In preparation for the 60th anniversary of the publication of The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien’s masterpiece, I thought I would share some of my favorite quotes from Middle Earth and other works. Here are 16 of the best J.R.R. Tolkien quotes and a couple other interesting quotes about him and his work.
“Never laugh at live dragons, Bilbo you fool!” he said to himself, and it became a favorite saying of his later, and passed into a proverb.
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
I don’t know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.
“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.
“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door,” he used to say. “You step into the Road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there is no telling where you might be swept off to.”
It’s the job that’s never started as takes longest to finish.
All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost.
Faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens.
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 grows perhaps the greater.
“How shall a man judge what to do in such times?”
“As he ever has judged,” said Aragorn. “Good and ill have not changed since yesteryear; nor are they one thing among Elves and Dwarves, and another among Men. It is a man’s part to discern them, as much in the Golden Wood as in his own house.”
There are some things that it is better to begin than to refuse, even though the end may be dark.
Where will wants not, a way opens.
I will not say: do not weep; for not all tears are an evil.
Fantasy remains a human right: we make in our measure and in our derivative mode, because we are made: and not only made, but made in the image and likeness of a Maker.
Nearly all marriages, even happy ones, are mistakes: in the sense that almost certainly (in a more perfect world, or even with a little more care in this very imperfect one) both partners might be found more suitable mates. But the real soul-mate is the one you are actually married to.
Letter to Michael Tolkien (March 1941)
The most improper job of any man … is bossing other men. Not one in a million is fit for it, and least of all those who seek the opportunity.
Letter to his son Christopher Tolkien (29 November, 1943)
Quotes about Tolkien’s Works
Such a book has of course its predestined readers, even now more numerous and more critical than is always realized. To them a reviewer need say little, except that here are beauties which pierce like swords or burn like cold iron; here is a book that will break your heart.
Review by C.S. Lewis, as quoted in The Essential J.R.R. Tolkien Sourcebook: A Fan’s Guide to Middle-Earth and Beyond
On one memorable occasion a small group had gathered in Lewis’s rooms and were listening to Tolkien read the last installment of The Lord of the Rings. They were sitting there puffing on pipes and sipping tea when Hugo Dyson, who had been lounging on a sofa and growing increasingly bored with the proceedings, suddenly exclaimed: “Oh, ****! Not another elf!”
As quoted in C.S. Lewis: Creator of Narnia
What is your favorite J.R.R. Tolkien quote?