J.R.R. Tolkien is the author of Lord of the Rings series.
I love this picture but it leaves out so much! Tolkien’s wife, Edith, was the inspiration for Luthien. She had dark hair and grey eyes that Tolkien gave Luthien (and most of her family). And Like Beren and Luthien, Tolkien and Edith had obstacles in their path.
Tolkien and his brother were orphaned in their teenage years. Their mother, before her death, stated she wanted them to grow up Catholic, so they were taken in by Father Francis Morgan, who eventually became like a second father to them.
He found them a place to live at Dutchess Road in Birmingham. Also staying at Dutchess Road was Edith Bratt, a Protestant girl and three years his senior. It’s said that Tolkien lived on the floor beneath her and they would pass notes to each other through the window at night.
Tolkien’s love for Edith was immediate, but forbidden by Father Morgan. So for three years Tolkien didn’t speak or write to Edith. At midnight on the eve of his 21st birthday, Tolkien wrote a letter to Edith asking, “How long will it be before we can be joined together before God and the world?”
Edith was already engaged to another man, but when she received Tolkien’s letter, she called off the engagement, converted to Catholicism and they were married.
Tolkien’s letters to his children after his wife’s death are fucking heartbreaking. These excerpts are from planet-tolkien.com:
“…I met the Luthien Tinuviel of my own personal ‘romance’ with her long dark hair, fair face and starry eyes, and beautiful voice…. But now she has gone before Beren, leaving him indeed one-handed, but he has no power to move the inexorable Mandos…”
And about the grave inscription, he wrote on 11th July 1972:
“I have never called Edith Luthien - but she was the source of the story that in time became the chief part of The Silmarilion. It was first conceived in a woodland glade filled with hemlocks at Roos in Yorkshire…”
“…For ever (especially when alone) we still met in the woodland glade, and went hand in hand many times to escape the shadow of imminent death before our last parting.”