Alright y’all, let me get one thing out there because it makes me stupidly happy: I share my birthday with the Professor. That’s right: I was born on what would have been J.R.R. Tolkien’s 100th birthday. So, for my 27th birthday (and his 127th) I read one of the books I received for Christmas, being The Magical Worlds of the Lord of the Rings by David Colbert (who also, apparently, has written one of these books about Harry Potter which I need to find promptly).
I finished it in a few hours because, let’s be real, this was not exactly Proust. And I mean that in a good way (Proust was so painful I only got a handful of pages in before conceding defeat). But there were some pretty cool nuggets of information in here about how Tolkien’s life affected both how and the way in which he wrote. One of the most interesting facts, from my point of view anyway, concerned languages. Tolkien knew sooooo many! The book states that “the languages Tolkien knew included Ancient Greek, Latin, Gothic, Old Norse (Old Icelandic), Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Anglo-Saxon (Old English), Middle English, German, Dutch, French, Spanish, Italian, Welsh and Finnish” (p. 82).
Look. Can we just take a bloody minute here. So, on top of creating at least a dozen languages for his writing, he actually knew at least sixteen real ones. Because, let’s not skim past the fact that the author listed languages that were included among those that the Professor knew. Let me tell you, I’m feeling a little inadequate. I speak, including my native language, three. Three. Trois. Tres. And I thought I was doing pretty well, right up until I read this book! In all seriousness though, that is completely amazing.
This is a great little book for any fan of Tolkien, even for those who have read the larger biographies (or, perhaps, are a little intimidated by them and want to start a bit smaller). I thoroughly enjoyed the bits and pieces I picked up and I liked the way this is set up in a dictionary format, it makes for oddly ordered but interesting reading. Well worth the time!
Inset and featured images: my photos, taken of my book.