One of the most epic tales in modern literature, J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings” has enthralled readers for nearly 60 years with triumphant themes of courage and friendship but also destruction and war.
While Tolkien always denied direct parallels to history, his early life and experiences during both World Wars greatly influenced his writing, inspiring an intense love of nature and a deep distrust of that which destroys it — industry and war.
In its Beyond The Movie series, National Geographic explored Tolkien’s influences, speaking to scholars as well as those who knew him personally. We broke out the highlights.