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Wisdom from J.R.R. Tolkien's works

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Academic, poet, philologist and author, few minds will ever leave a greater impression on the world of fiction and fantasy than that of J.R.R. Tolkien.

A master of linguistics, Tolkien's ability to convey complex, uplifting wisdom in a simple turn of phrase is one of the most notable charms of his work. Proverbs and guiding words are scattered throughout The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings and much of his academic writings - drawing on his faith and the vast mythology of the world of Middle-earth.

In an effort to enhance your intellect and pay respect to the great man, we've collected together some of the most noteworthy words of wisdom from Tolkien's writings. Be sure to let us know if we missed any of your favourites in the comments bellow.

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“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.”

The Hobbit

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“All that is gold does not glitter,

Not all those who wander are lost;

The old that is strong does not wither,

Deep roots are not reached by the frost."

The Fellowship of the Ring

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“Fantasy is escapist, and that is its glory. If a soldier is imprisioned by the enemy, don't we consider it his duty to escape?. . .If we value the freedom of mind and soul, if we're partisans of liberty, then it's our plain duty to escape, and to take as many people with us as we can!”

Andrew Lang Lecture, 1939 - On Fairy-Stories

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“Courage is found in unlikely places.”

The Return of the King

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"It's the job that's never started as takes longest to finish."

The Fellowship of the Ring

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“There is nothing like looking, if you want to find something. You certainly usually find something, if you look, but it is not always quite the something you were after.”

The Hobbit

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“Faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens.”

The Fellowship of the Ring

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“All have their worth and each contributes to the worth of the others.”

The Silmarillion

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"I will not say, do not weep, for not all tears are an evil."

The Return of the King

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"Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends."

The Fellowship of the Ring

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"A man that flies from his fear may find that he has only taken a short cut to meet it."

The Children of Húrin

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"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."

The Fellowship of the Ring

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“Many are the strange chances of the world,' said Mithrandir, 'and help oft shall come from the hands of the weak when the Wise falter.”

The Silmarillion

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“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.”

The Two Towers

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“How do you pick up the threads of an old life? How do you go on, when in your heart, you begin to understand, there is no going back? There are some things that time cannot mend. Some hurts that go too deep... that have taken hold.”

The Return of the King

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“You can only come to the morning through the shadows.”

The Two Towers

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“Living by faith includes the call to something greater than cowardly self-preservation.”

The Hobbit

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“Where there's life there's hope.”

The Hobbit (also Ecclesiastes 9:3)

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“The praise of the praiseworthy is above all rewards.”

The Two Towers

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“The wide world is all about you: you can fence yourselves in, but you cannot for ever fence it out.”

The Fellowship of the Ring

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“It is useless to meet revenge with revenge; it will heal nothing.”

The Return of the King

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“For if joyful is the fountain that rises in the sun, its springs are in the wells of sorrow unfathomable at the foundations of the Earth.”

The Silmarillion

(Images: Rex)

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