J.R.R. Tolkien Trivia Quiz
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The Tolkien family came to England in the eighteenth century. John Tolkien, J.R.R. Tolkien’s grandfather, prospered at first but his business eventually collapsed, changing the course of life for his son, J.R.R. Tolkien’s father Arthur, causing him to leave England. What business had John Tolkien been in?
J.R.R. Tolkien was born in 1892 in what was a part of the British Empire, but not in Britain itself. In what country did he spend his first few years?
When Tolkien was a toddler, an event occurred that would later find an echo in one of his most famous scenes. What happened?
B) Lost a ring belonging to his mother
C) Set upon a table at a party and encouraged to sing
D) Taken to see the fireworks display for a royal coronation
Return to England
In the year of his father Arthur’s death, when J.R.R. Tolkien was only four years old, the family moved to Sarehole, a small village at the edge of the industrial city of Birmingham. How did Tolkien draw on his memories of Sarehole when inventing settings for his Middle Earth books?
B) The idyllic rustic surroundings inspired the Shire, home of the hobbits
C) The lines of miners filing in to work suggested the dwarven kingdom of Moria
D) The mansions atop nearby hills gave rise to the stately elven court at Rivendell
In 1903, Tolkien and his brother Hilary were placed under the guardianship of Francis Morgan, a family friend who had an independent income from a family sherry importing business. What was Morgan’s occupation?
Hard of speaking
Although Tolkien enjoyed acting and debating, and in time became a popular lecturer, his speech was indistinct and difficult to understand. He put this down to a physical cause. What was it?
B) A bungled tooth extraction had left his mouth partially paralysed
C) Chronic dryness of the vocal tract made his voice hoarse and faint
D) He had badly bitten his tongue while playing rugby football
Welcome to the club
While studying at Oxford for his undergraduate degree, Tolkien followed a pattern that would persist throughout his life by starting a small literary club for men. He called his club The Apolausticks, a word of Greek origin. What does it mean?
B) Those devoted to self-indulgence
C) Those who defy convention
D) Those who scribble in secret
Tolkien devised entire fictional languages, called Quenya and Sindarin, for the elves of his stories set in Middle Earth. In designing them, Tolkien drew on features of real languages he first studied at Oxford. Which languages inspired Quenya and Sindarin, respectively?
One small problem
When a teenage romance blossomed between Tolkien and Edith Bratt, Francis Morgan, who supported Tolkien financially, insisted they stop seeing each other. Nevertheless, immediately upon turning 21, Tolkien proposed marriage to Edith, only to be confronted by an obstacle to their union. What was it?
B) Edith had already accepted a proposal from another man
C) The couple disagreed passionately on matters of war policy
D) The church burned to the ground on the morning of the wedding
Fighting for England
Tolkien graduated in 1916, got married to Edith, then almost immediately began military service in France, fighting in the trenches during the Battle of the Somme. Though unhurt by bullet or bomb, he was sent home to England after less than five months. Why?
B) He had been transferred to a desk job
C) He had contracted trench fever
D) His lungs were damaged by mustard gas
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