Questions tagged [j-r-r-tolkien]

For questions about the author, J. R. R. Tolkien. For questions about his works set in his Legendarium use [tolkiens-legendarium] and any other relevant tags. For questions about any of his other works use the appropriate tag/s.

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184
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3answers
213k views

Did Tolkien really explicitly consider Sam the true hero of The Lord of the Rings?

Quoting from Crouching Moron Hidden Badass: Literature on TVTropes (TVTropes link alert!!! Don't tell me I didn't warn you!): Perhaps even more aptly: Samwise Gamgee. His name roughly translates to ...
85
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3answers
18k views

Was Tolkien good at his day job?

Hopefully this is on topic here, since it is about a famous fantasy writer. Tolkien was a professor of the English language and Anglo-Saxon literature. He held two named chairs at Oxford: the ...
79
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7answers
13k views

In Tolkien's opinion, does Tom Bombadil (and the concept of pacifism) actually hold any power?

Before you read and reply to my musings, please bear in mind as I want to make clear, I am not trying to debate whether pacifism is good or bad in the real world, I am just putting out my ...
75
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3answers
9k views

How did J.R.R. Tolkien learn about the events of his books? (In-Universe)

So, according to Tolkien, all his Middle-earth novels take place in the real world, about 6,000 years before they were released. So my question is, did he ever state how he learned of the history of ...
70
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6answers
9k views

Did Tolkien create any characters based on people he knew?

Tolkien had a lot of influence from religion, mythology and geography as mentioned here to create what seems like an entire literary universe. It's also not uncommon for authors to be influenced by ...
57
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11answers
27k views

Was Elrond, in Tolkien's opinion, more inherently powerful than Galadriel?

I always thought it was the other way around, but then I read this (Letter 246): "Of the others only Gandalf might be expected to master him – being an emissary of the Powers and a creature of the ...
55
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7answers
7k views

Was Tolkien the first to invent languages purely for fictional works?

Imaginary languages are now par for the course in fantasy literature: sometimes called something like 'the old tongue' or 'the ancient language', sometimes the languages of different types of being or ...
50
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6answers
8k views

Did JRR Tolkien ever write any music for the many songs in The Lord of the Rings?

Due to the number of songs in The Lord of the Rings, I have recently been wondering if Tolkien had any musical training and if any "official" music was written (by him or anyone else on his behalf) to ...
50
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4answers
21k views

Is “Lord of the Rings” a trilogy of books in Tolkien's opinion?

Is "Lord of the Rings" a trilogy of books? It was published as 3 separate books, but can it be called a trilogy? Was it intended to be a trilogy by Tolkien himself? The question arose in comment ...
48
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2answers
4k views

Did Tolkien think about language evolution when the speakers are immortal?

Tolkien, being a linguist, designed his fictional languages rather carefully. Quenya and Sindarin were closely related, having both descended from the primordial speech of the elves. Tolkien, of ...
47
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8answers
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What age group did Tolkien write The Hobbit for?

Tolkien wrote The Hobbit as a story for children. However, I've never seen a specific age mentioned. Did Tolkien intend the story for young children or for teens? What reading level should a child ...
47
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2answers
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Who wrote Tolkien's riddles?

In The Hobbit chapter 5, Riddles in the Dark, were the riddles composed by Tolkien himself? I always assumed either that they were, since he seemed to have a knack for writing poetry, or that they ...
44
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1answer
11k views

Did Tolkien ever state that The Hobbit was a children's book?

Many people just assume that simply because The Hobbit is a lighter story than LOTR and the Silmarillion, it's a children's story, but I don't believe Tolkien himself ever said it was made for ...
43
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1answer
7k views

How many fictional languages did Tolkien create?

Tolkien created many languages. Is there any list of all the languages he invented? How many fictional languages did Tolkien create?
41
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4answers
13k views

Did Tolkien have experience with addiction?

One of the most powerful characterizations in The Lord of the Rings is the addictive nature of the Ring. The way it slowly but powerfully makes you prioritize it above everything else, never exerting ...
40
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1answer
8k views

How can these unlicensed books about Middle Earth get published legally?

Octopus Books publishes a range of books that are set in the Tolkien legendarium, from coloring books through to a range of books by David Day. They are widely available online and through retail ...
36
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2answers
11k views

Why are Hobbits so fond of mushrooms?

In both the book and the movie it would seem that Hobbits are especially fond of mushrooms, sometimes braving dangers to harvest them. I have seen somewhere an interview in which Tolkien claimed he ...
36
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2answers
5k views

Which of his races did Tolkien draw?

This question isn't as broad as it might appear at first glance. I've seen drawings of dragons, Dwarves, Trolls, and Hobbits by Tolkien, and I'm primarily interested in only a few other races. He ...
35
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1answer
6k views

Did Tolkien have Pippin die originally?

According to the movie mistakes website for Return of the King, it is mentioned that Tolkien had Pippin originally killed off at the Battle of the Black Gates. He was persuaded by his dear friend C.S. ...
34
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2answers
6k views

How much of the Middle Earth universe had Tolkien invented when he wrote The Hobbit?

This question was inspired by a comment from Darth Satan. The Hobbit is a very different sort of work from Lord of the Rings: written in a style more like a children's book and less like an epic saga....
32
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2answers
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Did J.R.R. Tolkien plan for the ring to be Sauron's?

I know that The Hobbit was published first before the The Lord of the Rings trilogy. And since that was the first appearance of The One Ring, I was wondering if Tolkien had planned it to be so. So, ...
31
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2answers
7k views

Did Tolkien create Gandalf the White out of regret for killing off Gandalf the Grey?

Are there any notes from Tolkien hinting at the possibility that Gandalf the Grey being killed was in fact the end of Gandalf, but was brought back out of regret (or even necessity)? I'm particularly ...
30
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9answers
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Is Tolkien prejudiced against the East?

In Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings series, there are generally two groups of Men. The good ones are coming from the West (Dúnedain, Men of the West), and the bad ones, the Easterlings, mostly fight ...
29
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2answers
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Does a transcription of Tolkien's handwriting in this image exist? (Part 2)

Following on the success we had transcribing the text in the image on this question, I am hoping that lightning will strike twice. This image contains far more text, and is even less legible. It ...
27
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3answers
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Why did Tolkien reverse the more common traditional genders assigned to the sun and moon?

In most cultures throughout history, from ancient Rome to China, from the Americas to Africa, there has been a general trend (although there have been plenty of exceptions) in assigning a gender to ...
26
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3answers
3k views

Did Tolkien acknowledge that Silmarillion is harder to read than LOTR?

Personally, I found Silmarillion to be very difficult to read (I admit to having never been able to finish it) compared to LOTR books. I know plenty of people who share that opinion (even native ...
26
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1answer
2k views

Where did J.R.R. Tolkien state that Arwen suggested that Frodo be allowed to sail West?

In The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien by Humphrey Carpenter (assisted by Christopher Tolkien), footnote 94 states: What is meant is that it was Arwen who first thought of sending Frodo into the West, ...
24
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1answer
4k views

Did Tolkien give Thranduil his name?

I am aware that during the writing of The Hobbit, Tolkien must not have had much in mind for a large universe, as he was simply writing a children's book. Therefore, Thranduil was simply named 'the ...
21
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6answers
3k views

Can any new information be canon if J.R.R. Tolkien is dead?

J.R.R. Tolkien wrote the stories of the Middle-Earth and he has passed away, so can any new information be added to these stories without his approval?
21
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2answers
4k views

How much did Tolkien write about the connection between WWI and his work?

I know Tolkien often downplayed the influence his experiences as a messenger in World War I had on his writing, but he wasn't being entirely truthful- perhaps the memories were too horrific to think ...
21
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2answers
3k views

What was the first story set in or about Middle Earth that J.R.R. Tolkien wrote?

Many books and stories were written by Tolkien and later edited by his son Christopher, but which one was the very first of all of his Middle Earth stories?
20
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3answers
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Why did Tolkien choose to end this blood line?

Spoilers for the Hobbit ahead At the end of the Battle of the Five Armies, Does Tolkien discuss why he did so in any letters/writings? Is there any literary or historical (as important for the ...
19
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1answer
2k views

Tolkien's reaction and knowledge of Led Zeppelin using references to LOTR

The songs "The Battle Of Evermore" and "Ramble On" by Led Zeppelin have references to Lord Of the Rings. The Battle Of Evermore The pain of war cannot exceed the woe of aftermath, The drums will ...
19
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2answers
10k views

Did C.S. Lewis create the lamp-post in response to a comment by J.R.R. Tolkien?

J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis had a pretty legendary rivalry/friendship. In particular, it's fairly well known that Tolkien aimed for "higher" fantasy, compared to Lewis. I've heard some people ...
17
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2answers
5k views

What do Orcs and Trolls actually look like, or rather how did Tolkien imagine them?

Bear with me, while the question seems sort of ridiculous because the movie of Jackson and fantasy-role playing games presented them in detail, in fact the original Tolkien does not describe their ...
17
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1answer
1k views

Does a transcription of Tolkien's handwriting in this image exist?

In his answer to another question I asked here, Jason Baker included the following image, taken from a page of Tolkien's "Synoptic Time Scheme for The Lord of the Rings". We had some difficulty ...
17
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1answer
14k views

What does Tolkien say about Ancalagon's physical appearance, especially his size?

Questions like this one dealing with Ancalagon in particular, and Middle-earth's dragons in general, clearly show that Ancalagon was ridiculously, absurdly, unimaginably enormous. The non-canonical ...
16
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5answers
4k views

Did Tolkien originally intend to write a very different Lord of the Rings?

Lord of the Rings is a big story with a dramatic buildup. At first it seems like the quest would unfold in a The Hobbit-like manner, with an eclectic band on a journey of adventure, but the story gets ...
16
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1answer
2k views

Did Tolkien ever write that Sauron killed Shagrat?

Many wiki entries, as well as many other sources about Shagrat (one of the Orc captains who captured Frodo outside Shelob's lair) say he was killed by Sauron shortly after Frodo's escape. In the ...
16
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2answers
2k views

Do we know what Tolkien meant when he used the word “weapontake”?

In the book The Return of the King, Tolkien uses a word that is obscure and archaic, even for a philologist who reveled in obscure and archaic words. The context is that King Theoden and his Rohirrim ...
15
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1answer
1k views

Where does Tolkien discuss his bafflement at fans wearing One Ring replicas?

I'm certain that I read a passage from Tolkien somewhere expressing how disturbed/confused he was that anyone would want to make or possess a replica of the One Ring, being as it is a symbol of evil. ...
15
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1answer
1k views

What did Faramir and Tolkien have in common?

It was mentioned in Faramir's wiki that (emphasis mine): Long after completing The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien would write that of all characters Faramir resembles the author most, and that he had ...
14
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2answers
600 views

Was Tolkien explicitly referencing C.S. Forester's “Captain Hornblower”?

In The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien named a couple of Hobbit families (Hornblower and Bracegirdle) with names that also appear in the Hornblower novels by C.S. Forester. Horatio Hornblower is ...
13
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5answers
2k views

What does JRR Tolkien say about the Elves (and other non-Human Races) and Free Will?

The Simarillion has the following to say about Men and their specialness: Therefore he willed that the hearts of Men should seek beyond the world and should find no rest therein; but they should ...
13
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1answer
432 views

Did Tolkien paint or sketch any artwork for the scrapped sequel to LOTR: 'The New Shadow'?

I've always liked the art that Tolkien himself produced and having only recently learned of the existence of The New Shadow, I'm wondering did he get around to painting anything for it? Obviously at ...
12
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1answer
215 views

Were there other literary topics that were covered by the Inklings?

I have read that J.R.R.Tolkien's Numenorian legend in the form of The Lost Road and the Out of the Silent Planet series by C.S.Lewis took shape from deciding on topics in their writing group, the ...
11
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2answers
2k views

What is the meaning of Tolkien regarding the legend of King Arthur?

In the letter J.R.R. Tolkien wrote to Milton Waldan, he wrote: Also – and here I hope I shall not sound absurd – I was from early days grieved by the poverty of my own beloved country: it had no ...
11
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2answers
1k views

Did Tolkien create any other worlds?

I haven't read them myself, but I get the sense that Tolkien wrote some short stories and fragments that don't directly tie into Arda and Middle Earth, that are more "stand alone" tales. Some of ...
11
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2answers
504 views

What did Tolkien write regarding Elvish succession?

I was answering this question, which made me curious about the succession rules for the High Kingship of the Noldor. Based on my analysis, it seems as though succession works on a variation of Salic ...
11
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1answer
845 views

Did Tolkien change LOTR when the publisher made it a trilogy?

It's well known that Tolkien intended for Lord of the Rings to be a single volume, but the publisher insisted on making it a trilogy because of the practical factors involved in publishing such a ...