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Thread: Tolkien's Favorite Place?

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Which, of all Middle Earth places, do you think was closest to Tolkien's heart and why?
I think he may have had two.

The elven woods of Doriath may have been one, for it is there that Beren met Luthien. Tolkien had a great affinity with this couple, and many people have said the love between the two may have been a reflection of the love between JRR and Edith. If this is the case, I think the place of their meeting would have been something very special to him.

The second place is obviously the Shire. For all the travelling and wondrous places visited in Middle Earth, the Shire is that one focus which the hobbits think of returning to. It is quiet and peaceful... it is a representation of home. More than Rivendell, Lothlorien, Minas Tirith, etc, it is supposed to give the reader that feeling of their own home (maybe not in appearance, but in heart).
I think the Sea was closest to Tolkien's heart. Though he spent very little time near the Sea in his lifetime, you can see his great reverance for it in all his works. The Sea is the place all his characters seem to want to return to, they feel, as I think Tolkien felt, the longing for something so big and boundless it could be compared to eternity.
I think every place in Middle Earth held a place in Tolkien's heart, from Fangorn Forest where his love of trees and saving the planet's natural resources is plainly evident when the trees are given sentience and go forth to kick Orc butt in a comical sense of revenge to wide open plains of Rohan and the simple life enjoyed in the Shire by the Hobbits - all of them have a special meaning - thats what I think anyway

Smile Smilie
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Tolkien had a great affinity with this couple, and many people have said the love between the two may have been a reflection of the love between JRR and Edith.


Doesn't JRR and Edith's tombstone refer to them as Beren and Luthien?

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Doesn't JRR and Edith's tombstone refer to them as Beren and Luthien?


I'm not absolutely certain, but I believe it does.
I don't know how big an emotional attachment Tolkien felt for Tirion, but I know it was based on Warwick, and he does describe it as the fairest of all cities. I keep meaning to go to Warwick myself and have a look around....I understand it has a very well preserved city centre from the middle ages. Perhaps I will come home with shimmering dust on my shoes!
Welcome back, JonnieA, I haven't seen you for a while. Nice to have you back on board. Smile Smilie

I believe it would've been Lothlorien or the Shire. Smile Smilie
Lothlorien because Tolkien had a strong love for trees, like myself.
Then the Shire, for as Val said it's representation of home and a place of comfort that gave Sam, Frodo, Merry and Pippin a reason to keep on their journey; For the hope of returning home.
But I think, if Tolkien was alive today he would've said that each place in Middle-Earth (maybe even Mordor) had a place in his heart and came from some experience and feeling.
Tolkien may have considered Middle-earth his home; the special places in his heart surpass my present knowledge!
Personally, I hold the belief that Rohan may have been closest to Tolkien's heart, or at least closest to his interests. He modeled Rohan partially after the Viking culture, which he was intrinsically drawn to. He also spent A LOT of time in LOTR on Rohan, which tells me that he really was attached to it. And of course, there is the Shire.Smile Smilie
I agree with Grondmaster. I think that the Shire would've been closest to his heart because he explained it so detailed, he always hinted that Frodo and Sam just wanted to go back. And he also, as Grondmaster said previously, called The Shire Home. So I think the Shire is closest to Tolkien.
~Celebrimbor
Lament singer for Tolkien
The Shire was based upon Tolkien's childhood "playground" around south-west Birmingham, including Worcestershire and Warwickshire. I happen to live a few minutes away from Sarehole Mill and understand that much of his early inspiration was based on his idyllic "rural" life as he saw it during the early years growing up.
Well the Shire wasn't just on his sole childhood. I mean, come on. You can tell Tolkien's favourite place was the Shire no doubt. I think this question was kind of pointless.
Hello everyone. Well I normally just look around, instead of post things, but I'm going to put my oar in for a moment. If you're talking geographic places -- Shire, hands down. Although one does note that the Shire doesn't appear in all his pre -hobbit stuff -- which makes a lot of writing that he poured out of his heart and mind that's basically Shire-less. I think, second place would be Rivendell, no? Tolkien, like Bilbo, had a love of lore and storytelling, and where better to get that than among the elves of Rivendell, and even from Elrond Half-Elven himself? (I rather get the impression that Lorien, though full of elves, is much less friendly to the poor hobbit seeking tales....)

But I'm going to turn away from geographic places for a moment, and say (is this too sappy?) -- I think that Tolkien's favorite place is hidden in the heart and spirit of Gandalf. Wise, loving, kind, cranky, humble, courageous, pyromaniac, apparently immortal, and, (at least in middle earth,) homeless -- friend of hobbits, elves, ents, dwarves and even men, (if they will have him as their friend) -- cryptic, fallible, powerful but not *all* powerful -- if ever there was one who set to the task given him, and inspired others to do the same, regardless of the difficulty, Gandalf was it.
Nice post Elanorraine! Don't be afraid to post more often, most of us don't bite! Elf Winking Smilie
I DO!!!!!!!!!!!! MWALHAHAHAHA!!!! But my teeth are blunt. I need to sharpen them.

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many people have said the love between the two may have been a reflection of the love between JRR and Edith.


Haha, I have a quote from Tolkien himself....

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I met the Lúthien Tinúviel of my own personal 'romance' with her long dark hair, fair face and starry eyes, and beautiful voice..


It seems Tolkien would agree. WOOOOOO!!!!!!! Sorry, I still have my schoolgirl reactions from Term Four. (It's the holidays!!!!!)
The Shire was certainly Tolkien's favourite place! There're many facts that are evidence of that!
i'm afraid i'd have to disagree... i may be biased... but i think it was rohan...
here's my reasoning... i forget where i heard it but rohan was based on what england and the anglo-saxons would have been like if they had horses and not been invaded by the normans. since the silmarillion and lotr were written as english fairy tales this would make sense. not to mention i think that there are a lot of parallels between the author and the characters in rohan. i figure the most important would be to compare théoden to tolkien. both their sons died during thier respective wars. he also places his favorite characters there (they're easy to identify... just look for the ones with grey eyes... ie Aragorn, Arwen, Beren, Luthien, Morwen, Éowyn). you could say that if that were the case then you could say that there are parallels between denethor and tolkien for the same reasons... except denethor kills himself and théoden pushes himself forward and finds glory on the battlefield. if i were the author... i'd surely place the character most like myself in my favorite place.

but close to his heart... i'd say the undying lands. it is afterall based on the garden of eden. the story of adam and eve's expulsion is important... and is repeated in the exile of the noldor. valinor is filled with beauty and wisdom and song and feast.... wouldn't everyone like to be there?
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I think that Tolkien's favorite place is hidden in the heart and spirit of Gandalf. Wise, loving, kind, cranky, humble, courageous, pyromaniac, apparently immortal, and, (at least in middle earth,) homeless -- friend of hobbits, elves, ents, dwarves and even men, (if they will have him as their friend) -- cryptic, fallible, powerful but not *all* powerful -- if ever there was one who set to the task given him, and inspired others to do the same, regardless of the difficulty, Gandalf was it.


That's a lovely thought, Elanorraine.

Tolkien put so much of himself into his writings about cultures, races and places, it is difficult to distinquish just 'one' place he truly loved above all others. However, in his Letters (an invaluable book!) he describes himself as a Hobbit.

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I am in fact a Hobbit (in all but size). I like gardens, trees and unmechanized farmlands; I smoke a pipe, and like good plain food (unrefrigerated), but detest French cooking; I like, and even dare to wear in these dull days, ornamental waistcoats. I am fond of mushrooms (out of a field); have a very simple sense of humour (which even my appreciative critics find tiresome); I go to bed late and get up late (when possible). I do not travel much....


If Tolkien saw himself as a Hobbit then the Shire is the obvious favourite place. It has all the qualities he is looking for. He may admire the other place but how do they compare?

Lothlorien - peaceful and beautiful but maybe not simple enough. Too much complexity within the elves lives. No pipe smoking. And I bet they all get up early.

Rivendell - much the same as Lothlorien.

Rohan - noisy horses, warrior like. Not peaceful enough for a 'hobbit'.

Gondor - too formal, too enclosed.

Fangorn - lots of trees and peace and Ents to talk to. Hobbit Tolkien may well have found peace here and likewise with Tom Bombadil.

Undyling lands - again, it has the peace and beauty but what of the Hobbit life? Pipe smoking, sleeping late, simple food, simple needs. It has some of what he loved in life but would Hobbit Tolkien have been happy with life amongst the elves? I think not. I don't think he yearned for the immortality it offered. Rather, I see Tolkien as embracing the Hobbit/Man path, a good life, well lived and trusting his faith as to what happens after death.

For all the beauty and splendour of the other places in Middle-earth, I think Tolkien felt at home in the Shire. And home is where the heart is - maybe with visits from Gandalf to bring that extra sparkle on occasions.

Quite obviously it was the Shire, because it's a place of innocence and simplicity. There aren't any nasty plots, or warfare, or complicated things the other places have. It's like a quiet corner tucked away from the world. And everyone enjoys himself every day, with nothing to worry about. I think Tolkien would've wanted this sort of life most of all. He didn't need all the glory of Gondor, or Rohan, or the timelessness of Rivendell, or the ancient beauty of Lothlorien, he probably just wanted to live a simple life. When people get older they usually feel weary, and all they want is to throw all cares away and enjoy life simply for the sake of living. And the Shire would be the place to give him that.