8 fun facts about J.R.R. Tolkien on his 122 birthday

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Jan 3, 2014, 10:52 AM EST

J.R.R. Tolkien would have turned 122 today, if he were still alive and as long-lived as one of his Middle-earth characters. Tolkien wasn't just the author of the acclaimed The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings (and the underappreciated Smith of Wootton Major). By the time he died in 1973, he was also a linguist, a family man and a painfully stereotypical Oxford don (we can prove it here). But those of you who know the most arcane trivia about Grishnakh, Amon Sul and the Arkenstone might not know that much about the lord of The Lord of the Rings.

To celebrate the professor's birthday, here are some facts you might not have known about author Tolkien and his books.