Tolkien Collector's Guide

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In memory of Christopher Tolkien

Jan 16 (edited)
2020/1/16 19:32:27 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia

French news is reporting that Christopher Tolkien passed away Wednesday night/Thursday morning. I will update this post with additional official news reporting as is becomes available.

Christopher has always been an amazing son, scholar, and estate executor. As a child he was an avid listener and a sharp sounding board for his father's writings. As an adult he was a robust scholar in his own right, but chose to dedicate his life to his father's legacy upon his passing in 1973. The insight, effort, and scholarship he brought to the Tolkien Estate allowed the world to see the inner workings of one of the greatest authors of our time - perhaps the best documented literary estate in the English language.

Christopher, your kindness, thoughtfulness, and support for your fans and fans of your father will always be remembered. I wish peace and comfort to your family and friends in this difficult time, and hope they all know how much you are loved, worldwide.

"You were so special a gift to me, in a time of sorrow and mental suffering, and your love, opening at once almost as soon as you were born, foretold to me, as it were in spoken words, that I am consoled ever by the certainty that there is no end to this. Probable under God that we shall meet again, 'in hale and in unity', before very long, dearest, and certain that we have some special bond to last beyond this life..."
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter to Christopher Tolkien, 30th April 1944.

"It is hard indeed to believe that one of so great wisdom, and of power – for many wonderful things he did among us – could perish, and so much lore be taken from the world."--JRR Tolkien, The Two Towers.

Namárië.
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Jan 18
2020/1/18 13:39:07 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
Pity they couldn't find someone with a better grasp of what Christopher actually did to bring The Silmarillion into existence, and in publishing The History of Middle-earth.
Jan 18
2020/1/18 23:31:10 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia

Aelfwine wrote:
Pity they couldn't find someone with a better grasp of what Christopher actually did to bring The Silmarillion into existence, and in publishing The History of Middle-earth.

I agree, it sounded pretty good to me until she started saying that for Christopher it was “just a matter of taking [The Silmarillion manuscript] out of his father’s dead hands and putting it out there” and with the more recent books it was “largely rewriting with his father’s tone”. 🤦‍♂️
Jan 18
2020/1/18 23:36:10 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
Deutsche Tolkien Gesellschaft: CHRISTOPHER TOLKIEN – THE LAST GOODBYE (EN)

A nice overview of Christopher’s life and works, with additional thoughts and contributions from Tobias M. Eckrich, Marcel Aubron-Bülles (Olwe), Tom Shippey, John Garth, Brian Sibley, Jeremy Edmonds (Urulókë), and Ted Nasmith.
Jan 20 (edited)
2020/1/20 13:53:21 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
Thanks to Vincent Ferré for sharing, here is the official obituary notice in Le Monde.

Note the date is 16 January (not 15 January as widely reported).

Le Monde link (behind paywall) - Monday 20 January issue, p. 24

1_5e25b0b2ba9e7.jpeg 480X640 px
Jan 20
2020/1/20 15:27:12 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
That is not good, could take a long time to get it corrected on websites?

Was correctly reported by the Tolkien Society.
Jan 20
2020/1/20 23:33:16 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
Christopher passed away in his sleep during the night of Jan. 15 – Jan. 16; I am told by a close source that it was early on the 16th. So not a mistake.
Jan 21
2020/1/21 19:09:36 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
The funeral was today. Here is the article for it:

https://www.varmatin.com/people/christ ... cinere-dans-le-var-450340
Jan 22
2020/1/22 13:25:10 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
[I wrote this on Facebook, and Jeremy invited me to repost it here.]

THE LAST INHABITANT OF MIDDLE-EARTH

I’ve received numerous requests these past few days to comment on Christopher Tolkien, in response to his passing.

I cannot possibly fulfill them all, and the fact is, I’m still too close to the event and its impact to do so adequately.

So I offer here these few, brief reflections instead. Feel free to quote me on them.

1. Christopher Tolkien was certainly the most intelligent, most insightful, most engaging, and wittiest person I have ever had the pleasure to meet and correspond with, and I bet the same is true for many others. A “letter from Christopher” was always a special occasion of anticipation and pleasure. I of course could never match him as a correspondent, not even close; but that didn’t matter to him: he nonetheless genuinely cared about and engaged my thoughts, questions, and concerns, because we shared so many goals and concerns in common. He was unfailingly generous with his time and assistance, and (as I had occasion to need) support and sympathy. My life would be and have been almost completely other were it not for him, his work, and his friendship.

2. I quote here from one of the last letters I received from Christopher: "As I see it, I have called myself a ‘literary archaeologist’. I have never been more than a discoverer, and interpreter of what I discovered. My chief underlying purpose, I incline to think, was to demonstrate the fulness and the richness of the narratives of the First Age, and to show that _The Silmarillion_ was essential to the Myth. ‘One long saga of the Jewels and the Rings’, my father said; ‘I was resolved to treat them as one story, however they might be issued.’”

3. Christopher has been widely quoted as saying: “As strange as it may seem, I grew up in the world he created. For me, the cities of _The Silmarillion_ are more real than Babylon.” This is no exaggeration; it is precisely true. And so we must note, and may duly mourn, the passing of the last inhabitant of Middle-earth.
Jan 26
2020/1/26 18:32:14 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
Nice photograph of Christopher I hadn't seen before:

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/16/boo ... stopher-tolkien-dead.html

[Taken November 2019]

125_5e2ddb2420ff3.jpg 1024X666 px
Jan 26
2020/1/26 18:40:31 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
And another one clearly taken at the same time. Photographer is Josh Dolgin.

125_5e2ddd08496c7.jpg 780X438 px
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