J. R. R. Tolkien created thousands of generations with LTR. It’s been an icon of fantasy writers, readers, as well as the movie industry that extends through today. The chances are that tomorrow, and tomorrow’s tomorrow, it will be still talked about. LTR had taken 15 years of Tolkien’s life to complete, but had developed in his head from the years of his life before. Tolkien was a linguist, an author, a writer, a geologist, a professor, a student, and a resilient loner, and above all, he was a man of great integrity, stealth, and perseverance. His life had taken him from losing his father at age four, and his mother at age 12, to college, the first world war, and back to college again as a professor, (“There and back again), then to an unexpected turn after of his book being published.
That’s right, Tolkien’s life was anything but boring. As a boy, he had little time to twaddle around. He lost his father unexpectedly when he was 4 years old. After his mother’s death due to complications with diabetes, he found himself living from home to home being raised by a nanny with his younger brother. One accomplishment he made was to have a few friends in school, and the passion his mother had taught him about the value of words. Together with his friends in school, he formed a club based on the love of heroic legends and sagas called TCBS. His love for ancient languages grew. By 1911, he was studying English language and Literature at Oxford University in England, but when the first world’s war broke out he, like his close friends ended up in the infantry.
Tolkien served as Lieutenants (pronounced Left-tenant) in the trenches of France at the battle of La Soule. It was there in the trenches while fighting the Germans that he scribbled out the notes for his first book “The Silmarillion”. His small group of close friends died in the war and Tolkien was again left as a loner. This adversely would have affected his life and how he saw his own future, however his strength and perseverance shown through as he became more in touch with the world he had been creating through his writings. He drew maps, and new his characters without a question. Many people can attest the writings of J.R.R. Tolkien are mostly about death. However if I were to inject an opinion, it would be that his books were about a “Fighting chance to survive, change things, and live”.
Tolkien’s love for language gave way to a creativeness on its own as it fueled his writings carving the stories he wrote into a certain kind of mythology. He had thought profusely, and greatly regretted that the 1066 of the Norman invasion into England had destroyed the hope of having any great heroic past legends for England.
In 1925, Tolkien returned to Oxford to be a professor of Anglo-Saxon. By 1934, he found himself writing a note that began a legacy. It read, “In a hole in the ground, there lived a Hobbit.”
Tolkien was 60 years old when LTR was published in 1936. Christopher Tolkien has been quoted in saying that for a story to be convincing, you have to know what you’re talking about. You have to know the geography, and history.” LTR definitively was known through and through by Tolkien. He drew the geographic maps, invented cultures, and created societies with his knowledge of different ancient civilizations. He conjured up cultures, and creeds of people, monsters, and evil characters that had never existed before. In a sense, he had accomplished what he had wanted to do his whole life. He created a full history, and background of a world that existed only in his head, but his writings brought it to print. LTR had been said to be the second most read book of the twentieth century. The first most read book at that time was the Bible.
Though the success of LTR pleased Tolkien very much, he profusely defended his story from those who said it may be, or could be an allegory thus making clear in the forward portion of the first book, “Fellowship of the Ring” that it was not, and never had been an allegory in any way whatsoever.
Tolkien was a team player, he wrote characters who had come from several different cultures, and worked together for a common goal. LTR is an example of this, as well as of his own life from the trenches at La Soule, France against the German forces. Thus each character feels alone, yet still moving forward with an essence of hope though they feel deeply that they may well lose the war or battle being undertaken. Tolkien seemed to have written LTR as a book that would have hope, but without any guarantees. As the character Aragorn said in the LTR movie stated, “There’s always hope”.
The key of the conflict in the story of LTR, would be that the ring had to be destroyed. There was only one true heart to do it. It would be the least likely to ever be expected who could take on the excruciating burden of transporting the ring to Mordor where it could be melted by the fires of its hell. An essential truth of life is very much parallel to many parts of the story. Inside people there is both good and evil. Many who would volunteer to take the ring would have good intentions, but the heaviness and force of the evil in the ring could turn even the best character into evil. Thereby overtaking that person causing a fall to the will of the ring.
Another element of Tolkien that came into LTR was that his great respect for the earth. This was seen in the second movie “The Two Towers” elegantly as the trees rebelled against Soron and overtook his fortress.
J.R.R. Tolkien made his mark in history all over the world just by finishing a work that was simply written for his own therapy and enjoyment. He invented languages, cultures, created geographies and territories for the settings and feel of the characters which only Tolkien knew inside and out. When you see LTR again, remember one thing, that this world has been created from the mind of a genius!