Tolkien Reading Day

Tokien reading day is every day for me. But anyway, today is March 25th, anniversary of the downfall of Sauron. The Red Book is way, behind, so it will be celebrating later, but that doesn't mean I have to be tardy here.
To kick it off, let us begin with a few odd little facts.

Any self respecting Tolkien-fan knows of Beren and Luthien, even is he hasn't read Silmarillion (read it now it's amazing). But it is less widely known that the meeting of Beren and Luthien was inspired by Tolkien's wife, Edith. In the Silmarillion, Beren comes upon Luthien dancing and singing in a forest glade. Once, during a walk together, Tolkien and Edith stopped in a forest glade (of sorts) and Edith danced and sang for him. Not only that, but by Tolkien's instruction, the names Beren and Luthien are engraved on Tolkien and Edith's gravestone.

The rather sad fact of the matter is that CS Lewis and Tolkien did not have such a beautiful and long-lasting friendship as it is often reported. At first, they were very close, to the point that Tolkien's wife was jealous of their friendship. And it was Tolkien who convinced Lewis to become Christian. But Lewis was quite anti-Catholic, and led, in Tolkien's opinion, a rather scandalous personal life. Their relationship was rocky and broken, a fact which Tolkien regretted. After CS Lewis' death, Tolkien wrote in a letter to his (Tolkien's) daughter:
"So far I have felt . . . like an old tree that is losing all its leaves one by one: this feels like an axe-blow near the roots."
Of course, both of these wonderful creatures are dead, and it is certain that they have been happily reunited in heaven.


The 1930s saw Tolkien in communication with the german publishers Rütten & Loening to publish a german translation of The Hobbit. Then Rütten & Leoning requested documentation of Tolkien's Aryan (a term meaning 'indo-iranian') heritage. Tolkien was decidedly miffed, and wrote in a letter Stanley Unwin (his publisher, and also his friend).

"I must say the enclosed letter from Rütten & Loening is a bit stiff. Do I suffer this impertinence because of the possession of a German name, or do their lunatic laws require a certificate of arisch origin from all persons of all countries?

Personally, I should be inclined to refuse to give any Bestätigung (although it happens that I can), and let a German translation go hang. In any case I should object strongly to any such declaration appearing in print. I do not regard the (probable) absence of all Jewish blood as necessarily honourable; and I have many Jewish friends, and should regret giving any colour to the notion that I subscribed to the wholly pernicious and unscientific race-doctrine."

Tolkien sent two drafts of reply letters to Unwin, and while I am not sure which one Unwin decided to send, here follows a quote from the one that I like.
"Thank you for your letter. I regret that I am not clear as to what you intend by arisch. I am not of Aryan extraction: that is Indo-Iranian; as far as I am aware none of my ancestors spoke Hindustani, Persian, Gypsy, or any related dialects. But if I am to understand that you are enquiring whether I am of Jewish origin, I can only reply that I regret that I appear to have no ancestors of that gifted people. My great-great-grandfather came to England in the eighteenth century from Germany: the main part of my descent is therefore purely English, and I am an English subject - which should be sufficient. I have been accustomed, nonetheless, to regard my German name with pride, and continued to do so throughout the period of the late regrettable war, in which I served in the English army. I cannot, however, forbear to comment that if impertinent and irrelevant inquiries of this sort are to become the rule in matters of literature, then the time is not far distant when a German name will no longer be a source of pride.

Your enquiry is doubtless made in order to comply with the laws of your own country, but that this should be held to apply to the subjects of another state would be improper, even if it had (as it has not) any bearing whatsoever on the merits of my work or its sustainability for publication, of which you appear to have satisfied yourselves without reference to my

Now, a few favorite things from the The Lord of the Rings. (The book.)
Theoden's Death.
The Arrival of the Witch King at Minas Tirith.
Everything with Sam.
Eowyn and Faramir's first kiss.
Legolas and Gimli's friendship, and their trying to one up each other during the battles.
The Grey Havens.
The Battle for the Hornburg.
The Battle for Pelennor Fields.
Eowyn and Eomer.
The Entire Book.

Movie Favorites, a tiny percentage of them:


This entire scene.

This scene

 Basically anything with Merry and Pippin 

Also heartbreaking

 I want to live here and I love this place

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  1. Happy Tolkien Reading Day! That letter of Tolkien's is amazingly awesome in so many ways I can't even describe it.

    1. I know right! It's so polite, and yet so insulting. I like that he kind of lorded the fact that he was philologist over them. No matter what you might want to use that word for, here is exactly what it means and all its roots.
      ~Happy Tolkien Reading Day!

  2. I think I knew that about his headstone, but THAT'S SO CUTE. Also I didn't know that Tolkien was Catholic. Nor had I read that quote he wrote about losing Lewis. A lovely letter indeed, indeed.
    "The entire book" -HA.
    Also - calling Gollum adorable made me crack up, but it's so true all the same. That is, Smeagol is adorable, Gollum is creepy.

    1. I really like how they did that scene. They just dilated his pupils for the Smeagol shots. So subtle, and yet it makes all the difference.

  3. Oh, and I love Eowyn and Eomer.