Today is Tolkien Reading Day!
This special day has been launched by the Tolkien Society in 2003 and is held annually on 25th March. Tolkien Reading Day's mission is to encourage fans to celebrate and promote the life and works of J.R.R. Tolkien by reading favorite works.
What will you be reading today?
10 Interesting Facts About J.R.R. Tolkien
1. Full name of J.R.R. Tolkien is John Ronald Reuel Tolkien (pron.: Tol-keen; equal stress on both syllables), Ronald to family and friends. His surname is of German origin and meas foolishly brave, or stupidly clever - sometimes he used the pseudonym Oxymore which refer to the name's origin.
2. Tolkien was born in South Africa where he was kidnapped. When being a toddler in South Africa Tolkien has been "kidnapped" by one of the African servants. The servant thought Tolkien was a cute and a beautiful child and he wanted to show a toddler to his family. Tolkien was returned to his family next day. Tolkien grew up in England where he, his mother and brother moved when he was four.
3. One of the vivid memory from South Africa was a huge hairy spider that bit Tolkien when he was a child, this experience could be an inspiration for deadly spiders in his later writing.
Image via Tolkien Gateway
4. Tolkien was talented for languages. He mastered Latin, Greek, Gothic, Welsh, Finnish... It is said he knew over 30 languages and created several of his own.
Image via Tolkien Gateway
5. The character of Gandalf was inspired by "Berggeist" (mountain spirit) created by the German artist Josef Madelener. The postcard with the illustration of an old man in a strange hat was spotted by Tolkien in Switzerland in 1911 during a student trip.
6. In 1920s Tolkien co-founded the Viking Club - the society where he, his professor colleagues and students read old Norse sagas, translate them into Old English and Gothic, entertained and drink beer.
7. Tolkien wrote illustrated letters to his children as if from Santa Clause. This resulted in The Father Christmas Letters published in 1976.
Images via Letters of Note
8. The first sentence of Hobbit was invented by Tolkien while grading student's papers. When he spotted a blank page where and answer to a question should have been provided he wrote "In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit" as an impulse.
Images via Tolkien Gateway
9. Middle-earth comes from the Old English language middangeard what was an ancient expression for the everyday world between Heaven and Hell.
10. Hobbit was published thanks to a 10 year old boy's review, the publisher's son, who convinced his father that the story was good enough for children aged 5 and 9.