Category Archives: 100 years of Middle-earth

Tanks at Gondolin

Here’s an excerpt from my book Tolkien and the Great War to mark the centenary of Tolkien’s discharge on 9 December 1916 from military hospital, where he had begun writing his first ‘lost tale’ of Middle-earth, ‘The Fall of Gondolin’. … Continue reading

Posted in 100 years of Middle-earth, Tolkien in the First World War, Tolkien’s creative spirit | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Beren and Lúthien, a centenary publication

In a wood filled with a cloud of white flowers, a soldier walked in the spring of 1917 with his wife, and she sang and danced for him. To that battle-worn lieutenant, J R R Tolkien, Edith’s dance was an unforgettable glimpse of … Continue reading

Posted in 100 years of Middle-earth, Book news and reviews, Tolkien in the First World War | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

A turbulent darkness: Tolkien’s first story

Here’s a short review of Tolkien’s The Story of Kullervo that I wrote for the Mail On Sunday when the book came out in September 2015. I reproduce it here, with permission, as the book becomes available in the USA, … Continue reading

Posted in 100 years of Middle-earth, Book news and reviews | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

Tolkien’s death of Smaug: American inspiration revealed

My latest article for the Guardian: As well as its familiar roots in Icelandic mythology, this Middle-earth story also has some surprising transatlantic sources The dragon soars overhead, its underside armoured with gems from its hoard. The bowman has one … Continue reading

Posted in 100 years of Middle-earth | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Middle-earth turns 100

It is 100 years since Middle-earth began. The earliest glimpse of any character or situation from his mythology was in a poem, ‘The Voyage of Éarendel the Evening Star’, which J.R.R. Tolkien dated 24 September 1914. He wrote it at … Continue reading

Posted in 100 years of Middle-earth | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 33 Comments

Why World War One Is at the heart of Lord of the Rings

It’s sixty years since the publication of J.R.R. Tolkien’s first volume of The Lord of The Rings. Why was he so inspired by the Great War—and a group of schoolfriends? War runs like iron ore through the bones of Tolkien’s … Continue reading

Posted in 100 years of Middle-earth | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tolkien at fifteen, a warrior-to-be

A newly discovered photograph reveals J.R.R. Tolkien at fifteen in his school’s new cadet corps—launched in 1907 as nations geared up for war. Tolkien is one of some 120 unnamed figures in the picture, unearthed by the history department at … Continue reading

Posted in 100 years of Middle-earth, Tolkien in the First World War | Tagged , , | 38 Comments

The Tolkien brothers in Bumble Dell

Tolkien’s brother Hilary was born 120 years ago today. To mark the occasion, I reproduce here my review of Black and White Ogre Country, a book of his jotted reminiscences covering their childhood, the storied world as they imagined it, … Continue reading

Posted in 100 years of Middle-earth | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Sam Gamgee and Tolkien’s batmen

Tolkien, like a good poker player, kept his cards close to his chest, and gave very little away about the impact of experience upon his fiction. He could be less guarded in private, as Humphrey Carpenter revealed in his 1977 J.R.R. … Continue reading

Posted in 100 years of Middle-earth | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments

100 years of Middle-earth

Tolkien’s Middle-earth began in 1914. That may come as a surprise, considering The Lord of the Rings was published in 1954–5 and even The Hobbit appeared no further back than 1937. But the fact is that before and beneath those … Continue reading

Posted in 100 years of Middle-earth | Tagged , , , , | 18 Comments