J.R.R. Tolkien was born in Bloemfontein, South Africa on this day in 1892. Whether you are a fan of Middle Earth or simply enjoy role playing games, other fantasy novels, or constructed languages, Tolkien’s work has had a significant influence on the literary world.
I was probably 12 or 13 when my mother bought me copies of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings at one of the larger book stores in Portland, Maine. If I remember correctly, she got them on the recommendation of one of the bookstore employees, since I was starting to outgrow children’s books and was churning through “teen” novels within a day or two.
I devoured those books. By the time I was 14, I had read all four, re-read my favorite parts, and was carefully studying the appendices. We’re not talking Stephen Colbert levels of Tolkien Nerdery here, but I certainly loved these books. The Silmarillion came next and was my close companion for the two months we lived with friends and family after our home in Maine sold more quickly than expected and we had to scramble to find a house in Virginia.
I might not have re-read the Lord of the Rings every year like Christopher Lee did, but I do love this universe and am immensely glad that it exists.
Join with me and the Tolkien Society and make a toast to J.R.R. Tolkien today.