In March, the Ukrainian Minister of Defence pledged in a statement: “Here, our only way is to withstand the onslaught of Mordor.”
Another high-ranking Ukrainian official commented on the battles taking place in his region a few months later saying that “the area is free of orcs.” On his part, President Zelensky pleaded for Ukraine not to become “a frontier between orcs and elves”.
Such is the legacy of J.R.R. Tolkien, whose characters and fictional realms lend themselves to any epic that opposes good and evil.
The 2nd of September marks the 50th anniversary of the passing of John Ronald Reuel Tolkien in 1973, aged 81.
The British novelist, philologist, and university professor was born in South Africa on 3 January 1892. His memories of Africa were not many, but there were some vivid images he never forgot, such as encountering a strange, hairy, giant spider as a child — an incident that might have influenced his imagination and later writings.
A linguist and philologist
Tolkien was conscripted as a signals officer in WWI but was later sent home after being wounded. After the war, he worked at the Oxford English Dictionary, then taught English language at the University of Leeds, and then at Oxford University in 1925. In 1945, Tolkien moved to Merton College in Oxford as a professor of English language and literature. He retired in 1959.
In 2009, Oxford University Press published a book titled "The Ring of Words: Tolkien and the Oxford English Dictionary". The book explored the period during which Tolkien worked on the Oxford English Dictionary after WWI.
Tolkien once said that he "learned more during those two years than at any other time in his life," and that this experience had a profound impact on his creative style of using words and language in his fictional literary world.
Tolkien mastered Latin and Greek — the major languages of literature and arts of his time. He also sharpened his skills in several other modern and ancient languages, especially Gothic and Finnish later on.
He spent a long time crafting his own languages as a hobby and would go on to invent one of the most famous constructed languages in the world of literature and art: Elvish.
The made-up language first appeared in "The Hobbit" and then in "The Lord of the Rings" as the language of the creatures that live in Middle-earth. Elvish included thousands of words and was divided into two languages: Sindarin, the everyday language of these creatures, and Quenya, the language of poetry and magic.