Welcome to The Inklings' Quill, a blog set aside for the study of one of the greatest authors of all time and father of the genre we now call "fantasy", J.R.R. Tolkien. This blog was originally created as a school project for a class on British literature, but I hope to expand this blog to something a bit greater. Thanks for dropping by! :D

J.R.R Tolkien

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was born in Bloemfontein in South Africa to Arthur and Mabel Tolkien, both of whom were English by nationality.  He has been noted as one of the best writers of all time and is considered the father of the Fantasy genre.  He is best known for his book trilogy The Lord of the Rings, as well as The Hobbit and The Silmarillion.  


Tolkien's love of language and mythology started at an early age and in his lifetime he mastered several languages including Greek and Latin, as well as being competent in Gothic and Finnish.  In fact, the study of linguistics intrigued him to such a degree that he went on to create several languages of his own just for fun.  Some say it was his want to further study the possibilities of his own languages and how they worked in a realistic (though ancient and alternate) world that compelled him to write The Lord of the Rings.  Certainly his languages were influenced by Old English and Anglo-Saxon.  One of the poems he discovered in his Old English Studies was the Crist of Cynewulf.  He was especially intrigued with this cryptic couplet:
“Eálá  Earendel engla beorhtast
Ofer middangeard monnum sended”

Which tranlsates to:


               "Hail Earendel brightes of angels,

                 Over Middle Earth sent to men"

Other Tolkien fans out there might recognize the name "Earendel"which means first light, or first dawn in Old English as similar to "Eärendil" the mariner who bears the silmaril as the morning star. One might also recognize the use of the word "Middle Earth".

It is also obvious that much of Tolkien's writings were influenced by Norse Mythology, which does, on several occasions, make reference to "rings of power".  The most famous ring in norse mythology was Odin's Draupnir, said to make 8 new rings every ninth night.  Other such powerful rings were also created by dwarves.  For those who have read The Silmarillion, it was the elves who created the original rings of power under the influence of Souron, and Souron himself made the One Ring.  However, dwarves were said to be nearly unsurpassed in smithing and craftsmanship, a trait that has carried on throughout the fantasy genre.  The similarities do not end there, but I plan to broaden the subject for discussion in another article.  :D


Along with his writing life and his work as a proffessor as well as a linguist, Tolkien was also the father of 4 children, and one of his great delights in life was telling his children stories.  That is how The Hobbit came about.  It all started one day as he was grading papers for one of the classes he taught at Oxford University. He came across a question on a student's paper that had been left blank.  In that blank space Tolkien jotted the words, "In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit".  This line has since become one of the most well-known lines in all of English literature.  Curious, then, about the details of the line he had written, Tolkien went on to explain what kind of hole the hobbit lived in, what a hobbit was, and so forth and so on.  This became the base of the story titled, "The Hobbit".


The Hobbit was written in a fairy tale style (which will later be touched upon in another post).  Questions were brought out in The Hobbit that inspired further stories and background.  These questions and their subsequent answers are ultimately what later became The Lord of the Rings, which goes on to tell of how the One Ring came into possession of a man, how it was lost, found again by Gollum, and so forth and so on.  The Lord of the Rings is told in what is now considered the "epic" fantasy style, a type of writing which might also be referred to as the "sword and sorcery" style.  While The Hobbit was essentially written to entertain children, it is my belief that The Lord of the Rings was originally aimed at an older audience.


Tolkien was also a member of a writers' group called "The Inklings" which consisted of himself, C.S. Lewis and several other writers.  It was an informal group that often met (if I remember correctly) in Lewis' personal apartments.  It was titled such simply for the fact that it was about writing and thus "ink".  This group was also, inadvertently the inspiration for this blog's title.  :D 


Tolkien's works have inspired many of today's writers, and will continue to inspire many others in the future.  I hope to get into a further discussion of the technicalities of Tolkien's works, reviews, and other such informative tid-bits at a later date.


Enjoy!


  

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Nichole White is 25, a devout Christian, oldest of six children, and was homeschooled up to her first semester in college in the Spring of O9. But above everything else in her hectic life, Nichole is a writer. Her writing tends to lean towards Fantasy (with a little sci-fi thrown in) more than anything else. Nichole Also enjoys lurking in the sci-fi/fantasy forum at WritersDigest.com. Her current Blog "The Pen and Parchment" is a place she goes to discuss different subjects she finds interesting, first and foremost the art of writing, and then that of reading, and so on. It also might occasionally contain anything that is on her mind at the time. In the near future "The pen and Parchment" will obtain information about her current project, "Song of the Daystar" a christian fantasy novel, now in the final stages of the last rewrite. Please check in to learn more.
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