On the third day of January 1892, the mind behind middle earth was born. J.R.R. Tolkien is one of the most well-known authors of all time. He also is a geek. When you think about it, millions of people celebrate his fantastic tales of pointy-eared elves, dwarves, and halflings. Today we shine the sonic screwdriver on Tolkien as our renowned Geek of the Week.
John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was born in Bloemfontein, Orange Free State, what is now Bloemfontein, South Africa (yup J.R.R. Tolkien is an African, sort of.)
By the age of four Tolkien could read and write. Like most geeks, he read a lot. He disliked many children’s stories such as Treasure Island and The Pied Piper. According to his biography, he thought Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was “amusing but disturbing”. However, he liked stories about Native Americans (representation mattering) and the fantasy works by George MacDonald.
He first started playing with creating languages in his teens. His cousins started developing Animalic and his affinity for linguistics would prove useful in the future. He not only was he a codebreaker cryptologist during WWII but he would use his talents to develop all the languages of Middle Earth.
During WWI, he reached the rank of Lieutenant and was involved in the battle of Somme. Many of Tolkien’s closest friends died in the war, and his experiences would influence his future writing.
Tolkien studied European mythology heavily and it helped lay the groundwork for the world and races he would go on to create. He wrote the Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, he never expected his books to be very popular. On the contrary, his books were huge successes and greatly shape the fantasy genre even now. Tolkien’s influence can be seen in anime, comics, cinema, manga, television, and especially video games (the D&D community thanks you Tolkien.)
There are also more general successes for his works. His books are best sellers, classics in literature, and the Hobbit is often a required read in many school systems and curriculums. The 2000’s Movie adaptations of LOTR are some of the most celebrated movies in cinema and received ridiculous amounts of awards, accolades, and memes (the highest form of millennial flattery).
Tolkien a Geek who used the written word to turn his passion into our own.
What is your favorite contribution from Tolkien?
What did he influence that is a staple of your Geekdom?
Let us know, in the comments below…