24 Facts About Christopher Tolkien


Christopher John Reuel Tolkien was an English and naturalised French academic editor.


The son of author and academic JR R Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien edited much of his father's posthumously published work, including The Silmarillion and the 12-volume series The History of Middle-Earth.


Outside his father's unfinished works, Christopher Tolkien edited three tales by Geoffrey Chaucer and his father's translation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.


Christopher Tolkien was born in Leeds, England, the third of four children and youngest son of John Ronald Reuel and Edith Mary Christopher Tolkien.


Christopher Tolkien was educated at the Dragon School in Oxford, and later at The Oratory School.


Christopher Tolkien entered the Royal Air Force in mid-1943 and was sent to South Africa for flight training, completing the elementary flying course at 7 Air School, Kroonstad, and the service flying course at 25 Air School, Standerton.


Christopher Tolkien was commissioned into the general duties branch of the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve on 27 January 1945 as a pilot officer on probation and was given the service number 193121.


Christopher Tolkien briefly served as an RAF pilot before transferring to the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve on 28 June 1945.


Christopher Tolkien's commission was confirmed and he was promoted to flying officer on 27 July 1945.


Christopher Tolkien had long been part of the critical audience for his father's fiction, first as a child listening to tales of Bilbo Baggins, and then as a teenager and young adult offering much feedback on The Lord of the Rings during its 15-year gestation.


Christopher Tolkien had the task of interpreting his father's sometimes self-contradictory maps of Middle-earth in order to produce the versions used in the books, and he re-drew the main map in the late 1970s to clarify the lettering and correct some errors and omissions.


Christopher Tolkien published The Saga of King Heidrek the Wise: "Translated from the Icelandic with Introduction, Notes and Appendices by Christopher Tolkien" in 1960.


Later, Christopher Tolkien followed in his father's footsteps, becoming a lecturer and tutor in English Language at New College, Oxford, from 1964 to 1975.


Christopher Tolkien's father wrote a great deal of material connected to the Middle-earth legendarium that was not published in his lifetime.


JR R Tolkien had originally intended to publish The Silmarillion along with The Lord of the Rings, and parts of it were in a finished state when he died in 1973, but the project was incomplete.


Christopher Tolkien once referred to his son as his "chief critic and collaborator", and named him his literary executor in his will.


The younger Christopher Tolkien organised the masses of his father's unpublished writings, some of them written on odd scraps of paper half a century earlier.


The Children of Hurin, Beren and Luthien, and The Fall of Gondolin make up the three "Great Tales" of the Elder Days which JR R Tolkien considered to be the biggest stories of the First Age.


HarperCollins published other JR R Tolkien work edited by Christopher that is not connected to the Middle-earth legendarium.


Christopher Tolkien resigned as director of the estate in 2017.


In 2001, Christopher Tolkien expressed doubts over The Lord of the Rings film trilogy directed by Peter Jackson, questioning the viability of a film interpretation that retained the essence of the work, but stressed that this was just his opinion.


Christopher Tolkien's work is featured in the National Portrait gallery.


Christopher Tolkien felt that The Lord of the Rings was "peculiarly unsuitable for transformation into visual dramatic form" whilst his son became involved as an advisor with the series.


Christopher Tolkien died on 16 January 2020, at the age of 95, in Draguignan, Var, France.