Tolkien fact 31 – Jack and Tollers

[Originally posted on April 2nd, 2015]

It is quite widely known that J.R.R. Tolkien and Christian writer and theologian C.S. Lewis were close friends throughout much of their adult life. They both taught at Oxford (English) and were apart of group called the Inklings. This informal gathering of writers and thinkers met often in a pub and shared writings each enjoyed or had written themselves. In this way, Lewis heard much of Tolkien’s older mythologies and was one of the main encouragers in helping him get The Hobbit published. Lewis had fallen away from his faith in his adolescence and cites Tolkien as one of many that helped him find it again. Tolkien referred to Lewis as Jack and Lewis called Tolkien Tollers. At some point in their professional careers at Oxford, the two struck up a deal: they would flip a coin and each would take one of two topic to write about. The result was Lewis writing a space-travel story (which later became his Space Trilogy) and Tolkien would write a time travel story. He never actually wrote the story but pieces of the his ideas for it were woven into his mythology for Middle-earth (specifically in the story of Númenor). Though good friends, they did not see eye-to-eye on everything. Tolkien disliked Lewis’ blatant use of allegory in his writings (referring to Narnia) and disapproved of his “laymanizing” of theology in his other works (i.e. Mere Christianity).

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