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Jin Shei Cover from sgreer

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January 3rd, 2006

Jin Shei Cover from sgreer

Happy Birthday, Professor

TOnight at 9 pm local time 9wherever you are) raise a glass to the Professor, Oxford don and the pre-eminent fantasy writer of our age to whom all wannabes aspire to be compared - J R R Tolkien, the Wizard of Words, the Weaver of Dreams, the man in whose incredible world so many of us have spent so much time singing with ELves about the morning star. Happy Birthday, Once and Future King!


http://www.tolkiensociety.org/toast/2006/


I actually made a point, a few years ago, of visiting the cemetery near Oxford where TOlkien is buried. Being Catholic, he is the hard-to-find needle in a haystack of graves bearing mostly Polish names, and you have to hunt for the grey-marl tombstone. It is a simple one. It bears his and his wife's names, the dates that bracketed their lives, and two more words: underneath his name, "Beren"; underneath hers, "Luthien". The greatest love story of Middle Earth... and he made a gift of it to his own beloved. That's special.

On the other hand, did you know that the house that Tolkien was born in, situated in Bloemfontein, South Africa (I kid you not), has been torn down to make room for a supermarket?... Sticking a plaque about Tolkien being born here on a display rack in the produce section somehow just doesn't seem to carry the right kind of, you know, cachet (he certainly pioneered something that hadn't been seen before in his time - it was hardly a case of 'bean there done that'...).