Today is the 127th birthday of J. R. R. Tolkien. Tolkien had a profound effect on my life. I had read The Hobbit in sixth grade but went back to reading about animals of the world. It was Sr. Angelica’s English class in eleventh grade where she had us read The Fellowship of the Ring. I had been reading some science fiction but Tolkien’s trilogy sent me off on the fantasy trail.
I polished off the trilogy, read and re-read the appendices in The Return of the King. Then I read The Silmarillion which I liked even more. I read and reread the Battle of Unnumbered Tears and the doomed saga of Turin Turambar.
Tolkien’s fantasy world-building has yet to be equaled. Publishers are still trying to catch that lightning in a bottle.
So, tonight, have an excellent meal and hoist a beverage to the Professor who fought in the trenches in World War I. Think about desperate acts of courage in the face of overwhelming evil.
I just discovered that Michael Martinez’s articles on Middle Earth are online again. I read a number of them about 17-18 years ago on the old xenite.org website. A couple books of essays have been published in 2003 and 2014. Go to middle-earth.xenite.org to check them out. I just reread his “Gil-galad was an Elven King,” wherein he puts together a good history of that king from the Second Age. I love reading this sort of stuff. The intersection of fan and scholar with a result that is not academic in execution but entertaining.