Shock! Horror! To those of us who consider ourselves honorary inhabitants of Middle-earth, the Nobel committee has committed a grievous error – passing over Tolkien for the Nobel Prize .
The shock isn’t in the fact that he was passed over – we’ve known this since 1961 – but it is in why he was passed over. This week, journalist Andreas Ekström reported on the newly-released notes from the 1961 Nobel committee, whose conversations and notes were kept locked away for fifty years, as is customary. Among these was a comment on Lord of the Rings:
“…the result has not in any way measured up to storytelling of the highest quality.” – Anders Österling, 1961 jury member and possibly the person to bring the entire Tolkien community to tears of outrage simultaneously.
We, of course, know that Tolkien’s supposedly subpar storytelling has inspired generations of readers, writers, gamers, movie-makers, and dreamers. The Lord of the Rings community is strong, creative, so ubiquitous, in fact, that a photo from fan film Born of Hope can end up in an article about how Tolkien’s tales just weren’t all that inspiring.