Ready to go to the shire?

It’s almost time. Folks who have eagerly been awaiting the release of The Hobbit movie have only a few more weeks before the beloved Tolkien novel releases in big screen format, directed by Peter Jackson. There will be enormous attention on the director, the actors (Martin Freeman, Ian McKellan, Cate Blanchett, etc.) and renewed interest in the setting, the wild beauty of New Zealand. But maybe the real attention should be on the man who created the shire and birthed the amazing characters that came to fruition in 1937. So let’s do it. Let’s take a look at a few interested bits about J.R.R. Tolkien himself. We’ll start off with three facts about his childhood.

1. Tolkien’s father was a bank clerk who moved the family to South Africa where John Ronald Reul (known to all as Ronald) was born. There he had a frightening encounter with a hairy spider which made quite an impression.

2.  After returning to England’s West Midlands, Tokien’s mother Mabel became a Roman Catholic which cut her off from both sides of the family. Tolkien loved to watch the train cars filled with coal traveling along the tracks behind his house.

3. He and his brother were orphaned when his mother died from diabetes. They were in dire economic straits.

Tolkien’s early life reads somewhat like a Dickens novel, doesn’t it? He probably never imagined that his story would still move audiences nearly 100 years after it was first published. Can you remember any moments in your early life that stand out? Did you move from another country? Have a scary insect encounter? Grow up in a city like Tolkien? Comment to be entered in the November drawing for a Starbuck’s gift card and signed book.

3 responses to this post.

  1. The first time I saw a cricket (or cave) spider, it scared the dickens out of me! I have added a link that contains picture of this horrid creature!

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  2. My father tells of waking up in Cuba with a massive tarantula on his chest! Shudder!

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