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35 years ago today, a light went out in Arda...
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Grey Havens

Sep 2 2008, 5:20am

Post #1 of 41 (6297 views)
35 years ago today, a light went out in Arda... Can't Post

... and Beren joined his beloved Lúthien in a fate unknown to anyone but Eru.

On Sep. 2, 1973, John Ronald Reuel Tolkien left this world and the Great Story behind. I thought I would commemorate this day with a FLASHBACK to the last days of his life, which, I hope, I can show were not altogether unpleasant (his last hours notwithstanding).


c. July 10-17

Tolkien travels with his daughter Priscilla to Edinburgh, where they stay for a week with his former student Angus McIntosh, now Professor of English, and his wife Barbara.

July 12

An honorary degree of Doctor of Letters is bestowed upon Tolkien by Edinburgh University.

July 20

Tolkien attends an Ad Eundem dinner at St John’s College, Cambridge, hosted by Professor Glyn Daniel.

July 26

Lord John Anthony Hardinge Giffard, the third Earl of Halsbury visits Tolkien and they have a pleasant discussion regarding ‘The Silmarillion’, and Galadriel.


Tolkien has lunch with Father Robert Patrick Ruthven Murray, who later recalls:

Ronald was maintaining with great vigour over the luncheon table that one of the greatest disasters of European history was the fact that the Goths turned Arian: but for that, their languages, just ready to become classical, would have been enriched not only with a great bible version but also, on Byzantine principles, with a vernacular liturgy, which would have served as a model for all the Germanic peoples and would have given them a native Catholicism which would never break apart. And with that he rose and in splendidly sonorous tones declaimed the Our Father in Gothic.

(‘A Tribute to Tolkien’ The Tablet, 15 September 1973)


Tolkien adds a note to the typescript of the Annals of Aman about Galadriel fighting in defence of Aqualondë and also writes a rough version of the story of Galadriel and Celeborn, and their motives and actions. This is probably his last writing for the legendarium.

--> Marjorie Incledon (Tolkien’s cousin) visits and stays with Tolkien.

August 4

Tolkien writes to Lord Halsbury (#353), thanking him for the whisky he is sending:

You pile Weathertop on Erebor, as Bilbo might have said, with your generosities. The whisky will be welcomed whenever it comes: it will be quite safe if sent to college, whether I am here or briefly away. When you retire I shall certainly beg your help. Without it, I begin to feel that I shall never produce any part of The Silmarillion. When you were here July 26, I became again vividly aware of your invigorating effect on me: like a warm fire brought into an old man’s room, where he sits cold and unable to muster courage to go out on a journey that his heart desires to make. For over and above all the afflictions and obstacles I have endured since The Lord of the Rings came out, I have lost confidence. May I hope that perhaps, even amid your own trials and the heavy work which must precede your retirement, you could come again before so very long and warm me up again? I particularly desire to hear you read verse again, and especially your own: which you make come alive for me.

August 9

Tolkien visits the Botanic Garden, Oxford, with his grandson Michael George, who photographs him standing next to one of his favorite trees, a Pinus Negra. This is probably the last photograph of Tolkien.

August 17

Tolkien replies to a letter about The Lord of the Rings: ‘It is enough for me that people enjoy Lord of the Rings as a story without forming detailed comparisons between Middle-earth and the world today’ (Tolkien-George Allen & Unwin archive, HarperCollins).

August 25

Tolkien writes to Glyn Daniel, thanking him for the dinner in Cambridge:

Dear Daniel,

It is a long time since July 20th; but better (I hope) late than never to do what I should have done before being immersed in other matters : to thank you for your delightful dinner in St John’s, and especially for your forbearance and great kindness to me personally. It proved a turning point! I suffered no ill effects whatsoever, and have since been able to dispense with most of the diet taboos I had to observe for some six months.

I look forward to the next A.E. dinner, and hope that you will be present,

Yours ever,
Ronald Tolkien.

?Late August

Joy Hill visits Tolkien for what will be the last time. When she arrives, instead of settling down to work, he offers her a drink and then announces that they will go for a long walk to see all his favourite trees. They visit the Botanic Garden, then walk to look at the willows by the river, then return to the Botanic Garden once again. He asks her to bring a camera on her next visit in September so that she can take some photographs for him.

--> Tolkien meets Priscilla, who is just back from a holiday in Salsburg. She gives him a bottle of Austrian liqueur and a box of Mozartkugeln.

She will later find, after his death, that he has eaten all of the chocolates, but liqueur remains untouched.

August 28

Tolkien’s adventures on this day are told in a letter written to his daughter the following day.

Wed. Aug. 29th 1973 at 22 Little Forest Road, Bournemouth.
Dearest Prisca,

I arrived in B’th about 3.15 yesterday, after a successful drive with most traffic going north not seawards, & a curry-lunch shared by Causier, Mrs C. and David. It was v.v. hot here & crowded. The Cs. Then went off to find ‘accommodation’ for 2 nights, and departed necessarily with all my luggage on what looked like a hopeless quest. They dropped me off on the East Overcliff by the Miramar, which nostalgically attracted me; but I went into the town & did some shopping, including having a hair trim. I then walked back to the Miramar at 4.45 – and things then began to go wrong. I was told Causier had called to find me about 4 p.m. which made me afraid that he was in difficulties. I also found that I had lost my Bank Card & some money. ‘Reception’ were surprised but welcoming, comforted me with a good tea. Also assuming that I had been looking for something more than a tea, they told me they could have done nothing at all for me, but for a cancellation which would allow them to take me in on Tuesday Sep. 4 – but I said I would see. I took a taxi to 22 L.F.R. (which promptly lost its way) and arrived late to find the house crowded & lively – only the Dr. was away till evening. (Happy go-lucky folk.) Then I waited anxiously for Causier. It was nearly 7 before he (and Mrs C. & D) turned up – I suspect he too had lost his way – and said it had only taken him 15 mins to find v. g. rooms for 2 nights! In the meanwhile Martin Tolhurst (formerly of N[ew] College), now grown to an immensely tall, charming, and efficient man, had by telephone located my Bank Card etc. at The Red Lion Salisbury. So all was well, for the present. But I have accepted the Miramar offer, and shall not return to Oxford till Sep. 11. For various reasons: the chief being I wish to give Carr plenty of time to clean my rooms, which, and I too, were much neglected latterly; I wish v. much to visit various people here, also Chris Wiseman at Milford, and I am old enough to much prefer familiar surroundings.

My dearest love to you.

It is stuffy, sticky, and rainy here at present – but forecasts are more favourable.

August 30

Although Tolkien joins in celebrating Mrs. Tolhurst’s birthday, he does not feel well and does not eat much, although he does partake in a little champagne. During the night he is in pain.

August 31

Still in pain, Tolkien is taken to a private hospital, where he is diagnosed as suffering from an acute bleeding gastric ulcer. John and Priscilla are able to make it to his bedside, but Michael is on holiday in Switzerland and Christopher is in France. At any rate, the first reports of his condition are optimistic.

September 1

Tolkien takes a turn for the worse, developing a chest infection.

September 2

On this early Sunday morning, John Ronald Reuel Tolkien dies at the age of 81.

OBITUARIES (complete and snippets)

'Lord of the Rings' author Tolkien dies in Britain
Author J. R. Tolkien, 81, the former Oxford University professor whose stories about a middle earth peopled by imaginary beings became an international student cult in the 1960s, died today.

(click on logo)

J.R.R. Tolkien, Author, Dies
J.R.R. Tolkien, 81, the British scholar and author whose trilogy "The Lord of the Rings," chronicled epic adventure in a fantasy world and achieved vast popularity with college students in the 1960s, died yesterday in England.

Tolkien, Who Created the Hobbits, Dies at 81
J. R. R. Tolkien, a retiring scholar who became the unwilling object of a literary cult because of his novel "Lord of the Rings," died Sunday at the age of 81, his publisher announced.

Thank you, Professor, for giving us such a gift that we can never repay.

God Bless. God Keep.

* * *

All info has been collected from Hammond & Scull's "J.R.R. Tolkien Companion & Guide"; "The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien", "JRR Tolkien: A Biography", TORn and various sites on the web.

(This post was edited by Altaira on Sep 2 2008, 4:02pm)


Sep 2 2008, 5:51am

Post #2 of 41 (3615 views)
Vale Professor [In reply to] Can't Post

and a million thanks for the all the enjoyment you brought us.

At one with Eru.

Thanks for this diedye, excellent as always.

*hugs & blessings*
Kel xHeart

Valinor, O Valinor
Andavë yányë hyarya
Tumna yá nyèna minya fëa
An Valinor, lissë Eldamar

Kelvarhin's Universe~~~~~~~Laerasea's Travelling TORn Journal
In the land of TORnadoes...where the brilliant play (with thanks to grammaboodawg :) )
Is TORn...Is Good

Peredhil lover

Sep 2 2008, 5:52am

Post #3 of 41 (3517 views)
Thanks, Diedye! [In reply to] Can't Post

That was a wonderful way to remember the Professor!

I do not suffer from LotR obsession - I enjoy every minute of it.


Sep 2 2008, 8:49am

Post #4 of 41 (3521 views)
*tears* This is perfect, diedye. [In reply to] Can't Post

He passed one week after my youngest daughter was born. I used that as a reference for all these years. I was so upset when he died. Your collection has brought him so much closer to me. Thank you *warm hug*


"Barney Snow was here." ~Hug like a hobbit!~ "In my heaven..."

TORn's Observations Lists

Forum Admin / Moderator

Sep 2 2008, 10:23am

Post #5 of 41 (3562 views)
*tears roll down cheeks* [In reply to] Can't Post

I had just begun my second semester of college, and was in the habit of going to the library daily to glance through the New York Times. I remember so clearly reading his obituary, then returning to my dorm room, and just sitting there, bawling...it was like the end of the world had come; there was so much more of Middle-earth I craved, and now I had no hope that there would ever be any more.

Thank you for this excellent remembrance, diedye!

"Before him stood the Tree, his Tree, finished. If you could say that of a Tree that was alive, its leaves opening, its branches growing and bending in the wind that Niggle had so often felt or guessed, and had so often failed to catch. He gazed at the Tree, and slowly he lifted his arms and opened them wide.

“'It’s a gift!' he said. 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 laboured at were there, as he had imagined them rather than as he had made them; and there were others that had only budded in his mind, and many that might have budded, if only he had 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.

"The birds were building in the Tree. Astonishing birds: how they sang! They were mating, hatching, growing wings and flying away singing into the Forest, even while he looked at them. For now he saw that the Forest was there too, opening out on either side, and marching away into the distance. The Mountains were glimmering far away."

"I desired dragons with a profound desire"

"It struck me last night that you might write a fearfully good romantic drama, with as much of the 'supernatural' as you cared to introduce. Have you ever thought of it?"
-Geoffrey B. Smith, letter to JRR Tolkien, 1915


Sep 2 2008, 11:09am

Post #6 of 41 (3523 views)
"All the afflictions and obstacles" [In reply to] Can't Post

For over and above all the afflictions and obstacles I have endured since The Lord of the Rings came out, I have lost confidence.

Somehow that statement is profoundly touching.

"The Professor!"


"an seileachan"

Pooh began to feel a little more comfortable, because when you are a Bear of Very Little Brain, and you Think of Things, you find sometimes that a Thing which seemed very Thingish inside you is quite different when it gets out into the open and has other people looking at it.

Call Her Emily
Attachments: champagne.gif (0.79 KB)


Sep 2 2008, 2:05pm

Post #7 of 41 (3509 views)
*raises glass* to the Professor [In reply to] Can't Post

This was very moving. He does seem to have had much friendship and loving support during his later life, both family and friends, didn't he? After what he'd been through in his lifetime, he so deserved it. And at least despite all the "afflictions and obstacles [he] endured since The Lord of the Rings" it must have been a wonderful feeling for him to know that his work was also admired by people he admired too, like Lord Halsbury.

And as for "And with that he rose and in splendidly sonorous tones declaimed the Our Father in Gothic", I would love to know if that luncheon with Father Murray took place in public restaurant. Can you imagine Smile?

Thanks diedye Heart.

Grey Havens

Sep 2 2008, 2:29pm

Post #8 of 41 (3526 views)
I think 'Leaf by Niggle' revealed Tolkien's view of himself [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks to Diedye, dernwyn, and the rest of you for your testimony to his life.

May his memory be eternal! He and his Luthien are not bound for ever to the circles of the world, and beyond them is more than memory.


"I shall not wholly fail if anything can still grow fair in days to come."

(This post was edited by ElanorTX on Sep 2 2008, 2:35pm)


Sep 2 2008, 4:44pm

Post #9 of 41 (3508 views)
Beautiful... [In reply to] Can't Post


Tolkien visiting a tree

Tolkien walks the grounds

Beren and Luthien's resting place

A closer look

Tolkien enjoys his pipe


"Barney Snow was here." ~Hug like a hobbit!~ "In my heaven..."

TORn's Observations Lists


Sep 2 2008, 5:07pm

Post #10 of 41 (3507 views)
"...and Beren joined his beloved Lúthien..." You know, [In reply to] Can't Post

I always thought that was so touching that JRR Tolkien and Edith Tolkien had "Beren" and "Luthien" as their epitaphs. He felt that the great love story of Middle Earth was Luthien and Beren, and choosing that was just a simple, classy, lovely touch.

Thanks diedye for that list. I was born over 5 years after he died, but I remember reading everything I could about him after I read LotR. The Letters have been so great at providing some insight into his life, and the timeline you shared provides that same sort of treasure-nugget of information.

I heard Elwen is out of hiding after 4 years. You didn't see me here.

Tol Eressea

Sep 2 2008, 5:37pm

Post #11 of 41 (3481 views)
And he lived happiily ever after, for the rest of his days... [In reply to] Can't Post

It has been 35 years since Professor Tolkien left but the Circles of this part of Arda. Somewhere, beyond the circles of this world, lies a place that Eru has reserved for his Younger Children.

Make no mistake Professor Tolkien is enjoying Ilúvatar's Present to men.

Yet, he must have Elven blood in him... because he will indeed live forever.

Cheers to the memory of a man who gave us so much!

Here's to Del Toro becoming the Irvin Kershner of Middle Earth!

Essay winner of the Show us your Hobbit Pride Giveway!

Registered User

Sep 2 2008, 7:10pm

Post #12 of 41 (3471 views)
What a man! [In reply to] Can't Post

Tolkien was such an amazing author.
I get impressed every time I think about how many
languages he knew, how erudite he was and what
truly magnificent books he wrote.

"Long live the Professor"!

Tol Eressea

Sep 2 2008, 7:13pm

Post #13 of 41 (3463 views)
Thanks Diedye [In reply to] Can't Post

What a wonderful way to remember him.

I was born over a decade after he died, but I will always have a great love and admiration for the man whose work impacted my life in such a huge way.

*Raises glass to the Professor* x

*Jazminatar the Brown*

Tol Eressea

Sep 2 2008, 7:21pm

Post #14 of 41 (3500 views)
I've visited their grave... [In reply to] Can't Post

I visit Oxford at least twice a year, the first time we found Wolvercote cemetary, and laid some flowers. It was nice to be able to pay my respects, and kind of say thank you to Tolkien for his wonderful writing. And every visit to Oxford includes a drink and a toast to the Professor in the Eagle & Child pub. (By the way, the food there is fantastic!)

*Jazminatar the Brown*

Ainu Laire
Tol Eressea

Sep 2 2008, 7:23pm

Post #15 of 41 (3462 views)
Thank you, Professor [In reply to] Can't Post

There is no way to completely explain how much he has influenced my life. Simply put, if he had never written his books, I would not be where I am right now. He influenced me to begin writing, he inspired me to take up art again after a long break and discover a hidden talent... and he inspired me to go the path I tread now.

Frankly put, I really have no idea where I would be, and what accomplishments that may have never come to pass if it weren't for him.

So... I'll be thinking about you as I sit through my boring geography class, Professor. Thank you.

Edit: And thank you, diedye, for this post!

My art site
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
NARF since age 8, when I refused to read the Hobbit because the cover looked boring and icky.

(This post was edited by Ainu Laire on Sep 2 2008, 7:25pm)


Sep 2 2008, 8:13pm

Post #16 of 41 (3462 views)
*raises glass* [In reply to] Can't Post

to the Professor. Everyday, remembered, loved, and cherished. Thankyou sir!

Elven x

Were off to Hobbiton finally!

Tolkien was a Capricorn!!
Russell Crowe for Beorn!!

Quote of The Week: A I LOVE cats and I love TV. And I love to watch cats on TV. Ron Perlman

Tol Eressea

Sep 2 2008, 10:03pm

Post #17 of 41 (3457 views)
Wow.... [In reply to] Can't Post

makes me literally stop and think. What would a) things be like if he had lived longer and completed more work...and b) what if he had not written any of it? Wow. A pint of dark beer will be raised.

What's the matter, James? No glib remark? No pithy comeback?"

Lúthien Tinúviel

Sep 2 2008, 10:14pm

Post #18 of 41 (3446 views)
Reply to: 35 years ago today, a light went out in Arda... [In reply to] Can't Post


Aunt Dora Baggins

Sep 2 2008, 10:34pm

Post #19 of 41 (3442 views)
I remember it well. [In reply to] Can't Post

I was seventeen. I used that memory as a scene in the novel I'm writing:

My mom brought in the paper. “Oh, look,” she said, as she leafed through it, “JRR Tolkien died yesterday. Isn’t that the author you like?”

To my surprise, the news made my chest ache and my eyes smart. I nodded as she handed me the page. Why did it make me so sad? He was 81, after all, and I didn’t really know him at all.

I read the short article and handed it back. “Thanks, Mom. I’ll clip that later.”

I wandered out into the backyard and sat down beneath the big weeping willow tree, leaning my back against its familiar bark. The sun was just rising, kindling the distant mountains and turning the willow leaves to emerald glass. A meadowlark sang somewhere nearby in the sweet cool air.

I put my head down on my knees and wept, not really knowing why. Some of it was the loss of stories that might have been forthcoming. Tolkien had been working on The Silmarillion for years; now it would never be finished. Some of it was because a favorite author does become a friend, even if the reader never meets him.

"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


Sep 3 2008, 12:00am

Post #20 of 41 (3439 views)
Deepest thanks for this. [In reply to] Can't Post

Thank you for posting this. It is a day for reflection...
It is the beginning of the fall, end of summer, with new goals, new ideas and impetus...

A new age began when our professor died - more as if the light went beyond Arda but lights it still. And, now, we who have wandered here to Middle-earth, may live in a new age in M-e history. We are able to travel here and learn, be in fellowship, grow with others who also travel here, and the professor's spirit is very much with us.
I am glad Tolkien's works, his story, his influence, has changed and grown beyond that 'cultus' preoccupation in those obits.
A million thanks for all you contribute here, diedye. You are a wonder!

Visit the Movie Boards - LOTR for QTNA:Back to Basics


Forum Admin / Moderator

Sep 3 2008, 12:08am

Post #21 of 41 (3430 views)
The heraldry of Luthien and Beren! [In reply to] Can't Post

Thank you! Smile

"I desired dragons with a profound desire"

"It struck me last night that you might write a fearfully good romantic drama, with as much of the 'supernatural' as you cared to introduce. Have you ever thought of it?"
-Geoffrey B. Smith, letter to JRR Tolkien, 1915

Forum Admin / Moderator

Sep 3 2008, 12:10am

Post #22 of 41 (3430 views)
Doom, doom. [In reply to] Can't Post

It was as if we were standing outside the east-gate of Moria, and our Gandalf had just fallen...

Who now shall refill the cup for me?

"I desired dragons with a profound desire"

"It struck me last night that you might write a fearfully good romantic drama, with as much of the 'supernatural' as you cared to introduce. Have you ever thought of it?"
-Geoffrey B. Smith, letter to JRR Tolkien, 1915

Forum Admin / Moderator

Sep 3 2008, 12:11am

Post #23 of 41 (3446 views)
:-) // [In reply to] Can't Post


"I desired dragons with a profound desire"

"It struck me last night that you might write a fearfully good romantic drama, with as much of the 'supernatural' as you cared to introduce. Have you ever thought of it?"
-Geoffrey B. Smith, letter to JRR Tolkien, 1915


Sep 3 2008, 12:34am

Post #24 of 41 (3431 views)
Beautiful diedye, [In reply to] Can't Post

you brought so many things of the heart here for us.
I feel so very dearly for this man. He is built deep into the foundation of my spirit. The breadth of the value of what his works give is priceless and it is because of his indomitable loving heart.

I found one thing i very much liked and it is a quote from Kevin Roger Blacks book 'Where Shadows Lie' that i would like to offer in tribute:

Chapter I

Introduction: On the Writing and Reception of The Lord of the Rings

"In the months that have passed since my decision to write a thesis on J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, I have been approached by numerous people wanting to share their memories of reading the series, usually as young children. Very few could find words to express their feelings, but it was clear that most had a special affection, and even a reverence, for this work of which Tolkien said, "It is written in my life-blood, such as that is, thick or thin; and I can no other." As for me, I confess to having spent most of my adolescence reading "adult" fantasy novels, a genre of fiction that Tolkien virtually created, and these books would occasionally move my impressionable young self to awe or tears. But The Lord of the Rings is the only book I can remember that ever caused me to stand up and cheer."

"Tolkien, like Lewis, believed that, through story, the real world would become a more magical place, full of meaning. We see its patterns and colors in a fresh way. The recovery of a true view of the world applies both to individual things, like hills and stones, and to the cosmic - the depths of space and time itself. For in sub-creation, in Tolkien's view, there is a "survey" of space and time. Reality is captured on a miniature scale. Through stories like The Lord of the Rings, a renewed view of things is given, illuminating the homely, the spiritial, the physical, and the moral dimensions of the world."

Tolkien and C.S. Lewis- The Gift of Friendship -Duriez

After Sunset
I have an understanding with the hills
At evening, when slanted radiance fills
Their hollows, and the great winds let them be,
And they are quiet and look down at me.
Oh, then I see the patience in their eyes
Out of the centuries that made them wise.
They lend me hoarded memory, and I learn
Their thoughts of granite and their whims of fern,
And why a dream of forests must endure
Though every tree be slain; and how the pure,
Invisible beauty has a word so brief
A flower can say it, or a shaken leaf,
But few may ever snare it in a song,
Though for the quest a life is not too long.
When the blue hills grow tender, when they pull
The twilight close with gesture beautiful,
And shadows are their garments, and the air
Deepens, and the wild veery is at prayer,
Their arms are strong around me; and I know
That somehow I shall follow where you go
To the still land beyond the evening star,
Where everlasting hills and valleys are,
And silence may not hurt us any more,
And terror shall be past, and grief and war.

Grace Hazard Conkling (conclusion of a song recital from the book Lake Minnewaska by W Doughty where he says ''this is not the end of songs which we are certain will continue to rise from gifted minds and hearts in this enchanted realm where sometimes 'great mists lie' but always where 'great dreams rise' ''.) ...Reminds me particularly of the elves and the ents

May the grace of Manwë let us soar with eagle's wings!

In the air, among the clouds in the sky
Here is where the birds of Manwe fly
Looking at the land, and the water that flows
The true beauty of earth shows
With the stars of Varda lighting my way
In all the realms this is where I stay
In the realm of Manwë Súlimo
By El~Cugu

From the website: 'The Realm of Manwe'


Sep 3 2008, 1:25am

Post #25 of 41 (3458 views)
Uh... [In reply to] Can't Post

Let me know the next time you go, and I'll join you... I wish :) That's wonderful, Jazmine!


"Barney Snow was here." ~Hug like a hobbit!~ "In my heaven..."

TORn's Observations Lists

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