J.R.R. Tolkien

J.R.R. Tolkien was a British writer, poet, and scholar known for his works of fantasy, including “The Hobbit,” “The Lord of the Rings,” and “The Silmarillion.” His books have influenced fantasy literature and popular culture, and his academic work on medieval epics inspired his creation of the mythology and language of Middle-earth. Tolkien is considered one of the greatest fantasy writers of all time.

The second edition of the Etrange-Grande Festival will honor one of the greatest fantasy writers of all time, J.R.R. Tolkien. The organizers have decided to pay tribute to his literary legacy by offering screenings of films inspired by his works, lectures on his academic work and the creation of Middle-earth mythology, as well as discussions on Tolkien’s impact on popular culture. This celebration of Tolkien is expected to attract a large audience and generate interest among all fantasy enthusiasts.

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, who passed away 50 years ago, was a university professor and extraordinary poet who was passionate about languages and trees. Tolkien was a writer who took a long time to mature, with the early years of his life being marked by a succession of losses: the departure from the idyllic countryside of Sarehole, and most notably, the loss of a loving mother with a vivid imagination. There is a tangible melancholy in Tolkien’s life, a desire to dream at all costs, despite the smoke from factories and an Edwardian society that suffocates its poets. In such a materialistic world, writing becomes an act of resistance, a form of courage that only makes sense within a fraternal community of young artists who dream ardently of changing the world.

His participation in World War I would change his life. When the former soldier J.R.R. Tolkien wrote the epic of The Lord of the Rings, he, like Frodo, was a soldier who had been wounded on the front lines. But there are invisible wounds from which one never recovers. Like his character, he survived the trenches while many of his loved ones did not (Boromir, Theoden/ childhood friend Rob Gilson, poet Geoffrey Bache Smith). Why is he still alive while his comrades, who were promised great literary careers, are dead? How can one return to the banality of everyday life after such an ordeal? The war was a cruel initiation that would lead the novelist, like any survivor of a great collective tragedy, to question the meaning of existence.

Many are alive who deserve death. And some die who deserve life. Can you give it to them, Frodo? Do not be too eager to deal out death in judgment. Even the wise cannot see all ends. Gandalf, The Fellowship of the Ring

In The Lord of the Rings, Frodo never truly recovers from his old wound that continues to cause him pain, and the melancholy that overwhelms him prompts him to leave Middle-earth to sail to Valinor, the island of the Elves. A symbolic death, liberating and a true catharsis for Tolkien. The Lord of the Rings is less a war epic than the story of a beautiful friendship as it could be lived in the hell of the trenches. In one of his letters, the writer compares the Dead Marshes and the Black Gate of Mordor “to the North of France, after the Battle of the Somme.” He was likely marked by the horror of horses facing German tanks, real monsters of steel…

From a certain point of view, The Lord of the Rings is strikingly realistic, as this trilogy bears the scars of the Great War. The traumatized author uses his characters to reflect on universal themes: what is heroism? Why can an ordinary person achieve extraordinary acts? How can one act with courage when the world itself seems hopeless and death appears inevitable? Through Gandalf’s words, Tolkien brings a humanistic answer to all these questions:

All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.


Fun facts on J.R.R. Tolkien:

  1. Tolkien was once marking exam papers and came across a student who had left the entire page blank except for the word “Inklings” at the top. Tolkien awarded the student a first-class mark, explaining that “Inklings” was worth a first-class degree in itself.
  2. Tolkien was known to be a perfectionist, often spending years crafting and revising his stories. In fact, he once wrote to his publisher to ask if he could make some changes to “The Hobbit”, which had already been published. His publisher agreed, and the revised edition was released in 1951.
  3. Tolkien was an avid lover of languages, and is credited with creating over a dozen languages for the inhabitants of Middle-earth. He even went so far as to create a fictional history for each language, including the evolution of grammar and syntax over time.
  4. When Tolkien was a young boy, he and his brother created a secret language called Animalic, which was based on the sounds of various animals. Later, when he was writing “The Lord of the Rings”, he included a similar language called “Black Speech”, which was spoken by the evil forces of Sauron.
  5. Tolkien was a close friend of fellow author C.S. Lewis, and the two often met with a group of other writers known as the Inklings to discuss their works. It was during one of these meetings that Lewis first heard the opening lines of “The Lord of the Rings”, which he reportedly found so compelling that he urged Tolkien to finish the story.

Fun facts on the Lord Of The Rings:

  1. J.R.R. Tolkien initially began writing The Lord of the Rings as a sequel to his earlier book, The Hobbit.

  2. Tolkien created his own languages for the characters in The Lord of the Rings. He was a philologist and language expert, and he believed that creating languages was essential for creating realistic and complex characters.

  3. The character of Legolas was inspired by a 19th century painting of an angel by Italian artist Francesco Hayez.

  4. The iconic “One Ring” was actually based on an ancient Viking ring that Tolkien saw at a museum.

  5. The film adaptation of The Lord of the Rings was initially offered to several other directors before it was eventually given to Peter Jackson. Directors including Quentin Tarantino, Steven Spielberg, and Tim Burton were all considered for the project.