Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Christopher Tolkien: 11/21/1924 – 1/15/2020

 

Christopher Tolkien has died at the age of 95 after dedicating the latter part of his life to protecting and advancing his famous father’s, J.R.R. Tolkien’s, literary legacy. He’s recognized as the “editor” of The Silmarillion but, in the opinion of people much more expert than I on the subject of Middle Earth mythology, he was much more than that. He’s more akin to a co-creator to the most popular work of English fiction in the 20th century. He began his collaboration with his father in his teens, helping to point out inconsistencies in the narrative and even drew the maps which would adorn the publication of the Lord of the Rings trilogy originally published in 1954. He gave up his career as an Oxford professor at age 50 to study and organize the copious notes his father left, illuminating the fascinating 60-year creative process in a four-part series on The History of The Lord of the Rings. There’s something very Samwise Gamgee about such filial love and dedication.

My own history with the Tolkiens is much more recent. I didn’t become interested in Tolkien’s work until the Peter Jackson movies were released. I’m not much of a fiction reader anyway, but when my parish offered a class on the trilogy, I jumped in.

“The Lord of the Rings is of course a fundamentally religious and Catholic work; unconsciously so at first, but consciously in the revision. That is why I have not put in, or have cut out, practically all references to anything like ‘religion’, to cults or practices, in the imaginary world. For the religious element is absorbed into the story and the symbolism.” — J.R.R. Tolkien

I finished reading The Lord of the Rings in the summer of 2018. It was timely because, as luck would have it, our trip to the UK that fall included a stop in Oxford to visit the famed Bodleian Library (used as inspiration for the set in the Harry Potter movies, of which my girls are tremendous fans). However, we arrived just a few minutes too late to gain entrance and so ended up visiting the Weston Library across the street, which happened to have an exhibit of Tolkien’s original writings, response letters to fans, and artwork, including copies of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings in translations of languages from every corner of the world. It was there I learned Tolkien wrote an epilogue to LotR, but it was displayed only in his handwriting in the elvish language and in English in elvish characters, neither of which I could read! That set me on a quest that landed on Christopher Tolkien’s History of the LotR, Part 4, The End of the Third Age. The epilogue, which is Sam’s story after the epic events with Frodo and his return to the Shire and family life, is published at the end of that volume.

The Silmarillion became my project for the summer of 2019. I admit to struggling with it. Tolkien seemed to have five names for every character and locale in the book and, well, my senior middle-aged brain had trouble keeping it all straight.

My favorite relationship, and, really, the most important aspect of any fiction (and life) is the relationships between characters, is still Samwise and Frodo’s friendship. In my parish’s class, we learned that three of the characters compose the Christ figure: Frodo as the priest (offering the sacrifice), Gandalf as the prophet, and Aragorn as the king. But, Sam is the one who touches me most deeply. His unfailing love and humble service to his friend has something to teach us all. Christopher Tolkien seemed to have learned the lesson well. RIP.

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There are 50 comments.

  1. DrewInWisconsin, Influencer Coolidge

    This is an excellent profile of Christopher Tolkien, from November, 2018.

    Flipping through the crisp pages of the new book, it is impossible not to feel the weight of the legacy Christopher Tolkien has borne. He never wrote any Middle-earth stories of his own—he would hardly dare: Just editing The Silmarillion gave him a nightmare of his father’s disapproval. A few years ago, he was awarded the Bodley Medal, given by Oxford’s Bodleian Library, in recognition of his “contribution as a scholar and editor.” And now his stewardship has ended: Christopher resigned last year as director of the Tolkien Estate, and his publisher announced that Gondolin is the last book he will edit.

    J.R.R. Tolkien felt anxiety about whether his work would ever be completed or published. A short story called “Leaf by Niggle” gives a glimpse. The titular character, Niggle, spends his life painting a picture of a tree, but he departs on a “journey,” leaving the picture unfinished, knowing that officials will use the canvas to patch a leaking roof.

    When the discouraged Niggle finally reaches a land meant to symbolize heaven, he is distressed by his lack of accomplishment. But then he looks up.

    Before him stood the Tree, his Tree, finished. If you could say that of a Tree that was alive, its leaves opening, its branches growing and bending in the wind that Niggle had so often felt or guessed, and had so often failed to catch. . . . All the leaves he had ever laboured at were there, as he had imagined them rather than as he had made them; and there were others that had only budded in his mind, and many that might have budded, if only he had had time.

    Tolkien meant to capture the grace that grants completion and fulfillment to all of life’s wasted and half-finished undertakings. Unwittingly, he also prophesied the efforts of his youngest son. For without Christopher, we could never have beheld the sheer scope and wonder of his father’s achievement. Tolkien always saw The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion as “one long Saga of the Jewels and the Rings.” Christopher’s work, now finished, has brought the entirety of this myth, the culmination of a countercultural literary movement, a great tree “growing and bending in the wind,” into the clear, unbroken light.

    • #1
    • January 20, 2020, at 9:34 AM PST
    • 11 likes
  2. Percival Thatcher
    Percival Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Western Chauvinist: The Silmarillion became my project for the summer of 2019. I admit to struggling with it. Tolkien seemed to have five names for every character and locale in the book and, well, my senior middle-aged brain had trouble keeping it all straight.

    Tolkien’s penchant for naming is positively Dostoevskian. It helps to take notes while reading The Simarillion.

    • #2
    • January 20, 2020, at 9:41 AM PST
    • 7 likes
  3. drlorentz Member
    drlorentz Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I never warmed up to the books and I didn’t like the movies; I called them Bored of the Rings. Your post makes me want to take a second look at the books. I may have been too young to appreciate them upon first encounter. 

    • #3
    • January 20, 2020, at 10:03 AM PST
    • 1 like
  4. Barfly Member

    drlorentz (View Comment):

    I never warmed up to the books and I didn’t like the movies; I called them Bored of the Rings. Your post makes me want to take a second look at the books. I may have been too young to appreciate them upon first encounter.

    Don’t judge the books by the movies. They’re a dim reflection in a feminist funhouse mirror. 

    After you’ve savored the books once or twice, tho’, you might find this amusing. I still do.

    • #4
    • January 20, 2020, at 10:08 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  5. MeandurΦ Member
    MeandurΦ Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I read the Hobbit and then the Lord of the Rings in the summer of ’75 when I was 13.

    I read the Silmarillion a few years later in High School. 

    Loved all of it. 

    • #5
    • January 20, 2020, at 11:33 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  6. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    MDorphicat (View Comment):

    I read the Hobbit and then the Lord of the Rings in the summer of ’75 when I was 13.

    I read the Silmarillion a few years later in High School.

    Loved all of it.

    Well, that would make you — male. 

    • #6
    • January 20, 2020, at 11:36 AM PST
    • 10 likes
  7. DrewInWisconsin, Influencer Coolidge

    Can’t remember how old I was when I first read The Lord of the Rings. 7th Grade maybe? I remember reading The Hobbit in 3rd Grade because a chapter was anthologized in a children’s magazine I got, and it made me curious about the whole book. My grandfather had a copy on his shelf, so I borrowed it. (And kept it.) (And still have it.)

    • #7
    • January 20, 2020, at 11:39 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  8. Bartholomew Xerxes Ogilvie, Jr. Coolidge

    I’m a huge fan of Tolkien; I just finished rereading Lord of the Rings for probably the sixth or seventh time, and I’ve read the entire twelve-volume History of Middle-earth series. As amazing as J.R.R. Tolkien’s achievements were, I am sometimes even more amazed at what his son was able to do.

    It’s hard to imagine a better literary executor of Tolkien’s works. Not only was Christopher Tolkien, as a child, the original audience for The Hobbit; he was also the first reader of Lord of the Rings, and indeed his father considered him a collaborator because of his extensive input on the work in progress. Then, remarkably, the younger Tolkien followed in his father’s footsteps, becoming an Oxord scholar; not only did he know his father’s writings better than anyone else on the planet, he also understood the linguistic and philosophical underpinnings in a way that I don’t think anyone else could.

    Remarkably, Christopher Tolkien seems entirely content to devote his entire adult life to the curation and explication of his father’s work. His humility was such that he had no desire for acclaim of his own, or even to emerge publicly from his father’s shadow. The elder Tolkien left behind an enormous mass of fragmentary and unfinished writings, much of it scribbled on scraps of reused paper; some of it was prose, some poetry, and there were gaps that had to be filled based on nothing more than outlines. It has to have been an enormous undertaking to make anything remotely publishable from this material, and yet Christopher was content to be credited as nothing more than editor.

    It says something about J.R.R. Tolkien’s work that it took two lifetimes to do it justice. I’m glad Christopher lived long enough to accomplish what he did.

    • #8
    • January 20, 2020, at 2:14 PM PST
    • 13 likes
  9. drlorentz Member
    drlorentz Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Barfly (View Comment):

    drlorentz (View Comment):

    I never warmed up to the books and I didn’t like the movies; I called them Bored of the Rings. Your post makes me want to take a second look at the books. I may have been too young to appreciate them upon first encounter.

    Don’t judge the books by the movies. They’re a dim reflection in a feminist funhouse mirror.

    After you’ve savored the books once or twice, tho’, you might find this amusing. I still do.

    I did not judge the books by the movies. I read the books many years before the movies were even a dream of the director. 

    • #9
    • January 20, 2020, at 2:56 PM PST
    • 1 like
  10. Randy Webster Member

    drlorentz (View Comment):

    I never warmed up to the books and I didn’t like the movies; I called them Bored of the Rings. Your post makes me want to take a second look at the books. I may have been too young to appreciate them upon first encounter.

    The Harvard Lampoon did a parody entitled Bored of the Rings.

    • #10
    • January 20, 2020, at 3:20 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  11. Randy Webster Member

    Barfly (View Comment):

    drlorentz (View Comment):

    I never warmed up to the books and I didn’t like the movies; I called them Bored of the Rings. Your post makes me want to take a second look at the books. I may have been too young to appreciate them upon first encounter.

    Don’t judge the books by the movies. They’re a dim reflection in a feminist funhouse mirror.

    After you’ve savored the books once or twice, tho’, you might find this amusing. I still do.

    Sorry, Barfly.

    I still have my copy.

    • #11
    • January 20, 2020, at 3:21 PM PST
    • 5 likes
  12. AUMom Member
    AUMom Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    DrewInWisconsin, Oaf (View Comment):

    This is an excellent profile of Christopher Tolkien, from November, 2018.

    Flipping through the crisp pages of the new book, it is impossible not to feel the weight of the legacy Christopher Tolkien has borne. He never wrote any Middle-earth stories of his own—he would hardly dare: Just editing The Silmarillion gave him a nightmare of his father’s disapproval. A few years ago, he was awarded the Bodley Medal, given by Oxford’s Bodleian Library, in recognition of his “contribution as a scholar and editor.” And now his stewardship has ended: Christopher resigned last year as director of the Tolkien Estate, and his publisher announced that Gondolin is the last book he will edit.

    J.R.R. Tolkien felt anxiety about whether his work would ever be completed or published. A short story called “Leaf by Niggle” gives a glimpse. The titular character, Niggle, spends his life painting a picture of a tree, but he departs on a “journey,” leaving the picture unfinished, knowing that officials will use the canvas to patch a leaking roof.

    When the discouraged Niggle finally reaches a land meant to symbolize heaven, he is distressed by his lack of accomplishment. But then he looks up.

    Before him stood the Tree, his Tree, finished. If you could say that of a Tree that was alive, its leaves opening, its branches growing and bending in the wind that Niggle had so often felt or guessed, and had so often failed to catch. . . . All the leaves he had ever laboured at were there, as he had imagined them rather than as he had made them; and there were others that had only budded in his mind, and many that might have budded, if only he had had time.

    Tolkien meant to capture the grace that grants completion and fulfillment to all of life’s wasted and half-finished undertakings. Unwittingly, he also prophesied the efforts of his youngest son. For without Christopher, we could never have beheld the sheer scope and wonder of his father’s achievement. Tolkien always saw The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion as “one long Saga of the Jewels and the Rings.” Christopher’s work, now finished, has brought the entirety of this myth, the culmination of a countercultural literary movement, a great tree “growing and bending in the wind,” into the clear, unbroken light.

    Leaf by Niggle is one of my very favorites. I’ve read The Hobbit but have hard a hard time getting in to the others. I should try again.

    • #12
    • January 20, 2020, at 7:54 PM PST
    • 1 like
  13. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member

    Percival (View Comment):

    Western Chauvinist: The Silmarillion became my project for the summer of 2019. I admit to struggling with it. Tolkien seemed to have five names for every character and locale in the book and, well, my senior middle-aged brain had trouble keeping it all straight.

    Tolkien’s penchant for naming is positively Dostoevskian. It helps to take notes while reading The Simarillion.

    Somehow, I kept track of all of the characters in The Silmarillion and even Unfinished Tales, which I read as a teenager. I haven’t re-read them in decades, but still remember just about everything, I think, which is strange.

    I had the same ability to remember the complicated names and relationships in A Song of Ice and Fire. Ditto for Dune. But I don’t have a photographic memory, as there are many other SciFi and Fantasy books that I have read, decades ago, and don’t really remember at all. Some writers seem to have the ability to craft a story, and character names, that capture my imagination and linger in my memory.

    The proof? The confession that I am a hopeless Tolkien nerd? When I read your comment above, WC, I immediately thought Turin Turambar Dagnir Glaurunga. I Googled it, and I had somehow remembered this phrase after 30-35 years.

    Special Tolkien bragging rights to anyone who can translate it (without looking it up).

    • #13
    • January 20, 2020, at 9:34 PM PST
    • 6 likes
  14. Barfly Member

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    Barfly (View Comment):

    drlorentz (View Comment):

    I never warmed up to the books and I didn’t like the movies; I called them Bored of the Rings. Your post makes me want to take a second look at the books. I may have been too young to appreciate them upon first encounter.

    Don’t judge the books by the movies. They’re a dim reflection in a feminist funhouse mirror.

    After you’ve savored the books once or twice, tho’, you might find this amusing. I still do.

    Sorry, Barfly.

    I still have my copy.

    I lost mine somewhere along the line. I ordered a used copy last Christmas for a gift, except that I latched onto it and had to order another one.

    • #14
    • January 20, 2020, at 10:55 PM PST
    • 1 like
  15. Barfly Member

    drlorentz (View Comment):

    Barfly (View Comment):

    drlorentz (View Comment):

    I never warmed up to the books and I didn’t like the movies; I called them Bored of the Rings. Your post makes me want to take a second look at the books. I may have been too young to appreciate them upon first encounter.

    Don’t judge the books by the movies. They’re a dim reflection in a feminist funhouse mirror.

    After you’ve savored the books once or twice, tho’, you might find this amusing. I still do.

    I did not judge the books by the movies. I read the books many years before the movies were even a dream of the director.

    Speaking generally. I can’t get over how those movies warped the characters, no matter how good the special effects were.

    • #15
    • January 20, 2020, at 10:57 PM PST
    • 1 like
  16. Barfly Member

    Was Christopher consulted for Jackson’s movies in any capacity?

    • #16
    • January 20, 2020, at 10:59 PM PST
    • Like
  17. Percival Thatcher
    Percival Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    Western Chauvinist: The Silmarillion became my project for the summer of 2019. I admit to struggling with it. Tolkien seemed to have five names for every character and locale in the book and, well, my senior middle-aged brain had trouble keeping it all straight.

    Tolkien’s penchant for naming is positively Dostoevskian. It helps to take notes while reading The Simarillion.

    Somehow, I kept track of all of the characters in The Silmarillion and even Unfinished Tales, which I read as a teenager. I haven’t re-read them in decades, but still remember just about everything, I think, which is strange.

    In my defense, I read it the same summer that I read War and Peace (yeah, Tolstoy … I know, I know). Between the patronymics and the diminutives and everybody who ever met Aragorn giving him a nickname, I needed notes.

    • #17
    • January 21, 2020, at 6:11 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  18. DrewInWisconsin, Influencer Coolidge

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    When I read your comment above, WC, I immediately thought Turin Turambar Dagnir Glaurunga. I Googled it, and I had somehow remembered this phrase after 30-35 years.

    Special Tolkien bragging rights to anyone who can translate it (without looking it up).

    Turin has an ass as big as a cistern!”

    • #18
    • January 21, 2020, at 6:21 AM PST
    • 1 like
  19. Bartholomew Xerxes Ogilvie, Jr. Coolidge

    Barfly (View Comment):

    Was Christopher consulted for Jackson’s movies in any capacity?

    Tolkien’s estate was not in favor of any movie adaptation, so I can’t imagine he would have been willing to help. He definitely disapproved of the movies after they came out (although, to be honest, I’d be a little surprised if he actually saw them).

    • #19
    • January 21, 2020, at 6:57 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  20. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Bartholomew Xerxes Ogilvie, Jr. (View Comment):

    Barfly (View Comment):

    Was Christopher consulted for Jackson’s movies in any capacity?

    Tolkien’s estate was not in favor of any movie adaptation, so I can’t imagine he would have been willing to help. He definitely disapproved of the movies after they came out (although, to be honest, I’d be a little surprised if he actually saw them).

    This must be one of those cases of “don’t read the books first,” because I enjoyed the movies and thought they followed the narrative pretty closely. I’m sorry to disappoint.

    Jackson had a team of Tolkien nerds he consulted with according to the “making of” movie we watched in class. 

    • #20
    • January 21, 2020, at 7:14 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  21. DrewInWisconsin, Influencer Coolidge

    The movies are a stunning achievement in filmmaking. The books are a stunning achievement in fiction. 

    • #21
    • January 21, 2020, at 7:20 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  22. MeandurΦ Member
    MeandurΦ Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    Bartholomew Xerxes Ogilvie, Jr. (View Comment):

    Barfly (View Comment):

    Was Christopher consulted for Jackson’s movies in any capacity?

    Tolkien’s estate was not in favor of any movie adaptation, so I can’t imagine he would have been willing to help. He definitely disapproved of the movies after they came out (although, to be honest, I’d be a little surprised if he actually saw them).

    This must be one of those cases of “don’t read the books first,” because I enjoyed the movies and thought they followed the narrative pretty closely. I’m sorry to disappoint.

    Jackson had a team of Tolkien nerds he consulted with according to the “making of” movie we watched in class.

    Consulted with and largely ignored?

    • #22
    • January 21, 2020, at 8:13 AM PST
    • Like
  23. Bartholomew Xerxes Ogilvie, Jr. Coolidge

    I found the movies to be enjoyable but frustrating. A missed opportunity, really. The attention to detail was astounding: everything looked right, the casting was generally excellent, and I was impressed with things like the use of Elvish and other such details.

    But I wish Jackson hadn’t strayed so far from the story, especially in the middle movie. Even with such long movies, there wasn’t time to include everything from the book; so why did Jackson waste so much time on plotlines that he completely made up? All of the nonsense about Aragorn falling off a cliff and floating down a river: nothing remotely like that happened in the book. And the changes to the Faramir plot, with Faramir dragging Frodo and Sam to Osgiliath, made no sense, and was a disservice to the noble character Tolkien created.

    On balance, I agree that the movies were an amazing achievement. But they could have been so much better. (And don’t even get me started on those Hobbit movies…)

    • #23
    • January 21, 2020, at 8:42 AM PST
    • 9 likes
  24. DrewInWisconsin, Influencer Coolidge

    Bartholomew Xerxes Ogilvie, Jr. (View Comment):
    (And don’t even get me started on those Hobbit movies…)

    I’ll just say “Sheep-drawn War Chariot!” And . . . Go!

    • #24
    • January 21, 2020, at 8:51 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  25. Judge Mental, Secret Chimp Member

    DrewInWisconsin, Oaf (View Comment):

    Bartholomew Xerxes Ogilvie, Jr. (View Comment):
    (And don’t even get me started on those Hobbit movies…)

    I’ll just say “Sheep-drawn War Chariot!” And . . . Go!

    I’ll raise you a rabbit drawn sleigh.

    • #25
    • January 21, 2020, at 9:06 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  26. William Laing Member

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    Western Chauvinist: The Silmarillion became my project for the summer of 2019. I admit to struggling with it. Tolkien seemed to have five names for every character and locale in the book and, well, my senior middle-aged brain had trouble keeping it all straight.

    Tolkien’s penchant for naming is positively Dostoevskian. It helps to take notes while reading The Simarillion.

    Somehow, I kept track of all of the characters in The Silmarillion and even Unfinished Tales, which I read as a teenager. I haven’t re-read them in decades, but still remember just about everything, I think, which is strange.

    I had the same ability to remember the complicated names and relationships in A Song of Ice and Fire. Ditto for Dune. But I don’t have a photographic memory, as there are many other SciFi and Fantasy books that I have read, decades ago, and don’t really remember at all. Some writers seem to have the ability to craft a story, and character names, that capture my imagination and linger in my memory.

    The proof? The confession that I am a hopeless Tolkien nerd? When I read your comment above, WC, I immediately thought Turin Turambar Dagnir Glaurunga. I Googled it, and I had somehow remembered this phrase after 30-35 years.

    Special Tolkien bragging rights to anyone who can translate it (without looking it up).

    Turin master of fate, Glaurung’s bane.

    • #26
    • January 21, 2020, at 9:38 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  27. Lois Lane Coolidge

    Bartholomew Xerxes Ogilvie, Jr. (View Comment):
    On balance, I agree that the movies were an amazing achievement. But they could have been so much better. (And don’t even get me started on those Hobbit movies…)

     I very much view the LOTR’s movies as separate pieces of art, distinct from the book, and I am much more forgiving of many aspects with which others quibble. However, what was done to The Hobbit was unforgivable. Talk about missed opportunities. I fell asleep in the first two and couldn’t bother to go to number 3. They were horrific.

    • #27
    • January 21, 2020, at 9:41 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  28. Lois Lane Coolidge

    Also, thank you for the post. It makes me a little sad today though. Middle Earth has meant so much to me over the years. I’ve read and re-read the books many, many times. When @bossmongo, a not giant Tolkien fan if I remember correctly, challenged me in a Ricochet post some time ago with the idea that people don’t really re-read the LOTR every year, only excerpts, I realized that I was often guilty of doing just that. So I opened up to page one and started the journey from the very beginning and remembered exactly how much I love the work as a whole. It was glorious.

    I hope that Christopher and his father have a wonderful reunion.

     

    • #28
    • January 21, 2020, at 9:46 AM PST
    • 7 likes
  29. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    On the bright side, Christopher Tolkien won’t have to stomach further insults to his father’s legacy. I am looking forward to Amazon’s TV series set in Middle Earth, but not without trepidation. 

    Tolkien-younger also permitted various adaptations to video games. The Lord of the Rings: Battle for Middle Earth 2 was not only one of the best army management (RTS, or Real-Time Strategy) games ever made, but also heightened the interest of many into Tolkien’s backstory of the Witchking in Angmar. More recently, Shadow of Mordor‘s storytelling was fantastic, granted some liberties. 

    I have yet to read The Children of Hurin and other works put together by Christopher Tolkien. 

    Middle Earth, like Star Wars, is a fictional universe that people will continue create in and around for generations. I doubt JRR Tolkien would mind, so long as the original tales are kept. But the sensibilities expressed in LOTR are not common among modern Western artists.

     

    • #29
    • January 21, 2020, at 10:16 AM PST
    • Like
  30. Bartholomew Xerxes Ogilvie, Jr. Coolidge

    Aaron Miller (View Comment):

    Tolkien-younger also permitted various adaptations to video games.

    I doubt if he had any say in the matter. J.R.R. Tolkien sold limited adaptation rights to Lord Of The Rings during his lifetime, before the work became a huge success, largely for financial reasons. I suspect most of the adaptations we’ve seen have been possible because of that sale (although, with various company mergers and such, it’s hard to be sure). I don’t think the upcoming Amazon series (which is not based on Lord Of The Rings) would have been possible before Christopher stepped away from managing the estate.

    Middle Earth, like Star Wars, is a fictional universe that people will continue create in and around for generations. I doubt JRR Tolkien would mind, so long as the original tales are kept.

    I think you’re right; Tolkien’s explicit goal was to create a mythology, and one of the defining attributes of mythology is that it is told and retold, and adapted and modified, by many people over the years. How many (mutually incompatible) versions of the King Arthur legend are there? Or the Greek myths? None of them detract from the others.

    • #30
    • January 21, 2020, at 10:24 AM PST
    • 3 likes