JRR Tolkien's son Christopher dies aged 95
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Steve Hayes
2020-01-18 04:40:47 UTC
JRR Tolkien's son Christopher dies aged 95

Youngest son of Lord of the Rings author was responsible for editing
and publishing much of his father’s work

Nicola Slawson

Thu 16 Jan 2020 19.14 GMT
First published on Thu 16 Jan 2020 18.54 GMT

Christopher Tolkien drew many of the maps detailing the world of
Middle Earth that feature in the original Lord of the Rings books.
Photograph: Tolkien Society

Christopher Tolkien, the son of Lord Of The Rings author JRR Tolkien,
has died aged 95, the Tolkien Society has announced. The society,
which promotes the life and works of the celebrated writer, released a
short statement on Twitter to confirm the news.

The statement said: “Christopher Tolkien has died at the age of 95.
The Tolkien Society sends its deepest condolences to Baillie, Simon,
Adam, Rachel and the whole Tolkien family.”

Tolkien, who was born in Leeds in 1924, was the third and youngest son
of the revered fantasy author and his wife Edith. He grew up listening
to his father’s tales of Bilbo Baggins, which later became the
children’s fantasy novel, The Hobbit.

He drew many of the original maps detailing the world of Middle-earth
for his father’s The Lord of the Rings when the series was first
published between 1954 and 55. He also edited much of his father’s
posthumously published work following his death in 1973. Since 1975 he
had lived in France with Baillie.

Tolkien Society chairman Shaun Gunner praised Christopher’s commitment
to his father’s work and said: “Millions of people around the world
will be forever grateful to him … We have lost a titan and he will be
sorely missed.”

Charlie Redmayne, chief executive of HarperCollins UK, which publishes
much of JRR Tolkien’s work, said: “Christopher was a devoted curator
of his father’s work and the timeless and ongoing popularity of the
world that JRR Tolkien created is a fitting testimony to the decades
he spent bringing Middle-Earth to generations of readers.

“[He was] the most charming of men, and a true gentleman. It was an
honour and privilege to know and work with him and our thoughts are
with his family at this time.”

Tolkien scholar Dimitra Fimi hailed Christopher for enriching his
father’s work. She said: “He gave us a window into Tolkien’s creative
process, and he provided scholarly commentary that enriched our
understanding of Middle-earth. He was Middle-earth’s cartographer and
first scholar.”

In an interview with the Guardian in 2012, Christopher’s son Simon
described the enormity of the task after his grandfather died with so
much material still unpublished.

Simon said: “He had produced this huge output that covered everything
from the history of the gods to the history of the people he called
the Silmarils – that was his great work, but it had never seen the
light of day despite his best efforts to get it published.”

His son was left to sift through the files and notebooks, and over the
two decades after his father’s death, he published The Silmarillion,
Unfinished Tales, Beren And Lúthien and The History of Middle-earth,
which fleshed out the complex world of elves and dwarves created by
his father.

“It’s enormously to my father’s credit that he took on that huge task.
I remember the crateloads of papers arriving at his home, and no one
could be in any doubt at the scale of the work he had taken on,” Simon

Although he worked tirelessly to protect his father’s legacy, he was
not impressed by what he saw as the commercialisation of his work. He
was famously critical of Peter Jackson’s Oscar-winning film adaptation
of The Lord of the Rings. In a 2012 interview with the French
newspaper Le Monde, he said: “They gutted the book, making an action
film for 15-to-25-year-olds.”

He also said: “Tolkien has become a monster, devoured by his own
popularity and absorbed by the absurdity of our time,” and that “the
commercialisation has reduced the aesthetic and philosophical impact
of the creation to nothing”.

Source: https://t.co/fHLBGM8GM9?amp=1
Stephen Hayes, Author of The Year of the Dragon
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Matthew Kruk
2020-01-18 06:04:26 UTC