When The Hobbit was released in 1937, it was met with near unanimous critical acclaim. With one story, J. R. R. Tolkien re-invented the fantasy genre. The characters, the races, the history, the world he invented dazzled adults and children. His follow-up trilogy, The Lord of the Rings cemented his standing of one of the world’s greatest fantasy authors. He would go on to produce many more tales with most of his works being released posthumously. His books continue to influence fantasy writers, movies and games (Dungeons & Dragons) nearly 50 years after his death. The impact of Tolkien upon our world cannot be ignored.
“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo. “So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
– J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
In honor of his works, the Tolkien Society created Tolkien Reading Day in 2003 to encourage those new to the genre to enjoy them. They chose the date of March 25 because it matches the fall of Sauron, the antagonist in Lord of the Rings.
Tolkien’s stories were devised with more imagination and cleverness than most. His pages are filled with acceptance, hope, growth and love – all of the good things in life. His characters face peril, fear, cruelty and hate, yet rise above it all with honor, courage and light.
To honor Tolkien Reading Day, pick up The Hobbit or (if you’re already a fan) introduce your child, friend, or partner to a writer who changed the world simply through the power of imagination.
“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.”
– J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit.