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Illustration for article titled Fact Of The Day - 8/6/15

Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends.


There’s a reason that it’s not called “Fact Of The Early Morning Hours”

Did you know that the gravestone of J.R.R and Edith Tolkien have the names of Silmarillion heroes Beren and Luthien engraved on it?


From The Wiki That Was Broken.

At the age of 16, J.R.R. Tolkien met Edith Mary Bratt, who was three years his senior, when he and his brother Hilary moved into the boarding house where she lived in Duchess Road, Edgbaston. According to Humphrey Carpenter,

Edith and Ronald took to frequenting Birmingham teashops, especially one which had a balcony overlooking the pavement. There they would sit and throw sugarlumps into the hats of passers-by, moving to the next table when the sugar bowl was empty. ... With two people of their personalities and in their position, romance was bound to flourish. Both were orphans in need of affection, and they found that they could give it to each other. During the summer of 1909, they decided that they were in love.[40]


This did not sit well with the authority back home.

His guardian, Father Morgan, viewed Edith as the reason for Tolkien’s having “muffed” his exams and considered it “altogether unfortunate”[41] that his surrogate son was romantically involved with an older, Protestant woman. He prohibited him from meeting, talking to, or even corresponding with her until he was 21. He obeyed this prohibition to the letter,[42] with one notable early exception, over which Father Morgan threatened to cut short his university career if he did not stop.[43]

In a 1941 letter to his son Michael, Tolkien recalled,

I had to choose between disobeying and grieving (or deceiving) a guardian who had been a father to me, more than most fathers ... and ‘dropping’ the love-affair until I was 21. I don’t regret my decision, though it was very hard on my lover. But it was not my fault. She was completely free and under no vow to me, and I should have had no just complaint (except according to the unreal romantic code) if she had got married to someone else. For very nearly three years I did not see or write to my lover. It was extremely hard, especially at first. The effects were not wholly good: I fell back into folly and slackness and misspent a good deal of my first year at college.[44]


Tolkien eventually decided he wanted to marry Edith but by then she was betrothed to another.

On the evening of his 21st birthday, Tolkien wrote to Edith, who was living with family friend C.H. Jessop at Cheltenham. He declared that he had never ceased to love her and asked her to marry him. Edith replied that she had already accepted the proposal of George Field, the brother of one of her closest schoolfriends. Edith said, however, that she had agreed to marry Field only because she felt “on the shelf” and had begun to doubt that Tolkien still cared for her. She explained that, because of Tolkien’s letter, everything had changed.

On 8 January 1913, Tolkien travelled by train to Cheltenham and was met on the platform by Edith. The two took a walk into the countryside, sat under a railway viaduct, and talked. By the end of the day, Edith had agreed to accept Tolkien’s proposal. She wrote to Field and returned her engagement ring. Field was “dreadfully upset at first”, and the Field family was “insulted and angry”.[45


Edith had a dream that Tolkien would write a hugely successful book about short people with hairy feet and thier jewelry and decided to go ahead with the marriage....Ok i’m kidding that didn’t happen. However, her friend Mr. Jessop was not a fan of J.R.R.

Upon learning of Edith’s new plans, Jessop wrote to her guardian, “I have nothing to say against Tolkien, he is a cultured gentm., but his prospects are poor in the extreme, and when he will be in a position to marry I cannot imagine. Had he adopted a profession it would have been different.”[46]


What’s the word i’m looking for....what is it?

Oh yeah.....

Edith Tolkien passed away on November 29th, 1971. According to Simon Tolkien, Christopher’s son and J.R.R’s grandson..

“My grandmother died two years before my grandfather and he came back to live in Oxford. Merton College gave him rooms just off the High Street. I went there frequently and he’d take me to lunch in the Eastgate Hotel. Those lunches were rather wonderful for a 12-year-old boy spending time with his grandfather, but sometimes he seemed sad. There was one visit when he told me how much he missed my grandmother. It must have been very strange for him being alone after they had been married for more than 50 years.”[86]


Edith was the source of inspiration for the Beren and Luthien story but he never called her that.

After his wife’s death in 1971, Tolkien remembered,

I never called Edith Luthien – but she was the source of the story that in time became the chief part of the Silmarillion. It was first conceived in a small woodland glade filled with hemlocks[64] at Roos in Yorkshire (where I was for a brief time in command of an outpost of the Humber Garrison in 1917, and she was able to live with me for a while). In those days her hair was raven, her skin clear, her eyes brighter than you have seen them, and she could sing – and dance. But the story has gone crooked, & I am left, and I cannot plead before the inexorable Mandos.[65]

This incident inspired the account of the meeting of Beren and Lúthien.[66]

If you live in England or might be going that way, here is the information on how to find Wolvercote Cemetary at Oxford where the Tolkien’s grave is located.


Now if you do not know the story of Beren and Luthien.....well your screwed. Ok not completely. Here is a good summary from Wikipedia. The entire tale can be found in the Silmarillion. Keep in mind the Sil is advanced Tolkien, more akin to The Bible than LOTR. I highly recommend reading it, it’s a wonderful series of tales. Just know it’s a much different structure and layout than a novel like Lord Of The Rings.

Now with that, I wish you all a pleasant.....evening on this very late FOTD. I will do better tomorrow, where I will see you all bright and early for the Friday Fact Of The Day.

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