He had used his magic ring to do so. He leaves the Shire and travels to Rivendell to write his memoir, There and Back Again (aka The Hobbit) and Translations from the Elvish (which became the basis of The Silmarillion).

The Fellowship of the Ring, 1st Edition 1st Impression, 1954, with original dust jacket and original cloth bindings. Offered at the Tolkien Library Store for $6,500. [Image courtesy: Tolkien Library Store]

Frodo inherited Bag End and the Ring. Gandalf advised Frodo not to use the ring but to keep it secret. The wizard then went off to discover more about the ring. The young Hobbit heeded his advice and lived respectably for 17 years. Until one night Gandalf returned to tell him the ring is the ONE RING, a thousand year old, evil ring of power that belonged to the dark lord Sauron. Sauron is now looking for the Ring and it must be destroyed.

So Frodo, along with his relatives Merry and Pippin and his faithful gardener Sam  head east. Later a human Ranger named Strider (aka Aragorn) joins the group. And, after some terrible encounters with Sauron’s nine Black Riders the little group makes it to Rivendell, a stronghold of Elves.

Council of Elrond (from the Peter Jackson LotR movie)[Image courtesy New Line Cinema]

There they meet up with Bilbo. The Council of Elrond is called  to discuss what should be done with the ring. After Frodo bravely volunteers to throw the Ring into the fires of Mount Doom a fellowship of nine  is formed. Frodo, Sam, Merry , Pippin, Aragorn, Gandalf, Legolas (an Elf) and Gimli (a Dwarf) set out to fight The War of the Ring.

Artist Jenny Dolfen’s vision for Frodo. Go see more of Jenny’s beautiful art work at www.goldseven.de. [This work is copyrighted and owned by Jenny Dolfen. However, permission has kindly been granted, by the copyright holder, to use this file on this blog post.]

[I won’t ruin it by telling you the ending. Go read the books == or see the Peter Jackson trilogy  and then re-read the books. Then come back here and discuss who is better hero: Bilbo, Frodo, Aragorn or Sam — or Gollum!]

Bilbo’s Last Song:
Day is ended, dim my eyes,

but journey long before me lies.
Farewell, friends! I hear the call.
The ship’s beside the stony wall.
Foam is white and waves are grey;
beyond the sunset leads my way.
Foam is salt, the wind is free;
I hear the rising of the Sea.

Farewell, friends! The sails are set,
the wind is east, the moorings fret.
Shadows long before me lie,
beneath the ever-bending sky,
but islands lie behind the Sun
that I shall raise ere all is done;
lands there are to west of West,
where night is quiet and sleep is rest.

Guided by the Lonely Star,
beyond the utmost harbour-bar,
I’ll find the heavens fair and free,
and beaches of the Starlit Sea.
Ship, my ship! I seek the West,
and fields and mountains ever blest.
Farewell to Middle-earth at last.
I see the Star above my mast!

[Bilbo’s Last Song; Tolkien Gateway]

JRR Tolkien [Image courtesy: Amazon.com]

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