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Author, film researcher and member of the Swedish Military History Commission.

Sunday, December 08, 2019

Tolkien At War

Here in the French trenches things happened that greatly influenced J.R.R. Tolkien.

The new Tolkien movie, simply called "Tolkien", takes place in England and France. It is about J.R.R. Tolkien's childhood, youth and time at the front during the First World War. The film seems to have received mostly lukewarm reviews - well, here comes my take.

It seems that few Swedish cinemas (any at all?) have shown "Tolkien". Maybe it was released directly on DVD in Sweden? However, I have now seen it, on DVD, and my opinion is that it is not only well worth seeing, it is simply wonderful. As a film, it is gripping, romantic and beautiful. AND the director is Nordic, Dome Karukoski. What, a director from Finland? Actually, not so strange, considering that the Finnish language was important for Tolkien's saga languages, as was Kalevala - Finland's national epic. The Finnish language is actually mentioned in the film, and rightfully so.

In other words, ignore the reviews and watch the movie yourself. If you then want to know more about Lieutenant Tolkien's war experiences, I highly recommend Tolkien and the Great War by John Garth. A fantastic read if you are really interested in Tolkien and also are a military history buff.

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