Sunday, March 24, 2013

My "prediction": Tolkien was a wrestler

Off topic, but still a prediction in that I don't know the answer:  I think Tolkien wrestled in his youth. When you read his description of armed combat, it's pretty simple and somewhat vague, but when it becomes unarmed combat, suddenly every single motion gets described and punching takes a distant second place to grappling.

Maybe it's out there somewhere, but I've looked around and not read much about Tolkien's athleticism - some brief mention of tennis and rugby at Oxford, but that's about it.

Anyway, I always thought his description of physical combat demonstrated the saying, write what you know. Maybe sometime I'll find out if my prediction's right.

6 comments:

jrkrideau said...

Why a wrestler if he was rugby player. rugby = applied grappling at its best.

faustusnotes said...

It could have been a thing of the time ... The Worm Ourouboros, I recall, had a huge amount of wrestling. Maybe it was a fascination of intellectuals of the era, or earlier books had such an influence on the books of the time (perhaps also check RE Howard). It could be that at the time wrestling was the main source of sport/combat metaphors (as soccer is today), and that to readers of the era such references would have come across as trite (like saying "Frodo slotted a goal" or something in the modern era).

faustusnotes said...

... and it appears his sport was <a href="http://straightsets.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/12/18/tolkiens-path-suffer-tennis-injury-write-hobbit/>tennis</a>.

David B. Benson said...

It was from rugby. See page 143 of
J.r.r. Tolkien Encyclopedia: Scholarship And Critical Assessment
edited by Michael D. C. Drout

Russell Seitz said...

As to The Worm Ouroboros, Eddison's books give equal time to real tennis

Aaron said...

Note that as a walker in Lake District, he went from inn to inn.

A group that camps along the trail knows what under garments everyone is wearing.