John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, father of the middle Earth stories, had this incredible monogram made by himself : Putting his Initials in a typographic art, he used that symbol to sign some of his original artwork.
If you want more explanation about the logo, let's go inside the drawing !
Let's do some Fonts monogram with J J R T letters
I've tried to do the same work that tolkien did when building up his monogram.
I've used the -Ringbearer- font you could find here, and stacks the 4 letters one on each other :
The second "R" is in Russian mode and the result is pretty close to the Tolien symbol except for the 2 packs of four dots and the flame on the top of it. So what does they mean and is there something more than his initials ?
Based on this Reddit chat, there are several options :
- Tolkien loved calligraphy and could explain all this
- He got inspired by the chinese symbol shú but no explanations for the dots
- This is not the monogram used by Tolkien
Based on this second chat here, there are thoses others proposals:
- In runes, words are divided by dots (but it's not written in runes !)
- the full evolution of the symbol 1906-1936
- the dots are flower petals
- The dots may comes from the four separators between each letters : J.R.R.T. - but why two sets of 4 dots ?
History of the tolkien Monogram
As i can't have the sources of the modern monogram, i've done investigations with looking at the books editions and Tolkien's illustrations :
The Monogram did evolve ! As a matter of facts, the tolkien monogram seems to have been done without dots and flame till 1937. This add-on may have been done after his death by publishers or designers. but monogram picture of the 50's or 60's or 70's is very rare or almost impossible to find.
After reading the Tolkien biography, i see that some works were published by his son after JRRTolkien passed away (1973). Here are the results of the 1965 - 1983 period :
- Lotr second edition (1965) : no monogram on the book
- LOTR third edition (1979) : no monogram on the book
- the silmarillion (1977) - no monogram found on the book
- Unfinished tales (1980) - the monogram is there but not the 2 packs of 4 dots
- The shape of Middle Earth (1983) - We now have the final Monogram Version ! 10 years after JRRTolkien passed away.
So we can say that the actual monogram we know was modified after Tolkien Death. The flame appears in the late 80's and the dots appears in the 80's. Who did this change ? I suspect the Tolkien Estate or Publishers, aspiring to a more "runic" Logo following the success of the author !
Now that we have the history of this monogram, let's go to the inside of this symbol !
Runes written all around the Tolkien logoDo you remember the ring, the one that when placed in a fire show inscription in the "Black Speech" language, well this inscription on the inner side of the One ring is represented all around the JRR Tolkien logo, a sort of Sauron Poem :
Ash nazg durbatulûk,ash nazg gimbatul,
Ash nazg thrakatulûk, agh burzum-ishi krimpatul - Sauron -
For the non-fluent in black language :
One ring to rule them all, one ring to find them,
One ring to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them - Sauron -
The Original Author, John Ronald Reuel Tolkien wrote it near his fireplace cottage while smoking his pipe..
Now, let's have a look at the next Runes of the Poem :
The One ring and the others
The runes told the story of the rings origins : the Rings for all the Kings and Lords of the midlle Earth and the One which control all of them.
Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky
Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,
Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die,
One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie,
The Story around the One Ring
Gandalf was suspicious of the Ring, and later forced the real story from Bilbo.
Frodo chased by the black riders
After the Council of Elrond, the fellowship is founded.
To help the Fellowship to escape from the moria, Gandalf fought the Balrog
The fellowship lost Gandalf but escaped from the doom
Meanwhile, Saruman raise an Orc Army in Isengard
The Orcs of Isengard, an army born from the deep pits around Saruman tower : a large numbers of powerful warrior Orcs called "Uruk-hai".
Treebeard, leader of the Ents fight back
Treebeard, leader of the Ents, seeing that the Orcs would destroy his forest of Fangorn, led an army of trees to Isengard, destroyed and flooded it.
The eye of Sauron can see everything
Gandalf the white is back at the helm deep battle
Meanwhile in Gondor, the sword is reforged
Narsil was a longsword used by his Isildur to cut the One Ring from Sauron's hand during the battle of the last alliance. The shards of Narsil were reforged by the Elves.
The end of Sauron, gollum and Frodo's finger
Gollum attacks the invisible Frodo, and bite off his finger. So happy to get his precious back, Gollum loses his balance and falls into the lava.
The Ring is destroyed, Sauron's power as well and Middle finger of Frodo as well...