About J.R.R. Tolkien
John Ronald Ruel Tolkien was born in Bloemfontein, South Africa in January 3rd, 1892. At the age of three, John, his brother and mother moved to England, the homeland of both his parents. Always with a passion in linguists, in his youth, he fought in the First World War, where he started compiling the masses of content for his fictional and sometimes 'escapism' world of Arda, where all his most famous works take place. After the war, John became a philosopher and university profession, teaching Anglo Saxan literature in Oxford University between 1925 and 1945, and English Literature at the same university from 1945 to 1959.
Sharing fame with other authors like Robert E. Howard, creator of Conan, and William Morris, who chronicled King Arthur's adventures, Tolkien, due to his immense popularity, is often considered the father of fantasy literature. He shared a great friendship with C.S Lewis, author of the Chronicles of Narnia, and along with other literature fanatics in Oxford, he formed the Inklings, where they discussed all sorts of stories with fellow members, and where both Lewis and Tolkien shared drafts of their own stories.
The Hobbit and How it Began
Although not credited as his first work per-se, The Hobbit, Tolkien's first success in the literary world became popular by accident. He wrote children stories for his own son, Christopher, and much later, in 1936, came to the attention of an employee for a publishing firm, who insisted that Tolkien submit it for publication. It told the story of an unlikely hero, Bilbo Baggins, an unusual Hobbit of the Shire, who ends up going on an adventurous journey to provide burglary help in reclaiming a long forgotten throne, and mounds of wondrous treasure from the last great wyrm, Smaug, in the company of dwarfs, humans and an immortal wizard named Gandalf. Contrary to both of their expectations, the book not only attracted the attention of children, but of adults as well, and with that, Tolkien was tasked with coming up with a sequel.
For many years, he struggled with what he considered lack of inspiration, and slowly, but surely, the Lord of the Rings trilogy evolved into six volumes that were published between 1954 and 1955. In a much darker tone that The Hobbit, for a more mature public, the Lord of the Rings took the literary world by storm. Telling a immensely rich background of a world now in its third age, Tolkien introduced much of his beloved Celtic heritage into his work, in the form of many of the races and locations that existed in Middle Earth. Many fantasy fictions after wards took inspiration in this story, and those who grew up reading the Lord of the Rings then took to themselves to pass on the tradition to future family members. The One Ring, found by Bilbo in The Hobbit is discovered to be the source of great evil in Middle Earth, falling to his nephew, Frodo, the task of destroying it.
After His Death
For many years after J.R.R Tolkien's death on September 2nd, 1973, his son Christopher gathered his father's work, taking it to himself the effort of completing and compiling a series of short stories, written by Tolkien in different occasions and out of order. The result was The Silmarillion, a compilation that united Tolkien's most cherished moments of his world's history that was deeply linked with the immense source of background information found in the appendix section of The Lord of the Rings. The stories began with the creation of Middle-earth itself, with the birth of the elder races and the eventual downfall, following the First and Second Ages of Middle-earth. Years later, in 1980, Christopher released The Unfinished Stories, which contained, shockingly enough, more fragmented fables from the collection of texts written by Tolkien. The main body followed the story of the Hurin family, and was continued in The Children of Hurin, released in 2005.
Along with the rich universe of the Rings' stories, Tolkien created its own language for the elves, which is detailed in the many volumes of The Lord of the Rings books. His works were converted to many mediums during his life time: cartoons, music and even theatrical plays. But the biggest creation to come from Tolkien's world would come to be the Lord of the Rings motion picture trilogy. All three films were directed, co-written and co-produced by New Zealand filmmaker Peter Jackson. Each film deals with a single volume from The Lord of the Rings novel. The first release of the trilogy was The Fellowship of the Ring in 2001, followed by The Two Towers in 2002 and finally The Return of the King in 2003. In addition to these, a two-part adaption of The Hobbit is currently planned for release in late 2012 and 2013. Guillermo Del Toro, from Hellboy and Pan's Labyrinth fame, was slated to direct both films with Peter Jackson acting as producer and co-writing both scrips with Del Toro. However, in May 2010, Del Toro announced that he had officially withdrawn from the project, due to numerous delays and future schedule conflicts. Jackson stepped back into the director's chair, and is in the process of completing both films.