Saturday, January 03, 2009

``Sorry! I don't want any adventures, thank you. Not today. Good morning! But please come to tea–any time you like! Why not tomorrow? Come tomorrow! Goodbye!” With that the hobbit turned and scuttled inside his round green door, and shut it as quickly as he dared, not to seem rude. Wizards after all are wizards.
“What on earth did I ask him to tea for!” he said to himself. He had only just had breakfast, but he thought a cake or two and a drink of something would do him good after his fright. -- from The Hobbit, 1937

Today is the birthday of a well-loved famous author who loved tea. The author of ``The Lord of the Rings'' trilogy and ``The Hobbit'' was born on this day in in 1892. Tolkien was orphaned by the age of 12, having lost his father to rheumatic fever in 1895, and his mother to complications of Type 1 diabetes in 1904. In 1911, Tolkien and three friends formed a semi-secret society which they called the T.C.B.S which stood for Tea Club and Barrovian Society, alluding to their fondness for drinking tea Barrow's store near the school ... and mischievously in the school library as well.

At the age of 16, Tolkien met Edith Mary Bratt when J.R.R. (John Ronald Reuel ... they called him Ronald) and his brother Hilary Tolkien moved into the same boarding house. According to Humphrey Carpenter:

Edith and Ronald took to frequenting Birmingham teashops, especially one which had a balcony overlooking the pavement. There they would sit and throw sugarlumps into the hats of passers-by, moving to the next table when the sugar bowl was empty. ...With two people of their personalities and in their position, romance was bound to flourish. Both were orphans in need of affection, and they found that they could give it to each other. During the summer of 1909, they decided that they were in love.

Despite this decision of love, Tolkien's guardian, Father Francis Morgan, forbade this relationship as he was horrified at Tolkien's involvement with a Protestant girl. Tolkien was unable to see Edith again until he was 21. On the evening of his 21st birthday (January 3 , 1913) Tolkien wrote to Edith and asked her to marry him. She had already agreed to marry another man because she thought Tolkien had forgotten her. They met beneath a railway, renewed their love, Edith
dumped the other guy, Edith became Catholic and they lived happily ever after.

Bilbo Baggins above
J.R.R. Tolkien below
Am I the only one that sees the similarity?

I find another interesting similarity. The likeness between
Tolkien's monogram/estate trademark
the Chinese symbol for cha (tea)

Coincidence? I think not.

Source: Tolkien: A Biography. (1977) by Humphrey Carpenter

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