Christopher Tolkien, son of J.R.R. Tolkien, has died at the age of 95. Tolkien was born in England in 1924. He died January 15, 2020.
Christopher John Reuel Tolkien was author J. R. R. Tolkien’s third son. In addition to continuing his father’s work, he drew the maps for the original The Lord of the Rings. He signed the maps C. J. R. T.
After his father’s death, Christopher Tolkien began working on his father’s manuscripts and helped publish “The Silmarillion,” which chronicles the origins of Middle-earth and its people. He continued to edit other Tolkien tales as recently as 2018.
“Tolkien studies would never be what it is today without Christopher Tolkien’s contribution,” scholar Dimitra Fimi said in the Tolkien Society’s statement. “From editing ‘The Silmarillion’ to the mammoth task of giving us the ‘History of Middle-earth’ series, he revealed his father’s grand vision of a rich and complex mythology.”
According to publisher HarperCollins, Tolkien edited or oversaw the publication of 24 editions of his father’s works.
“Christopher was a devoted curator of his father’s work and the timeless and ongoing popularity of the world that J.R.R. Tolkien created is a fitting testimony to the decades he spent bringing Middle-earth to generations of readers,” said Charlie Redmayne, chief executive officer of Haper Collins UK. “The most charming of men, and a true gentleman, it was an honor and privilege to know and work with him and our thoughts are with his family at this time.”
The statement said Christopher Tolkien began helping his father at age 5 by listening to bedtime tales and catching inconsistencies. His father also paid him for each mistake he found in “The Hobbit.”
And while Christopher’s contributions to his father’s legacy are beyond calculation, he was not a fan of Peter Jackson’s films. From TOR:
Tolkien was a staunch critic of Peter Jackson’s adaptation of his father’s trilogy, telling Le Monde in 2012 that “They gutted the book, making it an action movie for 15-25 year-olds, and it looks like The Hobbit will be the same.” His death comes at a time when his father’s books are more popular than ever, and as Amazon works to create a massive TV series based on the works that he himself helped bring to the public.