The Professor – On Friendship

Standard

“Faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens.”
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

“Courage Merry, courage for our friends! – Eowyn” 
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King

“I’m glad I’m with you, here at the end of all things, Sam.” – Frodo
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King

 The Bridge

J.R.R. Tolkien lost his mother at an early age.  Friendships were to be a steadying influence throughout his life.  He was a member of the famous Inklings, a literary society that included among the notables, C.S. Lewis and his elder brother Warren Lewis, Owen Barfield, Charles Williams and Tolkien’s son, Christopher.  There was an earlier society, The T.C.B.S. (Tea Club, Barrovian Society) named after their meeting place at the Barrow Stores.  The T.C.B.S. members continued to correspond closely, exchanging and critiquing each other’s literary work until 1916.  WWI took a toll on this band of brothers.  Two of his friends, Robert Gilson and Geoffrey Smith, were not destined to outlive the war.  In Geoffrey Smith’s last letter to J.R.R. Tolkien, the message was prophetic:  “Yes, publish… You I am sure are chosen, like Saul among the Children of Israel. Make haste, before you come out to this orgy of death cruelty… May God bless you, John Ronald, and may you say the things I have tried to say long after I am not here to say them, if such is my lot.”

In his writings, J.R.R. Tolkien celebrated and acknowledged the great deeds that were done in the name of friendship. He made good on his promise to his much-loved friend, Geoffrey Smith.