J. R. R. Tolkien

Early Life

J.R.R. Tolkien, or John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, a renowned English poet, author, and academic, was born on January 3, 1892, in Bloemfontein, South Africa. His father, Arthur Reuel Tolkien, worked as a banker, while his mother, Mabel, dedicated herself to homemaking. From an early age, Tolkien exhibited a profound passion for reading and writing, achieving fluency in both by the age of four. His mother, perceiving his emerging talent, acquainted him with literature and languages, nurturing his intellectual advancement. Mabel not only kindled Tolkien’s love for books but also encouraged his exploration of the natural world, leading to his keen interest in botany. Beyond literary pursuits, he displayed artistic talents, often sketching the wonders of nature during his leisure time. Tolkien’s developmental period was distinguished by a multifaceted array of passions, encompassing a thirst for knowledge, mastery of languages, fascination with plants, and expression of artistry. These formative experiences provided the basis for his exceptional literary vocation, solidifying his standing as a revered storyteller worldwide.


J.R.R. Tolkien’s illustrious life was shaped by education. After his initial studies at home, he began a formal educational journey that would form the basis for his future accomplishments. He received his primary education at King Edward’s School and St. Philip’s School provided him with the opportunity to delve into the classics, explore the rich tapestry of classic literature, and develop his fascination with Germanic and Anglo-Saxon languages. He furthered his academic endeavors at Exeter College, Oxford, where he pursued both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees, culminating in the year 1916. Nevertheless, this period coincided with the outbreak of World War I, which prompted Tolkien to fulfill his obligation to his country by enlisting in the Lancashire Fusiliers. It was during this period that he was confronted with the daunting crucible of the Battle of the Somme, a demonstration of his perseverance and valor. Although he faced the challenges of trench warfare and trench fever, he emerged from the war with a profound sense of purpose that he later integrated into his literary works.

Personal Life

J.R.R. Tolkien’s personal life was characterized by a romantic journey that was both sincere and enduring. When he was just sixteen years old, he met Edith Mary Bratt, a lady who was three years older than him, which ignited a profound and lasting affection. However, obstacles hindered their love when Tolkien’s guardian expressed disapproval, mandating that he postpone their union until his twenty-first birthday. Nevertheless, they exchanged vows on March 22, 1916, at St. Mary Roman Catholic Church in Warwick. Tolkien had four children, adding depth to his life’s tapestry.

Some Important Facts about J. R. R. Tolkien

  1. The Lord of the Rings has been translated into twenty-five languages and sold one hundred million copies worldwide.
  2. After WWI, he worked on the Oxford English Dictionary, which was started in 1918. He primarily focused on the Germanic words beginning with “W” discovering their origin and etymology.
  3. He mastered many languages such as German, French, Greek, Middle English, Gothic, Spanish, and Italian.
  4. He was ranked 92 on the BBC Network’s 100 Greatest Britons in 2002.
  5. He was given the Commander of the British Empire’s Order by the Queen for his services to literature.

Writing Career

J.R.R. Tolkien’s writing journey began after World War I. He worked as a researcher for The Oxford English Dictionary, using his linguistic skills. He started his academic writing with the translation of ‘Sir Gawain’ and wrote famous essays like ‘The Monsters and the Critics,’ ‘On Fairy-Stories’ and explored ‘Beowulf’. In 1937, he achieved success with ‘The Hobbit’ a fantasy novel featuring Bilbo Baggins and his adventures. Tolkien also drew inspiration from European myths and folklore, evident in his monumental work, ‘The Lord of the Rings’. This epic combined myths with a richly detailed world, including maps and languages. His other notable works include ‘The Fellowship of the Ring’, ‘The Return of the King’, ‘Tree and Leaf’ and ‘Smith of Wootton Major’. Tolkien’s writing legacy endures as a masterful storyteller in the realm of fantasy literature.

His Style

Tolkien’s unparalleled, polished, and antiquated approach to writing, reflecting the impact of Irish Mythology, Catholicism, Gaelic mythology, Biblical History, and the World Wars, continues to enthrall successive generations. His commanding imagination and distinctive creative approach are manifested through uncomplicated yet convincing language. The inclusion of poetic elements sets his writing apart from others. Regarding literary devices, he turns toward imagery, rhetorical devices, symbolism, foreshadowing, and metaphors. Some of his major thematic strands are fantasy, war, good versus evil, pride and courage, death and immortality, and fate versus free will.

Some Important Works of J. R. R. Tolkien

Best Works: Some of his best works include The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, The Return of the King, the Adventures of Tom Bombadil and Other Verses from the Red Book, Tree and Leaf, Bilbo’s Last Song, Unfinished Tales of Numenor and Middle-earth, The War of the Ring and The Fall of Gondolin.

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien’s Impact on Future Literature

Tolkien’s literary legacy is a testament to his intellect and wit. His contributions to the genre of high fantasy, specifically regarding ‘The Lord of the Rings’ and ‘The Hobbit’ have left a lasting impact on the realms of entertainment and fantasy literature. The author’s passing has not diminished the popularity and prestige of his books as they continue to be firmly ensconced in the hearts of readers. The narratives of Tolkien are so captivating that they have inspired various films, dramas, and a vast global following beyond the written form. The detailed documentation of his intricate worlds and captivating characters still serves as a source of inspiration for up-and-coming writers who aspire to create their own literary works. Thus, Tolkien’s legacy remains, serving as a guiding beacon for generations of storytellers yet to come.

Important Quotes

  1. “I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.” So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” (The Fellowship of the Ring)
  2. “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” (The Fellowship of the Ring)
  3. “Deserves it! I daresay he does. Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends.” (The Fellowship of the Ring)
  4. “The Road goes ever on and on
    Down from the door where it began.
    Now far ahead the Road has gone,
    And I must follow, if I can,
    Pursuing it with eager feet,
    Until it joins some larger way
    Where many paths and errands meet.
    And whither then? I cannot say” (The Fellowship of the Ring)