In honor of National Tolkien Reading Day, here are ten fun facts you may or may not have heard about the author who created one of the most beloved stories of all time.
1. His family called him Ronald.
2. His mother introduced him to the basics of Latin before he even started school, which was part of the foundation of his love for languages.
3. He was orphaned at the age of 11, and Father Francis Xavier Morgan was appointed as guardian to him and his older brother.
4. Tolkien and his wife Edith have a great love story. They met when he was 16 and she was 19 and fell in love, but Father Francis forbade them to see one another. Tolkien respected the Father’s wishes, but as soon as he turned 19, he sought her out and proposed and she broke off another engagement to marry him.
5. His literary discussion group was called The Inklings, and included C.S. Lewis & Charles Williams.
6. His first job after the war was working for the Oxford Dictionary on the etymology of these words: warm, wasp, water, wick and winter.
7. Tolkien is reported to have said: “I am in fact a hobbit, in all but size. I like gardens, trees and unmechanized farm lands; I smoke a pipe, and like good plain food (unrefrigerated), but detest French cooking; I like and even dare to wear in these dull days, ornamental waistcoats. I am fond of mushrooms (out of a field); have a very simple sense of humor (which even my appreciative critics find tiresome); I go to bed late and get up late (when possible). I do not travel much.”
8. Tolkien was known for his school-boyish sense of humor, and as told by his friend Carpenter, “He would dress up as an Anglo-Saxon warrior complete with an axe and chase an astonished neighbour down the road”.
9. Tolkien was a professor at the University of Leeds and Oxford for almost forty years.
10. He was an accomplished amateur artist who painted for pleasure & relaxation. He said, “I wisely started with a map, and made the story fit.” Tolkien’s artwork that he created as part of his writing process can be viewed on the Tolkien Estate
Hope you enjoyed those fun facts! As always, happy reading! 😊