Happy Birthday to J.R.R. Tolkien! Without him, where would fantasy be? Of course, William Morris and Lord Dunsany came before him, and probably others I’m forgetting, but Tolkien is still the father of fantasy. I remember discovering Bilbo and then Frodo in the early 70’s when everyone was reading them. I even read Bored of the Rings, a fun satire. What a delight that Peter Jackson made his films. Again, he wasn’t the first, but his went global and created another Hobbit craze.
Now there’s a Tolkien Society and they’re planning a conference in 2012. He was a brilliant linguist as well. He didn’t fancy people speaking elvish, but then we don’t always get all our wishes granted.
My favorite Tolkien quote changes according to what’s going on in my own life. Today I’m favoring Aragorn’s speech at the Black Gate: “I see in your eyes the same fear that would take the heart of me. A day may come when the courage of Men fails, when we forsake our friends and break all bonds of fellowship, but it is not this day.”
To those who still question the literary value of fantasy, I can only offer another quote from Tolkien: “Some who have read the book, or at any rate have reviewed it, have found it boring, absurd, or contemptible; and I have no cause to complain, since I have similar opinions of their works, or of the kinds of writing that they evidently prefer.”