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Old 01-16-2020, 12:21 PM   #1
Estelyn Telcontar
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Silmaril Death of Christopher Tolkien

The Tolkienist, Marcel Aubron-Bülles, has posted news from a French newspaper announcing the death of Christopher Tolkien. He is a very reliable source, alas, so this is definitely not just a rumour. All of us know how much we owe to JRRT's youngest son, who was his literary heir and published numerous works posthumously. He was also involved in preparations for the tapestries currently being created in France, and for the Tolkien exhibition in Paris. We honour his memory and wish his family all the best for a future without him.
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Old 01-16-2020, 02:48 PM   #2
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Alas!

I was thinking just the other day that his time left couldn't be that ample, owing to his age.
We who enjoy and indeed love the works of his father, must recognize our unpayable debt to this man. Instead of exploiting his name and position for his own enrichment, he devoted himself to research and editorial work, bringing to light unfinished and prototype materiel that supplements the original publications in a marvelous way.

Thank you, sir. "Manwe keep you under the One, and send fair wind to your sails".
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Old 01-16-2020, 04:19 PM   #3
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Indeed. My first thought on reading this was of the many stories we would never have been told if not for him, the treasures of his father's imagination that would never have been unearthed, the characters who would never have come to life. Sador and Nellas, Erendis, Eöl and Maeglin, Beleg and Gwindor and Andróg and Mîm. But for him, the Elvish languages would have remained a mystery, most of the First and Second Ages unexplained vistas, both the quirky exuberance of BoLT and the probing of Morgoth's psychology in Myths Transformed unguessed at. He was the literary executor every writer dreams of and very few get. He's more than earned his rest, and yet we'll miss him.
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Old 01-16-2020, 05:15 PM   #4
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Lighting a candle for Christopher Tolkien. I am so very sad to hear the news. Tolkien’s work has been such a huge part of my life that I can scarce imagine how it might have been without it - to misquote a wise Downer’s signature, it would have been different, it could not have been better. I will be ever grateful for him giving us access to so much more of Middle earth.
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Old 01-16-2020, 05:49 PM   #5
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“Therefore in this world I cannot think of a reason
Why my soul does not blacken when I seriously consider
All the warriors, tested at war,
How they suddenly sank to the floor,
The brave kinsmen. But in this world
Every day falls to dust.
...

“Where now the horse? Where now the rider?
Where now the giver of gifts?
Where now the wine-hall? Where now the sounds of joy?
Ea-la bright beaker! Ea-la byrnied warrior!
Ea-la the chief's majesty! How those moments went,
Grayed in the night as if they never were!"
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Old 01-16-2020, 06:07 PM   #6
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I'm very upset about this, I'm crying right now. CJRT was the perfect son to his father, and in many ways he was just as important as his father. He was the co-creator, he was the custodian, and he was very humble about it but he was a giant. RIP.
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Old 01-16-2020, 06:43 PM   #7
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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.
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Old 01-16-2020, 07:23 PM   #8
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A salute to Christopher Tolkien. Thank you for The Silmarillion, COH, UT, and so many other works without which my life - and the legendarium - would not be the same. Despite many controversies and tussles over the years, you were always a faithful guardian of your father's work. You always stood by the truth and stood by your father's wishes, and they meant more to you than the pressure of economics and popular culture. We will miss you sorely.
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Old 01-16-2020, 08:31 PM   #9
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I don't have the adequate words to express my gratitude to Christopher Tolkien for his work.

I guess a simple, but very heartfelt (and with much respect), thank you, will have to do.
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Old 01-17-2020, 04:47 AM   #10
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Can't add much more to what has already been said, other than that I agree and am eternally grateful for all Christopher Tolkien did. A meticulous guardian and editor and a man of huge integrity.
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Old 01-17-2020, 05:20 AM   #11
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Silmaril

As so many others have said - he was a worthy guardian of Middle-earth, and will be sorely missed. I am so pleased, though, that he managed to publish all three of the Great Tales under their own covers before he passed into the West - you could tell it was a labour of love, and a fitting conclusion to a lifetime of scholarship.

hS
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Old 01-17-2020, 08:38 AM   #12
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Without him I think my obsession with Tolkien would not be a reality. I always said one of the first people I want to talk with in heaven is J.R.R Tolkien and C.S lewis. I think Christopher might not be to far down the list. Was this the last living Inkling?
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Old 01-17-2020, 09:07 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Huinesoron View Post
- you could tell it was a labour of love, and a fitting conclusion to a lifetime of scholarship.

hS
You could, especially with the very last one. There's something really joyful and relaxed (and perhaps also relieved!) about the introduction he wrote for it.
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Old 01-17-2020, 10:35 AM   #14
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Christopher Tolkien can rest in ease and contentment knowing that he presented to the world his father's lifelong imaginings and work regarding Middle Earth. We owe him a great debt.
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Old 01-17-2020, 11:37 AM   #15
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Tolkien

I've spent since last night trying to find words for this... the best I have come up with is something I wrote to a friend on Facebook last night:

"I have... a lot of thoughts about his passing. It feels a bit melodramatic to say, but it's probably true: his death will be roughly as important in my life as the deaths of Benedict XVI or Queen Elizabeth will be, in the sense that he's one of the pillars holding up the backdrop to the world as I've known it so far.

...the phrase that I literally just typed elsewhere is "cultural grandfather." I have a claim on Christopher Tolkien only in the sense that a few million Tolkien fans do--of gratitude for his scholarship and prudent guidance of his father's literary estate--but it's still a loss that feels personal."

Part of the grandfather analogy, no doubt, is that I've always remembered CT's age as the same as my own grandfather's--a fact that has anchored my sense of time and generation whenever I've thought of Tolkien's biography. Fittingly enough, all my grandparents have passed, and this sense of bereavement is no doubt partly that of a passing age.
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Old 01-19-2020, 08:07 AM   #16
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I posted this on another forum, but thought I would share it here. This is 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?
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Old 01-20-2020, 02:52 PM   #17
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Not much to add other than condolences for the family and gratitude for the work.
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Old 01-23-2020, 07:11 AM   #18
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Christopher Tolkien's death has hit me harder than a celebrity death has for a long time. If I could have chosen any celebrity to meet, it likely would have been him.

Everyone here knows how important his work was to all of us. Without his dedication over several decades, many of the greatest pieces of writing by our favorite author never would have seen the light of day.
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Old 01-28-2020, 11:41 PM   #19
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Well, well... it's been a few moons since I hit the ol' POST REPLY button. I am sad to hear of Christopher Tolkien's passing. I've nodded along while reading all of the replies. No writer -- especially not one as organizationally challenged as JRRT -- would dare to hope for such an exacting and faithful steward for his or her life's work. Christopher's dogged organizing, research, sleuthing, and scholarship has immeasurably enriched the Tolkien canon.

It feels like another way to mark the end of an era, in a time when it increasingly feels like we're brushing up against "the end of all things". Or maybe that's just my advancing middle age showing, nearly twenty years after I first logged into this wonderful website. This place has been on my mind lately. Much has changed in the world and in my life, but one thing I miss is thinking -- and talking about -- Middle-earth on a daily basis. Tonight I raise a glass in Christopher Tolkien's honor, and in appreciation of all you Tolkien-heads too.
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Old 01-29-2020, 10:56 PM   #20
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Boots

This recent event has led me to pick up Tolkien's works again, which I haven't done in awhile (I know, for shame! )

I came across this today in my read through of The Silmarillion and it seems appropriate.

Quote:
But Finrod walks with Finarfin his father beneath the trees in Eldamar.
-Of Beren and Lúthien
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Old 03-02-2020, 11:13 PM   #21
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A little late to reply, but alas alas.

It is truly a great loss.

We wouldn’t have near as much of the professor’s works if not for his son. And for that we should all be eternally grateful.

May he rest.
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