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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Main:
RIP Christopher Tolkien

Chen G.
Rohan

Jan 16, 5:45pm

Post #1 of 76 (1560 views)
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RIP Christopher Tolkien Can't Post

https://www.varmatin.com/...age-de-95-ans-448318

Died in France at the age of 95, after having edited and published much of his father's writings.

RIP


(This post was edited by Altaira on Jan 16, 7:31pm)


Thor 'n' Oakenshield
Rohan


Jan 16, 6:27pm

Post #2 of 76 (1402 views)
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Rest In Peace, Christopher... [In reply to] Can't Post

He will be sorely missed by the entire Tolkien community. He tried very hard to preserve his father's incredible legacy for so many years, and now that responsibility will be passed on to his children, and to the rest of the Tolkien family. Thank you, Christopher, for everything: The Silmarillion, Unfinished Tales, The Histories Of Middle-earth - without those, where would be? I'm eternally grateful to Christopher, and I will never forget all his many accomplishments.

"It is my duty to fight" - Mulan


DanielLB
Immortal


Jan 16, 6:38pm

Post #3 of 76 (1395 views)
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Such sad news. Rest in Peace. [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't really have much to say, other than thank you Christopher for continuing Tolkien's legacy.

My bookshelf would look a lot different without Christopher Tolkien ~ it really is quite something that new material could be released so many years after Tolkien's death.

His devotion made sure, for all of us and for future generations, that there are plenty of reasons to simply go back to the book/s and read what his father created.

Rest in Peace.


Voronwë_the_Faithful
Valinor

Jan 16, 6:38pm

Post #4 of 76 (1399 views)
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I was very sad to hear this news [In reply to] Can't Post

The gratitude that I have for his tireless work at bringing his father's writings to light can not be stated, and I will not try.

Rest in peace, and thank you.

'But very bright were the stars upon the margin of the world, when at times the clouds about the West were drawn aside.'

The Hall of Fire


FrogmortonJustice65
Rivendell


Jan 16, 7:06pm

Post #5 of 76 (1377 views)
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Rest in Peace [In reply to] Can't Post

I didn't always agree with his more blistering critiques of the LOTR/Hobbit films, but he was indispensable in making Middle Earth what it is.

It's my understanding that JRRT read drafts of The Hobbit and LOTR to Christopher as a child, and that he offered feedback and criticism. He also deserves immense credit for publishing manuscripts such as Children of Hurin, Fall of Gondolin, etc. A very accomplished man who was committed to preserving and celebrating his father's legacy.


(This post was edited by FrogmortonJustice65 on Jan 16, 7:11pm)


Beleg Cúthalion
The Shire


Jan 16, 7:15pm

Post #6 of 76 (1369 views)
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Very saddening news... [In reply to] Can't Post

It is very saddening to hear this news. Christopher gave the world so much, and his very heroic efforts to uphold the legacy of his father will be sorely missed by all. I am eternally indebted to Christopher for the wonders that he has given us over his long career as editor of his father's works. He now joins his father in the West, where he can finally rest in peace.

You have honored your father in the highest possible way. Thank you from the bottom of my heart Christopher.


balbo biggins
Rohan


Jan 16, 7:17pm

Post #7 of 76 (1366 views)
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Damn [In reply to] Can't Post

What a legend to bring us do many of tolkiens unfinished works and a man of complete principal. I can't help but feel an era of tolkiens work in the wider world has come to an end and a new one will begin.

His protection of tolkiens legacy is his greatest achievement, and I hope those principals are kept moving forward.


Aragorn the Elfstone
Tol Eressea


Jan 16, 7:21pm

Post #8 of 76 (1366 views)
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Rest in Peace, Christopher. [In reply to] Can't Post

Frown

This is heartbreaking. I know he lived a full life, but...it hurts.

Thank you, Christopher. You gave us all so much. Heart

"The danger with any movie that does as well as this one does is that the amount of money it's making and the number of awards that it's got becomes almost more important than the movie itself in people's minds. I look at that as, in a sense, being very much like the Ring, and its effect on people. You know, you can kind of forget what we were doing, if you get too wrapped up in that." - Viggo Mortensen

Come join me in discussing all things cinema, television and literature at ConcerningFantasy.com.


Altaira
Superuser / Moderator


Jan 16, 7:32pm

Post #9 of 76 (1356 views)
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Here's a link to an English version [In reply to] Can't Post

Christopher Tolkien story from the Home Page.
I also made the link to the French version clickable in the root post for those of you who parlez Francais.
Very, very sad news. He will be dearly missed. Heart


Koru: Maori symbol representing a fern frond as it opens. The koru reaches towards the light, striving for perfection, encouraging new, positive beginnings.



"Life can't be all work and no TORn" -- jflower

"I take a moment to fervently hope that the camaradarie and just plain old fun I found at TORn will never end" -- LOTR_nutcase





Cirashala
Tol Eressea


Jan 16, 7:46pm

Post #10 of 76 (1346 views)
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RIP Mr. Tolkien [In reply to] Can't Post

and thank you for enriching the world of ME with all the posthumous publications of your father's work.

Does anyone know who is in charge of the estate now?

My writing and novels:

My Hobbit Fanfiction

My historical novel print and kindle version

My historical novels ebook version compatible with all ereaders

You can also find my novel at most major book retailers online (and for those outside the US who prefer a print book, you can find the print version at Book Depository). Search "Amazing Grace Amanda Longpre'" to find it.

Happy reading everyone!


Kimi
Forum Admin / Moderator


Jan 16, 7:46pm

Post #11 of 76 (1345 views)
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Such sad news. [In reply to] Can't Post

He leaves an immense legacy. I'm very grateful (along with millions of other readers) for his labours in ensuring that so much of his father's work saw the light of day.

May he rest in peace.


The Passing of Mistress Rose
My historical novels

Do we find happiness so often that we should turn it off the box when it happens to sit there?

- A Room With a View


dormouse
Half-elven


Jan 16, 8:08pm

Post #12 of 76 (1332 views)
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Sad news.... [In reply to] Can't Post

We owe him so much.

For still there are so many things
that I have never seen:
in every wood and every spring
there is a different green. . .


squire
Half-elven


Jan 16, 8:09pm

Post #13 of 76 (1349 views)
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Greatheart [In reply to] Can't Post

How sad, though not unexpected, to know he has gone.

I remember reading a while ago a tribute to Christopher Tolkien, perhaps by a member of the Unwin family, the Tolkiens' publishers. He said that the world has profited from the work of J.R.R.Tolkien being produced over two lifetimes: that of the father and then the son.

In short, Christopher devoted his professional life to continuing the professional life of his father. And so we fans of Tolkien in 2020 have so much, much more of the late Prof's work to read, enjoy, and study than we have had any right to expect, since his passing in ... wait for it ...1973.

One must assume Christopher had aspirations to make a name for himself as an original scholar in northern languages and literature, as he had been doing in the 1960s and 70s. But he freely abandoned his own dreams when called to this mammoth task, and slipped into his father's literary shadow for the rest of his very long life.


Painting by David Malan

Thank you, sir.



squire online:
RR Discussions: The Valaquenta, A Shortcut to Mushrooms, and Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
Lights! Action! Discuss on the Movie board!: 'A Journey in the Dark'. and 'Designing The Two Towers'.
Archive: All the TORn Reading Room Book Discussions (including the 1st BotR Discussion!) and Footerama: "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
Dr. Squire introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary


= Forum has no new posts. Forum needs no new posts.


Ataahua
Superuser / Moderator


Jan 16, 8:58pm

Post #14 of 76 (1319 views)
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That's a gorgeous painting, squire. [In reply to] Can't Post

With Christopher's passing, we've lost a direct link to the Professor. His father's work became his own life's work, and we're the better for it.

RIP.

Celebrimbor: "Pretty rings..."
Dwarves: "Pretty rings..."
Men: "Pretty rings..."
Sauron: "Mine's better."

"Ah, how ironic, the addictive qualities of Sauron’s master weapon led to its own destruction. Which just goes to show, kids - if you want two small and noble souls to succeed on a mission of dire importance... send an evil-minded beggar with them too." - Gandalf's Diaries, final par, by Ufthak.


Fantasy novel - The Arcanist's Tattoo

My LOTR fan-fiction


Belegdir
Lorien


Jan 16, 9:11pm

Post #15 of 76 (1302 views)
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Terribly sad news. RIP Christopher. [In reply to] Can't Post

His work in carrying on his father's legacy cannot be understated. We have a lot to thank him for. Thank you, sir. RIP. :(


Solicitr
Rohan


Jan 16, 9:17pm

Post #16 of 76 (1301 views)
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Oh, no [In reply to] Can't Post

The world will miss his scholarship (although he did announce an end to that after Gondolin); but the world has also lost a supple mind that, like his father's knew an awful lot of things about an awful lot of things- and was, moreover, incredibly witty and amusing.

RIP.


Aunt Dora Baggins
Immortal


Jan 16, 9:45pm

Post #17 of 76 (1288 views)
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I'm so sad and so grateful [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm so grateful to him for all he's given us. In 1973 I grieved, not only because a beloved author can feel like a friend, but also because I thought "We'll never get the Silmarillion now." CRT gave us not only the Sil but so much more.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
GNU Terry Pratchett
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"For DORA BAGGINS in memory of a LONG correspondence, with love from Bilbo; on a large wastebasket. Dora was Drogo's sister, and the eldest surviving female relative of Bilbo and Frodo; she was ninety-nine, and had written reams of good advice for more than half a century."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"A Chance Meeting at Rivendell" and other stories

leleni at hotmail dot com
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



Aunt Dora Baggins
Immortal


Jan 16, 9:49pm

Post #18 of 76 (1295 views)
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Excellent point [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
One must assume Christopher had aspirations to make a name for himself as an original scholar in northern languages and literature, as he had been doing in the 1960s and 70s. But he freely abandoned his own dreams when called to this mammoth task, and slipped into his father's literary shadow for the rest of his very long life.

Thank you, sir.


He did so incredibly much for all of us.

Thanks for your words, Squire, and for sharing that lovely painting,

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
GNU Terry Pratchett
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"For DORA BAGGINS in memory of a LONG correspondence, with love from Bilbo; on a large wastebasket. Dora was Drogo's sister, and the eldest surviving female relative of Bilbo and Frodo; she was ninety-nine, and had written reams of good advice for more than half a century."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"A Chance Meeting at Rivendell" and other stories

leleni at hotmail dot com
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



diedye
Grey Havens


Jan 16, 10:05pm

Post #19 of 76 (1281 views)
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The end of an era... :( [In reply to] Can't Post

Without out him, the wonderful works his father had squirreled away would never have seen the light of day.

God Bless. God Keep.



Blessed are the cracked,
For they are the ones who let in the light!




Solicitr
Rohan


Jan 16, 10:16pm

Post #20 of 76 (1285 views)
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Actually, [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
One must assume Christopher had aspirations to make a name for himself as an original scholar in northern languages and literature, as he had been doing in the 1960s and 70s. But he freely abandoned his own dreams when called to this mammoth task, and slipped into his father's literary shadow for the rest of his very long life.


CT found he didn't like academia and was more than happy to leave.


grammaboodawg
Immortal


Jan 16, 10:18pm

Post #21 of 76 (1288 views)
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*tears* oh no.... [In reply to] Can't Post

Such a meaningful life. But for him, so much of his father's work would have been lost to us. Such a sad day, but still filled with gratitude and love.






sample

We have been there and back again.


TIME Google Calendar


(This post was edited by grammaboodawg on Jan 16, 10:26pm)


Althoun
Lorien

Jan 16, 11:10pm

Post #22 of 76 (1257 views)
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He has passed into the West [In reply to] Can't Post

Namárië! Nai hiruvalyë Valimar (Farewell! Maybe thou shalt find Valimar) Heart


dernwyn
Forum Admin / Moderator


Jan 16, 11:20pm

Post #23 of 76 (1254 views)
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Thank you, Christopher. [In reply to] Can't Post

You continued your father's work for another 46 years...could any fandom be more blessed?

Rest at peace in the Light, dear sir. Heart


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"I desired dragons with a profound desire"


Solicitr
Rohan


Jan 16, 11:38pm

Post #24 of 76 (1261 views)
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For those who haven't seen it [In reply to] Can't Post

This was Christopher's last public appearance, just under a year ago. It was the unveiling of a series of Aubusson tapestries based on his father's paintings.

His speech (in French) is very touching. Fortunately subtitled!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rQmh_Sfq88Y

(is there no way to embed videos?)




(This post was edited by Ataahua on Jan 17, 12:17am)


Ataahua
Superuser / Moderator


Jan 17, 12:17am

Post #25 of 76 (1235 views)
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Yes, there is. [In reply to] Can't Post

I've embedded it for you, and here's a link to Silverlode's instructions for future reference: http://newboards.theonering.net/...latest_reply;so=ASC;

Celebrimbor: "Pretty rings..."
Dwarves: "Pretty rings..."
Men: "Pretty rings..."
Sauron: "Mine's better."

"Ah, how ironic, the addictive qualities of Sauron’s master weapon led to its own destruction. Which just goes to show, kids - if you want two small and noble souls to succeed on a mission of dire importance... send an evil-minded beggar with them too." - Gandalf's Diaries, final par, by Ufthak.


Fantasy novel - The Arcanist's Tattoo

My LOTR fan-fiction


The Dude
Bree

Jan 17, 12:19am

Post #26 of 76 (773 views)
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Thank you for posting the link to the video. [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
This was Christopher's last public appearance, just under a year ago. It was the unveiling of a series of Aubusson tapestries based on his father's paintings.

His speech (in French) is very touching. Fortunately subtitled!(is there no way to embed videos?)


I had seen snippets of it before, but never the whole video. Even at such an advanced age, Christopher's intelligence shone through; and in the lovely English accent of his French speech, one could still hear the voice of his father; whose legacy he had made so much brighter and larger throughout the years. With his passing, the end has come of the second Fellowship of the Ring, father and son.

May he rest in peace.


Solicitr
Rohan


Jan 17, 12:39am

Post #27 of 76 (761 views)
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Thanks! [In reply to] Can't Post

 


Morthoron
Gondor


Jan 17, 12:58am

Post #28 of 76 (763 views)
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Namárië, Christopher Tolkien... [In reply to] Can't Post

So sad to hear of his passing today at the age of 95.

I would say that no single executor of a literary estate/archive has been as faithful and as zealous in protecting an author's work as Christopher Tolkien. What he has accomplished in over 40 years of stewardship is nothing short of remarkable. He will be sorely missed.

Please visit my blog...The Dark Elf File...a slighty skewed journal of music and literary comment, fan-fiction and interminable essays.



Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Jan 17, 1:03am

Post #29 of 76 (746 views)
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Farewell to the First Steward of Arda. [In reply to] Can't Post

Condolences to ChristopherTolkien's family, the members of the Tolkien Estate, his friends and many fans.

#FidelityToTolkien


Solicitr
Rohan


Jan 17, 1:24am

Post #30 of 76 (735 views)
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Yes [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Even at such an advanced age, Christopher's intelligence shone through; and in the lovely English accent of his French speech, one could still hear the voice of his father; whose legacy he had made so much brighter and larger throughout the years. With his passing, the end has come of the second Fellowship of the Ring, father and son.


Tolkien's two time-travel stories, from which Numenor was born, were both based on the recurrence through time of a father-son pair, Edwin and Alwyn, Audoin and Auboin, Eadwine and Aelfwine, Valandil and Elendil... Blessedness-friend and Elf-friend.

All the more poignant in that Tolkien was not, I think, thinking of his own father, whom he barely remembered. Think how many of his protagonists are orphaned or fatherless!


(This post was edited by Solicitr on Jan 17, 1:25am)


Ethel Duath
Half-elven


Jan 17, 1:50am

Post #31 of 76 (725 views)
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I find myself speechless, or almost [In reply to] Can't Post

What would we have done without him?



Hasuwandil
Rivendell


Jan 17, 2:00am

Post #32 of 76 (721 views)
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Recquiescat in pace [In reply to] Can't Post

He kept his stewardship as faithfully as one could hope. Now he rests from his labors.

Hêlâ Auriwandil, angilô berhtost,
oƀar Middangard mannum gisandid!


balbo biggins
Rohan


Jan 17, 3:07am

Post #33 of 76 (728 views)
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Sad to see [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
So sad to hear of his passing today at the age of 95.

I would say that no single executor of a literary estate/archive has been as faithful and as zealous in protecting an author's work as Christopher Tolkien. What he has accomplished in over 40 years of stewardship is nothing short of remarkable. He will be sorely missed.


It's rather depressing seeing people quote film dialogue across social media in remembrance to him 🙄


Paulo Gabriel
Rivendell

Jan 17, 3:16am

Post #34 of 76 (710 views)
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Namárië indeed... [In reply to] Can't Post

16th January 2020 has seen the passing of a true legend of fantasy and high-profile literature. R.I.P, Chris Tolkien.


BOSW
Bree

Jan 17, 3:55am

Post #35 of 76 (701 views)
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Gutted.... [In reply to] Can't Post

The end of an era. What remains of the "First Age" of Tolkien has now passed into the West....

This will go against the grain of this forum, but I positively loathe the Peter Jackson films (in the same way Tolkien despised Walt Disney). I refuse to even watch whatever Orcish mischief Amazon is working up in the pits of Angband. Christopher was the last vanguard against the ultimate stupidification of Tolkien. We can expect a lot worse than slot machines in the future now that he's really gone.

I'll miss looking forward to new volumes - Chris really hit his stride at the end - Gudrun, Arthur, Beowulf....

I join all Tolkien fans in mourning a great scholar and defender of the literary faith.

My eulogy:

https://www.youtube.com/...KI&feature=share


(This post was edited by BOSW on Jan 17, 3:56am)


Solicitr
Rohan


Jan 17, 4:21am

Post #36 of 76 (691 views)
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Subject [In reply to] Can't Post

It is very interesting to go back and reread William Cater's interview/ article "The Filial Duty of Christopher Tolkien", published in the Sunday Times Magazine shortly before the Silmarillion was released, and later reprinted in Ballantine's Tolkien Scrapbook

Filial duty, indeed!

Christopher began 'editing' his father's work at the age of five, correcting his continuity errors as he told The Hobbit, and spent the next 45 years assisting his father, and 45 years perpetuating his legacy.


(This post was edited by Solicitr on Jan 17, 4:23am)


grammaboodawg
Immortal


Jan 17, 11:23am

Post #37 of 76 (629 views)
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A strange coincidence [In reply to] Can't Post

On January 15 in The Lord of the Rings, it's the day Gandalf fell in Khazad-dûm... and the Fellowship crosses Nimrodel and comes to Lothlórien.



sample

We have been there and back again.


TIME Google Calendar


squire
Half-elven


Jan 17, 12:49pm

Post #38 of 76 (621 views)
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Yes, that darned silver curtain [In reply to] Can't Post

I tried at first to correct a few, as gently as possible, but I've given up. As I noted at one point, it is a bit of what Bilbo called cheek to use Boyens' lines in place of his father's to say farewell to Christopher Tolkien.



squire online:
RR Discussions: The Valaquenta, A Shortcut to Mushrooms, and Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
Lights! Action! Discuss on the Movie board!: 'A Journey in the Dark'. and 'Designing The Two Towers'.
Archive: All the TORn Reading Room Book Discussions (including the 1st BotR Discussion!) and Footerama: "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
Dr. Squire introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary


= Forum has no new posts. Forum needs no new posts.


kzer_za
Lorien

Jan 17, 12:51pm

Post #39 of 76 (608 views)
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Truly the end of a fellowship... [In reply to] Can't Post

In addition to all his work passing on his father's legacy and publishing the posthumous work, JRR Tolkien originally started The Hobbit partly for him. So in a sense, even LotR proper might not exist without Christopher. RIP


BOSW
Bree

Jan 17, 2:44pm

Post #40 of 76 (600 views)
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I've noticed that too.... [In reply to] Can't Post

It's appalling to see that most people know only the movies, a retort to all those who said the movies would bring people to the books (I know a few people did read the books, but for the most part the books have been supplanted by the movies, all of which I detest). I had some intense debates on these boards long ago with people who argued that the movies were equally valid and that some folkloric process was happening by which new mediums replaced old; pure nonsense, but I've come to expect nothing more from pop culture junkies.


The Dude
Bree

Jan 17, 3:29pm

Post #41 of 76 (591 views)
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Rather tiresome... [In reply to] Can't Post

Maybe, just maybe, it would be more dignified to write about Christopher Tolkien and his work in this thread, than to repeatedly voice one's opinion about the films.


Voronwë_the_Faithful
Valinor

Jan 17, 3:34pm

Post #42 of 76 (576 views)
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Much of LOTR itself [In reply to] Can't Post

Was first sent in letters to Christopher when he was serving with the RAF (if I recall correctly) in South Africa. So he was in a sense the first audience for both The Hobbit (along with his brothers) and LOTR.

'But very bright were the stars upon the margin of the world, when at times the clouds about the West were drawn aside.'

The Hall of Fire


The Dude
Bree

Jan 17, 3:59pm

Post #43 of 76 (566 views)
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Christopher's letter to Father Christmas (1937) [In reply to] Can't Post

...where he mentions the history of "The Hobbit" reads in a way like a prelude to his own work: "Daddy wrote it ages ago (...) but the ending chapters were rather roughly done, and not typed out at all; he finished it about a year ago".


BOSW
Bree

Jan 17, 4:24pm

Post #44 of 76 (573 views)
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Is this on-topic enough for you? [In reply to] Can't Post

"Tolkien has become a monster, devoured by his own popularity and absorbed by the absurdity of our time.The chasm between the beauty and seriousness of the work, and what it has become, has gone too far for me. Such commercialisation has reduced the aesthetic and philosophical impact of this creation to nothing. There is only one solution for me: turning my head away.

"They eviscerated the book by making it an action movie for young people aged 15 to 25. And it seems that The Hobbit will be the same kind of film."

Christopher Tolkien

I agree with him. May he rest in peace, his Herculean labors completed.


Paulo Gabriel
Rivendell

Jan 17, 4:36pm

Post #45 of 76 (555 views)
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I agree. // [In reply to] Can't Post

 


The Dude
Bree

Jan 17, 5:07pm

Post #46 of 76 (558 views)
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If you had bothered to look a little closer... [In reply to] Can't Post

...you would have known that I actually favorably quoted parts of the first interview in an earlier post of mine, that is, in another thread.

What is tiresome however, is to reduce Christopher - one day after his passing - to the figure of film-critic-in-chief, as if his greatest contribution was not to pass the wider oeuvre of his father to the world but to say two or three lines about the films, i.e., whose entire body of work could only be viewed through the prism of film - the totality of a visual art form - and not literature. The latter, after all, is what he dedicated his life to. It seems no discussion of Tolkien, neither for their supporters nor their critics, can avoid the films. And therein lies the tragedy of modern mass media.


Former Steward
The Shire

Jan 17, 6:01pm

Post #47 of 76 (555 views)
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His labors have ended [In reply to] Can't Post

For nearly fifty years he served as the literary executor of the legacy of his father, JRR Tolkien. He is the one who sorted through the drafts and strata that made The Silmarillion publishable (Houghton Mifflin's first million-copy bestseller). He is the one who brought Unfinished Tales, The Father Christmas Letters, Beren and Luthien, The Fall of Gondolin and all the other posthumous works to eager readers. His monumental literary detective work and editing for the twelve-volume History of Middle-earth was a staggering service to the very real discipline of Tolkien Studies, and took more than a decade to complete.

I had the great privilege of serving as Houghton Mifflin's Tolkien Projects Director for many years and had the opportunity to have some infrequent correspondence with Christopher. Before I dared to reach out to such an intimidating (to me) figure, I read through all the internal editorial correspondence between him and the great editors Austin Olney and Ruth Hapgood - my predecessors in the role of Tolkien steward - and I got a glimpse of the man's sharp wit as well as his profound intelligence.... and became even more intimidated. In letters back and forth touching on everything from the mundane details of publishing to legal challenges from outside to the progress of the next volume to be published, there was almost always a jolly paragraph at the end - from all correspondents - about the lobsters on offer at some cafe, about whether it was a good year for the strawberries, and then offering some veiled apologia over a misunderstanding or a disappointment. I did my best to uphold that legacy.

"My" years were the heady and exhausting years of the Lord of the Rings films. As others have noted he had come to believe that commercialization had corrupted and destroyed his father's legacy, had made it unrecognizable. I argued that we at Houghton had found millions upon millions of new readers because of the films and through our attempts to immunize the audience in advance of the films "just in case" - readers who were experiencing the Real middle-earth and his father's words in the U.S. through the all-consuming efforts of everyone at Houghton. That, I wrote to him, should be considered a good thing for the legacy. Though he clearly had doubts (to say the least) he seemed to suffer this fool prattling on enthusiastically for page after page about strategy and sales figures... perhaps not gladly but with a measure of palpable grace along with the flinty displeasure. In prose both subtle and precise, he made clear that for him The Work was all, as it always had been. And for that I will be eternally grateful.

My heart goes out to Christopher's family, my Tolkien colleagues in the UK at the Trust and at HarperCollins and to this community right here that has done so much in its own way to preserve, protect and promote the legacy of JRR Tolkien.

Clay Harper, ex-Houghton Mifflin Tolkien Projects Director


The Dude
Bree

Jan 17, 6:18pm

Post #48 of 76 (525 views)
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Thank you for your post, Mr. Harper. [In reply to] Can't Post

Lovely insights, I must say.


BOSW
Bree

Jan 17, 6:47pm

Post #49 of 76 (513 views)
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Amazing! [In reply to] Can't Post

I almost certainly benefited from your efforts, for years a friend of mine was gifted with multiples of all new Tolkien publications by the HM rep (he was a book buyer). Those were years of abundance, to be sure. Thank you for sharing your memories with us!


2ndBreffest
Lorien


Jan 17, 6:53pm

Post #50 of 76 (512 views)
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yes... [In reply to] Can't Post

I agree, and it is very sad.
The value of Christopher Tolkien's literary contributions, as well as his tireless efforts to protect the dignity and beauty of his father's work simply cannot be measured. And with that I extend my deepest gratitude, and condolences to the Tolkien family.


Ataahua
Superuser / Moderator


Jan 17, 6:58pm

Post #51 of 76 (1185 views)
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Thank you Clay. [In reply to] Can't Post

You've added more nuggets to our understanding of Christopher. What a marvellous experience it must have been for you, to be working at Houghton Mifflin during that heady time of the LOTR movies.

Celebrimbor: "Pretty rings..."
Dwarves: "Pretty rings..."
Men: "Pretty rings..."
Sauron: "Mine's better."

"Ah, how ironic, the addictive qualities of Sauron’s master weapon led to its own destruction. Which just goes to show, kids - if you want two small and noble souls to succeed on a mission of dire importance... send an evil-minded beggar with them too." - Gandalf's Diaries, final par, by Ufthak.


Fantasy novel - The Arcanist's Tattoo

My LOTR fan-fiction


(This post was edited by Ataahua on Jan 17, 9:59pm)


balbo biggins
Rohan


Jan 17, 7:50pm

Post #52 of 76 (1169 views)
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What would he have thought! [In reply to] Can't Post

It's sad to think that at the end of his life he had to suffer the stress of the amazon deal and an upcoming TV series that would be letting any old Tom Dick or Harry write stories in a world that he had spent a lifetime protecting.

He must have detested those plastic mini epic figurines!


squire
Half-elven


Jan 17, 8:00pm

Post #53 of 76 (1174 views)
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What a tale [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for that fascinating story of working on the Tolkien books during Christopher's latter years. I can't imagine what it was like, as you say, to correspond with him on the minutiae of his editorship.

I've always had a pet theory about The Children of Hurin, the only stand-alone fully realized work of fiction by Tolkien to be released after The Silmarillion thirty years earlier. I imagined it was Christopher's strategic volley against the recently-released films, giving new fans from the films and old fans from the original LotR book something new by J.R.R. Tolkien to ... READ.

I'm not sure it worked, but it was his best shot, as that tale was the one with the most complete manuscript in JRRT's 'mature' style, that he had tried to reapply to his earlier Silmarilion stories in the years after completing LotR. Sadly the Beren and Gondolin books, the other two of the three 'Great Tales', had never received a similarly full rewrite and had to be put out in the less reader-friendly mini-HoME format.

I remain in awe of Christopher's energy and output in the last two decades of his long life. Completing History of Middle-earth should have been his retirement party, but he pushed on into his nineties to publish the remaining scholarly works and the Great Tales, one way or another. I've always thought it was, at least partly, his horror of the film and associated media phenomena that drove him to soldier on at that point.



squire online:
RR Discussions: The Valaquenta, A Shortcut to Mushrooms, and Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
Lights! Action! Discuss on the Movie board!: 'A Journey in the Dark'. and 'Designing The Two Towers'.
Archive: All the TORn Reading Room Book Discussions (including the 1st BotR Discussion!) and Footerama: "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
Dr. Squire introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary


= Forum has no new posts. Forum needs no new posts.


Ethel Duath
Half-elven


Jan 17, 8:09pm

Post #54 of 76 (1166 views)
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Thank you [In reply to] Can't Post

For all your efforts, and for sharing your experiences with Mr. Tolkien. What a fascinating picture begins to form from what you've said here.
A unique personality--and exactly the one needed for the task.



Former Steward
The Shire

Jan 17, 8:37pm

Post #55 of 76 (1156 views)
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modest contact [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for the kind words. Others who have been known to chime in here a time or two had far more extensive working contact with Christopher than I did, and I certainly don't intend to make any grandiose claims. I only wanted to mark the end of an Age with a community who knows this is an important milestone, and recall fondly my modest contact with Christopher. And also recall just as fondly the occasional gentle reprimand received over a half-baked notion on my part.

Perhaps more first-hand remembrances will be forthcoming....


Kimi
Forum Admin / Moderator


Jan 18, 2:01am

Post #56 of 76 (1102 views)
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Thank you, Clay [In reply to] Can't Post

for sharing those reminiscences and thus adding details to the tapestry. What a precious gift to have had that interaction with Christopher Tolkien.


The Passing of Mistress Rose
My historical novels

Do we find happiness so often that we should turn it off the box when it happens to sit there?

- A Room With a View


SirDennisC
Half-elven


Jan 18, 5:41am

Post #57 of 76 (1096 views)
Shortcut
Condolences to the family [In reply to] Can't Post

... and to us all.


Noria
Gondor

Jan 18, 1:53pm

Post #58 of 76 (1038 views)
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Sad - and grateful [In reply to] Can't Post

Christopher Tolkien's was a long and well-lived life but this is still sad news. Condolences to the Tolkien family.

I'm forever grateful to CT for what he gave us, particularly The Silmarillion.


Solicitr
Rohan


Jan 18, 5:22pm

Post #59 of 76 (1023 views)
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Yes indeed [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I got a glimpse of the man's sharp wit as well as his profound intelligence.... he seemed to suffer this fool prattling on enthusiastically


That's what I will remember,: his wit, his intellect, and above all his kindness. (As well as extraordinary skill at saying "no" politely and without giving the least offense.)

I suppose now I can lift my embargo at least to the extent of his very first letter to me, since it says nothing private, copyrighted or indeed that isn't common knowledge.



Quote
c/o George Allen & Unwin Ltd.
40 Museum Street
London WC1A 1LU
England.

15 August 1975

Dear Master Hicklin,

Thankyou for your letter. I must reply to your
questions very briefly, but I hope you will find the answers
adequate. I cannot tell you precisely when The Silmarillion
will be published, but I think certainly not before 1977, and
I very much hope by 1978. You ask when it was begun, and
that is a very difficult question; in a sense, it occupied
my father all his life, and much of the myth and legend that
it contains were in being before even the Hobbit was written.
A full life of my father is being written which will tell you
a good deal about it, and that will be published, I hope,
before long.
You also ask about the geography of the Elder Days.
The Silmarillion has very little to say about the lands of
Middle-earth west [sic] of Ered Luin, the Blue Mountains. Its
narrative is concerned with the Elves in Aman (the land of
the Valar in the West, over the Great Sea) and in Beleriand.
the region of Middle-earth between the shores of the Sea and
the Blue Mountains. Almost all this region was drowned,
and all that was left in later times was the country of Lindon,
which is marked on the Lord of the Rings map west of the Blue
Mountains. Thus Gondolin, Nargothrond and Thangorodrim
were in regions that had long since passed under the sea at
the time of the War of the Rings.
The Silmarillion will contain a map of the whole of
Beleriand, extending from the shores of the Sea in the west,
to Thangorodrim in the North, and to the Ered Luin in the east.
The book will also contain some texts other than the Silmarillion
proper, such as The Akallabêth, the Drowning of Númenor.

Yours sincerely,

[calligraphic signature done with a square nib]


There is nothing remarkable about this at all, except for one thing: he wrote it. Notwithstanding his immense literary labours, and the fact that (as he told me long after) he was in fact packing house for the move to France at the time, he nonetheless took the time to sit down and type up specific answers to the importunate questions of an American 13-year-old.

Do you have any idea how few other authors would bother?


Ataahua
Superuser / Moderator


Jan 18, 7:49pm

Post #60 of 76 (992 views)
Shortcut
I once wrote to Anne McCaffrey when I was a young teen [In reply to] Can't Post

and I was disappointed to get a mass-produced postcard in reply with a couple of generic sentences on it. Even then, I understood why - she was immensely popular and god knows how many gushing letters she received from fans - but still, part of me was let down by the lack of genuine connection.

Your letter from Christopher, however, was a gift. He shows such generosity of time and thought. Smile

Celebrimbor: "Pretty rings..."
Dwarves: "Pretty rings..."
Men: "Pretty rings..."
Sauron: "Mine's better."

"Ah, how ironic, the addictive qualities of Sauron’s master weapon led to its own destruction. Which just goes to show, kids - if you want two small and noble souls to succeed on a mission of dire importance... send an evil-minded beggar with them too." - Gandalf's Diaries, final par, by Ufthak.


Fantasy novel - The Arcanist's Tattoo

My LOTR fan-fiction


Kimi
Forum Admin / Moderator


Jan 18, 9:37pm

Post #61 of 76 (976 views)
Shortcut
That was indeed [In reply to] Can't Post

remarkably kind. To have taken the time to write a comprehensive and quite lengthy response to your specific questions says much about the man, all the more so as it was at a period when he was even busier than usual.

I write personal replies to all the letters (emails these days) I receive from readers, but mine generally only run into a few hundreds per annum, not thousands/tens of thousands/even more.


The Passing of Mistress Rose
My historical novels

Do we find happiness so often that we should turn it off the box when it happens to sit there?

- A Room With a View


Morthoron
Gondor


Jan 19, 12:56am

Post #62 of 76 (948 views)
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Thanks for sharing, WCH.... [In reply to] Can't Post

The closest contact I ever got to CJRT was finding a pristine first edition of The Silmarillion (leather-bound Presentation Copy, dated September 15, 1977). Never had the inclination or fortitude to write him directly. Bravo to your 13 year-old self!

Please visit my blog...The Dark Elf File...a slighty skewed journal of music and literary comment, fan-fiction and interminable essays.



Silmaril
Rohan


Jan 19, 11:33am

Post #63 of 76 (882 views)
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Thank you Christopher [In reply to] Can't Post

Loved the HoME and everything else.
RIP


sador
Half-elven


Jan 19, 3:14pm

Post #64 of 76 (871 views)
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'It's a gift!' he said. [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
...He was referring to his art, and also to the result; but he was using the word quite literally.
He went on looking at the Tree. All the leaves he had ever labored at were there, as he had imagined them rather than as he had made them; and there were others that had only budded in is mind, and many that might have budded, if only he had time. Nothing was written on them, they were just exquisite leaves, yet they were dated as clear as a calendar. Some of the most beautiful – and the most characteristic, the most perfect examples of the Niggle style – were seen to have been produced in collaboration with Mr Parish: there was no other way of putting it.



Thank you, Christopher
For the gift you gave your father, and all of us.

Thinking about things I don't understand


Mari D.
Rivendell


Jan 19, 4:41pm

Post #65 of 76 (857 views)
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I knew this would be coming at some point, but ... [In reply to] Can't Post

... still, I was sad when I read about it. It took me one or two days to let the understanding sink in ... so nice it was to know that I was living on the same planet as this wonderful elderly gentleman. It is sad to know that now, that is no longer the case. But even as he moved on, my gratitude and appreciation lingers.

I am grateful that Mr. Christopher Tolkien reached such a ripe old age, with his mindpower undiminished and in seemingly relatively good health. Living with his wife, having trees or a garden around the house/appartment. I would have wished him no less, how beautiful that he was granted all this.

Also, I am grateful that not his lifespan, but his conscious decision it was that made him lay down his pen after many years of making more of his father's work accessible to us. How diligently and humbly he worked and "finished the race".

I trust he is now in a beautiful place and joined his father there. I, as many others, will keep him in fond memory.


Ethel Duath
Half-elven


Jan 19, 4:43pm

Post #66 of 76 (851 views)
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Perfect. [In reply to] Can't Post

Thank you.



Solicitr
Rohan


Jan 19, 4:50pm

Post #67 of 76 (850 views)
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Yes [In reply to] Can't Post

"But Finrod walks with Finarfin his father beneath the trees in Eldamar."


CuriousG
Half-elven


Jan 20, 2:02pm

Post #68 of 76 (741 views)
Shortcut
Wow [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm not normally a fan boy, but just to have a personal letter from one of the two Tolkien great writers would leave me starry-eyed for days. You are so lucky to get a reply, indeed.


Cygnus
Lorien


Jan 20, 3:51pm

Post #69 of 76 (733 views)
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Condolences [In reply to] Can't Post

My sympathy and love go out to the Tolkien family and everyone here who cared about Christopher. This is a terrible and sad loss.

"I found it is the small things.....everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keeps the darkness at bay.....simple acts of kindness and love." - Gandalf (movie quote)


Solicitr
Rohan


Jan 20, 5:56pm

Post #70 of 76 (717 views)
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Thanks [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I'm not normally a fan boy, but just to have a personal letter from one of the two Tolkien great writers would leave me starry-eyed for days. You are so lucky to get a reply, indeed.


...but it isn't about me, it's about Christopher, as an example of his generosity.


mushroom
Registered User

Jan 21, 8:43pm

Post #71 of 76 (618 views)
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CJRT obituary [In reply to] Can't Post

- Le Monde news Monday 20th (Tweet by Vincent Ferré)

https://twitter.com/vincentmferre/status/1219254931238150144?s=21


Christopher Tolkien obituary,

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2020/jan/20/christopher-tolkien-obituary


- Var Matin news Tuesday 21th

CHRISTOPHER TOLKIEN, THE HEIR OF THE LORD OF THE RINGS, WAS INCINERATED IN THE VAR

....

Thus, this noon at the Vidauban crematorium, the presence of parents and close friends was only accepted. The family through their Aix lawyer having said that "In accordance with the wishes of the deceased and his family, the funeral will take place in the strictest privacy".

Alongside his widow Baillie, the couple's two children, Adam and Rachel, who both live in the Marseilles area, were of course present to salute the memory of the kneaded patriarch of Heroic Fantasy.

The latter, a native of Leeds had therefore decided, unlike his father buried in Oxford, to find eternal peace in the Var region. Confirming his attachment to a French territory to which this naturalized British had passed "the ring on his finger" by marrying nationality for a long time.

https://www.varmatin.com/people/christopher-tolkien-lheritier-du-seigneur-des-anneaux-a-ete-incinere-dans-le-var-450340

RIP Sir Christopher [heart]
Attachments: 45CA5B23-26B5-42F4-93F5-F605BC40B1A1.jpeg (32.0 KB)


Solicitr
Rohan


Jan 21, 11:08pm

Post #72 of 76 (608 views)
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Subject [In reply to] Can't Post

The Guardian obit was written by John Garth, which was appropriate.


Voronwë_the_Faithful
Valinor

Jan 22, 6:04pm

Post #73 of 76 (549 views)
Shortcut
That's an eye-opener and no mistake! [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for sharing that. I knew you had corresponded with Christopher (after all, he thanks you in one of the volumes of HoMe) but I did not know that your correspondence went back that far.

'But very bright were the stars upon the margin of the world, when at times the clouds about the West were drawn aside.'

The Hall of Fire


kzer_za
Lorien

Jan 23, 10:32pm

Post #74 of 76 (485 views)
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As I said elsewhere, we can be very thankful we got someone of Christopher's integrity and discipline [In reply to] Can't Post

When we look at Dune and how Frank Herbert's son Brian has handled the legacy, we can see how differently it could have gone.

In partnership with Kevin J. Anderson, Brian Herbert has written thirteen prequels, sequels, and interquels so far (there are only six original Dune novels by Frank! With a likely seventh planned). All this is allegedly "based on his father's notes", which no one has seen and might never be released - whatever is in them, we can be sure he's added quite a lot of his own ideas.

The contrast with Christopher's very restrained and conservative approach is stark. The 1977 Silmarillion is the most "creative" he ever got.


(This post was edited by kzer_za on Jan 23, 10:32pm)


Solicitr
Rohan


Jan 24, 12:22am

Post #75 of 76 (475 views)
Shortcut
Yes [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
When we look at Dune and how Frank Herbert's son Brian has handled the legacy, we can see how differently it could have gone.

In partnership with Kevin J. Anderson, Brian Herbert has written thirteen prequels, sequels, and interquels so far (there are only six original Dune novels by Frank! With a likely seventh planned). All this is allegedly "based on his father's notes", which no one has seen and might never be released - whatever is in them, we can be sure he's added quite a lot of his own ideas.

The contrast with Christopher's very restrained and conservative approach is stark. The 1977 Silmarillion is the most "creative" he ever got.


Yes. Compare also Audrey "Seuss" Geisel and her "milk the cash cow for all it's worth" splurge, after Ted had spent his life resisting exploitation


NottaSackville
Tol Eressea


Jan 27, 4:00pm

Post #76 of 76 (607 views)
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We are all greatly enriched for his work. Thank you Christopher // [In reply to] Can't Post

 

Happiness: money matters, but less than we think and not in the way that we think. Family is important and so are friends, while envy is toxic -- and so is excessive thinking. Beaches are optional. Trust is not. Neither is gratitude. - The Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner as summarized by Lily Fairbairn. And a bit of the Hobbit reading thrown in never hurts. - NottaSackville

 
 

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