ByJancy Richardson, writer at
To avoid fainting, keep repeating 'It's only a movie...It's only a movie...'
Jancy Richardson

So, you think you know Tolkien? Our beloved Middle Earth is a giant, sprawling land of adventure, but Tolkien's own life was just as fascinating, providing a whole host of incredible inspiration for The Hobbit and beyond.

There may be quite a lot you don't know about John Ronald Reuel Tolkien...

1. Hobbiton is very similar to Tolkien's hometown, Sarehole

Set designers for The Hobbit paid special attention to pictures of Sarehole, near Birmingham, UK as a model for Hobbiton. Tolkien's Aunt's house was even named 'Bag End' in real life!


2. Literary Arachnophobia

Giant spiders quite literally loom large in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Tolkien was reportedly bitten by a spider during childhood, so it's hardly surprising he portrayed them as evil beasts...


3. There's a reason why The Hobbit is so good...

The Hobbit is pretty accomplished, right? This is partly because it wasn't Tolkien's first book! He'd worked for years on The Silmarilion, fleshing out his growing Middle Earth mythology, before he published The Hobbit. The Silmarilion - rejected by publishers for being 'too Celtic'! - was not published until after Tolkien's death.


4. Tolkien did not take kindly to being asked if he was Aryan

Before The Hobbit was published in Nazi Germany, he was asked to assert his Aryan heritage! He wrote two letters back: one simply saying 'yes', and another insulting Nazism as 'wholly pernicious'. He left it up to his publishers which one they chose to send, and they picked the first one.


5. This 'cursed' Roman Ring may have inspired The One Ring

A ring belonging to a Roman named Silvianus - who supposedly cursed any who would steal it - is said to have inspired Tolkien's One Ring. Tolkien, an expert on all things ancient, was called in to inspect the ring, which was dug up in Hampshire, England in the late 18th Century. Still, I don't think a rumored Roman curse has quite the same punch as Bilbo's One Ring To Rule Them All!


6. World War I had a huge impact on Tolkien's books

From 1916, the young Tolkien fought in WWI, informing his ideals of fighting to preserve a peaceful way of life. There are many startling WWI parallels in his work: fear of destruction of pastoral lands, acts of heroism from ordinary people, and a desolate, barren Mordor that looks a lot like the battlefields of Europe.


7. The Lord of the Rings was never intended to be a trilogy

The 200,000 word book was written during World War II, when Britain was suffering a paper shortage - this was the highly practical reason for releasing the work in three parts. It's Bilbo Baggins's nightmare: no paper for his lovely books!


There are so many incredible insights available into Tolkien's fascinating life - share you favorite Hobbity fact below!


Were you blown away by these awesome Tolkien facts?


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