Christopher Tolkien, the man widely consider the greatest Tolkien scholar as well as author, editor, literary executor and son of J.R.R. Tolkien, has died. He was 95.
Christopher Tolkien is responsible for editing and publishing more J.R.R. Tolkien books after his father's death in 1973 than his father published during his lifetime.
"His legacy, as one individual put it today, will ensure that he is celebrated and remembered scarcely less than his father for generations to come," said noted Tolkien artist Ted Nasmith.
Born Nov. 21, 1924, Christopher spent his childhood in Oxford hearing his father's stories before he followed in his academic footsteps and became a lecturer in Old English, Middle English and Old Icelandic at the University of Oxford. He joined the Royal Air Force during WWII and was stationed in South Africa, where is father was born.
J.R.R. Tolkien was author of "The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Rings." Those works have been published around the world in approximately 50 languages and have sold approximately 150 million copies according to The Tolkien Society. He was called the author of the 20th Century and his works were voted the Book of the Millennium by Amazon customers. His Rings works are likely among the best selling books of all time.
Christopher also drew the original maps for the original publication of "Lord of the Rings" when it was published in 1954 and 1955. He was the literary executor of the Tolkien Estate, editing and publishing much of his father's unpublished writings including the Middle-earth legendarium "Silmarillion," in 1977. He also edited and published his father's Middle-earth works:
- "Pictures by J.R.R. Tolkien," 1979
- "Unfinished Tales" 1980
- "The Monsters and the Critics, and Other Essays" 1983
The Twelve Volume History of Middle-earth including:
- "The Book of Lost Tales, part 1" 1983
- "The Book of Lost Tales part 2" 1984
Christopher Tolkien continued to edit and publish his father's works nearly until his death including:
- "The Children of Hurin" 2007
- "The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun" 2009
- "Beren and Luthien" 2017
- "The Fall of Gondolin" 2018
He published many of his father's non-Middle-earth works and translations as well.
The Tolkien Society said:
We send our condolences to Baillie, Simon, Adam, Rachel and the whole Tolkien family at this difficult time. 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. Millions of people around the world will be forever grateful to Christopher for bringing us The Silmarillion, The Children of Húrin, The History of Middle-earth series and many others. We have lost a titan and he will be sorely missed.