Did you know that Tolkien Reading Day is recognized annually on March 25th (the date of the downfall of Sauron)? The Tolkien Society initiated the day in 2003 to encourage fans to celebrate and promote the life and works of J.R.R. Tolkien by reading favourite passages. In honor of the day, I reached out to the Kansas City chapter of The Tolkien Society for some noteworthy facts about the iconic author, which they graciously provided.
- Tolkien fought in the Battle of the Somme during World War I. Tolkien was lucky to survive over 60 straight hours of battle and was unfortunate enough to contract trench fever not long after. Despite the horrors of the sickness, it may have saved his life as he was sent to France and ultimately to England to convalesce for what was essentially the rest of the war.
- Tolkien hated the idea of The Lord of the Rings being considered allegory. In the Foreword to the second edition of The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien noted that his writing, although not allegorical, was certainly contextual. He derived his descriptions of war from his own experiences during World War I, but denied that his writing was allegory.
- Tolkien based one of his most famous tales, “Beren and Luthien” from The Silmarillion upon his real-world love for his wife, Edith. Tolkien drew his inspiration of Luthien dancing in a field from that of his wife dancing in a meadow glade, and ultimately had the names “Beren” and “Luthien” placed on their respective headstones when they passed.
- Tolkien identified most closely with the character Faramir. Tolkien famous experienced a dream about a ‘great wave’ and gave this dream sequence to Faramir, and also gave Faramir his dislike for war and bureaucracy.
- The International Tolkien Society celebrates three holidays a year around J.R.R. Tolkien:
- January 3rd is Tolkien’s birthday and also to offer a ‘Toast to the Professor’
- March 25th is International Tolkien Reading Day
- September 22nd is Hobbit Day
Want to know more about J.R.R. Tolkien? Join The Tolkien Society of Kansas City each month as they discuss the life and works of the greatest author of the twentieth century! Contact tolkiensocietykc|at|gmail|dot|com or find them on Twitter or Facebook.
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