John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, the father of modern fantasy writing, was born January 3, 1892 in what is now South Africa. Best known, of course, for his works The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion, Tolkien served in the British Army in World War I and was the father of four children, two of whom currently survive. He was also a close friend of fellow author C.S. Lewis, for whose conversion to Christianity from atheism Tolkien was partly responsible — thus one can accurately say that Tolkien was in part responsible for the existence of Lewis’s famous Narnia series, though he (Tolkien) cared little for the books.
So raise a good deep mug of Shire-made beer or a glass of Elven wine — or, if you must, a similar substitute — to the memory of J.R.R. Tolkien, gone from this world since 1973 but always remembered for the world he brought to life.