“Christopher Tolkien passed away on 15th January. He was the third son of J.R.R. Tolkien, his literary heir and executor. He published 24 books by Tolkien after the death of his father, including Tolkien’s life’s work, The Silmarillion. Without Christopher Tolkien’s tireless work, Middle-earth would be a great deal smaller.”
The best and most complete account I have seen yet on the life of Christopher Tolkien, and his role in not only preserving, but even helping to form, his great father’s legacy. There are a number of things in this account which I did not know, but I found this of particular interest:
“In 1963 Christopher became a Fellow at New College, Oxford. Christopher now regularly attended meetings of the “Inklings”, the literary circle of friends around his father and C.S. Lewis. The other members felt that he could read from the evolving Lord of the Rings manuscript better than his father. Christopher was the last living member of the Inklings.”
The last Inkling has passed into the Uttermost West. The end of an age! 😥
“And the ship went out into the High Sea and passed into the West, until at last on a night of rain Frodo smelled a sweet fragrance on the air and heard the sound of singing that came over the water. And then it seemed to him that as in his dream in the house of Bombadil, the grey rain-curtain turned all to silver glass and was rolled back, and he beheld white shores and beyond them a far green country under a swift sunrise.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King
It is sobering, somehow, to think that when I first became aware of the existence of Christopher Tolkien, he was right around the same age I am now. Perhaps even exactly! And now he has passed on, at age 95.
I have a tendency to somehow imagine that people remain ever the age they were when I first knew them, but it is not the case. As Simon & Garfunkel put it, “Time hurries on, and the leaves that are green turn to brown…”
“Farewell! Maybe thou shalt find Valimar.
Maybe even thou shalt find it. Farewell!”
— J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring