Tolkien’s Twelvety-Fifth

Happy 125 years of life and legacy, Tolkien!

We all know of his immense impact, so I wanted to share a few special Tolkien tidbits.

He started his legacy with a scrap of a thought…


He led a fascinating life…

  • Tolkien said his surname came from the German word tollkühn, meaning “foolhardy” or “daredevel.”
  • Tolkien was an orphan by 12 years of age.
  • He acted as a signal officer in World War I at the Battle of the Somme, but contracted trench fever and was sent back to England.
  • During World War II, he was earmarked as a codebreaker.
  • Tolkien told off the Nazis when they wrote asking him to prove his ‘Aryan’ line before they published his novel in German. Full text totally worth reading. He then described Hitler as a “ruddy little ignoramus.”
  • There are a few dictionary words that Tolkien is said to have first used. One is “eucatastrophe,” which Tolkien said meant “the sudden happy turn in a story which pierces you with a joy that brings tears.”
  • Tolkien had a lot of languages under his belt: Danish, Dutch, French, German, Gothic, Greek, Italian, Latin, Lombardic, Middle and Old English, Old Norse, Norwegian, Russian, Serbian, Spanish, Swedish, Welsh and Medieval Welsh.

He gave us wise words on fantasy…


He had a favourite line from his own writing…


If you’re curious what Tolkien sounded like, here’s audio of him reading The Tale of Beren and Luthien.

And as a lesser-read piece of his Lord of the Rings world, I encourage you to try (if you haven’t already) The Children of Hurin. Enjoy the pure heartache. It’s worth it.

“A man that flies from his fear may find that he has only taken a short cut to meet it.”


Do you have a favourite quote of his? Or a favourite anything of all his works and wisdoms?


4 thoughts on “Tolkien’s Twelvety-Fifth

  1. Epic post! It’s a cool idea to share little bits and facts about Tolkien on his twelvety fifth. 😀 I had no idea he spoke so many languages and it was so cool hearing him actually reading the tale of Beren and Luthien. Now I want to try The Children of Hurin. 😀


    • Thanks very much! If you do read Children of Hurin, I’d be curious what you thought. It’s quite a darker tale of his, and I think this turns some people off the book halfway through. I enjoy the moodier bits because Tolkien always has a bit of hope shimmering above the brooding clouds of misfortune.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I have to say “Leaf by Niggle” and the accompanying essay in which he talks about the importance of “fairy stories” (I think the two of them together are called Tree and Leaf”) are my favourite things he wrote. So inspiring!


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