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Christopher Tolkien resigns as Tolkien Estate director

Christopher Tolkien has resigned as a director of the Tolkien Estate.

According to Companies House, Christopher Reuel Tolkien stood down as a director of both The Tolkien Estate Limited and The Tolkien Trust on 31 August 2017.

Christopher, who turns 93 this month, is J.R.R. Tolkien’s third son and was appointed literary executor upon his father’s death.

The news of his resignation does not come as a complete surprise. In the preface to Beren and Lúthien, published earlier this year, he wrote:

In my ninety-third year this is (presumptively) my last book in the long series of editions of my father’s writings, very largely previously unpublished, and is of a somewhat curious nature.

Since J.R.R. Tolkien’s death in 1973, Christopher has posthumously published some 24 books of his father’s writings, including The Silmarillion (1977), Unfinished Tales (1980), the 12-volume History of Middle-earth series (1983–96), The Children of Húrin (2007), and Beren and Lúthien (2017). In addition to Tolkien’s Middle-earth writings, Christopher has also edited a selection of his father’s academic works.

The Tolkien Society sends its heartfelt thanks and gratitude to Christopher for his work and dedication to his father’s legacy.

UPDATE: It is understood that Christopher remains the literary executor.

About the Author: Daniel Helen

Daniel is an Officer without Portfolio and Trustee of The Tolkien Society. Elected in 2014, he is mainly responsible for the Society’s digital operations, including this website.


  • it is the Coming of Falathar, of Erellont, and of Aerandir. i can Hear them Nigh unto us 🌸

  • TroelsForchhammer

    I certainly do not begrudge Christopher J.R. Tolkien some retirement years in peace, though I am nonetheless sad to hear that this era of the Tolkien Estate and the Tolkien Trust has passed.

    I am endlessly grateful to Christopher for his long and tireless work on his father’s literary heritage, and I much hope that the Estate and Trust will continue to be managed in the literary spirit of J.R.R. Tolkien as it has under Christopher.

  • Megan Fontenot

    I knew something felt fishy about the recent Amazon/New Line Cinema announcement. Given Christopher Tolkien’s fight to retain or protect the rights of The Sil (the Oath at work again, perhaps?), revealing of his abdication now, of all moments, can’t be coincidence… I’ll be interested to see if he releases a statement. Regardless, I am very sorry to see him go and am grateful for his respectful, thoughtful editing of his father’s work.

  • nashvegas

    Thank you Christopher for imparting to us the riches of your father’s incredible legacy. It is truly life-changing for so many of us. I hope you feel as though you’ve left everything in good hands.

  • Pgary Stephen Morris

    for me, someone who sees more than coincidence in the vagaries of what we experience and observe here as life, i feel as though Christopher was anointed to his role (just as we all might be absent refusal) as water carrier of his Dad’s legacy. It still amazes me that some one came along just at the right time, with the right amount of respect, with the requisite amount of understanding and sub-genius to bring to full flourish JRRT’s oeuvre. That it was his son makes it even better because we get also that affectionate Love that goes the extra mile and also that closeness in voice that makes family harmonies tighter and ineffably closer to the heart of the heart. Thank you Christopher Tolkien! May you be loved as you have loved and receive blessings beyond too. Amen. P. S. may i say also that The Monsters and the Critics point about not dissecting one’s way out of real comprehension and appreciation was applied by Christopher in the loving and holistic treatments he has given to his father’s works all his long life. I can hear the “atta-boy”s echoing down the halls of Heaven. <3 🙂

    • cjleete

      Hear, hear!

  • His was undoubtedly one of the most amazing and enlightening careers in literary scholarship. He literally shaped people’s lives all around the world.

  • Dan’l Danehy-Oakes

    Many thanks to young Christopher for his amazing work over the years.

  • tom

    Sad news, and pretty shameful move by the new head(s) of the estate who’ve wasted no time in going against the very reason for it’s existence, & cheapened the legacy of the author with this planned tv series. They and admirers of the books who are currently welcoming this crass exploitative project, by a machinery which cannot create for itself but only steal and ruin the work of others, should really take a look at JRR Tolkien’s own comments to see if he would have welcomed it. People respectful of the author’s wishes will have nothing do with this. The work of deceased authors should be respected, something that Hollywood, Peter Jackson, Amazon, and all their crass ilk are totally incapable of.

  • John Martin

    Many and sincere thanks for years of excellent work and dedication.

  • Beth Atwood

    My sincere gratitude and respect for all his work over the years.

  • Many thanks to Christopher for all he has done for his father and for his father’s works — the greatest example of filial piety I suspect that most of us have ever witnessed. We have all reaped the benefits!

  • Diane Derrick

    With much sincerity and gratitude I wish you Christopher contentment and peace in your retirement. Thank you for your tremendous achievements in sharing with us the rich legacy of your Father’s world, a delight to behold.

  • Nick

    Thank you, Mr. Tolkien.

  • cjleete

    I can only echo the kind and thoughtful words already written here. Many thanks to you and your father for your service to mankind.

  • Ruca77

    Thank you for everything Master Junior! You continue your father legend as none else could and did an epic job! Always respected your opinion. May you enjoy the next years (hopefully still a few decades) as a true hobbit! All the best /bow

  • Louis E.

    Is it clear who has taken the authority thus relinquished?
    Need we fear an avalanche of opportunistic pastiches?

  • Rob van Maanen

    <3 !

  • Rochelle Williams

    I greatly appreciate the work he has done, and hope he has a very pleasant retirement. Bless him.

  • aj

    Dear Christopher, Thank you, for always and for ever. You and your dad are a friend Iv never meat but in my head, but will always be in my heart. You and your dads words are to me faithful. If you want more, the book is called Words of the Faithful. as told by Pengolodh I-earnu. edited by Daymon Mickel Smith. Thank you again for your life work.