John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was born on 3 January 1892 in Bloemfontein, South Africa. At three, he and his mother travelled to England. When his father unexpectedly died in South Africa before joining them, Tolkien’s family was forced to remain in England indefinitely. Tolkien grew up in several villages around Birmingham in the West Midlands. He particularly enjoyed exploring rural areas such as his Aunt Jane’s farm, Bag End, a name that should be quite familiar to lovers of Tolkien’s work. As a teen, Tolkien began to experiment with constructed languages as a hobby, in addition to his love of...

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