|Balrog||In 1892, the scholarly giant of modern England, John R. R. Tolkien, was born in Bloemfontein, South Africa. |
His escapist fantasy writing was greatly influenced by combat tension suffered as a Second Lieutenant in 1916. Whilst Tolkien was with the eleventh battalion of the Lancashire Fusiliers, this tension reached a new and frightening level of intensity for Tolkien as his imagination was over-stimulated by the horror of the Somme.
At night, he saw that most frightening of creatures charging across no-mans land. A creature of the imagination which he would never speak directly. Only W.H. Auden would guess at the depiction of the 1916 apparition. Later in the year, Tolkien was invalided with trench fever. And it was as this time he was gripped by the epic struggle, as Gandalf battled a Balrog, an ancient demon creature, and fell into a deep chasm under the Mines of Moria, apparently to his death.
|Silmarillion||In 1914, John Ronald Reuel Tolkien began working on the Middle-earth stories. A good deal was written while Tolkien, then a British officer returned from France during World War I, was laid up in a military hospital and at home with trench fever. Truth be told, Tolkien's imagination was over-stimulated by the horror of the Somme. In escapist fantasy writing, Tolkien's inner hero struggled to restore his own dissipated life force.|
A clue was carefully hidden in Chapter 2, of Seven Pillars of Wisdom which describes homoerotic behaviour "quivering together in the yielding sand, with intimate hot limbs in supreme embrace." The book itself is dedicated to "S.A." with a poem that begins: "I loved you, so I drew these tides of men into my hands and wrote my will across the sky in stars To gain you Freedom, the seven-pillared worthy house, that your eyes might be shining for me When I came.", which had previously been considered a reference to Saudi Arabia, the chosen name of Abdul-Aziz bin Saud's Republic that was eventually founded in 1932.
Shortly afterwards, Lawrence was stripped of meritous awards that he had received after the war - Companion in the Order of the Bath, Distinguished Service Order, French Légion d'Honneur and Knight Commander of the British Empire which he received in October 1918.