Great Minds Fight Alike

Frodo_and_Sam_at_Mt_Doom

Have you ever wanted to be a fly on the wall in a room with two extremely creative/smart/clever/funny/fill in the blank people? Can you imagine the conversation? Can you imagine how in awe you would feel just to be in their presence? And if they were two of the most prolific writers of our days would you bring a notebook to take some notes? I would.

Tolkien and Lewis. You know them. You’ve probably read their words, and more than likely have seen the movies. Lord of the Rings and Narnia ring a bell? Two incredible works by two inklingsincredible minds. And friends.

Yep, friends. Cagney and Lacey, Mickey and Donald, Abbott and Costello, Tolkien and Lewis. Brought together at Oxford University, they were part of a literary group called the Inklings where the members unfinished works were read and discussed, and held competitions to see who could read ridiculous prose without being the first to laugh . It was where Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia were first read. Talk about a critique group!

C.S._LewisBut long before the days of fame they were just two regular Tommys ducking shells and hanging out in the WWI trenches on the Somme. Tolkien, quick of mind with just a tad bit of craftiness up his sleeve, invented a secret code for his letters to slip past the postal censorship and straight into the hands of his adoring wife back home who was then able to keep up with her husband’s movements across the Western Front. Sneaky man. Lewis, on the other hand, kept himself occupied with trench warfare and homesickness. Though they didn’t fight together, both men were dealt a stroke of luck in the form of trench fever and wounds and were sent home to Blighty just before most of their battalions were completely wiped out.

Years later, Tolkien spoke out against those trying to find parallels between his work and the Tolkien_1916wars.
One has indeed personally to come under the shadow of war to feel fully its oppression; but as the years go by it seems now often forgotten that to be caught in youth by 1914 was no less hideous an experience than to be involved in 1939 and the following years. By 1918 all but one of my close friends were dead.”

But thank goodness these men did survive. Without them we would have lost the opportunity to experience the magic they created with pen and paper. Do you think they knew at the time, as they sat in The Bird and Baby pub enjoying a pint by the fire that their scratchings of talking lions and orcs that they were cooking up some kind of amazement? And I wonder if comma splices or misplaced modifiers ever threatened their friendship …

Other notable figures of WWI
-Ernest Hemingway – ambulance corps
-Col. George Patton – Wars may be fought with weapons, but they are won by men.
-Sgt. Alvin York – one of the most decorated soldiers of WWI
-Walt Disney – ambulance driver after the Armistice
-Mata Hari – exotic dancer who was captured and executed for German espionage

 

 


A to Z blog hop at Patterings.

14 Comments

  1. Tom Threadgill

    Wouldn’t that make a great movie? The story of The Inklings? I wonder what Lewis & Tolkien would think about their books being made into movies?

    Reply
    1. J'nell (Post author)

      Ooh. That would be a good movie. If you ever decide to jump into the film industry and make it then I get half the profits. Or a cameo. Or my name at the end of the credits.

      Reply
  2. Patty Wysong

    Ay yi yi. What a crit group that must have been…and what a fun spin to put on things! Talk about out-of-the-box thinking. Wow… So cool. =]

    Reply
    1. J'nell (Post author)

      I’d be pretty intimidated to be a part of that group. My best idea would be to sit in the corner, mouth shut, and just watch the awesomeness around me. Then go home and cry because I never came up with Mt. Doom, the Shire, or Mr. Tumnus.

      Reply
  3. Diana Lesire Brandmeyer

    oh that would be a great movie! The closest I’ve seen to that is the movie Midnight in Paris. It fascintates me and would love to hang out and learn from these creatives.
    Blessings,
    Diana

    Reply
    1. J'nell (Post author)

      I love Midnight in Paris! And you’re right, that’s probably exactly how it would be to meet these greats. Hemingway and Stein to read my manuscript? Uh, yes please.

      Reply
  4. Susan Tuttle

    Love coming here and learning new stuff! Not sure I could’ve survived their crit group:) Oh boy! Lewis is my favorite of the two I gotta admit. Still love his stuff!

    Reply
    1. J'nell (Post author)

      I knew that the two were friends from my WWI research, but I had no idea they were in a crit group together. Oh the things you learn! I bought Lewis’s Narnia Chronicles years and years ago so that I would have a set for my own kids to read some day. I’m a huge fan Tolkien, but you have to read him with a clear mind or all those words will have you cross eyed.

      Reply
  5. Linda Bartosik

    Great minds! What great idea for G! You bring back memories of my time when I, too, bought the Narnia chronicles years ago in college and burned my way through them in a matter of days. Yes, great minds, great post! 🙂

    Reply
    1. J'nell (Post author)

      Thanks Linda! Those books were so easy to read, weren’t they? Makes me want to go back and reread them.

      Reply
  6. Joanne Sher

    How could you NOT learn in that crit group, eh? WOWzers.

    And I read the Chronicles of Narnia to my kids last summer – front to back. Was such a fun thing to do. Fell in love with them all over again (yes – read them as a kid too. Devoured them, more accurately :D)

    Reply
    1. J'nell (Post author)

      I haven’t read the books in a long time, but someday when I have time (ha!) I’d like to again just to see if I recognize things differently now as an adult.

      Reply
  7. Karla Akins

    I never knew this! I learn something every time I come to this blog. Amazing info! Thanks!

    Reply
    1. J'nell (Post author)

      I’m so glad that my little interests help others learn a new fact or two. Yay!

      Reply

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *