Tuesday, 24 March 2015

The private life of Tolkien

Many people have noticed that Tolkien's novel "The Lord of the Rings" bears an uncanny resemblance to the game of Dungeons and Dragons, in that it contains elves, dwarves, orcs and so forth. Clearly Tolkien was much influenced by D&D, and a recently unearthed recording, probably made by MI5, shows him playing Dungeons and Dragons on the floor of his rooms in Merton College, Oxford one evening with C.S. Lewis, Charles Williams, and various other luminaries.

Here is part of the transcript of the recording, which all will agree is of great historical interest.

C.S. Lewis: Well, Tom, it's really good of you to come along and act as Dungeon Master for the evening. Haven't enjoyed myself so much since I played in G.K. Chesterton's dungeon and slew Father Brown.

T.S. Eliot (for it is he): Thanks. Anyway, is Father Aslan going to go and explore the Waste Land further yet, or will he have another drink?

Lewis: That depends on the rest of the party. Radagast?

Tolkien: Yes, I want to go and see Madame Sosostris the clairvoyante and see what she has to say.

(Murmurs of assent from Dorothy L. Sayers, Charles Williams, Bertrand Russell (visiting), etc. etc.)

Eliot: O.K. Radagast I want you to roll a D20 at this stage to see what happens as you walk across the Waste Land.


Tolkien: Who is it?

Voice outside: Iss only me, Professor Tolkien. Juss poor Smeagol. He's brought his essay for the nice Mr Professor.

[Tolkien goes over to open the door, doing his best to block the view of the dice, counters and miniature monsters on the floor. Meanwhile the rest of the party hurriedly leap into chairs and pretend to be having a deep discussion.]

Lewis: Yes but we all remember what St Paul says about the Numinous in his Epistle to the Confusions...

Tolkien: Well, Smeagol, where's this essay? Can't you see I'm busy discussing the Numinous?

Smeagol: Don't be hard on poor Smeagol, he couldn't find his precious elvish dictionary. That nasty Baggins had borrowed it. Oooh, what's that on the floor?

Tolkien: Er, nothing. My son must have left his toys there.

Smeagol: Can Smeagol be an orc?

Bertrand Russell: Certainly not. We don't want any orcs. I've come over specially to play White Head the dwarf.

Lewis: You mean, 'to argue the non-existence of God,' don't you?

Russell: Er, yes. Sorry.

Tolkien: Off you go boy and hand your essay in on time in future. [Door slams]. Now, my character Radagast threw a 12. What happens to him?

No comments:

Post a Comment