“The world is indeed full of peril and in it there are many dark places. But still there is much that is fair. And though in all lands, love is now mingled with grief, it still grows, perhaps, the greater.”
- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings
It's been a big couple of weeks in Middle Earth for me. Not only did I see The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and re-read the novel, but I also visited the final resting place of J.R.R. Tolkien and his wife, Edith.
It didn't occur to me until recently to find out where he was buried. I knew that he lived and worked in Oxford, which is a mere 45 minute drive from my home on a good day, but I never thought of visiting him. When I looked it up on Google, I was surprised to find that he's buried in a cemetery owned by the Oxfordshire County Council in the city's north – somewhere I can access very easily.
So, Sunday I finally visited Professor Tolkien and Mrs Tolkien with a couple of friends who I managed to drag along with me. There, in Wolvercote Cemetery, we soon found the pair; mingling and blending in amongst all the other departed.
It says so much about the values of Professor Tolkien and his family. He saw himself as a regular person, who was accepting of others, and a deep romantic. It's impossible not to admire.
What's more, is that I felt like I was visiting someone I had known personally because of the fact that he is buried in such a normal place. We shared the cemetery with many coming to pay respects to their mothers, fathers, sisters, uncles, husbands, wives, and so forth.
This has only accelerated my love for Professor Tolkien's work, and my admiration of his remarkable life. If only all heroes were this wonderful to meet!