01 April 2018

Tolkien: world-creator and (almost) code-breaker

Over at the Goodman Games site is a short essay on J.R.R. Tolkien. It covers the usual information on the good professor, and comments on the influence of Middle-earth on Dungeons & Dragons. The author (Chris Doyle) is somewhat sceptical of Gary Gygax’s attempts to minimize Tolkien’s influence on the game—and correctly so, in my view.

Anyhow, I learned these two facts about Tolkien from the essay:
“As a child he is said to have been bitten by a large baboon spider, which could have been an influence of his later writings of Shelob in The Lord of the Rings. As the Second World War raged on, Tolkien was tapped by the British government to become a codebreaker. He agreed, and received formal training from the cryptographic department and even took classes at the London headquarters of the Government Code and Cypher School. Later that year he was informed his services would not be required.”
Also, my wife sent me a link to this 'brackify' of the Elves of Middle-earth. I can't make any sense of it. (More specifically, the various 'pairings' generally seem incoherent.) 

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I'm a Canadian political philosopher who divides his time between Milwaukee and Toronto.