J.R.R. Tolkien's son Christopher dies, was key to sharing dad's LOTR work

Lord of the Rings author's son edited The Silmarillion and The History of Middle-earth, among other works.

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Christopher Tolkien, the third son and the literary executor of author and Lord of the Rings creator J.R.R. Tolkien, has died at the age of 95. The Tolkien Society announced the news Thursday on Twitter. 

Christopher Tolkien was the editor of most of his father's work that was published after J.R.R. Tolkien's death, including The Silmarillion and The History of Middle-earth. In a second tweet, the Society said, "Christopher was Middle-earth's first scholar. Namárië." (The word "Namárië" is used as both a greeting and a farewell in Quenya, a language created by J.R.R. Tolkien.)

Born in Leeds, England, in 1924, Christopher Tolkien grew up listening to his father's stories of Bilbo Baggins and other now-famous characters. Tolkien went on to serve in the Royal Air Force during World War II and worked as a lecturer at the University of Oxford. 

He began working with his father's unpublished material after J.R.R. Tolkien's 1973 death. The Silmarillion was published in 1977, and Christopher Tolkien continued to work with his father's legacy for decades, publishing The Fall of Gondolin in 2018.

"We have lost a titan and he will be sorely missed," said Tolkien Society chair Shaun Gunner in a post on the society's site.

Christopher Tolkien is survived by his wife, Baillie, and three children, Simon, Adam and Rachel.

Numerous Twitter users left their condolences on the Tolkien Society's tweet.

"Your work was good, sir, and that of your father," wrote one. "This world sorely needs more true storytelling of the Tolkien kind."

Wrote another, "Way before the popular movie trilogy, I was a huge fan of The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings. I have fond memories of not being able to put the books down, and reading them late into the night with a flashlight under my blanket during the summer before 7th grade."

Amazon is working on a sprawling and expensive streaming series based on the Second Age of Middle-earth, which comes before the events depicted in The Lord of the Rings. This week, the company announced numerous cast members, including English actor Robert Aramayo. Aramayo played young Ned Stark in HBO's Game of Thrones, and will star as Beldor, the leading role in the new series.

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