In 1937 JRR Tolkien penned his classic children’s novel The Hobbit. The fantasy book was so popular that Tolkien quickly began work on a sequel. At first, The Lord of the Rings was intended to be a short novel that followed on from The Hobbit, but over time, it developed into an epic fantasy trilogy. The original manuscript of The Lord of the Rings numbered a whopping 9,250 pages.
LOTR Tattoos bring Middle-Earth to Skin
Fantasy stories first appeared in print in the mid 1800s, with books like Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland (1865). The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings trilogy were among the first fantasy novels to create an entire world for the characters to exist in, not a world of imagination, as in Alice in Wonderland, but a magical place that existed somewhere nearby but out of reach. Tolkien called his fantasy world Middle-earth, driving home the idea that the world is close by.
Middle-earth is inhabited by a variety of two-legged humanoid species, each of which have their own cultures, customs and physical characteristics. Tolkien used fantasy creatures from fairy tales, but gave them his own spin. In The Lord of the Rings, Elves are not tiny creatures that live in the forest and get up to mischief, as depicted in dozens of fairy tales. Instead they are taller than humans and are skilled fighters.
Besides giving antiquated creatures a new spin, Tolkien created a variety of his own creatures. Orcs, for example, are troll-like beings that serve the Dark Lord. Whether the Orcs follow Sauron in the hopes of achieving power or simply because they have dark, destructive hearts is unknown. Another creature that Tolkien created is the hobbit, a furry footed humanoid who loves to eat. The little hobbits play a big role in the story, overcoming personal fears to save The Shire, the village where the hobbits live. The creature Gollum was once a hobbit who was dehumanized by the evil effect of the ring. He moves about on all fours and communicates in a mad, obsessive language of small words and hisses.
Tattoos of War and Fantasy
Tolkien wrote The Lord of the Rings between the years of 1937 and 1949, which means that a large portion of the book was written during World War II. Perhaps the fighting going on around the author at the time effected his writing, as much of the book tells the tale of an epic battle between good and evil forces. There are currently several dozen wars taking place around the world, so tattoos that reflect the wars in a creative, emotive way are becoming more popular. LOTR tattoos are a way of acknowledging the current wars while also allowing the tattoo owner a way to escape from the drama of the real world into the fantasy world of Middle-earth.
The most popular Lord of the Rings tattoo designs don’t show scenes of war or fighting; instead, fans tend to choose to have portraits of characters from the movie, Elvish script or symbols and sigils that are introduced in the book.
Tattoos of Magic and Mystery
Tolkien’s popular fantasy novels depict scenes of magic and mysticism. There are trees that talk and move about, dragons and an enormous spider with a bad attitude. The creatures described in The Lord of the Rings have become favorites among fantasy readers, and have inspired a wealth of books by other fantasy authors. These characters have found their way into body art as tattoos in designs that show scenes from the award-winning films, or in artists’ depictions of the story.