The Professor – On Friendship

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“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.

14 thoughts on “The Professor – On Friendship

    • Merci beaucoup pour vos visites! J’apprends tellement de France à cause de vous. Je me réjouis de 2013.

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  1. Thank you for telling this story. I think those of us who have benefitted from peaceful times rarely understand the impact of losing your friends to war.

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    • When we live in peace, we cannot know the tyranny and horror of war. We forget that peace is a gift. Only when there is loss, do we really understand the darkness. Thank you so much for your comments.

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    • Vous m’avez inspiré à sortir mon DVD et de regarder le Seigneur des Anneaux avant de voir The Hobbit.

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  2. Yes, friends were a very big part of his life. He not only enjoyed their fellowship but was a influence for good in them all.

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    • The Professor had a way of synthesizing complex ideas into a single sentence. I am so pleased that you stopped by for a visit. Your comments are so welcome…

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