Little Known Facts About Tolkien

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  1. The inspiration for Bilbo and Frodo Baggins’ home of Bag End came from Tolkien’s aunt’s farm of the same name.
  2. Tolkien was a member of the Inklings, a group associated with Oxford University. Other famous writers have belonged to this group such as C.S. Lewis (author of the acclaimed “Narnia” series) and Tolkien’s own son Christopher, who is mostly acting as the Tolkien Estate’s literary executor.
  3. While his “Lord of the Rings” and “Hobbit” sagas were becoming popular with the hippie culture in the U.S., Tolkien deplored the idea of becoming something of a cult figure. However he admitted later:  “… even the nose of a very modest idol […] cannot remain entirely untickled by the sweet smell of incense!”
  4. Lord of the Rings took him over 14 years to write. After he wrote the Hobbit in 1937, it wasn’t until the mid 1950s when the first volume “The Fellowship of the Ring” was actually published.  When all was said and done, the book was over 1200 pages that he typed himself! It is said that when he needed a copy of the manuscript, he didn’t have the resources to make one, so he retyped the whole thing himself. The craziest thing is that he wasn’t a particularly adept typer, so he pecked his way through the 1200 using only two fingers!
  5. J.R.R Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings” is often erroneously called a trilogy when it is actually one book often published in three volumes! The Lord of the Rings is a single novel with six books and appendices.
  6. Tolkien came up with the idea for the Hobbit when he was marking some exams at Oxford. He came across a blank one and for no particular reason wrote down the famous line: “In a hole in the ground there lived a Hobbit.”
  7. Tolkien became Reader in English language at Leeds in 1920. He later became professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford. English universities have the reader rank immediately below a professor. For a brief period he worked on the Oxford English Dictionary.
  8. One of the greatest Britons was in fact born in South Africa. He left the country at the age of three and mostly spent his life in the UK. He has been featured on both lists of the 100 greatest Britons and 100 greatest South Africans.
  9. JRR are the initials for John Ronald Reuel. As a child he was known as Ronald.
  10. The Oxford Dictionary lists eight words brought into English by Tolkien including hobbit and warg.
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