12 World-Building J.R.R. Tolkien Facts (That Surprised Us)

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12 World-Building J.R.R. Tolkien Facts (That Surprised Us)

In case you’ve been living under a rock (and not in the Misty Mountains), John Ronald Reuel Tolkien wrote The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and  The (post-humously published) Silmarillion. He’s arguably considered the father of modern fantasy. His friendship-bordering-on-rivalry with C.S. Lewis is in the Creative Friendship Hall of Fame, with the friends influencing each other’s works. Despite being born in the 1800s, he gave us “my precious,” which is quoted about as much if not more than “my wife” from Borat. We’d argue he also gave us the good parts of Harry Potter. And Elon Musk criticized him so you know he’s worth defending. 

As much as we know his work, languages, and deep beautiful world-building, how much do we know about the man? He was a professor at Oxford. He started the literary group The Inklings with C.S. Lewis. He was a linguist. And we also know the following 12 facts…

J.R.R. Tolkien never wanted his work published in paperback

CRACKED.COM J.R.R. Tolkien never wanted his work published in paperback When an editor asked if they could publish The Lord of the Rings in paperback, Tolkien was appalled and said he would never permit his work to appear in such a degenerate a form. The editor was outraged and found a loophole in the copyright to do it anyway.

Source: Locus Magazine

J.R.R. Tolkien turned down The Beatles

CRACKED.COM J.R.R. Tolkien turned down The Beatles WELCOME WDGY W D There was talk of the Fab Four making a live-action The Lord of the Rings movie, with Lennon playing Gollum, Paul McCartney playing Frodo, George Harrison playing Gandalf, and Ringo Starr, naturally, as Sam. Stanley Kubrick was approached to direct. Tolkien shut the idea down.

Source: Variety

Tolkien helped to translate a cursed ring

CRACKED.COM Tolkien helped to translate a cursed ring STEND LE Two years before he began working on The Hobbit, Professor Tolkien was asked to help an archaeologist with the name of a god invoked on a curse tablet for a stolen ring. The Roman ring dates back to the 4th century.

Source: The Guardian

Tolkien stood up for his beliefs, even when it meant losing money

CRACKED.COM Tolkien stood up for his beliefs, even when it meant losing money J.R.R. TOLKIEN Der kleine Hobbit In 1938, Tolkien's would-be German publisher asked for proof of Tolkien's Aryan descent. Tolkien could have provided it and made money but refused the racist, antisemitic request. A German translation of The Hobbit wasn't made until 1957.

Source: LitHub

J.R.R. Tolkien didn't care for all his fans

CRACKED.COM J.R.R. Tolkien didn't care for all his fans Fans flattered him and made him rather wealthy, but Tolkien would call his fans 'my deplorable cultus and was especially critical of American fans who were involved in the stories in a way that I'm not.

Source: TIME

J.R.R. Tolkien hated Disney

CRACKED.COM J.R.R. Tolkien hated Disney When discussing illustrations for The Hobbit, Tolkien instructed his American publishers to veto anything from or influenced by the Disney studios (for all whose works I have a heartfelt loathing).

Source: Letter 13

Tolkien was quite silly.

CRACKED.COM Tolkien was quite silly While a don at Oxford, he would, on multiple occasions, dress up as an Anglo-Saxon warrior carrying an ax and chase people. One time, he and bestie C.S. Lewis went to a party dressed in full costume as polar bears. It was not a costume party. Не would pull tiny green boots from his pockets as proof that leprechauns existed, and in his older age, would hand his teeth to cashiers instead of change.

Source: LitHub

Tolkien had his own epic love story

CRACKED.COM Tolkien had his own epic love story LUTHIEN EDITH MARY 1889-1971 TOLKIEN JOHN RONALD 1973 BEREN EUEL After the death of his wife, J.R.R. Tolkien wrote to his son, I never called Edith Lúthien - but she was the source of the story that in time became the chief part of the Silmarillion. It was first conceived in a small woodland glade filled with hemlocks at Roos in Yorkshire. ... In those days her hair was raven, her skin clear, her eyes brighter than you have seen them, and she could sing -and dance. But the story has gone crooked, &

Source: Tolkien Estate

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