Ten facts about Professor Tolkien at School (part 1)
by John Pletcher
Our favorite portions of the Professor’s legendarium did not just magically appear. It’s marvelously fascinating to explore (or revisit) Tolkien’s own journey in academia.

Enjoy these five fast facts.

Yes, he was brilliant and writing stories at a very early age.

In a letter to W.H. Auden, the Professor explained his own childhood fascination with fiery dragons: “I first tried to write a story when I was about seven. It was about a dragon. I remember nothing about it except a philological fact. My mother said nothing about the dragon, but pointed out that one could not say ‘a green great dragon,’ but had to say ‘a great green dragon.’ I wondered why, and still do.”1 At this very early age, Tolkien was turning words in clever ways even as he word-painted with dragons. In his essay On Fairy-stories, the Professor recalled such early fascination: “The dragon had the trade-mark of Of Faërie written plain upon him. In whatever world he had his being it was an Other-world . . . I desired dragons with a profound desire.”2

We have his mother to thank.

He described his mother, Mabel, as ‘a gifted lady of great beauty and wit . . .’ He said, ‘It is to my mother, who taught me (until I obtained a scholarship) that I owe my tastes for philology, especially of Germanic languages, and for romance.’3 Mabel Tolkien was extremely capable with command of Latin, French, and German as well as painting, sketching, and playing piano.4 She poured these . . .

  1. The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, 214.
  2. Tolkien On Fairy-stories, 55.
  3. Letters, 218.
  4. Joseph Pearce. Tolkien: Man and Myth, 14-15.
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien: A biography, 70.
  6. Letters, See the introduction to letter 165, p. 217. 

Want to read the rest?

Members receive access to everything.

Eucatastrophe members have unrestricted access to the whole site!

Eucatastrophe members have unrestricted access to the whole site!