It’s J.R.R.Tolkien’s birthday, everyone!! He would be 125, which is still not as old as Bilbo was. The One Ring website always says to raise a glass and say “to the Professor” to commemorate this occasion, but I don’t know if that’s traditionally what Tolkienites do, or if that’s just something the website thought of.
It’s also my half-birthday, which is super cool, because that means my birthday is his half-birthday.
Tolkien was a great man, and I’ll respect him forever, and learn all I can about him so I can tell his story, but I’m glad I’ll never have the chance to meet him. I think I would be quite terrified of him.
But since he is dead, here’s what I’ll say if he’s listening: You were the greatest writer the world has ever known, and no one will ever convince me that your talent didn’t come from actually having been to Middle-earth. Your story has inspired millions, and touched the lives of millions more. No one has lived without seeing your influence somewhere, and I myself am influenced by you daily. You helped me through some of the toughest situations in my younger life, were the basis for movies that gave me a reason to keep going, and are currently supporting our household because my mother is teaching an LOTR class as a side project.
This quote has been hanging up on my wall for years, and continues to inspire me to write:
“The chief biographical fact to me is the completion of The Lord of the Rings, which still astonishes me. A notorious beginner of enterprises and non-finisher, partly through lack of time, partly through lack of single-minded concentration, I still wonder how and why I managed to peg away year after year, often under real difficulties, and bring it to a close. I suppose, because from the beginning it began to catch up in its narrative folds visions of things which I have most loved or hated.” – J. R. R. Tolkien
So from the bottom of my heart, and speaking for the millions who won’t think to do this, I can only say thank you, Tolkien. And Happy Birthday.