Questions tagged [j-r-r-tolkien]

Questions about the works of the English author J.R.R. (John Ronald Reuel) Tolkien or his life as a writer. Tolkien is best known for 'The Lord of the Rings', 'The Hobbit', 'The Silmarillion' and the other works making up the Middle-Earth legendarium.

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1answer
178 views

What does “set out fair and square” mean in the characterization of the Hobbits?

This is taken from from The Fellowship of the Ring prologue where JRRT lays out some of the characteristics of Hobbits: The genealogical trees at the end of the Red Book of Westmarch are a small ...
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245 views

What do “nothing that lived” and “doughty at bay” mean?

The following quote is from the chapter "Concerning Hobbits" in The Fellowship of the Ring: Though slow to quarrel, and for sport killing nothing that lived, they were doughty at bay, and at need ...
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What does “rough handling by grief” mean in “The Fellowship of the Ring”?

From the Prologue ("Concerning Hobbits") to The Fellowship of the Ring (1954) by J. R. R. Tolkien: Nonetheless, ease and peace had left this people still curiously tough. They were, if it came to ...
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What does “they were in name his subjects” mean?

While there was still a king they were in name his subjects, but they were, in fact, ruled by their own chieftains and meddled not at all with events in the world outside. What does "they were in ...
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What does “reckoning of years” mean?

About this time legend among the Hobbits first becomes history with a reckoning of years. What does "reckoning of years" mean in this passage from The Lord of the Rings?
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What is the internal order of Christopher Tolkien's last three books in the Middle-earth legendarium?

Christopher John Reuel Tolkien, J. R. R. Tolkien's third son, died very recently. He is best know for editing and publishing materials he inherited from his father, including these three books: The ...
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What is Tom Bombadil's importance in The Lord of the Rings?

Tom Bombadil is definitely one of the weirdest characters in all of The Lord of the Rings, he just comes out of nowhere, stumbling upon Frodo and Sam while singing. His actions are just incredibly ...
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What was supposedly satanic about the Lord of the Rings?

From a comment on another recent question I learned that The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings have (in certain places and at certain times) been banned for supposedly satanic themes. A quick bit of ...
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What is the significance of Sauron never having a physical presence in the Lord of the Rings?

So I noticed that in Lord of the Rings Sauron acts as a very interesting villain. He never makes a corporeal appearance, nor does he have any acting dialogue. He's mentioned plenty of times through ...
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The origin of Tolkien's use of the term “hobbit”

In a footnote on page 29 of The Lay of Aotrou & Itroun Verlyn Flieger notes the word korigans appears in the 1891 compendium of folklore known as The Denham Tracts (Vol. II, p. 79) where it is ...
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Could Shelob have kept the ring for herself?

In the Lord of the Rings, Gollum/Smeagol’s plan is to lead Frodo and Sam into the pass of Cirith Ungol, where he was gonna leave them to be consumed by Shelob and take the ring from the remains. ...
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Where does Tolkien talk about hybridization of humans and other beings, in “On Fairy Stories”?

Where does Tolkien talk about hybridization of humans and other beings, in "On Fairy Stories"? I just re-read it, and can't find the spot. Is it just a small mention, related to the Frog Prince or ...
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“What a piece of work is man” - echo in The Lord of the Rings?

In The Fellowship of the Ring, after Gandalf tells Frodo the story of the One Ring and challenges him to destroy it, Frodo looks at the ring and we read this description: how rich and beautiful was ...
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How much did The Lord of the Rings cost when it was first published in 1954/1955?

What was the original price (first edition/first printing by Allen & Unwin, London) of The Lord of the Rings books when they were first sold in 1954/1955?
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Is it a common theme in (western) storytelling that the antagonists are located to the east?

I'm not sure if this is the correct place for this question. I was reading some Lord of the Rings-lore the other day and it got me thinking about the location of "evil" in storytelling. In LOTR, ...
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997 views

In what way is The Lord of the Rings metafiction?

As a student, I read metafictional novels such as Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys and If on a winter's night a traveler by Italo Calvino. When I checked the Wikipedia article Metafiction, I found, much ...
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What is the “Eastern wolf” in this poem?

I'm reading through J.R.R. Tolkien's The Fall of Arthur and in I.29 - I.33 it says [...] But what foe dareth war here to wake or the walls assail of this island-realm while Arthur liveth, ...
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Tolkien character names inspired by Early Modern English

I have been browsing through A Glossary of Tudor and Stuart Words, Especially from the Dramatists by Walter W. Skeat (completed by A. L. Mayhew and published in 1914). It contains several entries that ...
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What evidence is there for Tolkien's One Ring being based on the Ring of Silvianus?

I recently heard a theory that parts of Tolkien's legendarium and the Lord of the Rings story may have been inspired by the real-life Ring of Silvianus: As Wheeler consulted with J. R. R. Tolkien ...
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Should I read The Silmarillion before or after reading The Lord of the Rings?

I spent an extensive amount of time as an undergrad writing about and researching The Hobbit, especially in terms of Tolkien's famous essay on Beowulf. Getting a sense of what inspired Tolkien greatly ...
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How do the Silmarils solve the puzzle of the Sampo?

It is well established that Tolkien used his fiction as a means of filling gaps and solving riddles in the extant studies of mythology and linguistics. Most of the time, he chose to do this by ...
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Where did Saruman know Frodo from?

Near the end of The Return of the King, the last Volume of the Lord of the Rings, the hobbits return to the Shire. There, they meet Saruman and his follower Grima (Wormtongue). When Saruman ...
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Did Frodo want Bilbo to die?

I was reading in the first volume of the Lord of the Rings recently, and ran across this quote when Gandalf and Frodo are talking about the Ring for the first time after its true nature has been ...
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Which real-life languages other than English, Welsh and Old English/Norse did Tolkien draw on for naming things?

According to Tolkien scholar Tom Shippey, Tolkien believed that people had an innate ability to "hear" subtle differences in names and dialects, even if they didn't full understand why things sounded ...
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Was Théoden's revival inspired by Mark Twain?

I was reading Mark Twain's Joan of Arc and Joan converses with the Dauphin of France. The talk between Joan and the King was long and earnest [...] and has been set down in [...] testimony at the ...
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Why did Tolkien publish as J.R.R. Tolkien?

Quite a number of authors of English literature around the early 20th century published with initialed pen names (EM Forster, JRR Tolkien, TS Eliot, ...) whereas others did not (Thomas Hardy, Rudyard ...
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If Tolkien disliked allegory, why are there so many allegorical readings of The Lord of the Rings?

There is a famous quote from J.R.R. Tolkien in which he states his hatred of allegorical writing. "I cordially dislike allegory in all its manifestations, and always have done so since I grew old ...
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Did Frodo have a prophetic dream?

Right before Frodo and company head into the Old Forest, Frodo has this dream. Eventually he fell into a vague dream, in which he seemed to be looking out of a high window over a dark sea of ...
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Why didn't Bilbo put the ring on immediately?

When Bilbo falls into Gollum's cave in The Hobbit and he finds the ring on the ground, why doesn't he immediately put it on? Is there any textual evidence suggesting he was scared or nervous of ...
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Have any Elves explored Rhûn or the lands to the east?

According to The Silmarillion and Tolkien's legendarium as a whole, the Elves first awoke in Cuiviénen, by a gulf in the Sea of Helcar. We learn that in The War of Wrath (Chapter 3, Quenta ...
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What are the Riddle Rules?

In J. R. R. Tolkien's The Hobbit, while Bilbo is in the cave and has the ring, he and Gollum end up asking each other riddles. After the exchange, Gollum or Bilbo mentions some riddle rules. These ...
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Do the female Dwarves in Tolkien's Legendarium also have beards?

In The Return of the King, Appendix A, there's this quote about female dwarves: Dís was the daughter of Thrain II. She is the only dwarf-woman named in these histories. It was said by Gimli that ...
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Was J.R.R. Tolkien building on a past tradition when relying heavily on languages he made up?

It is a uncontested and well known fact that Tolkien was a linguist, and he wrote Middle-Earth as a setting for his languages. However, what interests me is whether the approach he took was out of ...
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How does the ring end up where Déagol found it?

In the Lord of the Rings series Sméagol/Gollum murders his friend Déagol for the ring. It is also stated that Déagol found the ring in Gladden Fields. How did the ring get there? And which book this ...
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How to read é, ä, û?

If I want to read Tolkien's text aloud, or appreciate the rhythm and rhyme in his poems, I find it distracting not to know how names including these characters (and similar ones) were meant to be ...
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Is there any animal internal monologue in The Lord of the Rings?

Does Tolkien ever include any internal monologue from the perspective of an animal? That is to say, a scene where he shows an animal talking to itself inside of its own head?
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Was there a deliberate parallel between the Thénardiers and Gollum?

Long ago, I noticed that there was a parallel between The Lord of the Rings and Les Misérables in the characters of the Thénardiers and Gollum. Gollum has the One Ring at the start of the tale in The ...
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Why are Orcs associated with the colors red, yellow, and black in Tolkien's Lord of the Rings?

In Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings series, Sauron, and characters allied with Sauron, are frequently associated with the colors red, yellow, and black. For example, here is a description of the ...
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How much experience did Tolkien have in writing?

J.R.R Tolkien famously created his world and then created the stories he put in them. He was a professor, historian, and linguist by profession, and his writing style in The Lord of the Rings, The ...

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