Christopher Tolkien has died at the age of 95. He was the son of J.R.R. Tolkien, the famous English author of the epic fantasy novel, The Lord of the Rings
Tolkien’s death was announced in a statement released on the website of the Tolkien Society. The Tolkien Society Chair, Shaun Gunner, also paid tribute and expressed condolences to his family.
Gunner’s statement concluded that:
“Millions of people around the world will be forever grateful to Christopher for bringing us The Silmarillion, The Children of Húrin, The History of Middle-earth series and many others. We have lost a titan and he will be sorely missed.”
Christopher Tolkien is survived by his wife Baillie and children Simon, Adam, and Rachel.
Tributes pour in
People have been paying tribute since the news of Tolkien’s death broke.
According to the Tolkien Society, Dr. Dimitra Fimi, an expert in Tolkien studies, said:
“Tolkien studies would never be what it is today without Christopher Tolkien’s contribution, from editing The Silmarillion to the mammoth task of giving us the History of Middle-earth series, he revealed his father’s grand vision of a rich and complex mythology.”
thank you for carrying on your fathers legacy, and blessing us with the silmarillion, the children of hùrin, and many more amazing tales, christopher tolkien, you will be missed…. pic.twitter.com/m6q7cBlNDi
— ❖ (@gondorfell) January 16, 2020
Sadly, Christopher Tolkien, who was responsible for finishing many of Tolkien’s middle earth books after the Lord of the Rings, died today at age 95. Without him, many great Middle Earth books would not be available. Rest in Piece. pic.twitter.com/8hXfHHHxjd
— Perfect Middle Earth shots (@MiddleShots) January 16, 2020
Christopher Tolkien made the entire field of Tolkien Studies. He made it. Without his lifetime’s effort to curate his father’s works, we’d have four novels. No Silmarillion, no Histories. No linguistic journals. His impact cannot be understated.
godspeed, sir. and thank you -j
— Athrabeth Podcast (@Athrabeth_cast) January 16, 2020
Christopher Tolkien bio
Christopher Tolkien was born in Leeds on November 24, 1924. His mother’s name was Edith. He had two brothers, John and Michael, and a younger sister, Priscilla.
Tolkien grew up in Oxford and served in South Africa with the British Royal Air Force (RAF) during World War II.
He returned to his studies after the war. He joined the University of Oxford as a lecturer after he finished his studies. At Oxford, he taught Old and Middle English and Old Icelandic.
When his father, J.R.R. Tolkien, died in 1973, Christopher became his executor. He worked for many years on his father’s uncompleted and unpublished literary projects and was able to get many of them posthumously published.
Some of his father’s works that he edited and helped to get published posthumously included The Silmarillion, published in 1977, and The History of Middle-earth, a 12-volume series, published in the 80s and 90s. The Fall of Gondolin was published in 2018.
During the time he worked to preserve his father’s literary legacy, Tolkien also worked as an academic at Oxford University.
Tolkien had been involved in his father’s work before he died. According to The Guardian, he also helped to create the original maps of Middle-Earth when The Lord of the Rings was published in the mid-1950s.
He won many accolades and awards for his work, including the University of Oxford’s Bodleian Libraries Bodley Medal, which he was awarded in 2016.
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