J.R.R. Tolkien, a man who shared his imagination with millions. Including myself. I first discovered the Hobbit at 10 or 11 years old, in a small and duty rural school library. I distinctly remember the cover, a sprawling dragon lying over mounds of gold. My curiosity got the better of me, an I started reading it after school. I finished it before dinner-time.
Although none of it’s truth or beauty really hit me on that first read, that was my plunge into Middle-earth, and in the years following that, I read the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings about five times each. I only first picked up the Silmarillion last year, after starting to listen to the Prancing Pony Podcast, an am now finishing my second read of it. I have also explored a lot of his other works.
So, now with that bit of history over, let me talk to you about what the man really means. What he stands for.
A deeply virtuous man, defined by his love of his wife, friends, and languages, and also his devout belief in the Catholic Church. From those four things followed on the sprawling and bounding tales of Middle-earth. Quite an inspiration. His works highlight much of the same values, as well as being imbued with deep themes of sorrow. There is so much in his works, in terms of themes, characters, and stories, that it is very difficult not to be able to relate with them in some way.
And even though his works haven’t emotionally affected me, or led me to a conversion (already being a Catholic), I think I can claim to truly appreciate this man and the stories he has created, and my mind is all the better for it.
I have no clue as to whether you have read Tolkien, or know much about him, but I will say one thing. If, you haven’t, you should. I got my father (into his forties now) to read the Hobbit, and he enjoyed it. It’s never too late to start!
Before I go, I would like to quickly say something about the new “bio-pic” that was released a few months ago – Tolkien. I haven’t even seen it yet, being scared away by many critics. But I think this podcast episode from Amon Sûl explains it perfectly, and it’s only 47 minutes, so you should give it a listen. Namarië!