Today is Tolkien’s 125th birthday, which means British food, plenty of tea, and all things Middle-earth are on tap for today. Okay, amid getting ready for the spring semester to begin.
It’s also a great day to share an interesting tidbit of Anglo-Saxon history. While Tolkien is best known for writing about Middle-earth, he had many interests, including Anglo-Saxon history. With that in mind, I came across something fascinating while making cookies and watching Secrets of Great British Castles via Netflix.
Evidently, there was once a Norman monk known as Gundulf of Rochester. King William I noticed that he had a knack for architecture so he helped build none other than the White Tower, which is now part of the Tower of London. Could this Gundulf have somehow inspired the Gandalf we all know and love today? Or did the White Tower influence Minis Tirith or The Two Towers itself? No one may know now, but a historian on the show presented the theory, and it’s certainly one I’d never heard before.
Tonight at 9pm local time is the Tolkien Society’s annual toast to the Professor. I’ll likely have my customary Taylor’s of Harrogate afternoon Darjeeling (because afternoon Darjeeling is good at any time of day). A good cup of tea just seems appropriate.
So here’s to another year of celebrating the Professor, his many accomplishments, and his lasting influence.