This is one article I thought I wouldn’t write never but, you know, never say never and nothing is impossible. Yesterday, in Comic-Con festival in San Diego, Peter Jackson presented the trailer of his new film The Hobbit, Bilbo Bolson’s first adventure. The book was in fact a simple divertimento for his children but one friend of Tolkien read it and recommended to Tolkien to finish the book… and it was the beginning of the trilogy composed of The Hobbit, Lord Of The Rings and The Silmarillion.
First of all, Tolkien was a philologist and we can see the importance of his studies in the three books –six books in fact-.
(Middle copy-paste from Wikipedia, I hate myself for this): he specialized in English philology at university and he worked for the Oxford English Dictionary. Also, he has studies of German and Finnish… he gave courses in Old English heroic verse, history of English, various Old English and Middle English texts…. Old and Middle English philology, introductory Germanic philolog
Tolkien participates in the I World War like Robert Graves and this generation –it’s not a casual thing that both were at Oxford- made a curious understanding between philology and literature, both influences in the next generation of writers –with Joyce, Beckett and many more-, a generation with a special interest in myths, philology and words. We all know that
Tolkien invented two fictional languages: a) Sindarin, called in English “Grey-elvish” or “Grey-elven”, it was the language of the Sindarin Elves of Beleriand; and b) Quenya, one of the many Elvish languages spoken by the immortal Elves. Like Joyce, he enjoyed playing with words creating new invented ones; like Graves, Tolkien deepened into the roots of Myths to create new kingdoms of imagination and fantasy.
(I must confess now: I don’t like Tolkien because I envy him. I would like to be read by thousands and thousands of readers.)
Tolkien’s influence is something like… grotesque? His legacy is not only present in thousands of books all around the world; also, his ideas and characters have inspired videogames, role plays and many more things that I cannot remember now. And Tolkien’s figure is getting bigger and bigger with every new emergent author that uses this literary fantasy formula (see, for example, Game of Thrones).
Today, Tolkien is much alive than never and, finally, that’s the reason I hate him, because I’m much died every day. Joking or not (don’t worry, I am always joking), Tolkien invented this successful formula that combines culture, myths, language and, of course, entertainment.
Still envying, I am at the feet of this great writer.