J. R. R. Tolkien Orta Dünya’yı Yaratırken I. Dünya Savaşı’ndan Nasıl Etkilendi?

The Impact of World War I on Tolkien’s Works

The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, The Silmarillion and many more books by British author and philologist JRR Tolkien have been among the most popular literary works in the world for many years. The impressive transfer of the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit books to the big screen has increased the popularity of Tolkien’s works even more. In short, the works written by the British author are considered some of the most successful fantastic literary works in history. The universe in which these stories, almost all of which are interconnected, take place is called Middle-earth by Tolkien. In other words, Middle-earth is the general name of this magical world that Tolkien worked on almost all his life. However, it is known that World War I played an extremely important role in Tolkien’s life and thus the creation of Middle-earth. Here are the traces of World War I in Tolkien’s magical world…

JRR Tolkien was born on January 3, 1892, in a British colony in South Africa.

However, upon the death of his father, who was a bank manager, he returned to England with his mother from this British colony in Africa. Although Tolkien lived in South Africa for a very short time, something that would become one of the distinctive features of Middle-earth in the following years emerged during Tolkien’s life in Africa! Having been bitten by a spider as a young baby, Tolkien had become a lifelong fear of spiders. Maybe that’s why spiders in Middle-earth have always been portrayed as evil and serving evil…

After Tolkien returned to England, he became interested in literature at the direction of his mother.

Tolkien, who lost his mother at the age of 12, started to increase his knowledge in literature and language at the boarding school where he started to study. So much so that he was writing poems with his friends at school and was already starting to shape his thoughts on literature…

Just like his time in South Africa, his trip to Switzerland in 1911 was one of the important events that shaped Middle-earth.


Just before starting his studies at Oxford University, Tolkien took a trip to Switzerland with his friends. This trip in Switzerland made great contributions to Tolkien’s Middle-earth, especially geographically.

For example, he used the sights he saw during a mountain climbing in Switzerland almost exactly in his book The Hobbit. Dense forests, high hills, and even the “Misty Mountains” in the book were among the places that existed in Middle-earth as a result of the landscapes Tolkien saw in Switzerland…

His participation in World War I in 1915 was an important breaking point for both Tolkien and world literature.

Tolkien, who was sent to France during the war, managed to survive many battles with the help of his luck. But throughout the war, the fear of death, sickness, misery, evil, goodness, destruction, loss, friendship, and many more themes were deeply entrenched in Tolkien’s mind. All these themes would create Middle-earth years later…

After the war ended Tolkien became a respected scholar specializing in ancient English literary texts.

During this period, he married his great love Edith and began to lead a happy life. One of her favorite activities was writing stories for her children. This leisure time activity of Tolkien turned into the first drafts of The Hobbit in the early 1930s… In 1932, Tolkien completed the Hobbit story, which he wrote with a rather fairy-tale-like narrative compared to his later works. However, he had no thought of publishing The Hobbit as a book. Therefore, only his literary friends and a few students were aware of the existence of the Hobbit. But The Hobbit was published as a book in 1937 at the insistence of a publisher.

The first edition of The Hobbit sold out in no time! The book was an incredible sales success.

The Hobbit’s sales success continued for many years. II. It was reprinted many times until the paper shortage during World War II… This success story encouraged both Tolkien and his publishers to write a new story. Thus, the British writer began his new project, which he wanted to equip with much darker themes than The Hobbit: The Lord of the Rings.

When Tolkien wrote The Lord of the Rings, he took great care to match the Hobbit.


Because the author wanted to achieve a perfect thematic harmony between his two works. This thought of Tolkien was also valid for the books he would write later. For this reason, Middle-earth became a living story that Tolkien constantly struggled with until his death, making corrections and changes…

Many scholars agree that Tolkien was significantly influenced by World War I.


The war environment he was in during his youth had affected Tolkien in all its good and bad ways and also affected his literary character. Themes such as the resistance of the seemingly weak against the destructive industry that first emerged during the war, friendship and courage were also the basis of many heroic narratives in Middle-earth.

World War I wasn’t the only thing that Tolkien was influenced by when creating Middle-earth.


Tolkien was influenced by ancient English literary texts and Norse mythology as well as the war he witnessed. For example, Gandalf, one of the most recognizable characters in Middle-earth, and many other characters were named after Norse mythology. According to some, even Middle-earth itself was a reflection of Midgard in mythology…

Source: one

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *