Saturday, January 5, 2013

JRR Tolkien: The Making of a Legend

cover image 
JRR Tolkien: The Making of a Legend
by Colin Duriez
ISBN: 978-0745955148
$13.22 (paperback)

$10.50 (kindle)

About the book:
Long before the successful, Lord of the Rings film trilogy, J.R.R. Tolkien's imaginary world and characters enthralled and delighted millions of readers. But who was this man who dreamt up the intricate languages and perfectly crafted world of Middle-earth? 

Tolkien had a difficult life. Orphaned and poor, his guardian forbade him from communicating with the woman he loved. He also went through the horrors of the First World War. An intensely private and brilliant scholar, he spent over fifty years working on the languages, history, peoples, and geography of Middle-earth, aided by his vast knowledge of mythology and early northern European history and culture.

This delightful and accessible biography brings this legendary man to life and explores the deep Christian commitment that inspired and informed his work. A close friend of C.S. Lewis and Charles Williams, Tolkien was one of the famous Inklings, a group of literary figures in Oxford in the 1930s who met to discuss their work, which included C.S. Lewis's Narnia books.

My thoughts:
I've always been interested in how a book or a series of books like Lord of the Rings & The Hobbit come to be written. How does one take an idea (an inkling really) and turn it into a story that will catch the imaginations of millions over the years & around the world?

What you'll find in this biography is a book spanning the long life of J.R.R. Tolkien and the experiences that he lived through that helped him form the events within the book. From growing up & being raised by the Catholic Church, tinkering with the child's play of forming languages to actually learning how languages are formed, traveling to Finland and other countries which gave him the ability to describe the sweeping vistas he wrote of in his books to participating in World War II and the horrors he saw and lived through on a daily basis for years thus giving him the ability to write about the many varied wars & battles in his books - you will find out what made Tolkien "tick".

Tolkien was a man gifted with the ability to take what he saw, felt and lived through and describe it to the average man whether learned or not. He was a loving husband, father and a strong friend to have backing you up - and it also sounds like he was a "brilliant" thinker (Einstein type brilliant) and had the ability to make the English, Welsh and the Ancient forms of writing and language understandable to his students (at least those that wanted to understand).

If you are a FAN of LOTR's, The Hobbit and any of the several Appendices that he wrote, or perhaps are a fan of poetry (of which he was very gifted) be sure to grab a copy of JRR Tolkien: The Making of a Legend.

Disclaimer: I was offered a copy of JRR Tolkien: The Making of a Legend to read and review on GivingNSharing by Kregel Publications. I was not required to write a positive review & no money exchanged hands.


  1. The Lord of the Rings trilogy is one of those series I've always thought I should read, but just have not been able to get into. That just might be blasphemy in some circles, so I'm pretty sure I should give them another chance sometime! This sound like an interesting bio though.

    1. @Christine - the LOTR's trilogy is very difficult to read so don't feel bad if you can't get into them. I've been reading them yearly for the last 10 years (since the 1st movie came out) and I have to read them aloud the language is so very difficult for me to read.

      Tolkien really opened my eyes to high quality writing, the difference in the way books are written now vs the turn of the century (1900's) and today (post 1970's appr) and it's amazing how descriptive he was and how he built up a scene, the tension and the mood of the books - you don't see that much today at all.

      Try reading them aloud - my cat thinks I'm totally bonkers and she leaves the room - but still once I did that it helped tremendously.

    2. Good to know it's not just me! I'm still thinking it deserves a second chance from me one day :)


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