Week 1 – John Ronald Reuel Tolkien

As the first of the 52 human beings we will explore in 2019, we chose J.R.R. Tolkien as a relatively easy one.

Tolkien is most famous for being the father of modern fantasy literature and creating the world of Middle-Earth, filled with Hobbits, Elves, Dwarves and Dark Lords. The books of the Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings and the Silmarillion have inspired for the past 70 years, generations of movie makers, modern fantasy writers, illustrators, role players, game makers, musicians and of course… toy makers an photographers.

Tolkien’s influences

Much of the universe and characters created by Tolkien were influenced by old European folklore, mythology, and languages. References to Greek mythology, Christianity, Nordic and Germany mythology, Kalevala and Arthurian Legends can all be found in Tolkien’s work.

Influence of Tolkien’s on toys

Due to the popularity of his literature, there is a plethora of toys inspired by creatures from Middle-Earth. Although these are not sold anymore, LEGO had an entire range based on Peter Jackson’s adaptations of The Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit.

But the influence of Tolkien can also be found outside the world of Middle Earth. Characters such as Albus Dumbledore (created by another of the 52 human beings we will explore later this year) and Obi Wan Kenobi have without a doubt something reminiscent of Gandalf (himself inspired by the Merlin from the Arthurian legends).

And let’s not forget other “non-licensed” toys featuring Elves, Dwarves, and other fantastic creatures.

I will for sure start #SiPgoes53 by combining it with #ElvesDay.

How does Tolkien influence your toy photography?

With his literature having been influenced by so many various sources, and having influenced so widely our modern culture, it would be surprising that there isn’t a connection between your photography and Tolkien.

Maybe it is the choice of toys and characters. Maybe it is the story elements. Or the themes explored? Or maybe it is another work (such as Harry Potter or Star Wars) inspired by Middle-Eart that inspires you?

So be sure to post your photo on social media with the hashtags #SiPgoes53 and #SiP_Tolkien!

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Teddi Deppner
5 years ago

What a great way to start the new year! Tolkien has been such a big influence on my life. I used to read the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings every single year, and often read it aloud to my younger siblings, too. The sweep and scope of the world he created gave my imagination such a broad place to play. I don’t do a lot of toy photography directly connected to Tolkien’s work, but the passion for storytelling that was formed in me during my youth still comes out in everything I do.

Tomasz Lasek
5 years ago

Actually I can’t even count numbers of J. R. R. Tolkien influences, direct and more subtle on me, my literature, musical and other tastes and in general. Starting with Hobbit, then struggling with Silmarillion [it was bit too much for 10-years old boy] and finally The Lord Of The Rings, these stories and aesthetics shaped my sensitivity to a large extent. So it won’t be easy to capture this legacy :)

5 years ago
Reply to  Maëlick

I read Hobbit, which is easy, then I read Silmarillion, which was okay, I think I was 15 or so at the time, then I tried to read LotR and that was so awful :D So hard to read :D I’m not sure which books I read, but I remember that I stopped in the middle of the book and there was a giant spider or something :D And I just couldn’t continue, it was so bad :D And it was when there was the first movie already. So I just waited for the other movies to come out :D… Read more »

5 years ago
Reply to  Maëlick

Silmarillion cut the crap and got straight to action :D No long descriptions and complicated things. Just people doing stuff. At least from what I remember :)

5 years ago

This time, I’m really in the project.
Last year I wanted to do it, but it was more complicated than I thought.
This time it’ sur serious game, I’m in.

5 years ago

Silly me. I have to admit that I never came across Tolkien before the LOTR movies came out. I read a lot from early on-site just not Tolkien. Up until today I’m probably not aware of his influence on fiction and fantasy and life in general. Curious what images will result from this….

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