Happy Birthday, JRR Tolkien! Here’s to the founding father of fantasy fiction | books$ht-picks | Hindustan Times
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Happy Birthday, JRR Tolkien! Here’s to the founding father of fantasy fiction

books Updated: Jan 03, 2017 18:20 IST
PTI
JRR Tolkien

JRR Tolkien casts a long shadow on popular culture with his books – The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit – being turned into blockbuster movies.

“Not all those who wander are lost.”

When JRR Tolkien penned these lines, little did he know that they will continue to resonate with generations to come.

Tolkien, whose 125th birth anniversary is being celebrated today, casts a long shadow on the popular culture with his books – The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit – being turned into blockbuster movies.

If JK Rowling gave millennials a decadent slice of witchcraft and wizardry with the The Harry Potter series, Tolkien is someone who has always been in the fantasy backdrop as the quiet yet resolute founding father of the world of make-believe.

Tolkien, born as John Ronald Reuel Tolkien on January 3, 1892, created a bond with his readers by walking them through the parallel universe of Middle Earth.

Such was his hold on fantasy that everything that has been written in the genre after him is compared to his legacy, be it Rowling’s boy wizard or George R R Martin’s epic fantasy book series A Song of Fire and Ice, which led to the HBO money-spinner Game of Thrones.

“I admire Tolkien greatly. His books had enormous influence on me...,” Martin had said about the author.

Director Peter Jackson, who has churned out six movies on both Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, first encountered Tolkien’s work on a train ride and thought of recreating the universe on celluloid.

“I think it was 1978 or 1979 when I first read the books... And I thought, what on Earth can I do on this 12-hour train journey? So I bought myself The Lord of the Rings.

“I thought, wow, this will make a great film, I can’t wait until somebody else makes it. I never ever dreamt it would be me.”

If one swears in the name of ‘old Gods and new’, there’s no match to Tolkien’s “legendarium” even today.

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