Sixty-two years ago today, The Fellowship of the Ring was published to what most people consider a general success. The 1954 novel was written after Dr. Tolkien’s publisher asked for a sequel to the popular The Hobbit, or There and Back Again, and expressed no interest in the Silmarillion manuscripts he had been working on for many years, stating that the readers wanted “more about hobbits.” Considering the success of the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy, they may have been right.
I have little to add to the mountain of appreciation Dr. Tolkien’s books have already received. While I was never the enormous fan that many of my friends were, the fantasy world created in these books was a welcome complement to the worlds of classical mythology and superhero comics that enriched my youth. The art inspired by the Middle-Earth realm was even more delightful than the books themselves, at times.
And of course, the first novel in the trilogy includes the greatest Middle-Earth resident of them all: Tom Bombadil. He was so popular he got his own spinoff book, and yet was unjustly excised from the 2001 film adaptation. Perhaps he’ll get his own Netflix series, one of these days.
So, happy birthday, Fellowship! May you reach the ripe old age of eleventy-one!