As young children being raised by a single mother, J. R. R. Tolkien and his brother receive help from a local priest, Father Francis, who must relocate them from their home to small apartments in Birmingham due to financial hardships. Their mother is supportive and loving, filling their minds with stories of adventure and mystery which she recites by the fireplace at night. She becomes ill, however, and one day upon returning home from school, Tolkien finds her slumped in her chair, dead. Father Francis becomes the boys’ legal guardian, and eventually finds a kindly rich woman who agrees to take them in, providing them with room and board while they continue their childhood education. There, Tolkien meets Edith Bratt, the woman’s only other ward. Tolkien is impressed with Edith, whose piano playing he admires, and the two become friends.
At school, Tolkien immediately shows talent with languages, earning rough treatment from a rival classmate, Robert. When the two boys get into a fight, the headmaster – Robert’s father – orders that they spend all of their time together for the remainder of the term. While both initially resent the assignment, Tolkien is soon accepted into Robert’s small circle of friends, and the four – J. R. R., Robert, Geoffrey, and Christopher – form a close friendship, which grows with the years, even as they attend separate universities. Meanwhile, Tolkien continues his friendship with Edith, falling in love with her. Father Francis finds out about their relationship and recognizes that it is affecting Tolkien’s grades, and so forbids him from pursuing her while under his guardianship. Tolkien is distraught, not wanting to lose the priest’s financial support of his schooling. He relates the conversation to Edith, promising they will be able to be together when he reaches 21, the age of majority, but she instead ends the relationship.
Tolkien struggles at Oxford, but attracts the attention of Professor Joseph Wright, a prominent philologist. Tolkien realizes language is his true passion, and enrolls in Wright’s class. When the First World War breaks out, he and his friends all enlist in the British Army. Before Tolkien leaves, Edith returns and the two declare their love for each other. At the Battle of the Somme, Tolkien, suffering from trench fever, goes to look for Geoffrey, convinced that he is calling him, but is unable to find him and collapses unconscious. He wakes in a hospital weeks later with Edith by his side, to find that Geoffrey and Robert were killed; Christopher survived but was left traumatized.
Years later, Tolkien and Edith are married with several children, and Tolkien is now a professor at Oxford himself. The film ends with him inspired to write the famous opening of The Hobbit.
Watching the children returning to school. I know not everyone is sending their children back, and I know some of the schools are opening yet. But it was nice to see the children walk by, it almost makes me believe we are slowly returning to normal.
As you can see my painting is coming along nicely.
Tomorrow is family quiz night, and for the last couple of days I’ve been collecting questions. I’m looking forward to quizzing everyone😉