Christopher Tolkien, Son of 'Lord of the Rings' Author JRR Tolkien, Has Passed Away at 95

Junie Sihlangu
Jan 17, 2020
10:44 A.M.
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On Wednesday, January 15, 2020, editor and novelist Christopher Tolkien passed away at the age of 95. He was famously known for being the son of the author of “The Lord of the Rings” books, J.R.R. Tolkien.


The sad news was first shared by the Tolkien Society on Twitter. Their post included a photo of Christopher who was the third son of John Ronald Reuel Tolkien and his wife Edith Bratt.

The post by the Tolkien Society read:

“The Tolkien Society sends its deepest condolences to Baillie, Simon, Adam, Rachel and the whole Tolkien family.”


Christopher edited his father’s work

The editor was born on November 29, 1924, almost 13 years before “The Lord of the Rings” was first published. Christopher became the "longtime steward of the Middle-earth Legendarium" after his father passed away in 1973.

The novelist ended up spending much of his career editing and publishing his father's work posthumously as the literary executor. However, he also worked as a translator and was a lecturer at the University of Oxford.


The Tolkien Society mourns his passing

The Tolkien Society Chair Shaun Gunner released a statement saying:

"Christopher's commitment to his father's works have seen dozens of publications released, and his own work as an academic in Oxford demonstrates his ability and skill as a scholar. We have lost a titan and he will be sorely missed."

Christopher was born in Leeds, England but grew up in Oxford. The Tolkien Society shared that he later went on to join the Royal Air Force during World War II and was stationed in South Africa.

The title page, of the book "The Silmarillion" by J.R.R. Tolkien, edited and published by his son Christopher Tolkien. shared on April 2008 | Photo: Wikimedia


Publishing “The Silmarillion”

After J.R.R. passed away, Christopher worked on his father's manuscripts and helped publish "The Silmarillion." The book chronicles the origins of Middle-earth and its people.


The novelist worked well into his elderly years and continued editing his father’s work with the last time being in 2018. HarperCollins, a publisher, revealed that Christopher edited or oversaw the publication of 24 editions of his father's works.

Christopher drew maps for his J.R.R.’s books

The novelist also drew the original maps for his father's “The Lord of the Rings,” and signed them “C. J. R. T.” The signature stood for his full name, Christopher John Reuel Tolkien.