John Ronald Reuel Tolkien
John Ronald was born 3rd January 1892 and died 2nd September 1973. He was an English writer and poet, and worked as a professor at Oxford University. John is best known as the author of the fantasy works The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion.
John was born in Bloemfontein (South Africa), and was the son of Arthur Reuel Tolkien and Mabel Née Suffield. He also had one sibling, a younger brother named Hilary Arthur.
In the age of 3, John was bitten by a baboon spider; an event inspired him to write about the dangerous spider Hutla. At the same time, John and his family, except from their father, went to England, Birmingham. His father Arthur died of rheumatic fever and, because of that, John and the rest of the children were raised by their mother alone, together with her parents. Also, in Birmingham, he got inspired of buildings, places and different kinds of people, which we also see in his books.
His mother tried to teach him botany, because John was very interested of painting landscapes and trees. Unfortunately for his mother, John preferred to study different kinds of languages, and already as a child he could speak and write Latin.
Tolkien went to King Edward's School, later St. Philip's School in the age of 12. The same year, his mother died of diabetes. Nobody had a safe treatment for this, and insulin was not detected. In 1911, Tolkien went on holiday in Switzerland, a journey which inspired him to Bilbo's journey across The Misty Mountains. In the age of 16, he met Edith Mary Bratt, who later got married. Tolkien's guardian, Father Francis Morgan, believed that Edith was only a distraction for John, who was affecting John's education in a negative way. Francis was therefore forced to break the relationship between them. On John's twenty-one birthday, he received a letter from Edith, who wanted to marry him.
During the First World War, John was transferred to the 11th battalion of the British Expeditionary Force. During the journey, he wrote one of his famous poems, The Lonely Isle.
In October 1916, John was dramatically knocked out of Trench Fever, as a result of lice that appeared in the dugouts. In November 1916 John was invalided to England. Many of his nearest school-friends had been killed in the war. Fortunately Edith was still alive.
During the Second World War, John wanted the job as a code-breaker for the British Force, but unfortunately the service wouldn't be required at this time. Instead he moved to Morton College, in Oxford, and worked as a professor of English Literature and Language. He also served as an external examiner for the University College in Dublin.
John had four children together with Edith;
- John Francis Reuel Tolkien
- Michael Hilary Reuel Tolkien
- Cristopher John Reuel Tolkien
- Priscilla Mary Anne Reuel Tolkien
John used to create letters from the Santa Claus, who he always reed for his children. He wrote so many letters, that in 1964 he created a book, called The Fatter Christmas Letters. You could say he loved his family more than anything else.
In 1971, his wife Edith died, at the age of 82. 21 months later, John died at the age of 81. They were buried in the same grave, in Oxford. Edith had the name Lúthien engraved together with her real name, and John had engraved the name Beren to his name.
After John's death, his youngest son published his books, based on his father's notes and manuscripts. The Silmarillion, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings formed a connection between poems, fictional histories, unknown languages and an imagined world called Middle Earth. John also invented some languages before his death, called Quenya and Sindarin.
Ssolbergj / CC BY-SA 4.0 / The inscription on the One Ring in the Lord of the Rings
One ring to rule them all, one ring to find them,
One ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.
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