You’re Never Too Young for Tolkien!

Biography Report on J.R.R. Tolkien

by GHG’s youngest member, Owen, 5th Grade

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Hello, today I’m going talk to you about my life. I was born on January 3rd 1892 in South Africa. My mother’s name was Mabel and my father’s name was Arthur. I also have a younger brother who was born in 1894 named Hillary. I didn’t like the very hot air in South Africa.  I even got bitten by a tarantula! My mother Mabel decided it was time for a move. At age three  my mom, my brother and I moved to Birmingham, England where most of my relatives lived. When I was four my father Arthur died. Soon after his death my mom switched religions from Anglican to Catholic. Many members of her family did not approve. In 1899 I took an entrance exam for King Edwards but I didn’t pass. I took it again the next year and passed. Although I loved to read and was smarter than average, in King Edwards I got off to a slow start. I did not like how busy it was and missed my mother’s encouragement. In 1902 I switched to St. Philips school because my mother wanted me to receive religious training at school. Unlike in King Edwards I was far ahead of my fellow classmates. I soon became bored and Mabel  couldn’t afford to pay for St. Philips. By the way, because of her change in religion, my mother’s family would not help her financially. Mabel tutored my brother and I  for a year in hopes to get us scholarships for King Edwards. In 1903 I was back in King Edwards and there to stay. I began studying Greek and Latin. In 1904 the new year started with whooping cough and measles. Nursing my brother and I back to health made my mother ill. She was diagnosed with diabetes. Because insulin wasn’t available then, she was recommended a long rest. When the school year started Mabel weakened more. She died November 14, 1904. At age 12 I was an orphan. Since my mother wanted us to remain Catholic we could not stay with most of her family members. A friend of my mother’s,  Father Francis Morgan, agreed to take us in. My Aunt Bea didn’t have much religious feelings and Father Morgan arranged for us to stay with her. Each summer Father Morgan took us to a beach town called Lyme Regis. I liked going to the beaches there. In 1908 Hillary and I moved to a boarding house. Below me lived a girl named Edith. I began to like Edith and invited her to a tea shop. Soon we had fallen in love. When Father Morgan heard about this he said a move was necessary and the relationship had to end. After I finished at King Edwards I tried to get into Oxford University. I didn’t get in the first year but got in the second year. In Oxford I started reading about mythology from regions such as Norway and Whales. I also enjoyed writing my own poetry and stories while in college.   At Oxford I was in a club called The Inklings. We would drink beer while we talked about what we were currently writing. Now that I was older I came back for Edith. Soon we were engaged. My college days were interrupted by World War I. As soon as I finished my schooling I headed off to fight for England. As newlyweds Edith and I were sad to leave each other but accepted it had to be done. I hated the war. The food was inedible, and we were taught the art of killing. I exchanged letters with my friends. We wrote to each other about how we would make amazing stories when we got home. We wrote about  how we would write a British mythology! Sadly I learned most of them had died in the war. When I got home I knew what I had to do. In order to honor them I would single-handedly write a British mythology. It started with the book of lost tales. This book included several stories that took place in a world I made up called middle earth. Later on I ended up calling it The Simmilarian. I worked on this book most of the rest of my life. Another book I wrote for this reason is The Hobbit. The Hobbit was about a short fellow who lived in a hobbit hole. This hobbit was called Bilbo. Bilbo’s personality is based on mine. Like me he liked to smoke through a pipe. In the story he and some dwarves go on a quest to kill a dragon and take back the dwarve kingdom.  This book became popular and was soon published. Before I knew it the book was being published all over the world. It was praised and I was begged to write a sequel. Of course I  accepted, but did not know what I was throwing myself into. Over the next twelve years I worked on the sequel. I wanted everything to be perfect. Including names, description, and words. Even another famous author C.S Lewis joined in on the fight to finish the sequel! When it was finally finished it was about half a million words! Even after 12 years of waiting the sequel  was a success. It was called the Lord Of The Rings, and had to be split into three books because it was so long! This was a happy time in my life but did not last long. In the middle of November in 1971 my wife Edith was admitted to the hospital. She died on November 29th 1971. On September 2nd 1973 sunday morning I died of a chest infection. The good news was, I died a praised writer and was titled master of fantasy. I am currently the only person to have two books on the 20 best selling paperback. Four years after my death the book I started almost 60 years earlier, The Simmilarin was published. It soon was thought as great as The Hobbit or Lord of the Rings.

3 thoughts on “You’re Never Too Young for Tolkien!

  1. Thanks for sharing this account of Tolkien’s life with Grey Havens, Owen! It takes time to learn about the lives of other people and to decide what kind of story to tell about them. When people read this, they will see that you really gave Tolkien’s life a lot of thought and you worked hard to share his story with us. This will be interesting to all the people all around the world who visit the Grey Havens blog!

  2. Owen, I was pleased to meet you tonight. I hope you will continue to come to GHG meetings. I am impressed with your Tolkien biography. I like your writing style, and you seem to get inside Tolkien and look out through his eyes. Please continue to write. You have an enviable talent.

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