04
Aug

The private life of Tolkien

Many people have noticed that Tolkiens 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, its really good of you to come along and
act as Dungeon Master for the evening. Havent enjoyed myself so
much since I played in G.K. Chestertons 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.

[LOUD BANGING ON THE DOOR.]

Tolkien: Who is it?

Voice outside: Iss only me, Professor Tolkien. Juss poor Smeagol.
Hes 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 this essay? Cant you see Im busy
discussing the Numinous?

Smeagol: Dont be hard on poor Smeagol, he couldnt find his
precious elvish dictionary. That nasty Baggins had borrowed it.
Oooh, whats 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 dont want any orcs. Ive
come over specially to play White Head the dwarf.

Lewis: You mean, to argue the non-existence of God, dont 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?

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